Belated birthday gift for Abreaction, Shinigami's Voice and Saphira112. Also a cheer-up fic for isumi 'Kivic' (hang in there, dearest sista~). This is written during a writer's block, but I hope you all would enjoy this little giftie? :D

Thanks to my Moyashi, Saphira112 for beta-ing it (I feel bad to have you beta your own gift, though ^^;;)

Anyway, Love Scale: A psychological scale made by Pam, Plutchik and Conte in 1975 to measure five points in any relationship. So yeah, it really exists. But I snagged the concept of the fic from a Prince of Tennis fanfic with the same title, "Love Scale" (Tezuka/Fuji) by Ryu Reikai-Akuma. So thanks, Ryu, for letting me write this too :D

WARNING: Semi-AU, in the "Let's Pretend Link Doesn't Exist" and "Timeline? What Timeline?" sense ^^;;. Also contains artistic liberties in characterizations *cough*OOC*cough*.

DISCLAIMER: So, all these times Allen had been synchronizing with Kanda's emotions? Hoshino-sensei, I love you.


*

* LOVE SCALE *

*



~/ Respect /~

'Watch your back, Moron!' is the only warning Allen gets before suddenly, Kanda's hell insects zoom towards him. He barely moves out of the way of Kanda's attack when a loud shriek is heard from behind him, followed by an explosion and the sight of a freed soul from the Level Two that was about to attack him.

'Oh,' Allen says slowly, 'Thanks.'

A trademark 'che' is the only answer he gets, so Allen mentally shrugs and continues battling the group of Level Ones still rampaging around him.

Although he never says it directly to the older boy, Allen admires Kanda as an exorcist. Strong, loyal, dedicated, reliable—he doesn't quite remember when it started, but by now, Allen feels like he could always trust his back to Kanda. Because despite what the Japanese man always says about leaving comrades behind, he would always come back to his friends.

That is probably the only sweet thing about Kanda that Allen could find.

So he tries to get stronger, he wants Kanda to admit his strength and qualities as an exorcist and see him as an equal rather than an inferior newbie—which he kind of is, compared to Kanda, but. That is why Allen often challenges Kanda, provokes him into a spar and does his best to get Kanda to go all out on him every time.

He wants to prove his worth.

Releasing his Cross Grave, Allen eliminates the Akuma that are surrounding him, and jumps towards Kanda just in time to block some bullets aimed for the older exorcist from the side with Crown Clown's cloak.

He isn't surprised when Kanda doesn't bother to say 'thank you', and continue releasing Cross Grave to the five Level Two—Kanda always takes on the harder enemies, he absently muses—and adjusts his attacks to Kanda's as they continue the dance on the battlefield, harmonizing attacks and defenses with each other only by eye contacts and tilts of the heads.

Allen is a bit surprised when Kanda jumps backwards, calls him with that stupid nickname and says, 'You handle this, sprout. I'll go get the Innocence.'

Allen blinks and stares into Kanda's eyes for a second, before a smile forms on his lips as he replies, 'My name is Allen, BaKanda!'

His smile doesn't fade even when he blocks rather dangerous claws with his own, or when he strikes back and gets another set of Akuma bullets coming towards him—which he deflects with his cloak. Allen is now responsible to hold the enemies here and defeats them, while the older exorcist fights his way to get the Innocence.

Kanda has given him this responsibility.

Now Allen knows that, to the older exorcists, they stand on equal grounds.

Kanda trusts him back.


~ o ~ O ~ o ~


~/ Congeniality /~

Kanda glares up at the white haired boy who just suddenly stopped right in front of his comfortable seat on his way to wherever the hell the bean sprout was heading before.

'What?' he irritably asks.

The brat stares some more, before finally says, 'Wow. You read books.'

Kanda can so hear the mirth in the bean's voice.

'Shut up.'

It isn't really a hobby, but Kanda does read books. It has been his habit ever since he was taken under the wings of General Tiedoll who had insisted that he learned about the beauty of the world or whatever crap the sentimental man told him then.

Kanda simply calls it studying.

The Japanese teen spares his time every now and then, between missions and physical training and meditating, to go to the library and read some books. As an exorcist, it's always better to know a lot of things, whether it is about battle tactics or different languages and cultures. They could always help in missions and make his job easier, the more he knows of what he's dealing with.

