[Fic] Unkind Consequences
Fandom: DGM
Character(s):
OT3 (Kanda, Allen, Lavi) , +14th, some Lenalee, Link, and Bookman (near the end)
Summary: Upon recollection neither of them had ever been kind. It was a thing to get used to.
A/N: Wrote this literally right out of the blue...no idea in mind...just playing off of whatever sentences came to mind at the time. This being said, it still baffles me that despite having no expectations (and nothing to work toward) this fic still manages to be my longest—in ages, and I'm proud of it, very proud of it. It's probably one of my only successful long pieces that refuses to name a direct pairing. We'll see if that sticks with later installments. (so yes this will be not only chaptered, but my single-focus fic. Sorry if you were expecting continuations on anything else. Hopefully this will make up for it?).
For: hakasha/Evanescent Silence sorry it took so long! But school has a way of getting in the way. :/
SPOILERS: Started out with just a spoiler for a name, but grew. If you haven't read Chapter 198 then there are spoilers.

x_x_X_x_x_X_x_x_X_x_x

It just so happened when a hand pressed him to the wall-back grating against the hard surface-that Allen knew he'd be in trouble. He wasn't sure what kind but...maybe today had been a very bad day to piss off a certain already short-tempered Exorcist. Even moreso considering the barely-failed(?) mission, and the sore bruises already littering (but healing) along his body.

Somehow they'd lost their shirts in the process. Lenalee was always the one to reprimand them for clothing damage. It made Allen want to laugh, but she did have a point. Maybe Johnny just loved creating new outfits for them? He knew Lenalee had said at some point that she'd rarely changed designs so quickly. That Kanda would have thrown a hissy fit if they hadn't told him all the perks of the newest design. Easier movement, more protection, etc, etc.

Well. Allen never really thought too hard about any of that. He didn't think he needed to, really. He'd survived long enough to see the outfit changes, and was still smiling even now. Being pressed up against a wall with a dangerously sharp Mugen at his neck notwithstanding. Maybe somewhere in the back of Allen's mind (along with the senseless cackling that sometimes liked to make itself known) he'd be glad that Kanda was doing this-showing that same rage. He was never sure he'd quite get over what happened-how long ago? It felt like forever.

But Kanda Yuu was Kanda Yuu, and Allen figured-he'd see that as a weakness.

(Allen never once asked what Kanda lived for anymore. He'd tried to bring the topic up once, but Lavi had cut him off)

Still didn't mean Allen liked being pinned to a godforsaken wall in some crumbling alleyway all secret like-"Wha-?"

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Well. Kanda was being talkative today. Ha, ha.

Allen frowned, "I don't know," he hated how it sounded like a wheeze, "why don't you tell me since you're so bent on...you know." Doing whatever the heck it is that you're doing. Which he wasn't quite sure what that was yet. Mugen and its sharp blade running across his chest. Allen frowned. His skin was burning from it-a distinct, clear reminder of what he was. Who was in his head and -Allen tried to keep the sudden sick feeling in the pit of his stomach at bay, "doing this? It's not exactly constructive for getting your point across." Meaning -no, sorry Kanda, it won't work anymore. Might have when he was a kid (odd how that was only a year ago), but not now.

Kanda looked livid, "Why the fuck do I-"

"Language Yuu~"

Oh now that-Allen snorted and drifted to the side, easily as Kanda swung the blade-scratching it against the wall just above his head.

"Do you want the wall to cave in on us?" Since when had he gotten so mocking? Allen didn't know, didn't care. Would have told Nea to shut up, but he was being relatively quiet in his binds-in that chair-in that forest of his mind that he tried not to think about too much on a good day.

I feel so loved

Allen mentally cringed, but he masked it with a smirk.

Kanda growled, "No." Oh he was actually answering? Allen stifled a laugh, "What the fuck is wrong with you? You fucking let the Akuma take the Innocence!" And left Lavi to run after it like a mad man. "What the hell was that about?"

"You actually care?" Allen craned his neck just a little farther to the left, frowning as Kanda swung the blade again, "Look. Sorry for being di-stra-cted."

He really hadn't expected it to hurt when he'd gotten too close. Yes he had gotten used to the dull thrum of pain when he'd been around the others activated Innocence. He'd thought he would be fine, to be brutally honest-even on a mission. So it stood to reason of how he could have possibly known ahead of time that this would, well, hurt. He clenched a fist.

