Title:
Things Change
Summary:
Because there's such a thing as progression. Takes time, but it's nice to know that we're always going to be moving forward, never back. We were here at one time. Although… People change, don't they? But Kanda… hey, Kanda. Do you still want an apple?

///

"Would you like a piece?"

It had come to him out of nowhere, seeing that other boy staring at him from the other corner of the playground. He was sitting on the swings alone. Allen saw that, and quickly, he got up. It had taken little to no thought.

It was a knee-jerk reaction.

It was compulsive.

It was…

It was really weird.

The other boy blinked; large round eyes gleaming black, like shiny marbles; the kind Allen liked to play with when they could be found lost underneath the couch, or in some hidden corner of his room, or under the beer bottles his father leaves around sometimes (a lot).

"No."

The boy was still staring at him. Not at his hair, Allen noticed, but at his hand, and Allen decided that he liked that look. There was a stillness to his features that came to mind when you thought of China dolls or Russian dolls; dolls that were finely carved, or carefully molded; dolls that were too expensive to play with.

Allen didn't like dolls.

His hand hesitated.

But he was a boy. Boys naturally didn't like dolls.

And he decided he liked this kid. He looked a little lonely, though he was too proud to admit it.

He didn't stare at him like he didn't belong.

"They're apples," he said, before smiling again with that sweet, sweet smile; the one he pulled out that shined a little bit and made nice ladies squeal and pat him on the cheek. "My daddy sliced them for me. He said I'd choke on a whole one if he gave it to me, 'cos I'm sort of dense."

The boy didn't avert his gaze from the apples in his hand, still sitting all nice and red and sliced in the little ziplock baggie… a bit crumpled around the edges, Allen thought with a pink face, remembering the sandbox and the swings and God knows where else he'd dragged it. Allen had never known his father (godfather, actually) to ever be generous, so that's why he carried the apples around with him; not really eating them, just savoring the fact that he had them.

He needed a reminder.

Because today… today was the kind of day you just tasted behind your teeth when you breathed it in the wind. The kind of day you know comes once in a lifetime, because you know something good's about to happen.

"Your hair's white," the boy finally said. Flatly. "Why's that?"

Allen's face fell a little.

"I'm not quite sure," he said awkwardly. His hand lowered. "That's how it's always been."

The black haired boy gave him a long hard look before snorting, and speaking up again.

"You're weird," he said matter-of-factily, with a smirk. Then he surprised (and by surprised, he means scared) Allen by getting off the swings and walking over to where he was standing. Allen jerked nervously as the boy took the baggie from his hands. Because he was remembering a bunch of other times. A bunch of other children.

Freak.

"Who likes apples?" The boy's nose wrinkled disdainfully. And Allen's world slowed down a little, stopped whirling at the edges.

"You don't like apples?"

Stupid.

But that's all he could think of to say. Wasn't he still going to make fun of his hair…? Allen tugged the sleeve lower over his arm.

Or…

The crunch coming from in front of him woke him up. The boy was chewing pensively, frowning vaguely at the ground. He grimaced.

"It's sweet," he said flatly. And something in little Allen bristled, defensively.

"What's wrong with sweet?"

"My dad makes me eat too much of it," the other kid deadpanned, handing them back. Allen blinked.

"Why's that a bad thing?"

"Cause I hate candy," he shrugged. Then he looked at Allen sharply. "You talk funny. Are you from around here?"

Ah. They'd reached that point. Allen gritted his teeth. Might as well get it over with.

"No, I'm new. My daddy and I just came over from India," he said dully. "I used to live in England. We talk differently there."

The boy stared at him.

"Is that…bad?" Allen asked hesitantly. Heaven knows, the other kids never got on his case about his accent… They never noticed much after they looked at the hair and the—

"No. Just different."

Kanda took another bite. Crunched it. Thought.

"It's not that sweet. Better than the candy my dad gives me." He grimaced. "I still don't like it."

Allen bristled.

"You don't have to," he retorted. "Why're you still eating it then?"

"Cause you offered," he said simply. "It would've been rude to say no."

Now it was Allen's turn to stare. This kid, this rude kid, who made fun of his food, his hair, his accent… What was that thing Cross (Daddy, he corrected himself) always used to say? Oh right. Ironic. I-ron-ic. Funny word.

Now he understands what it means.

"Eat it for yourself," the boy said, offering the slice. Then…

"My name's Yuu. But you better just call me Kanda, or else there'll be trouble. Got it?"

Allen didn't take the apple. He was kind of dumbfounded. He didn't know what to make of this strange boy. He didn't know whether to like him or not.

Did they just become friends?

"Thought you liked apples," the kid (Kanda, Allen corrected himself) said, raising an eyebrow. And his hand was open and inviting and he wasn't sneering anymore and he wasn't walking away and…

"I do," Allen mumbled, taking a pensive bite. It crunched between his teeth and the juice tasted sweet, slightly alcoholic from the sun (he knew what alcohol tasted like, because his daddy gives it to him by accident sometimes. Or at least… he thinks it's by accident). And… and something else. He crunched pensively, watching as Kanda reached for another slice. They had sat down on the swings at some point.

