Disclaimer: D. Gray Man is H. Katsura's property.


Illusory compassion

"Bakanda!" he says as he's bumped into in the cafeteria, but the called one doesn't bother to snap back; he doesn't even deign to look at the now offended boy who's glaring at him with his opaline eyes. Instead, he merely puts his tray down on the table and sits as if nothing has happened.

It's been bothering Allen for quite some time now, or rather, it's been annoying him. He doesn't understand why Kanda doesn't act like his usual self lately, namely like an irritable and insufferable bastard. Normally, there isn't a single day that passes without them arguing or insulting each other; however, for over a week, Kanda not only doesn't respond to Allen's provocations, but he completely ignores the younger Exorcist.

At the beginning, Allen thinks it's a way like any other to piss him off, yet he soon realizes that there's something else behind the older male's abnormal behaviour. And he starts observing Kanda with more attention – without getting caught, naturally – to try and determine the cause of the abrupt change.

And as days pass, he gradually notices the look of concern darkening Kanda's face, the permanent wrinkle between his two frowning eyebrows, and the progressive distance he sets between him and the others. Allen knows it's not the contempt he usually displays towards everyone, it's more like he's slowly cutting himself off from the outside world, indifferent to his surroundings. He's fading away a bit more every day, leaving behind him a physical presence only.

Even when Komui sends them on a mission together, Allen hopes that Kanda will turn back to the haughty man he knows so well; but he is quickly proven wrong as Kanda merely fulfils his duty as an Exorcist, finishes the mission in a blink of an eye and they are already ready to go back to the Order. In the train, Kanda doesn't even react when Allen teases him on how tight-assed he is; he simply shrugs and gazes through the window.

And again, that distant look in those onyx eyes. Allen doesn't understand, and he doesn't particularly try to, because he's aware that Kanda doesn't have the reputation to be easily fathomable. Still, he wants to be able to strip that almost apathetic mask off Kanda's face; he wants the Japanese man to take notice of his presence, to glare at him with all the passion he can display, he wants to hear harsh words coming out from that stubbornly sealed mouth, he wants Kanda to be Kanda.


He doesn't understand why he has suddenly started having those dreams, or rather, those reminiscences of a time he'd rather have forgotten. Not a single night passes without her haunting his furtive dreams. He sees her, and she is exactly like in his memories, an ethereal silhouette that keeps vanishing whenever he tries to come closer, and when he wakes up, an immense feeling of melancholy always sweeps over him, clenching his whole being in the bitter embrace of a fleeting longing.

Some other nights, it's even worse. He sees her walking to him, holding out her hand to him, and the next second his vision is marred by spurts of crimson stains; he looks at his own hands and sees nothing but scarlet trails, and as he raises his eyes back to her, she is no more standing in front of him. Instead, there is blackness; then a small light. There's a pool – no, several pools – and a boy talking to him, smiling at him and also holding out his hand to him. He reaches for the hand, and again, red slashes tear the boy's silhouette apart, leaving nothing but a sinister scene of limbs and blood, and he finds himself screaming in his dream, screaming again and again until he finally wakes up, beads of sweat on his forehead and fingers slightly trembling.

His mind is constantly filled with indistinct images mixing and mingling together and he can't do anything but lose himself in the entangled threads of his memories, all day long.

He barely notices that he has bumped into someone, until that someone calls him 'Bakanda!' with a pissed off voice. Oh, the brat. He doesn't pay further attention to the incident, nor does he answer when he hears a 'You're as mean as always, Yuu!', though the sound of his first name makes him twitch a bit but the next second his thoughts have already drifted back to them.

He knows perfectly well who the boy in his dream is, and the visions he has of him leave him under the impression to be haunted.

As for her... Inwardly, he is deeply frustrated because he never manages to grasp a clear memory of that person, and he equally fails at defining what exactly his feelings for her are. The reason why he wants to meet her so much is beyond him and it disturbs him not to know. He feels he's chasing after an elusive prey that keeps fleeing out of his reach, like water between his fingers.

