Author's Note: It's pretty late, but this is my Christmas/Birthday tribute for both Allen and the Allen/Lenalee pairing. For the first time, I've attempted romance, but in truth I'm not the best with ideas in that category. Therefore, I make no promises. Other than that, I send my thanks for everyone for, at the least, giving my one-shot a try.
Disclaimer: D. Gray-Man and its characters are property of their respectful author, Katsura Hoshino.
Being an Exorcist had brought dozens of seemingly random, strange occurances. This, by far, had to be the most rediculus.
Cocking his head to the side in wonder, he began to walk around in circles in the empty street of London, curious just of what he'd been turned into. He'd thought the poision he'd endured in his latest battle against a level three Akuma was going to give him some problems, just by the difference he'd seen in the poisonous gas itself, but he hadn't been expecting to run into this.
He was assuming he was a small animal, judging it by his black paws and legs and the fact that he was so close to the ground, but it was hard to tell just what he was. And to make it worse, Link had already left, probably assuming he'd taken off when he awoke to find him missing in the bed. Of course, he'd been in there, but was practically being suffocated by the covers. It'd taken much work, but he eventually slipped through the door of their room on the train. It was by pure luck that they happened to be loading the last of the passengers, thus giving him an easy escape.
Walking was nearly impossible because he had four legs now instead of two. It was pathetic only being able to make it a few feet before slipping and collapsing, but he didn't give up. Finally, he began to get the hang of it and continued on his way back to Headquarters. He was unsure of how he was going to get out of this mess or even get someone to realize it was him and not an animal, but he pushed those thoughts aside for the time being, focusing solely on getting home.
So much for Christmas, he thought dully as he trudged along, adding grimly, or my birthday.
"Oooh!" The high-pitched girly voice made him freeze in his spot, a mistake on his part he soon realized as a pair of hands squeezed around his stomach and hoisted him up. He danged in the air helplessly as a young girl studied him, her blonde hair pulled back in braids. "Doggie!"
He was a dog? He could've sworn he hadn't had a tail, only because he didn't feel one, nor had he seen one while walking around in circles. Were dogs unable to feel their tails, hence the reason why they always chased them? To top off his confusion, he was capable of sitting up, and he had thumbs on his two front legs, something he was certain dogs did not have.
The girl carried him home and into her room, where she sat him on her bed as she dug through her things for something. It crossed his mind to escape, but she'd shut her door, and the windows were closed as well, leaving him no escape. She returned a few minutes to his side with a small green Santa hat and scarf. Much to his dismay, she pulled the hat over his head, making him whimper in protest, and tightly tied the scarf around his neck.
"There!" She smiled in delight with her work. "I'm going to go get some milk, be right back!"
He bolted out of the door, suddenly finding the ability to run with four legs as she screamed in annoyance, yelling for him to come back. He didn't, though, and escaped through the front door that she'd left open. He still couldn't run very fast yet, not used to the new style of walking, and so she wasn't that far behind him. After almost ten minutes of running she gave up, sobbing as she turned back and likely went back to the house.
It was difficult, since most members of the Black Order used the Ark as transportation rather than the old fashioned way of using the front door, but he eventually found his way inside. He searched the halls for a familiar face, and eventually turned a corner a few floors up to see Lavi and Lenalee sitting on a bench, staring at the floor.
"Like Allen would actually abandon the Order," Lavi scoffed, making Lenalee look up at him. "Where would he go, anyways? His home is here. He says it all the time. There were no stops he could've escaped at while Link was asleep."
Lenalee stood. "We have to find him, Lavi. What if something really did happen?"
"Lenalee, he was on a train. We don't have anything to work with."
"Maybe he was using the restroom," she offered. "Link said it himself that he didn't want to be bothered. He lets him use the restroom on his own all the time. Maybe the train got back earlier than on schedule and he's still waiting for him at the station."
"Lenalee," Lavi laid a hand on her shoulder to stop her. "We already went down there. It's going to be okay, so don't worry. You know Leverrier can't do anything to him if all of us here defend his case."