"Thought you didn't like apples," he said with a small smile. Maybe Kanda was alright…

Kanda shrugged.

"You offered."

And at that Allen grinned. He continued crunching, happily this time. And he decided…

He decided it tasted like rain. Or the snow the first time he saw it.

It tasted like kite-flying with Mana.

Or adventures.

It tasted like something precious that he wanted bottle up, and keep with him, and take a sip of (every now and again).

It tasted like… He bit again.

"It's too sweet," Kanda muttered.

"Shut up," Allen said, smiling.

///

///

///

Dmpt-Dmpt-Dmpt.

"Hey. Open up."

Kanda knocked again, harder this time. By the sound of it, either he was about to dent the wood, or he was going to pummel a hole straight through the door. Kanda had more important things on his mind at the moment than stopping and being more delicate. And hell, he'd be lying if he said he hadn't done worse in his years dropping by here.

"Hey Moyashi," he said again. Louder. "Open the fucking door, I know you can hear me."

And it swung open.

"Go away," Allen said flatly, the door held only halfway ajar. The light from his reading lamp shone from behind him; the saffron-yellow lighting up his hair around the edges, and curving, like insubstantial hands, to cup lovingly at his cheekbones. The door blocked the left side of his body, and threw soft shadows over his eyes. Allen's eyes were tired, but dry. The usual silvery-blue of them had dulled, like pale desert skies right before or after a violent storm. His mouth was a tight, thin line.

Kanda leaned against the doorframe, his forearm blocking Allen from shutting him out.

"You," he said flatly, "Need to talk. And since Lenalee's not exactly available right now, I'm the only one who can help you get your shit together. So talk." And he waited.

So Allen punched him in the face.

Or would've done, if he'd been able to make contact. The fist swung for his head, but Kanda was taller than him now, always had been, and the blow had been caught midway. He lowered Allen's arm down, felt the tension in his muscles, the shaking in his shoulders.

"Leave me alone, Kanda." Allen made an effort to snarl at him, but it fell flat. He looked tired of being depressed. He looked hurt. And kinda pissed. Mostly hurt.

Kanda lowered Allen's arm back to his side and used his advantage to push himself through the door. It slammed shut behind him. He took a step back and waited, arms crossed.

"Aren't you going to ask me to sit down?" He asked mildly, as if they were talking about the weather.

Allen didn't answer him, opting instead to sit heavily back on his bed; elbows propped against his knees and head bowed. His face was hidden by his hair; so fair, it looked like it'd been spun by the threads of light from the reading lamp.

"Jerk," he heard Allen mutter.

"Pipsqueak."

Kanda sat down next to him, clasped his hands together, rested his elbows on his thighs. He looked at the wall opposite to him as he talked to the boy sitting next to him, the fucking idiot, so pathetically dejected with breaking up with his girlfriend. Hell, Lenalee was nice, but she wouldn't have lasted. She didn't know him. Not nearly well enough for Kanda to be comfortable with the ide—

"So Lavi broke a glass today," he started off. Somewhat conversationally. Kanda really didn't do small talk. In fact, he sucked at it, but this was Allen, who'd been something like a best friend to him for all these years, so he should be used to getting this. Allen didn't answer. "He heard you took off after she broke the news to you," Kanda continued, aware of the fact that he was, in fact, the one doing the talking now, and this felt weird as hell, because usually it was the other way around. "Anyway," he muttered. "He started giving me the whole guilty, third-party Judas shit after you left. Wouldn't fucking shut up." Kanda smirked. "He thinks you hate him now."

"Tell him that's not true," Allen muttered automatically, a knee jerk reaction. He still wasn't looking up.

"Look, kid," Kanda growled. Softly. "Get over it. Lenalee… Christ, I couldn't have pictured it lasting for long anyway."

"Oh?" Allen asked, his voice silky. Entering minefield. "And why can't you picture that, Kanda?"

Dangerous territory, there…

Kanda frowned, pondering his words carefully.

"She was too close," he finally said, leaning forward; still not looking at him. They both studied the whorls in the hardwood of Allen's floor. "Maybe if she wasn't like a sister to you, it might've worked out... But no, I still can't see the two of you fooling around or doing any of that other dating shit." Allen had stiffened, but Kanda continued on, unflinching. "She didn't know anything about you," he said bluntly. "Maybe you told her some things when I wasn't around, but from what I hear from her, she didn't know shit about how to keep it going what you two had. Lavi…"

And by this point Allen had finally lifted his gaze from the floor and slowly turned his head to look at him. His eyes were hard.