Day after day, he has to bear with that constant dissatisfaction that threatens to make him go insane. Day after day, an invisible veil is weaved between him and the rest of the world. It doesn't mean he has lost his focus on reality, certainly not; he still leaves on various missions which he carries out impeccably, he still trains and meditates whenever he can, he even spars regularly with the kid. His life is still the same. Almost the same.

However, he notices how people have been looking at him lately, and he isn't so stupid as not to know the reason why he's been receiving strange looks. Oh, he's perfectly aware that his behaviour has somehow changed a bit, but he doesn't particularly care about what those fools can think of him.

There's one exception, though. And it doesn't surprise Kanda anymore. There's always an exception when it comes to him. To Allen Walker. The boy is an abnormality for Kanda. He's the only one whose gazes he cannot ignore, because he feels that they are somewhat not the same kind of gazes as those he receives from that stupid bunch of idiots in the Order.

He sits on the bed and a soft sigh escapes his lips as he leans his head back on the wall of his room, his arms resting loosely on his knees. What the brat is thinking when he looks at him, he doesn't know. What he is positive of, however, is that the inquisitive look reflecting in those silver grey eyes manages to divert him from his thoughts, even for a short moment.

In a way, he is grateful to Allen for that. Whenever he wants to exit the endless cycle of his maddening memories, he simply thinks of Allen and he's instantly taken away from his torments. That is, until his insistent unconscious decides to get the upper hand again and he sinks back into a pool of confusion and disorder, waiting for a certain silver-haired boy to resurface.


"Hey, Allen. Don't you think Yuu's been acting weird lately?"

Allen nods at Lavi who's sitting in front of him, thoughtful, while he's stuffing food in his mouth. Next to the redhead, Lenalee is also eating though in a more elegant way than Allen.

"I wonder what happened to him." she says. "I asked my brother, but he told me he has no clue about it."

"He doesn't even fight with you anymore." Lavi adds. "It's been a lot less fun without you two trying to kill each other."

"Lavi! Don't say such things!" Lenalee scolds him. "But it's true that it's been quieter. I tried to ask Kanda if everything was alright but he just ignored me."

"That idiot. I'll go annoy him until I get an answer." Lavi decides. "You're coming with me, Allen?"

The latter swallows the last mouthful of food, then shakes his head, earning him a disappointed look from the redhead.

"Oh well, I'll go annoy him by myself then. But I need to find him first." he says as he stands up and leaves the cafeteria.

"Why didn't you go too?" Lenalee inquires after a few seconds.

Allen remains silent. Why? Isn't the answer obvious? It's because he doesn't care. He doesn't care about why Kanda doesn't act like his usual self. He knows, simply by looking at him, that there is something disturbing him deeply; but he also knows that Kanda isn't the kind of person who's willing to open himself to anyone. Kanda hates talking, no matter the circumstances.

That's why Allen doesn't even try to ask the older Exorcist anything; because he doesn't need to know. What he needs, however, is for Kanda to stop ignoring him. He needs him to pay attention to him again, he needs him to call him 'Moyashi' again, he needs him to take any futile reason as an opportunity to be at each other's throat again. He needs Kanda to know that he's there.

"Allen?" Lenalee calls him.

And he merely smiles at her. He doesn't know the burden on Kanda's mind, but he does know of a way to help him.


As he removes his blindfold, Kanda isn't surprised to see the familiar silhouette at the doorframe of the training room. He's been aware of Allen's silent presence for fifteen minutes at least, and strangely enough, it hasn't disturbed him at all.

A faint smile is adorning the boy's lips and Kanda doesn't really get why, why is he always smiling? Why is he always trying to look kind?

However, as Kanda sheathes Mugen back and his eyes meet – for a second only, but it's long enough – with Allen's, his hand stops briefly. It's not kindness he's just seen in those eyes, it's something else he fails at identifying. He glances once more in an attempt at determining what it is that he has seen but isn't more successful than the first time.

Allen is still standing at the same place, making Kanda wonder what his purpose in these premises is. That smile hasn't left his lips, and neither has that look. Just what is it that he is trying to convey with that look? Kanda doesn't hold the answer to it, and honestly, he doesn't care. Or so he thinks.

"Do you have some strength left to spar with me?" Allen's voice finally puts an end to the surrounding silence.

