A -Man fanfic/songfic

By mew-tsubaki

Note: Obviously these characters belong to Hoshino Katsura-sensei, though I love them dearly. This is the sequel to "Mister Scary Face" (though a little less humorous) and more things will make sense if you read it first, but this is fairly stand-alone, too. This is my second D. Gray Man fic, so let me know what you think in a review! Also, keep the song "Again" by Flyleaf in mind for the story; I don't want to disrupt the story, so I'll include the lyrics to it in my end note. You'll see what I mean when I say it fits the story perfectly!

Miranda Lotto woke up a bit early and stretched, feeling completely refreshed for once. It had been seven and a half months since those awful attacks and the capture of the first Ark. More importantly, it had been about six months since she had gotten Kanda Yu to open up to her (though only a teensy bit).

Yes, yes, it had happened. She stood up and stretched some more before dressing, thinking about how it had come to this. How had she been able to win some semblance of Kanda's trust? Rather, "Yuka"'s trust. She smiled at her nickname for the handsome man. He didn't let anyone call him "Yu", but she'd still wanted something a little more meaningful than just plain old "Kanda".

So Yuka it was.

Of course, the more she thought of him, the warmer her cheeks grew. Miranda stopped to stare at her reflection in the mirror, and she didn't zip her jacket up all the way. It wasn't just her cheeks; her body felt a little warmer thinking of him. She admitted to liking him –at first. But…

But more than six months had passed. And in those six months, Yuka had spoken with her a little, but she was allowed to join him for his nightly meditation. She'd even seen him sneak a few very small smiles when she knew he thought she wasn't looking. Miranda could also read him –she didn't know how, she just had that innate ability to do so –so she knew he also relaxed and lowered his guard around only her during his meditation.

Miranda liked that, and she'd even tried meeting him halfway and tried meditating alongside him. She found it relaxing and now understood why he did it every night. It calmed nerves she didn't know were flipping out, but –for her –it was equally tortuous. Yes, she could share in one of his hobbies and she could be so close to him. He was only a hair's breadth away from her sometimes, even. But they never touched.

Right now, staring at her muddy brown eyes, she felt like a teenage girl despite her true twenty-five years. For it to be so awful that it hurt to not be with him, or to not touch him when she was with him –this had a name. She'd read about it before in books, but never had she thought she'd experience it: l-

"Miranda!" Lenalee Lee knocked on the door. "Let's go to breakfast!" the girl said cheerily.

The Exorcist sighed, pushing her raging emotions down and leaving her room. Dealing with her Yuka was bad enough. Now this?

Breakfast was the normal affair: crowded, loud, and aromatic. Miranda chose a small bowl of porridge and parted with Lenalee. She made her way to the empty table –well, empty save for Kanda.

As she settled down, it was quiet. Lenalee was used to Miranda sitting with Kanda; the Chinese girl understood Miranda wanting to break his icy shell. As for Allen and Lavi… Well, they were still wondering if Miranda had suffered a head injury in that last major battle, but Lenalee had reigned any teasing in. So Miranda could enjoy Yuka's company even in the morning.

As per usual, he didn't say anything, but he did give a slight nod of his head. It was a big step, him even acknowledging her presence, but Miranda was coming to understand Yuka's…"quirks".

"Good morning, Yuka," she stated with her sweet smile, forcing him to be himself by using his nickname.

"Good morning." His eyes were downcast, watching his chopsticks twirl the noodles in his miso.

Miranda added a squirt of lemon to her porridge and sprinkled it with some powdered cinnamon. "Are you getting bored around here?"

Kanda looked thoughtful. "Maybe." He ate some food. "It sounds wrong, considering our trade is in death."

Her hand rested at her bowl as she watched his carefree expression. "You're afraid your skills will atrophy if you're on the sidelines for much longer," she inferred.

He was quiet. "Every warrior –every Exorcist –feels that way." In an instance of relaxation, he met her eyes, the frown in them matching the one creasing his lips, but it wasn't mean or disgusted. It looked a little strained, or exhausted. "Even you do."

Miranda blinked and dropped her eyes to her breakfast, feeling his eyes linger on her longer than they usually did when he looked at her. He didn't seem to always like it when she read him, but he could read her, too, after all the time they'd been spending together. And his reading her made her insides twist and turn.