"Shut the hell up," Allen hissed, finally rising to the bait. "Just shut. Up. Alright? You don't know a bloody thing Kanda, so don't think you can barge into my room and tell me what I did or didn't do. Okay?" At this, he had his fist balled up in the front of Kanda's shirt, but Kanda didn't move. "You know what really sucks? The fact that everything you bloody told me I already went over in the three bleeding hours since I left. The ride over? Getting my keys? Getting into my bloody house? I'm not stupid Kanda!" He was screaming by now, and Kanda had to grip his upper arms to keep him upright, since he would've lost his balance and fallen to the floor otherwise, he was that upset.

"I'm not mad at her," and fuck, he was finally crying now, angry tears, the kind that you don't even realize are there until they start trickling down your face. "I'm not mad, I'm just bloody tired, and I knew this was coming and I…" He was shaking, but it wasn't like he was mad. "And I…"

This was worse.

"Fuck," he said softly; his voice ragged. "I don't even know why this hurts so much." It was like all the anger had gone out of him and his bones were vibrating now and he was tired and emotional and—

And then he went still. His head just sagged and his grip on Kanda's shirt loosened and they hadn't done this since they were kids, but he just dropped over on his side on the mattress, and lay there, and Kanda leaned down over on one elbow to get a better look at him.

"Do you know what it's like," Allen whispered, hoarsely, and his eyes were closed, the dimness of the room softening his face. "To give someone your whole heart… for so long… and still know it hadn't made a difference in the end?"

Kanda leaned closer, until they were sharing breaths again, and he lent Allen his solid presence, his silence. He watched that face he'd known for so long without speaking until Allen finally looked up at him, straight up into his eyes, and he could count every eyelash curving up in the light and every teardrop staining them until they glistened and then—

"Yeah," he said softly.

—he kissed him.

And Allen froze up, but that was fine because he tasted like autumn, and spearmint, and home, like every adventure they'd ever been on, like every summer day they'd ever stolen popsicles from each other, with a little something else… another sweetness to him that was rooted deeper than the rest. A subconscious memory, like a half-remembered song he'd forgotten the lyrics to, but could still hum if he tried.

Allen broke away, breathing hard.

"Bloody hell, Kanda," he whispered inaudibly, looking up at him again. "Bloody hell…" And there was something in his eyes that had changed. It was like he was looking at him through different lenses now; like he could finally see, sharp and clear, after years of being so totally blind.

"Nice reaction," Kanda murmured caustically, but his voice was soft and his eyes were glowing like black candles and his hand on Allen's neck was so firm, so gentle, so… There.

So long.

And then he was kissing him again, slowly this time, nipping his lip at times like only he knew how, because he knewAllen loved to tease, because he knew Allen…

You're fucking blind, beansprout. His lips were curving against his, lending him words and taking his own away. Taking his breath away.

And this was the boy he'd grow up with, the douche he'd been friends with, the one who'd carried him to the hospital when he'd gotten a broken leg, the one who gave him rides to class and lent him his notes and stolen root beers from and celebrated New Years with…

"Kanda," he sighed into his mouth, and suddenly his arms were tight around his back and shoulders, hard and strong and God, how had he not noticed? He smiled, laughed into his lips, half sobbed and pulled back. "You're a bastard," he said quietly, his hair a mess around his face. Kanda made some cocky, noncommittal sound like 'I know' and Allen's chest was exploding, his head was spinning, because Kanda made him feel dizzy and confused and enraged and comfortable and alive. Because he didn't have this with Lenalee; because he'd been chasing after the wrong person, and never remembered to turn around. Kanda. He'd always been there. He couldn't fucking get rid of him.

Kanda leaned his forehead against his.

"Stop smiling like a retard, Moyashi," he said, breath hot against his lips, resorting back to nicknames they hadn't ever outgrown (even when Allen grew taller, even as Kanda's hair grew longer and Allen filled out and Kanda turned into a man; even as they learned to drive, and turned girls' heads, and sneaked beers—because hell, it wasn't like Cross was keeping count).

"It's Allen, BaKanda," he retorted, only into his mouth this time. And they both moved naturally; because they didn't need to practice, didn't need to take time to adjust. Because this felt like something they'd been doing forever.

Because Kanda tasted like rain. Or first snow on his tongue on their first Christmas together.

He tasted like kite-flying in July, their hair blowing in their eyes and sun warming their mouths.

Or adventures.

He tasted like something precious that Allen wanted bottle up, and keep with him, and take a sip of (every now and again).

He tasted like…

"Kanda…" he breathed.

He tasted like apples, like memories, like ten years before.

///

Author's Note:

BY SOME MIRACLE, INSPIRATION HIT ME, MY MUSE DID NOT DIE, AND THIS WAS BORN.
Wrote all in one. Sitting. Because today has been FREAKING AMAZING :)
These are the greatest times for a writer, when the
story actually comes to them and it's not a struggle to get every word out.
I am extremely happy with today.

And writing Allen and Kanda as normal teenagers was fun. Again.
Totally awesome muse :)

Love to hear what you have to say.