He was shocked, to say the least, about how much his absence stressed his friends. When Lavi and Lenalee sat back down, he sat against the wall away from them, trying to devise a plan to prove he really was Allen. He never noticed Lavi walk away while in his thoughts and nearly missed Lenalee leave before he snapped out of his daze, jumping up and trying to call out to her to stop.
All that came out though was an animal call. Not a bark. Not a meow. Whatever it was, Lenalee's head snapped back and she raised her eye brow at his form. Cautiously she approached him while he stayed standing in his spot, hoping that maybe she'd recognize him.
"What's a panda cub doing here?" she murmured to herself before she smiled gently, holding her hand out to him to sniff. Her scent seemed to radiate off of her, making him stumble forward. How come it'd never smelt so sweet and attractive before?
Then it dawned on him that he was trapped in a panda's body. Great, he thought irritant, worse birthday and Christmas ever. Am I going to be tortured like this forever? How am I supposed to get her attention, anyway? Being a panda explained so many things, though, including his sudden craving for bamboo.
Remembering that her hand was still extended, he allowed himself to give into her scent and sniff it like any other animal. Just when she began to shrug off the thought that an ordinary panda had somehow gotten into their Headquarters in London of all places, he dashed for her, crashing straight into her body. The impact sent her tumbling backwards on the floor. Making a mental note to apologize for his rude behavior later, he sprinted to her legs, where the mark of her Innocence was, prodding at the anklets, feeling the mark on her ankles, and even going as far as biting her Innocence and tugging at it.
Come on, Lenalee... it's me.
She didn't seem to catch onto it, much to his dislike, and pulled him away from her Innocence. "You must be hungry. Bak just secretly send me a whole bunch of bamboo for Christmas, you can eat that."
Sometimes, I swear she's the only one that doesn't realize he likes her.
His fears of being picked up again washed away instantly when he felt her warm hands curl around his small frame gently, pulling him up and supporting his body before she held him against her chest. Mentally, he thanked God for the fur that was covering his cheeks because he was sure he was blushing as he attempted to give himself away once more by nestling against her upper chest just below where her neck started. She held him securely, giving him no opening to try and inform the science department as she went to her brother's office.
"Brother..." she glanced at him curiously, "is that... mistletoe?"
"Why, yes!" Komui proudly exclaimed, "all of our plants keep dying, no matter what we do, but soon that will all end. Behold, plant feeder that offers the same nutrients as the sun!"
"Lenalee," Johnny approached her, "where'd you get that panda?"
"I was going to ask Brother about that." She leaned closer to the scientist, whispering, "he's the only one here insane enough to fight with an animal to put a hat and scarf on."
"Chief, I've got to hand it to you, this time." Reever commented after eying Allen. "That's the first gift that hasn't been tampered with your face or name."
Uh oh, Allen thought glumly as Komui grinned, skipping over to his beloved sister.
"You like it then, Lenalee? I saw him while visiting Bak Chan and just had to bring him home for you!" Komui lied, making Allen frown. Why, when tomorrow was his birthday, was he being used as a Christmas present? "Oh, and I've thought of the perfect name, too! You can name him after your brother, Lenalee!"
What?! No, no, no, no, no, no!
"No, really! I insist!"
"Brother!" Lenalee took a deep breath. "I... I really love him, Brother... but for once I'd like to make my own decisions." Dejectedly, Komui nodded, but Lenalee smiled at him. "His name will be Xue, for snow... only because I have a feeling Xue doesn't want to be named after you."
That had to be a sign, right? Excitement built within him as Lenalee carried him back to - embarrassingly - her room. Nevertheless, though, he ignored the awkward feeling, determined to find a way to get through to Lenalee. He couldn't talk, but he was sure by his actions Lenalee would understand sooner or later. Wasn't that why they always said actions spoke louder than words?
Pillows were really soft when you had such a small and weightless body, Allen quickly learned. Maybe that was why Timcanpy always hogged his. He waited on the left side of the bed, near the window, for Lenalee to lay down. It took much patience on his part, since for a while she just sat on the edge of the bed reading a book, but after nudging her a few times she laid flat on her back, engrossed into her book.