Kanda saw it.

And backed away.

"Distracted?" He ground out, sheathing Mugen and taking a step back, "By what?" But Allen could tell, from the way he was looking at him, that he knew the reason.

Or assumed it. Whatever.

Allen didn't move away from the wall, though. He simply leaned against it and -smiled...or tried to, anyway, "Mhm. Sorry it won't happen again."

Or will it?

Allen cringed again, this time outwardly. This time noticeably.

Kanda tensed, "What?" What's wrong?, "Is it-" Is it him?

Allen hissed a little, bringing his hand up to his left eye to cover it. It was starting to ache again. Did that mean-? "I think Lavi's being followed." Or at least the sudden lack of Akuma in the nearby area was turning into -oh shit Akuma.

Kanda whirled around his heels, "What?" Hand on Mugen, eyes narrowing.

"Not in the alleyway Kan-da~" Kanda shot him a dirty look, "Out...there somewhere. I'll be there in a minute."

Good boy. Don't want to touch the Innocence do you?

Allen frowned, Kanda frowned, "...Fine."

And then he turned around and ran off. Shooting him one last glance before he left the mouth of the alleyway. Allen could hear the screaming and the hiss of bullets flying through the air. For a moment he resisted the urge to run out there blindly to see if Lavi was okay, but the urge died just as quickly as it-

Oh great.

He cringed inwardly as he felt the familiar cold feeling of -chains wrapping around his arms, then legs-and the pain from his scar increased ten-fold.

It was supposed to be healed, though Allen wasn't stupid. He'd heard of phantom-pains before. Just...not with scars. He let out a tiny groan and slid down against the wall, keeping his eyes open (as much as he could) because the last thing he wanted was to be so thoroughly blinded that he wound up there of all places-with the black sky and white trees and the grinning Tyki-look-alike staring back at him. It had taken enough to force him back into those chains, but...but...

Allen shivered, "Who are you trying to be?" His voice sounded hoarse even to his own ears and he could feel a glove against his cheek-fingers gripping his jaw.

No one in particular. I told you who I was.

Allen wanted to laugh. "Yeah you're...you're Mana's...brother."

And you would be my nephew if I was still alive.

And you would be my uncle. There was something horrifying about that thought.

He could hear the laughter again, but this time much softer, reverberating in the depths of his mind, I would be. Yes. A pause It hurts, doesn't it?

Allen frowned, "No.

Don't pretend to act. Touching the Innocence-hurts.

"So?"

You mustn't get too lose to it.

"And whose fault would that be?" Allen forced himself up off his feet, swooning. "It's my job."

And yet you let it slip away.

Allen clenched his fist, "...It won't happen again." He took a few staggering steps forward.

Then let me help.

"Why should I trust you?" It was as good a question as any. Especially now, "You-"

Bound you, yes. Labeled you a traitor, yes-had Cross even wishing I'd chosen someone else-yes. Somehow the last bit of that sentence sounded pained, But you let me free you.

Allen's mouth went dry, throat constricting. He...had a point, didn't he?

I kept you from dying.

He had...hadn't he?

And now-

"What?" Allen cut him off, "What do you...want?" Yes those wounds should have been fatal. Yes Kanda should have still killed him. But he hadn't. He was alive now, ready to fight another day. Yes he'd seen the looks Kanda had given him, ones half afraid that he would drop dead to show once more that he really was dead-that Kanda really had killed him.

Allen shuddered. But he wasn't. He wouldn't...would he?

He felt a hand on his shoulder and whirled around. Nothing there. There was nothing there. But that hand-he could feel it-now resting on his head, ruffling his hair like Mana would do-like Cross would even do (heaven forbid he actually did something right for once, in his Master's eyes).

Allen's knees gave, just a little then, "What do you want?"

To help.

"To complete your own goals."

I would be dead too, if not for your body...willingly playing host to my memories.

"I had no say in this." Allen tried to stand again, tried to regain what semblance of balance he had lost in those painfully few seconds that he had given in (if only slightly) to Nea's influence. "Mana was the one who woke me up." The cold realization settled in the pit of his stomach.

Nea's laugh, this time, was much...much more gentle, You really do hold brother in such high esteem don't you?