That, and he doesn't like the way Lavi always tries to explain things to him every time they go on a mission together and Kanda finds himself lacking the knowledge about certain countries or customs. The tone the rabbit always uses on these occasions is as if he was talking to a child, and Kanda hates that. Yes, he technically has only lived for nine years, but Lavi doesn't know that and Kanda is not stupid, damn it.

He also doesn't like the way the bean sprout looks smug when the brat actually knows a lot more than him, thanks to being apprenticed to General Cross and practically having been dragged around the world before coming to the Order.

However, he enjoys the dumbfounded looks he sometimes gets from the rabbit and the bean sprout or anyone, for that matter, when they find out he actually knows something or speaks a language nobody thought he would.

'Whoa, is that Sanskrit?'

Like now, for example.

Kanda smirks as he watches Walker staring wide-eyed at the book in his hands. 'Got a problem with that?'he asks, and damn, he is smug.

The bean sprout then takes the seat across him, flips open one of the books he brings with him, and says, 'Say something in Sanskrit then.'

Kanda snorts. 'Hell no.'

'Just say that you don't actually speak the language,'Allen mocks, eyes not leaving the page he is starting to read.

'Whatever. I'm not falling for that, brat.'

'Darn.'

'Just shut up and read or go away.'

'Humph. Fine. Prick.'

Kanda rolls his eyes and chooses to ignore the brat altogether in favor to continue reading the book in hand.

As seconds tick by, all Kanda hears are the sounds of the occasional flips of pages, Walker's deep, calm breathing, and the white noise buzzing mildly in the background.

It feels kind of… peaceful.

And he thinks that at times like this, the bean sprout is actually tolerable and that it isn't so bad to have his company.


~ o ~ O ~ o ~


~/ Attachment /~

Allen squeezes his eyes shut, trying to hold back the tears that are threatening to spill out as he waits just outside of one of the operation rooms in the hospital wing. He glances to the side, seeing Kanda just as tense, his eyes dark and stormy. Panicked.

General Tiedoll is currently just behind that door, unconscious. He had taken a fatal blow from a Level Four in their mission earlier. He was shielding Kanda, who had jumped in to cover Allen from the attack, because he was too slow to react.

It's his fault, isn't it?

Allen sees the way Kanda clenches his left hand so hard that his knuckles turn white. The nails of Kanda's fingers are probably digging into his palm now. Maybe, Kanda is blaming himself, just like Allen is. Except that it really is Allen's fault to begin with. If only he was more careful… if only he was—

'I'm sorry,' Allen says, prying Kanda's left hand open and slipping his own right hand in it, both to prevent Kanda from causing unnecessary wounds and to try comforting the older teen as he squeezes gently. 'I'm sorry,' he repeats again, and again, and again—

'Shut up,' Kanda hisses, squeezing Allen's hand so hard that it hurts, but Allen doesn't pull away. 'Just… shut up,'he croaks again, voice broken from the suppressed emotions.

And Allen does shut up. He stays silently by Kanda's side, not minding that he can barely feel his right hand in the taller boy's death grip—perhaps Kanda doesn't even realize he's holding Allen's hand at this point.

Then, after what seems to be eternity, after the door opens, and doctors and nurses burst out with relief in their faces, after the long few hours they have to wait outside until finally Komui tells them that General Tiedoll is alive and awake and they can come inside to see him, Kanda storms in, practically dragging Allen because he hasn't let go of Allen's hand.

Tiedoll smiles at them, and Kanda yells. He yells about how stupid and reckless the General was to jump in like that. He yells because Generals shouldn't risk their lives protecting their subordinates—'It's should be the other way around, damn it!' He yells, telling his Master he could've taken the blow because he would heal anyway.

He yells until he is out of breath, and all Tiedoll says is, 'I'm just glad that both of you are safe.'

Kanda lets out a frustrated growl and makes to leave, only to realize that something is holding him back—or rather, his left hand. Once he realizes that he is—has been—holding Allen's hand, he abruptly lets go like his hand is burnt, before storming out of the room.

Tiedoll chuckles, and Allen turns his head back to the General, who apologizes for his disciple's behavior, but really, Yuu-kun is just worried and that he is sweet like that.