Hopping onto her, he ignored her protests as he planted all but one paw firmly on her. She grew silent as he caressed the left side of her face; or rather, attempted to, since he couldn't very well. When she didn't catch on, he used his tongue to draw out where his curse mark would be.
Frustrated, he poked at her left hand with his nose, where the mark of his Innocence was. His mood lightened as she shot up quickly, thinking that she'd caught on. Instead, however, she handed him a shoot of bamboo.
"Is that what you want?"
Feeling crestfallen, he laid down, nibbling on his food as she rolled over and turned off the light, leaving them in darkness. When he finished, he crawled underneath the covers, waiting for her to turn back over to look at him in question before snuggling against her stomach.
"You look really sad," Lenalee commented, a lost tone in her voice. He looked her way, hoping for her to continue; hoping for her to say anything so that he didn't feel so helpless. "Hmm, do you feel lonely, too? I have so many friends, some of which I consider as family..." he panicked when he saw tears rolling down her cheeks in the darkness, "but sometimes... sometimes it feels that Allen makes up most of it."
He froze at that last statement. He did? It was true that she depended on him a lot, but he'd always thought it was because... well, he'd never thought about it. Defiantly it'd never crossed his mind as him making so much of her world. He was only lost and getting criticized by Leverrier and she was this heartbroken? How had she felt when she thought he was dead?
"I'm sorry..." she apologized."I shouldn't be crying. Allen's alright, I'm sure. I owe him that much."
No, you don't. He mused, we're friends, remember? Isn't that what you told me after our first encounter with Road - what you taught me? He curled up against her, trying to offer comfort as she silently cried. I'm right here. It's okay. Don't let my absence ruin your Christmas. Just because I'm having a bad birthday or Christmas doesn't mean you have to as well.
"Xue..." she murmured, "I love him so much, but I'm afraid. He wouldn't feel the same way, would he? I mean... he loves the Akuma a lot. Sometimes, even when he's right beside me, he feels so far away... so out of reach, and yet not even a second passes by when I really do need him and he's just there."
Having recovered from his shock, he laid his cheek against her's, trying to offer her some form of a hug. Don't be afraid, Lenalee. I'm right here. And I love you too... just like the Akuma. I could save all of them, but if you were ever to disappear, I don't know what I would do.
That night, Allen had never wanted the ability to speak so much.
Allen groaned in the morning despite it not even sounding like one, burying himself further into whatever was in front of him to block out the sun that was pouring into his vision from the window behind him. Whatever he was lying against was soft and warm; it was so comforting at this time, when he really had no clue when he'd be back to normal. He was halfway back to sleep when a hand gently stroked his fur, making him freeze.
The voice was one that was sleepy, but he still recognized it. He jumped up onto his paws, backing away from Lenalee in embarrassment until he fell off the bed, struggling to get back onto his feet as he was on his side. He laid there like that for a moment until Lenalee got out of bed and realized he was stuck there and picked him up, a confused expression on her face.
"Is Brother's scarf and hat annoying you?" She asked. Allen nodded on accident, but it proved to be a good thing as Lenalee blinked. "Did you… just nod at me?" The look on her face was comical, but also cute as he nodded again. "You can understand me?" He nodded. "How is that possible?"
He stood on her bed patiently, still embarrassed by the fact that he slept with Lenalee all night, as she gently removed the hat and scarf. He stretched his front paws, relieved that he could now breathe so much easier and that his ears were no longer hurting from the hat. Lenalee smiled, picking him up. "I bet you're hungry. I'm sure Jerry has some bamboo in his kitchen somewhere…"
I want mitarashi dango, he complained. If only you knew it was me. Then I could eat off your plate. With my diet, it'd prove instantly that it was me…
An idea popping into his head, he laid against Lenalee in anticipation, waiting for her to make her way down to the cafeteria and order her food. Along the way, he was petted several times, and even asked by a few science members if they could keep him. Johnny had been on his break and was heading in the same direction for breakfast, so the two decided to eat together.
"Don't worry, Lenalee." Johnny told her as the Chinese girl expressed her concerns for Allen, "I'm sure today's the day he'll come home."