Kanda looks at him from the corner of his eyes then nods curtly. Allen's smile broadens as he steps inside the room. The Japanese male frowns mentally. Again, he's ready to bet anything that it's not kindness he reads in those metallic grey pupils and it's slightly annoying him that he cannot name the feeling.

Never mind. The boy is already in a fighting stance and Kanda doesn't want to make him wait. They come at each other, parrying, landing blows, dodging, stepping back to charge right after, and never taking their eyes off each other, until their bodies can't stand it anymore.

"Let's call it a day." Allen says, panting. And he smiles again.

Kanda is not sure why the smile bothers him that much. It's not as if he isn't used to seeing Allen smile; yet he feels that this time is different, even if he can't explain what makes it different. It's still the same curve on the same lips of the same face, but somehow it's not the same. And it suddenly reminds him of her smile. Forcing his mind to look into the depths of his indistinct memories, he mentally pictures her face when she's smiling at him – before the scene turns into a bloody desolation – and tries to see if he can find any resemblance between her expression and Allen's.

It's not the same. So he tries to remember his smile. His ever-smiling face. He thinks there's a chance they are comparable since their characters are so similar: cheerful yet hiding a great sadness, brave despite the hardship carved in their very beings.

It's not the same. Kanda frowns a bit more, slightly upset about the fact he has once more failed at identifying what on earth that enigmatic face is supposed to show. He's obviously been staring at Allen a bit more than what decency would have recommended, for he hears the boy's voice snatching him out of his thoughts:

"Kanda? Is there something wrong?" Allen asks, his head slightly tilted on the side.

The older Exorcist mentally scolds himself then heads for the door, walking past Allen, and merely replies:

"Nothing."


Allen steps out of the shower cabin, drying his hair absent-mindedly as he walks to the bed where his clothes are laid. He knows of a way to release Kanda from whatever is troubling him, because he's been Cross Marian's apprentice and because that man has taught him much more beside how to fight against akuma.

Within his three years of apprenticeship, Allen has come to learn how to deal with human beings, especially with distraught women, thanks to his master. He still remembers Cross's words on the day he asked him why he loves sleeping with women that much:

"I don't particularly love sleeping with women in general. I simply offer comfort to those who need someone to pour out their sorrow and their problems to."

"Then you dump them?"

"Idiot. Once they don't need a shoulder to cry over anymore, there's no use in staying with them. Listen, you may still be too young to understand but I'll tell you anyway: when someone seeks comfort and you can provide them with it, then there's nothing wrong with offering it to them. When I see a lone woman looking for a man's arms, even for a single night, why should I refuse? You could say it's an act of compassion towards them."

The silver-haired boy is almost done dressing, there's only the red ribbon to tie around his neck, which he does in a second. A minute after, he's walking in the corridor to Kanda's room.

He thinks it should be the same for Kanda as it is for Cross's women, not that he would ever dare compare Kanda with a woman; but the circumstances are similar, aren't they? That's why he's heading for where the Japanese man is, to offer whatever he can offer to ease the burden on Kanda's shoulders. He isn't even certain that the older Exorcist will accept anything from him, but it doesn't matter. He simply wants to help.


Kanda is sitting at the foot of the bed, his head leant backwards, eyes open but gazing at nothing in particular. He keeps having images of them, though it's not like they are carved in his mind; on the contrary, they are stealthy, appearing and vanishing a second later to Kanda's utmost annoyance. He'd rather them to be clear in his mind, and not only the images, but the feelings also, because he still can't comprehend the meaning of those dreams materializing during what is supposed to be moments of rest – which are no more so relaxing as they are meant to be.

A knock on his door. He pretends he didn't hear.

"Kanda, it's Allen."

The Japanese male twitches but doesn't move a limb.

Another knock.

"Can I come in?"

How does the brat know he's inside? A small 'che' escapes Kanda's lips. Let him do whatever he wants, he doesn't care. The door isn't even locked after all.

A few seconds later, he hears the door being slowly opened and faint sounds of footsteps cautiously coming closer to him. Allen stops in front of him and kneels down. Kanda's eyes don't even blink when the boys comes within his field of view; his gaze is still as blank as ever.