Allen smiles then; small and soft and sincere. And then he apologizes, for it is his fault that Tiedoll is injured. Because if he had paid more attention, he could've seen the attack coming, and Kanda wouldn't have jumped in to shield him, and Tiedoll wouldn't have—

'It's okay,' Tiedoll kindly says; a warm smile on his elderly face, 'It's okay.'

Allen bows then, before raising his head to smile at the old general. He excuses himself, wishing the General a well rest and a good night's sleep.

Just when he reaches the door, the elderly man calls him, and Allen turns his head, gazing the General questioningly. Tiedoll's face looks different then—his smile somber and kind of fatherly, as he tells Allen, 'Please take care of Yuu-kun.'

Allen blinks, but nods anyway, feeling unfamiliar warmth in his chest from Tiedoll's words. Then he excuses himself and closes the door behind him. As he makes his way down the corridor, the young exorcist raises his right hand and stares; it's still a bit numb from being squeezed so hard by Kanda earlier.

He raises his left hand and holds his right one close to his chest with it, and smiles.

His hand still feels warm.


~ o ~ O ~ o ~


~/ Altruism /~

'What the fuck was that?' Kanda clenches his hands, glaring daggers at the occupant of the infirmary room now laid on the bed with bandages covering his head, arms and torso.

Walker winces, more likely from the pain he feels from trying to sit up rather than from the venom in Kanda's voice.

'I could have taken that fucking blow,' his voice goes lower from the restrained emotions. He's starting to feel nostalgic, having this kind of talk again. 'Why the fuck did you jump in front of me?'

Giving up on trying to sit, the younger boy sighs in annoyance, before staring up defiantly at him—the nerve of the brat—and says, 'Because I didn't have time to deflect it, so I blocked it with my body.'

'You were too weak to even activate your cloak,' Kanda says matter-of-factly, but his throat feels tight when he finally lets out the words, 'You could've died.'

'I've survived worse, okay? It's not that bad,' Walker replies weakly, averting his gaze from Kanda's intense eyes to the white ceiling above.

'If it's not that bad, then you should've just left me the fuck alone! Stop being a fucking martyr!' the dark haired male finally snaps.

'Kanda. Kanda, calm—'

'I could've taken it and healed. I don't need you to protect me like I'm some weakling.'

'You're not weak. I know you're strong, okay? And I know you would've healed fast, but—'

'What is with you people? Why do you keep jumping in to take blows in my stead? First the old man, and now you too—'

'It's because we care!' Walker raises his voice, and Kanda shuts his mouth to glare at the British boy. 'General Tiedoll and I… we don't want you to get hurt. We don't want you shortening your life every time you get injured and heal faster than you're supposed to. You keep this up, you'll die, Kanda, and I… I can't—'

Words seems to escape the white haired teen as he can only stare at Kanda's eyes, and the weight of the emotions swirling in those silver pools makes Kanda feel uneasy. There are bits of despair, sadness, determination and… and something else that Kanda doesn't dare to name.

'Don't be a hypocrite,' Kanda finally says, and he hates the way that comes out—it sounds almost… weak. So he hardens his eyes and steels his voice before continuing, 'You keep up your Martyr complex and you'll die sooner rather than later.'

He doesn't wait for the bean's reply before turning on his heels and makes his way out of the room, all the while trying to will away the unfamiliar feeling that is currently bubbling in his chest.


~ o ~ O ~ o ~


~/ Attraction /~

The door to the training hall creaks open at Allen's push, and he silently steps inside. It is a bit late at night, and he is pretty sure no one would be around and he can train in peace.

But once he closes the door behind him, he hears a familiar voice saying, 'What are you doing here?'

Allen nearly jumps. He then glances across the room to see Kanda sitting cross-legged while staring at him. It looks like Kanda has been meditating before he came in.

'Oh, Kanda. Hey,' the younger teen lamely greets back.

Kanda just snorts at him and closes his eyes, perhaps going back to meditating.

Allen stands awkwardly near the door, not knowing what to do. It has been quite a while since he last saw Kanda in his infirmary room—Allen took a rather long time recuperating, and once he was discharged, Kanda had been in a long-term mission. And that last meeting was rather…awkward.

Unconsciously, Allen takes a step closer to Kanda. Then another, and another, and when he is close enough his eyes automatically starts taking in the details of Kanda's looks.