I've been home.
"You're right." Lenalee smiled. "If anyone here is going to find Brother giving me a panda for Christmas odd, I'm sure it's him."
Somehow, Allen was a bit concerned about Komui's condition if he was ever successful in letting her know who he was. The girl would likely be irritated not only that he'd forgotten about Christmas, but that he gave her a human as a present.
After getting her breakfast, she and Johnny sat at a table in the back, where they usually met for their meals. As soon as the tray was set on the table, he leapt out of Lenalee's hands and greedily began to dig into her food. Within moments, her breakfast was devoured, and she was forced to go get another. It made him feel guilty, sending her back so many times that he lost count by the time he was through eating.
"Something tells me Allen would like Xue," Johnny commented, scratching Allen behind the ear. As Lenalee ate, he curled up into a ball and laid in her lap. He was fresh out of ideas as to how to prove he was Allen.
After they finished eating, Johnny and Lenalee split ways; Johnny headed to the science department and Lenalee headed wherever. Allen was still dedicated to alerting her, however, so as they passed a gate to the Ark, he leapt out of her arms once more, scattering across the floor until he regained his balance, and jumped right in.
Lenalee wasn't far behind him, calling him back, but he ignored her and continued on. He sped through the streets of the Ark, his destination already in mind. Within a few minutes, he arrived in front of the Fourteenth's room, scratching viciously at the door. Lenalee stopped behind him, puzzled as to why a panda would want inside, let alone how one would even know of it.
"Oh no," she said as she realized what he wanted. "We shouldn't go inside without Allen's permission. It's technically his room, anyway…"
I am Allen!
Lenalee blinked as the door opened on its own, but Allen only strode inside, already aware it was of the Fourteenth's doing. He still didn't like him, but made a mental note to thank the shadow the next time he saw him and he could talk.
Still puzzled about the door opening on its own she slowly followed after him, too alert to even insist that they leave. Allen climbed onto the chair in front of the piano, glad that it was tall enough for him to just barely place his paws on the keys.
"Xue?" Lenalee was absolutely bewildered.
It was difficult without his hands, so it was also much slower, but he began to play. At times, he ended up playing other notes that didn't go with the music, but her widened eyes told her that she recognized the music. When he heard her gasp, he took it as a signal that he no longer needed to play and stopped instantly, turning his body around to look at the girl.
"Allen?" Lenalee was dangerously pale, and he panicked for a moment, unsure of what to do if she really did faint. He didn't have the body strength to carry her to even the couch. He nodded, hopping off of the chair and making his way to her excitedly. He sat, patiently waiting for her to pick him up again and hopefully hug him, but instead she only took a step back. "I… I'll go get Brother…"
Seeing her pink-tinted cheeks, he immediately assumed she was embarrassed from her confession last night. He took a step closer to her, grabbing her anklet with his teeth to stop her when she tried to distance herself once more.
"A-Allen?" she stuttered after she fell backwards, now sitting on the floor. "Are you frowning at me?"
Climbing onto her, he planted his paws on her, pressing his nose against her's. He could see her face heating up and turning a dark shade of red, but he stayed there in that position. After a long while, she slowly and gently laid her hand on his back, stroking his fur. Taking her movement as a sign that she understood, he pulled away, lying against her as she continued.
"Brother didn't pick you up from China, did he?"
He shook his head.
"Oh! We should let him know." She stood up, holding him gently when she looked at him again. "I'm sorry; you probably want to walk yourself." She'd already placed him down on the ground before he could protest.
The streets in the Ark were still vacant as they made their trip back silently. Allen found that with all the running he'd been doing in his attempts to alert her of his presence he'd learned to keep up with her at a reasonable pace. Within a few minutes, they were out of the Ark completely and walking through the halls of the Order, on their way to Komui.
Lenalee sprung the door open, careful to make certain that he'd gotten inside before stepping in herself and letting it close behind her. She barely noticed Leverrier speaking with her brother, but when she did the words she were trying to summon died in her throat, along with her happy face. Immediately, Reever rose from his chair, ready to lead her out, but she shook her head, trying to suppress the trembles her body was making.