No words are spoken between them during what seems to be an eternity until Kanda finally breaks the weighting silence:

"What do you want." The tone isn't harsh nor questioning though a hint of dryness can be heard. Allen stares straight at him before asking back:

"What do you want?"

Kanda definitely doesn't expect the question. He stares into those silver eyes, trying to find a meaning behind the boy's words; yet, he detects nothing but the same expression he's already seen countless times on Allen's face. Then he suddenly closes his own eyelids and sighs, an obvious weariness in that one mere exhalation. He doesn't even feel like telling Allen to leave; he's reached the point where nothing matters to him anymore. His thoughts have already started drifting away to another unconscious reality but then, he feels something fresh on his cheeks and it feels like a cold shower calling him back to this world.

Next thing he knows, something warm is pressed against his forehead and his eyes snaps open only to realize that Allen is holding his face between his hands and has laid a kiss on his forehead. He instinctively pushes the younger Exorcist away, ready to ask for an explanation, but the look the boy bears simply makes words die in his throat.

It's not kindness, nor affection – certainly not – and it has nothing to do with another feeling he doesn't want to name. And suddenly, it clicks.

Compassion.

The softness of those pale grey pupils, the faint smile on those lips, the gentleness of his movements, they are all out of compassion for him. Normally he'd have gotten angry at anyone daring to show him compassion. But right now, he doesn't even have the will to react. The situation is almost comical for Kanda, and he actually forces a small laugh while running his fingers in the dark strands of his hair.

"What can you give me?" he asks.

Allen doesn't reply. Instead he takes Kanda's hands in his own and stands up, inviting the Japanese man to do the same, then gently pulls him to the side of the bed.

Kanda doesn't even try to understand why Allen is doing this; his mind is in no state to think properly. That's why he's barely surprised to see the silver-haired Exorcist untie the ribbon around his neck then unbutton his jacket and his shirt, letting both of them slide down his pale shoulders and along his arms. That's why he lets him do the same with his own Exorcist coat without resisting. That's why he also lets him lead them both on the bed, though he has no idea what prompts Allen to do as he's doing at the moment. And when the kid slips underneath him and wraps his arms around his neck to pull him closer, he doesn't even bother to ask.

The things that ensue seem natural to them, as if their bodies have always known how to act, how to join into a single being, how to yield to another's embrace. Kanda is taken into an unknown whirlpool of new sensations that soon make him forget why he has originally accepted Allen to touch him. The boy is offering himself to Kanda, and the latter merely takes what is given to him without any question, as none is needed.

And as they share the sin of a same passion, no bloodstained thought comes to hinder him.

However, the respite doesn't last long and soon enough, what remains are only two people lying on a single bed, drained by the recent activity and keeping silent.

A few minutes pass until Allen sits up, picks up his stuff on the ground and covers his naked shoulders before standing up. Kanda watches him in silence, his dark gaze following each of the boy's gestures without a comment. He doesn't ask 'why' or 'how' or anything like that because he doesn't need – he doesn't want – to know. Allen then turns to Kanda and smiles at him once more before heading for the door and exiting the room.

It's only another few minutes later that Kanda fully comes to realize what has happened. His fingers linger on the empty slot of the mattress where he can still feel the faint warmth of a body; but soon, coldness seizes him again and what he has done with Allen is already nothing more but a vague memory.

When the boy comes back on the following day, standing in the door frame of his room with that ever same expression, Kanda merely looks at him silently and lets him in once more. And once more, he allows himself to take what is offered to him without more formalities, because he actually enjoys that short rest which interrupts his constant and haunting reminiscences.

Even if it's ephemeral, he's ready to welcome anything that can alleviate – even a bit – the mental pain that is slowly devouring his mind.


It becomes a routine for them. A week after the first time, Allen can say he's hardly surprised to see Kanda as he opens the door of his room and greets the older Exorcist with a smile before inviting him in. Inwardly, he's glad that Kanda comes looking for him by himself. He knows he's only a temporary way out for Kanda to forget whatever is burdening him, yet he doesn't mind at all. As long as he can help – even a bit – it's good enough for him.