"You should finish eating and help Lenalee and Komui in the library," he said, removing his gaze and finishing his miso. The bowl clinked when he placed the chopsticks across the opening. He didn't say more, instead standing and walking away to toss his trash.

The brunette fidgeted with her meal a couple of minutes longer, getting up and tossing the rest of her breakfast, too.

"I've talked with Hevlaska," Komui stated in general three days later.

Miranda watched as Lenalee completely froze up. Slowly, the older female continued organizing books on the shelf before her, pretending she wasn't listening in. Though of course she was; with what had happened to Lenalee's Innocence and Lenalee herself, it was hard to fight the desire to know the truth. Miranda was sure even Kanda would be eavesdropping if he were in her place.

Though it wasn't really eavesdropping as Komui continued in a normal tone. "First: How are you feeling, Lenalee?"

The girl waited before answering. "Perfect, actually. Except for this empty feeling."

"Because you don't have your Dark Boots."

Lenalee nodded and passed Miranda another stack of tomes. "I thought my Innocence wasn't a Parasite-type, but now I'm not sure."

"It isn't," Komui assured her, "but we still have yet to determine what its origin is. But that's not the point." Komui stopped working and faced Miranda and his little sister. "What I'm trying to say is that Hevlaska says you can have it back."

The mood abruptly brightened, along with Lenalee's eyes. "Really?!"

Her older brother nodded with a small grin of his own. "Hevlaska and I talked, and you are well-healed. Part of this, though, is having you try it out, to see how you work with the Dark Boots now." He shifted his eyes to Miranda. "You and the boys should look after her in Athens."

Miranda nodded and accepted Lenalee's big hug. She vaguely recalled Lenalee had mentioned Athens a while ago. So this is why things took so long. Lenalee was going to be part of the team again.

"This is some nasty activity we've seen going on in the Greek capital," Reever told the team that weekend. "I don't think we'll be seeing any Level Fours, but Threes seem to be teeming there." He looked at each of them pointedly. "Be on guard once you get to Karystos. From there you'll go to Acharnes, but you'll be right outside Athens then, so enjoy your brief night in Acharnes."

"You speak as though it'll be our last," Lavi scolded the scientist. He waved him off. "C'mon –we're the best of the best, Reever. With me, Allen, Lenalee, Miranda, and Kanda, nothing will beat us."

"And overconfidence can get you killed."

The five Exorcists said nothing in response to that. In their defense, it wasn't that long ago when so many…too many of their comrades had fallen, and in their headquarters, no less. There was fidgeting while everyone waited for someone to speak up.

"Do you all have your provisions?" Reever asked. When they nodded, he said, "Good. Get ready to be transported via the Ark."

Miranda followed her comrades and friends up to the platform. She, like the others, didn't understand why they were still using the thing, but it did come in handy. And in another moment, the group of five was standing on the ground in Karystos, on an island a little ways away from where Athens was on the Greek mainland.

Lavi was the first one to break the silence. He sighed and looked out at the husky sky. "He said we were meant to stay in the village onshore and take the ship northwest to Acharnes." He looked at the others. "Well, Team Leader?"

Miranda frowned. That was one thing she had objected to, but Komui had insisted upon. "You're the eldest," he'd said, "as well as the wisest and most level-headed. You're the perfect choice to lead the squad."

"Why isn't General Cross coming with us?" she'd asked, trying to weasel herself out of the spotlight.

Allen had turned green at his master's name and Komui had forced a smile. "He's…recuperating."

"You mean you can't find him," Lenalee had corrected.

"No, we know where he is." And Komui had left it at that.

"Let's make our trek to the village, preferably in the last bit of daylight," Miranda now ordered.

The others marched ahead of her, and Miranda finally ventured back to her thoughts from earlier this week. In doing so, her eyes drifted to Kanda's back. Sensing her, he glanced over his shoulder at her. Instinctively, she ducked her head and eyes and gripped the strap of her bag more tightly.

Great, the Accomodator for the Time Record mentally kicked herself. I think of my feelings for him, and it feels like things between us are reverting to the old ways. Lost in thought, Miranda tripped and crashed into Kanda, taking him down with her.

Lavi and Allen laughed as Kanda got up and Miranda kept apologizing. "Allen, Allen! Look –Kanda was swept off his feet by Miranda!"