"Ah," Leverrier's casual voice made Allen's blood boil. The man would have to be beyond stupid to see that she had a panic attack every time he was in the same building as her, let along room, "Miss Lee. Witnesses say you were one of the last people to speak with Allen Walker before his disappearance. Central would like to ask you a few questions."
"Wh-what?" For a moment, she was too shocked to speak, but upon seeing the Crow members stepping closer to her, she took a step back. "No. Brother, Allen's right here!"
Said brother blinked at the poor fifteen-year-old reduced down to a small panda.
"Actually, Leverrier," Komui reasoned, "Lenalee hasn't been in the best mood since Allen's disappearance. Do you think you can give her a few more hours?"
"I already told you, Allen's right here!"
"Nonsense," Leverrier told her, his voice more firm than it was before. "You will answer Central's questions, Lee, whether you like it or not."
The next step he took set Allen onto the defense. He positioned himself in front of Lenalee, growling all the while. Leverrier ignored him, though, and took another step closer to her, in which Allen responded to aggressively and leaped forward, chomping onto his leg and keeping his hold as the man cried out in pain and shook his leg around frantically, trying to make him lose his hold.
Lenalee was eying the unfolding scene with surprise when Reever tapped her on the shoulder. She nodded, calling out, "Allen!" He let go of Leverrier and, without another look at the man, turned around and trotted over to the girl, rubbing along her legs until she picked him up, holding him gently as she followed after Reever.
"As I told Lenalee," Reever explained to him, "we're going to run a few tests to see what we can do. Forgive the Supervisor, you know how he is."
When they arrived at the room, he was immediately decorated with wiring and the testing began. Lenalee continuously stroked his fur, her way of offering him comfort as he waited for the test results.
Worse birthday ever, he reminded himself dully. They're probably going to restrict me to bamboo, and then my birthday cake will be just a bunch of bamboo. No mitarashi dango…
After what seemed like eternity to him, Reever returned, staring quizzically at the test results. "I don't really believe this…" he admitted, scratching his head.
Don't believe what?
"Allen, were you hit with a poisonous bullet?"
"Did it look in anyway abnormal?"
He shook his head.
"Alright, here are the results we received after scanning the inside of your body," Reever told him, lying the sheet down in front of him. The inside looked relatively normal for a panda, except it looked like there was a form of gas floating around in his body. "We believe this is the poison that altered your body, and suspect you won't change back unless the gas is drained."
So I'm stuck like this for the rest of my life? How am I supposed to live off of bamboo and without mitarashi dango?!
"We're working on a plan, though." Reever told him. "It seems that Crown Clown is being restrained, but if we can free it maybe you can invoke it long enough to purify the poison."
Upon feeling someone hold his front left paw in their warm hands, he looked over to see Lenalee there, smiling at him. "It's going to be okay, Allen."
Her words were reassuring. Maybe it wouldn't be a horrible birthday; not the best, surely, but he could make the most of it. As soon as he was freed from the wires, he strode over to the comfort of her arms, resting against her as she carried him.
Along the way they came across Lavi, who was laughing hysterically. "He's done it again, Lenalee!" There was only one person who would fit that description, and that was her brother. Her face grew red as she followed him back.
"Honestly! First he forgets about Christmas and instead of coming clean, he gives me Allen, and now this?"
Regardless, she still trailed after the boy, blinking at the object hanging from the ceiling that he pointed at. He peered closer to look at the green object. It was… mistletoe?
Lenalee stood directly underneath it, Allen still in her arms, as she peered at the object. "Well, it's defiantly thriving well there in the dark," she commented softly, pressing her lips together. Everyone else was just as surprised at her to see an invention of her brother's that was actually harmless.
"How come you don't make more of these kinds of inventions?" Lenalee asked, but stopped, noticing as well as him. Why did it sound like her voice was bouncing off glass walls? Curious, he held his paw out, but blinked as it pressed against something hard, like glass. Chaos seemed to ensue outside of the barrier they were in, but they couldn't hear anything.