Every day, Kanda knocks on his door and Allen welcomes him inside though he can't help but wonder from time to time if what he gives Kanda suffices him; because whenever he sees the Japanese man apart from their furtive meetings, the latter is still as distant as ever; barely talking to anyone and only if it's absolutely necessary. What they share is intense though purely formal; and if Allen sometimes lays a kiss on Kanda's cheek right after they're done, their lips never meet. Not that it bothers Allen, but he feels there's something missing.

He sometimes tries to start a semblance of conversation, secretly hoping to hear even once the usual 'Moyashi' he's come to miss from Kanda's lips. He teases the older male in an attempt at squeezing a harsh reply out of him. In vain. Kanda remains as silent as a tomb and Allen can do nothing but sigh mentally.

However, his doubts often waver for he doesn't miss how Kanda acts with more and more passion whenever it's only the two of them, how he seems to look at him with an obvious possessiveness that grows a bit more every day, how he tends to always stay a bit longer than the previous time – even if they barely talk to each other.

The silver-haired boy rejoices inwardly for he's able to do something for Kanda; yet, it naturally leads him to another thought: as soon as Kanda doesn't need him anymore, they'll separate and will both resume their respective lives. And strangely enough, it stirs something inside of Allen and gives him an unpleasant feeling which he can't tell the origin or nature.


Kanda's steps lead him almost automatically to Allen's room; he doesn't even count how many times he's found himself standing in front of that door. However, today, as he pushes the door open, he doesn't expect to find the curtains drawn and the boy curled up in his bed.

Allen rolls on the side as he hears Kanda entering and greets him with his usual smile while sitting up, but his voice is a bit weaker than usual as he speaks:

"Good afternoon, Kanda. Please come in." he says out of habit.

Despite the lack of light, the Japanese Exorcist notices that Allen's cheeks are slightly flushed and he frowns. The boy spares him his mute question as he goes on:

"I'm feeling a bit tired. I hope you don't mind if I can't offer you a full service today." he says, his gentle smile still displayed on his lips.

Kanda merely shrugs. He doesn't mind, as long as he can still get something from the boy. The latter motions him to come and sit on the bed, which Kanda does. He then lets Allen crawl between his legs, unbutton his pants, and he can feel the pale fingers slightly trembling on his skin. He's ready to bet anything that the stupid brat is feverish.

"If you don't feel like it, don't do it." Kanda finally lets out, annoyed. What he doesn't expect, however, is for Allen to raise his hazy eyes to him and shake his head.

"I'm fine. Thanks for worrying, though." he adds, his smile broadening. Then he lowers his head again and not so long after, Kanda is no more able to focus on anything else but the boy's mouth taking him in.

In the back of his mind, he does wonder why Allen obliges him whenever he comes to him even if he isn't in a state to do it – like right now. Then, a peculiar thought crosses him but he quickly dismisses it. No, there's no way the kid actually feels something for him; the expression that he always displays is crystal clear, it's merely out of compassion that he agrees to provide Kanda with momentary pleasure, that's all there is to it. Or at least, he tries to reassure himself by thinking so, because it's much easier for him when no feelings are involved.

Still, he progressively realizes that the dreams – or nightmares – are less recurrent, that he gets over the gruesome images of her and him more easily as days pass, but he's unable to assert whether Allen has something to do with it.

For now, he merely takes what's given to him.


Once more, they are lying in Allen's bed, arms loosely resting on each other's waist, a sheet partly covering their nude forms. Allen's eyes are closed, and his soft and steady breathing could make one believe that he's asleep; however, the silver pupils are suddenly opened wide as something warm and slightly wet presses against his lips, and he utterly fails at hiding his surprise when he realizes what Kanda is doing. Still, he soon closes his eyes again and allows himself to taste the unknown sensation of another's lips.


They bump into each other in the crowded cafeteria and Allen immediately apologizes to Kanda, then as he is about to resume walking, the older Exorcist's words make him stop dead:

"Watch where you're going, Moyashi."

Allen almost drops the tray he's holding and he turns to Kanda.

A smile appears on his lips.

Welcome back, Bakanda.

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This was written for a1y-puff's birthday. Hope you enjoyed reading this :)