"I thought something was going on," Allen replied, joining Lavi in the teasing. "Good for you, Miranda, although Kanda's a bit-"

Kanda fixed all of them with an icy glare and moved on ahead. Lenalee chewed Allen and Lavi out, but Miranda's heart sank. She knew Kanda did not want the others seeing any other side of him, and her clumsiness was an obstacle if she wanted to still be able to be around him. The rest of the walk, Kanda didn't say anything to her, and Miranda knew it was a bad sign.

At the village head's hut, Miranda stayed up counting the stars. She didn't feel tired, though she knew she should get some rest. They'd probably run into some trouble in the next city, and there might not be another chance to rest, but Miranda couldn't force herself to sleep. It was almost as bad as not sleeping in the first place.

Since she stayed up, she helped prepare a quick breakfast for her squad mates. Allen, Lavi, and Lenalee were plenty thankful, but Kanda ignored her. Miranda winced when he even purposefully turned away from her when they were all done, but she couldn't do anything when he was in this mood.

On the ship on the way to Acharnes, it was no better. Yes, Kanda kept from the others, but Miranda thought she had really gotten somewhere with him. Now she wasn't fooling herself; things really were reverting to when he'd first been cold.

She cupped her cheek as she rested on the side of the ship, staring out into the sky on day two on the ship. I shouldn't have forced him to come out of his shell so quickly, Miranda pondered. He keeps me a secret, but I'm not even much of a secret to guard. A frown darkened her features as her mind generated the worst possible ideas. Maybe I shouldn't have frozen him and kissed him that time we battled… She blushed very faintly at the memory. Why do I like him so much?

The next two days on the ship were the same. Kanda was just ignoring her more, and Miranda felt deflated and defeated. She was glad to be back on solid ground on the fifth day. It allowed her to put some space between herself and the already-distant Yuka.

She fought to keep from calling him by his nickname. Something told her it would only exacerbate the situation, so she focused on the small tasks that she could. But other things contradicted her, too: Because of how he was acting, she also wanted to give him a piece of her mind, she just didn't know when. It's not like they had privacy, and he wouldn't be caught dead walking, let alone walking and talking, with her. Miranda wondered if she really should give up on him.

While camping a third night near Acharnes, closer to Athens, Lavi and Allen made another comment at Miranda and Kanda's expense. It was at suppertime, and Miranda had just given the still-cold-shouldered Yuka his meal.

"Y'know," Allen began slowly, thinking about it and meaning it, "you and Miranda make a great pair, Kanda."

"Shut up, Bean Sprout!" the samurai hissed.

"He's not being mean this time," Lavi interceded. "And he's right." He glanced at Miranda. "Though I'd consider you the unlucky one, Miranda."

Kanda threw his soba at their heads, which of course Allen and Lavi ducked. "Trashbags here is just a fellow Exorcist!"

"Jeez, Kanda, calm down!" Lavi exclaimed. "There's nothing wrong with you liking someone!"

Even angrier, Yuka stood. "I don't like anyone, let alone older women." Then he left to meditate.

Ouch… Did he have to say that? Miranda wondered as she cleared his mess. She turned away from the boys' shameful faces. Even if they had started it, Yuka's reactions were completely his own.

On the fourth and final night in Acharnes, everyone packed most of their items and prepared for the trial that lay ahead.

"Have you tried invoking your Innocence yet?" Miranda asked Lenalee during dinner.

"Yes," the girl answered. "Just a bit, but things do feel like old times." She weakly smiled. "But I'll persevere."

Miranda nodded and said nothing more. She packed the last few things while the others slept. Well, except Kanda. He was off meditating in a quiet spot a ways away from the campsite.

I should probably give up on him, she told herself as she tied her satchel shut. It was probably just a fluke that I got anywhere with him to begin with. Not only has he stopped talking to me, looking at me, and he never walked with me to begin with, but he even shut me out of his meditation. She huffed and furrowed her brow. I should at least give him a piece of my mind!

The brunette checked on the other three before embarking to find her Yuka. It was a good ten-fifteen minutes away, but she finally stumbled on a hill clearing with a great view of the starry night sky. If she didn't know better, she'd almost say Yuka was enjoying that beautiful sky himself.

She made her presence know to him, but he remained still in his meditating posture. That irked her, that he would continue to ignore her now that they were alone. "Am I really that much of a bother?" she remarked.

In Kanda fashion, he said nothing.