His chest felt as if it were growing tighter while the rest of his body throbbed. Being originally human, his first instinct was to moan, and so he blinked when he did. Lenalee paused for a moment before turning to face him.
"Allen? Are you okay?"
His body felt heavier, and Lenalee seemed to notice too because she had to shift her weight. He clung to her as the pain increased, afraid she would drop him if he didn't hold onto her. White clouded his vision before it cleared and he suddenly felt much colder, making him open his eyes and meet Lenalee's confused ones.
He didn't realize her confusion until he noticed his left hand and the cross on it, but didn't have time to react as his weight became too heavy for her and he pulled her down. She yelped just as he wrapped his arms around her, cushioning her fall successfully.
It felt so good to talk. So good to hug her as she sighed with relief and held onto him tightly.
She rested her cheek against his. "Welcome back," she murmured softly, to which he replied with brushing the hair from her face. They stayed within each others' embraces for a moment before jumping when they heard a knocking on the invisible glass. Lavi stood there with a mischief grin, waving at them.
"Do you mind, Lavi?" Allen called out. Lavi mouthed something that seemed to be 'what'. Johnny approached them, turning over a large piece of paper.
The glass blocks sound.
"How do we get out, though?"
Johnny quickly flipped it to the other side, writing something down quickly before holding it up to them once more.
The chemicals the Supervisor used must've purified the poison.
Apparently, none of them knew how to read lips well, considering his question wasn't answered. Everyone outside turned and began to yell at each other. Hearing his stomach growl, Allen slumped onto the ground, his back against the glass.
"I'm going to die of starvation…"
"Well then," Lenalee smiled as she kneeled down in front of him, "I guess we'll have to go eat after this, huh?"
He nodded. "Like a date?" Noticing her face growing red, he leaned closer, smiling gently at her. "I'd really like that."
He didn't get to respond before there was an obnoxious pounding against the invisible glass. Lavi stood there, attempting to tell them something. He got nothing of it, however, until he puckered his lips, pointing to them, and laughing when their eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.
When he no longer felt as if his heart was going to stop, he shakily laid his hands on Lenalee's shoulders, offering her a warm smile as she looked at him. A few moments passed by, with him still fighting with his nerves, before the girl grabbed his face gently, her fingers and palms resting against his cheeks. He saw her flash him a smile before she leaned closer and pressed her lips against his. Blinking in unison along with her, Allen hesitantly wrapped his arms around her awkwardly, pulling her closer.
Both were blushing madly when they pulled away. Lenalee fidgeted with her hands. "Umm," she nervously told him, "sorry about Brother turning you into my Christmas present and about saying all those things…"
"Sorry for invading your privacy," he muttered. "Komui's going to kill me…"
Sadly, it was probably true. Komui was struggling to break free from the bystanders that were holding him back. "Allen Walker!" He howled, "I'll kill you!"
Staring at her brother for a moments, Lenalee turned back to face Allen, her smile still on her face. "Give him time." Her hand wrapped around his. He squeezed it reassuringly when she looked at him worriedly.
"What is it, Lenalee?"
"You won't get in too much trouble for biting Leverrier, will you? I'm sorry for making you do that…"
"Lenalee, I did that on my own accord, and I don't regret it. I came back on my own, so he can't do anything." He looked around before smirking and gently pulling her along. "Come on… Link's not here so I can't get in trouble for wandering off alone for a date."
As the two of them quietly made their way through the corridors of the Order, hand-in-hand, Allen smiled to himself as he recalled the events of the holiday. Taking advantage of the situation when Lenalee laid her head on his shoulder, expressing her gratitude for his return aloud, he laid his head over her own gently.
"Where should we go?" she asked him after a while of silence.
"I don't know," Allen replied, laughing, "but I'm sure Link's going to throw a huge fit if he finds I was unattended out of the building, and I'm starving."
"I know where we can sit and eat, besides the cafeteria." She smiled as she informed him, "I heard Jerry made a huge batch of mitarashi dango."
"Makes good date food," he replied, mentally making it his life-long mission to get her addicted to the heavenly-tasting goodness.
Maybe it was a good birthday, after all.