Allen swallowed, thickly, "I do."

Would you listen to me if it was for Mana's sake?

"Mana is dead."

Nea went quiet. Allen hoped, at least in part, that he was actually thinking that over. He is, but...

"There's no way to bring back the dead." Allen hissed, forcing one leg to move in front of the other. He was at the mouth of the alleyway now. He could hear the bullets whizz past, "I need to...live on...for his sake." Not for yours, "I-I have friends now." Who need my help. He cringed when he heard a building off in the distance crumble. That had to mean Lavi was still alive, right? He could see the ending of his Gouka Kaijin dissipate into the night air.

It was strange how even that was just a little more comforting than it should have been.

I was able to come back to him, though.

"Only because you had me." Allen wondered then, briefly-if I died would that mean-

Don't. He felt that hand again, on his shoulder, tighter than before, What would your friends think? Finding you so...suicidal.

Allen cringed, "I..."

He couldn't say he wouldn't.

He couldn't.

Dammit.

You don't want to hurt them. I can understand that.

"Just like the Earl never wanted to hurt you but you made him do it." Allen's eyes widened, and he was sure if he could see Nea-his would be too. It was odd, the stab of pain he felt crash through him-blind rage, fear, love and-sorrow.

Yes. I did. I told you he's gone insane. He's lost...sight...

"And you think destroying everything will help."

Yes.

Allen wanted to laugh.

Destroy and rebuild.

But he didn't. He frowned, instead, "But what if we want to keep the world the way it is now?"

Then the cycle will continue. That grip on his shoulder turned to a vice-cold chains digging into his throat. Allen coughed, and stumbled forward. What must I do to make you understand?

Allen wheezed, the chains tightened, he could feel his left eye burning and the screaming of the dead still continued. He couldn't stop it. He couldn't help. He heard Lavi somewhere in the distance curse in some language he still couldn't understand. Lavi who'd seen the world, Kanda who'd suffered more than Allen could ever bear, Lenalee who always smiled for her friends, Komui who always tried his hardest-

Miranda who wanted to change, Marie for his resolve, Master (the asshole) for disappearing, Link for the way he'd protect even if he wasn't told to, the 3rd exorcists each having sacrificed something to get to where they were now.

Everyone.

How could he destroy this?

He tried to move forward, the binds only tightened. He wheezed again, tears pricking at his eyes, "Then let me see it for myself," he muttered, voice quiet, breathless, "Let me see...for myself...that this world can't...b-be saved."

It will be too late at that point.

Allen still wondered, vaguely, who Nea was trying to be.

It will always be too late. It needs to be stopped now-he needs to be stopped now.

"And you..." his vision was darkening around the edges, but he still forced his legs to move, "will..." he was suddenly reminded, then, of the prophecy.

Allen Walker. Destroyer of Time.

They had always thought it meant Destroyer of the Earl...hadn't they?

But what if that wasn't his prophecy?

What if that was-was-

His eyes narrowed, No. He shouldn't think about that now, of all times. And yet he could feel the weight-the burden on his shoulders increase. He gagged a little when he felt the chains (now warm from his body heat) tighten even further. He wasn't even sure what he should be staring at. He could hear the screaming though. The voices -surrounding him-pleading-make them stop!

I can make them stop.

Allen gasped. The chains loosened. His vision cleared.

He could faintly hear Lavi shouting, and then Kanda -maybe they had seen him? Maybe they were running towards him? He couldn't feel his fingers, his limbs, or the chain -he was simply...

There.

He nearly screamed when his Innocence activated.

When the air was forcibly knocked out of his lungs, and he could see a mass of red hair, and Exorcist jacket and clashing orange scarf. The smell of fire, and wood and sweat all mingled and Allen could barely breathe with the bone crushing grip around his shoulder-his eyes bulged.

"La-vi?" He choked.

"Jesus fucking Christ Allen!" His face was rammed into Lavi's left shoulder, where he could smell the faint scent of blood. "Don't-goddammit do that"

Do what? Allen blearily wonders, nearly almost sort of relieved when Nea's voice is but a faint chuckle in the back of his mind. Did that mean he'd given up for now? Allen wasn't quite sure, but all he knew was-well.