"Obviously not, otherwise you wouldn't have stuck to the deal to be yourself when I won that match against you a while back. And you were actually getting somewhere, too." Instead of waiting for a reaction, she blathered on. "Who am I kidding? This is probably your true self. How could I have been so stupid to think you are more than this, Yuka?" Whoops, that slipped out. But on she went. "You know, what never mind. I've been a complete idiot, but I can bounce back. I've been treated horribly before." Miranda paused, adding in a softer voice, "I'm used to it."

He didn't look at her even then, and she didn't see any sign of his interest. He wasn't listening at all.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "By the way, Allen was the one who helped me when I first discovered my Innocence, and he's only a teenager! So you see? Age has nothing to do with it! Unless you're at the age where you're just going to be a cocky bastard!" While she liked seeing his jaw clench at the comparison of him to his enemy, she was surprised she got any of those words out.

Still, he did and said nothing.

That he still acted like she wasn't there, though she had even used his nickname at a point –that was such a slap in the face. If Miranda had felt defeated before, she now felt demolished. It was the last straw. The brunette turned on her boot heels and left the ass, concealing the almost tears. No, she wasn't going to cry over that jerk.

But she was allowed to cry for him, right?

"It's beautiful," Miranda commented the next day when the group finally reached Athens.

"Well, it was," Lavi corrected. "It's a little deserted here."

"But there's an Innocence nearby." Allen looked around. "We should make our way towards the Acropolis."

They all nodded in agreement. "Everyone be on alert. We're in the heart of enemy territory now," Miranda grimly stated. She clenched her right fist. This could get very ugly, very fast.

The five of them felt silent as they walked on. Kind of like the brief time in Edo, it felt too quiet and calm to believe there was an akuma nest here. As the Acropolis came into view, Miranda's senses were on fire. "Something doesn't feel right," she whimpered.

At that precise time, a shadow loomed on the top of the Acropolis. Eerie laughter filled the soundless landscape, and the Millennium Earl revealed himself.

Automatically Allen invoked the Crowned Clown, and Lavi his Iron Hammer and Kanda his Mugen. Lenalee nodded to Miranda, and the brunette activated her Equipment Type Innocence on her right arm. "Time Recovery!!"

It was the perfect moment to hold onto their time, because they were healthy to begin with. It was also good timing because the Earl pointed towards the group and ordered his akuma to attack. Unfortunately, Reever had been right. There were Level Threes. But he hadn't been sure that they'd all be Threes.

And they were.

The boys went into action while Lenalee invoked her Dark Boots. The girl was right; she did look like the Dark Boots were fine, and she did a superb job of defending Miranda while the time mage kept her concentration. This wasn't to say that no akuma got through to Miranda; the two that did attacked her, but she fought back some. She kept them back until Lenalee could handle them. Then Miranda was back to managing everyone's time.

But this cloud of akuma –it was endless. The constant onslaught went on forever. Miranda knew she had no problem staying awake for days, but her strength holding up under the continuous attacks…that was a wholly different situation. She'd done so before, but it had been nothing like this.

Meanwhile, Allen was taking care of most of the monsters, and Lavi and Kanda were handling their own fair shares of the enemy. Kanda also tried keeping an eye on the Earl. He didn't like the fact that the Millennium Earl wasn't paying attention to Bean Sprout today. In fact, if Kanda didn't know better, he'd say that the Earl was watching another Exorcist. Kanda's eyes widened and narrowed in realization. But… That can't be. It wouldn't happen…, he thought as he managed to decapitate the closest Level Three. But a cold sweat broke out when the Earl made his move. "LENALEE!! PROTECT HER!!!" he bellowed as he made his way back to the women.

Lenalee, Allen, and Lavi turned at Kanda's outburst. Lenalee cleared a few more akuma out of the way only in time to see the Earl getting too close too fast.

Miranda wasn't even aware of the Earl. This beating is too much…! Her body grew heavy, and she felt her legs give out from under her. Team Leader is the worst idea I ever…

Kanda sped up when he witnessed this. It was like she was in slow motion as she almost entirely collapsed. He caught her just in time and shook her. "Stay awake, you imbecile!!"

Her eyes fluttered, but she hung on. Actually, she hung on to him, and he squeezed her to his chest as he joined Lenalee in defending her. The Earl was too close now.

"This one's too troublesome. 3" His eyes shone angrily despite his maniacal grin. "She keeps you alive. Some of you longer than really needed. 3" His gaze dropped down to the Time Record. "If I break this, I'll break her, won't I? And I'll break all of you in the process. 3" The Earl shot his hand out and barely missed touching her Innocence.