Kanda's hair is down now, Allen absently notes, and his fringes seem to be a bit longer. There are dark rings under his eyes, too. He must've overworked himself again, the workaholic jerk. He looks tired.

and beautiful, too.

He's been missing Kanda, hasn't he?

'What are you looking at?' the Japanese teen suddenly opens his eyes, surprising Allen by doing so.

'Um,' the boy tries to find something to say that wouldn't get himself acquainted with Mugen or cause the tension to get thicker, because he doesn't think Kanda is ready for an honest answer right now. Then an idea hits him, and in a more confident voice, he says, 'Hey, spar with me?'

Kanda gives him a calculating look, before finally smirking and replied, 'Be prepared to get your ass kicked, Sprout.'

* * *

Both of them lay sprawled side-by-side on the wooden floor, bruised and beaten up and panting for breath as their destroyed bamboo swords lay about a few meters away from them.

Kanda idly muses on where the hell is his hair tie—he had tied his hair before sparring, but then sometime during the brawl this training session had turned out to be, the stupid bean managed to pull it and throw it somewhere.

'You cheating bastard,' Kanda says just for the hell of it, because the silence seems to have stretched for a bit too long.

'It's not my fault that you keep falling for an old trick,' the brat retorts, and Kanda decides that he much prefers the silence, after all.

He closes his eyes, trying to even his breathing and relax his tensed muscles. Kanda is about to enter a meditative state, but then he senses the bean moves, and he feels like his hair is touched, so he snaps his eyes open and looks to his left side.

What he sees is Walker lying on his side, threading his fingers through the long strands of his raven hair not too close to his head. Normally, he would have been very disturbed and damn uncomfortable. But right now, it only feels… weird. And there's something—

'Your hair's gotten a bit longer,' Walker comments in a voice barely above a whisper, as if afraid if he spoke any louder, the moment would be ruined.

Kanda watches as the boy's gaze moves from his hair to his eyes—and there it is, that something that had also been there the last time he saw the brat. Something that's been bothering him, growing inside himself…

And then Walker just goes and kisses the black locks he's been holding, silver eyes not leaving Kanda's midnight ones. It makes something inside Kanda stirs, and—

Oh.

Oh.

It clicks inside Kanda's head, and he finally understands. He finally understands, as he looks into the younger boy's eyes, through the emotions swirling there. He understands what it is that he's been seeing in those eyes, and what that bubbling feeling in his chest is.

So he turns to his side and reaches out a hand to cup Walker's cheek to pull their faces closer and presses their lips together.

It's just a chaste kiss; a mere brush of their lips. But it still sends jolts of electricity down his spine, when Walker's lips press back against him.

When they pull away, he finds Walker staring at him with something akin to disbelief and hope in his eyes, and he tentatively calls, 'Kanda?'

There is so much behind the utterance of his name, questions that the boy is probably afraid to ask, because this moment is fragile and he's afraid to ruin it.

But Kanda isn't fragile.

So he simply replies, 'Yes, bean sprout. Shut up.'

He knows, when he looks into the bean's eyes, that the message has gotten across. And Walker smiles; soft and bright and just… happy.

'The name's Allen, BaKanda,' the brat says, finding Kanda's hand and lacing their fingers together.

Kanda rolls his eyes but doesn't pull away when he mutters, 'Idiot.'

The floor is hard, the room starts getting cold and both of them are still sweaty from their previous spar, and two sweating men don't smell all that good, but neither of them is willing to move yet. So the both of them lay sprawled there, side-by-side with bruises all over their bodies. But they just tighten their holds on each other's hand and close their eyes; tired and content.

They just want to stay like this for a little bit longer.


~ * NeverEnding *~



A/N: So, about the Love Scale. In Love Relation, attraction and attachment are the dominant factors. In Dating Relationship, congeniality and attachment are the strongest. While in Friendship, congeniality and respect are strongest. But what if those five factors are equally strong? 8D

Anyway, I would be happy if you, lovely readers, would care enough to leave me your reviews. My plot bunny feeds on them :)

--

P.S. This is a shameless ad XD;;. Anyway if you read my fic "Slow Steps" I said there that two of my Yullen fics are nominated in the UFO Awards. The voting has started now, if maybe you wanna support me or other stories that are nominated. More info and link for voting is in my profile page ^^