Kanda felt all the blood drain his face, only to find that everything inside of him had been replace with white hot fury. If the Earl touched her Innocence, she'd die. He knew it. So he moved faster than he thought possible and sliced of the Earl's left arm. The deadly look in the samurai's eye said it all.

The Earl wasn't fazed by this new development –or so it seemed. He did slowly turn his head towards Kanda, but he said nothing. Instead, he backed away and disappeared.

Lavi and Allen finished off the remaining akuma, and Miranda breathed heavily. While she hadn't lost consciousness, she'd been damn close that she hadn't heard anything going on around her, so focused was she on keeping the Time Recovery in action.

She could barely lift her head; everything felt so heavy with exhaustion. "The-the battle…?" she weakly rasped.

"We won," Yuka answered. She felt the rumbling of his throat deep in his chest. "You did well," he added with his trademark grimace. "Deactivate your Time Record. We're fine now, and you should rest."

She did as he asked and leaned her head against his heart. It was beating rapidly… Was it only a figment of her imagination that she had heard the worry in his weary voice just now, though?

They had retrieved the Innocence from the Acropolis, but Miranda hadn't been awake for that. Though she didn't know it, Kanda had been the one to carry her back. She rested in her room for several days on end and, when she felt strong enough, she was able to join Yuka in his silent meditation once again.

A week and a half after their return Miranda was meditating with Kanda when she spoke. "I'm sorry for the things I said before." He remained quiet, but she'd only expected that. "Maybe things weren't as I thought they were, and I had no right to say what I did. So I'm sorry."

Beside her, she sensed Kanda twitch. She winced and peeked at him anyway. If anything, he looked angry!!

"I-I-I'm sorry!!" she squeaked. She stood when he rose and squirmed under his gaze. "I-I didn't mean to offend you!! Not then, and not now for bringing it up!" With every apology, he advanced and she retreated, until she felt the wall against her back. She was really nervous now; after all, he was angry and his sword wasn't that far out of reach…

"What do you want from me?" she pleaded. Seeing a glint in his eyes and misinterpreting it, she gasped. "Oh! I'm too talkative, aren't I?" She ducked her head and moved to leave the room…although that was kinda difficult being pinned to the wall by him. "I'll leave you to your medita-" she started, wanting to give him the opportunity to move. But he didn't move out of the way.

He cut her off with a spontaneous kiss. She was stunned. This-! Kanda just-!! YUKA-!!! When she wanted to protest/comment, he kissed her harder, and her legs jellied to the point where he had to catch her. Satisfied that he could now get a word in, he smirked. Then he gave her his trademark glare. "You were giving up on me. I never gave up on you." Then he stomped away and sat back down to meditate some more.

Needless to say, our Miranda was too happy and shocked for words. Thanks to our dear Yuka, of course. ;)

Well. That went well. I can't believe I already have 3 reviews for "Mister Scary Face" and that story's been up for 1 DAY!!! So here's the sequel. Of course, you should review this one, too. This story is dedicated to MSF's first 3 reviewers, too! I'm all ready to do the next one, though I want to warn that it might be a bit shorter and the rating might go up, considering the situation. Also, here're the Flyleaf lyrics to "Again". Sadly, I don't own them or the DGM charries, but I wish I did!!

Keep an eye out for the next story, "Takaramono"! AND REVIEW!!!


"Again" –© Flyleaf

I love the way that your heart breaks

With every injustice and deadly fate

Praying it all be new

And living like it all depends on you

Here you are down on your knees again

Trying to find air to breathe again

And only surrender will help you now

I love you, please see and believe again

I love that you're never satisfied

With face value, wisdom, and happy lies

You take what they say and go back and cry

You're so close to me that you nearly died

Here you are down on your knees again

Trying to find air to breathe again

And only surrender will help you now

I love you, please see and believe again

They don't have to understand you

Be still

Wait and know I understand you

Be still, be still

Here you are down on your knees again

Trying to find air to breathe again

And only surrender will help you now

The floodgates are breaking and pouring out

Here you are down on your knees again

Trying to find air to breathe

Right where I want you to be again

I love you, please see and believe again

Here you are down on your knees again

Trying to find air to breathe again

Right where I want you to be again

See and believe