He had a very heavy, very sweaty Lavi on top of him. And that was just a little unnerving. But Lavi didn't seem to have it in him to let go anytime soon, so Allen squirmed and maneuvered until his chin was resting on Lavi's shoulder, "Wh...at?"

"You were just fucking standing there." He wasn't even sure Lavi had heard him, but the worry in his voice was genuine, "You nearly got hit-I mean jeez...that's...are you okay?" It was only then that he pulled away, eyes scanning for any visible injury before frowning.

Allen coughed and attempted to sit up, "I'm fine-"

"Nah you aren't." Lavi kept his voice low, and if Allen cared to glance over his shoulder, he could see Kanda fighting against the Level 3 with ease, mouth set to a firm frown, "Your neck..."

Allen's hand darted up to his neck.

"Did Yuu try ta choke ya or somethin'?"

Allen's face paled. You can't mean...

The laughter stayed constant, there in the back of his mind and Allen...really, really wanted to throw up. But he forced the feeling down and shook his head, "I...no...no he didn't."

"Then ...who...?"

"Could you, um, get off me first?" Lavi blinked and, in a flurry of skittish movements, landed flat on his ass-but otherwise off Allen's lap, "Th-thanks.."

"Sorry 'bout that." But Lavi was still effectively blocking him. Yes Allen could probably easily walk around him but something told him he shouldn't. So he shifted and frowned and stared at his feet. What was he supposed to say? How was he supposed to answer Lavi? He had-how could he-because then-

"I...ah..."

Lavi shook his head, "Y'don't have to answer me now, just...christ," he frowned a little, rubbing the side of his head. Allen noticed-there was blood there, on his hand, "look at yerself in a mirror when we get back t'the hotel tonight." He blinked a little, pulling his hand away, and sighing, "Assuming it's still there."

That was how it always ended...wasn't it?

Allen snorted and brought his hand up, once again, to touch his neck. He could feel Lavi's eye on him and tried to smile, "I...believe you just..." He didn't want to say. Lavi said he didn't have to say, but-

"Your Innocence too." Allen blinked, "You...screamed. When you activated it." He looked unsure, eye flicking from Allen, back out onto the field where Kanda was still fighting.

His hand was still bleeding, Allen noticed. When had that happened? And it was only from the palm. Allen mentally cringed. He should have-been there to prevent that. But he wasn't. It had-hurt and-

And-

"Neh, neh don't make that face." Lavi chuckled, bringing his bloody hand up to ruffle Allen' hair, "y'can't help what y'can't help." But he still looked worried, and Allen could feel his hair sticking to the palm of his hand when he pulled it away.

"Just like you can't help getting hurt too." Allen made to grab at Lavi's wrist, but he wasn't fast enough. Lavi jolted to the side, mouth in a firm frown-"Hey!"

"Now's not the time, 'Sprout." His voice sounded happy-carefree almost...but it never got any farther than that. With the frown and the somber look in his eye-how could it? "You stay back, 'kay. Yuu might be the manliest man on the earth but he's still allowed ta worry 'bout cha jus' as much as I do." He winked then (the effect lost thanks to the eye patch) before turning on his heels and crying out, "Ōzuchi Kozuchi extend!"

And then he was gone, back into the fray, hammer up and ready to swing as Kanda dodged yet another Level 3's attack.

They were leaving him out, unintentionally or not. And that-hurt. Just a little.

Not that he hadn't expected it, of course, but still. He shivered and allowed his legs to give, just a little. Had he really screamed when he activated Crown Clown? Did he even ...want...

He barely had time to dodge when Kanda sent an Akuma careening into the building behind him, scattering debris and quite honestly scaring the everliving shit out of him.

Not that he'd say that.

Not that he...necessarily liked the expression on Kanda's face as he did so. But Kanda would have-killed him had he said anything so. So he didn't. For once.

"Watch where you're aiming BaKanda!" Okay so he lied. Just a little.

Kanda snorted, "Get out of the fucking way Moyashi."

"Is now really the time to fight you guys?" They both turned when they saw Lavi deal the final blow to a Level 2 Akuma, casting them both scathing glances that again never really were anything but for show. "C'mon help me deal with the little guys now. Seems like they're actually smarter than the Level 3s." He cast a smile then, too, turning on his heels and -well.

"You mean I can actually help this time?"

"Why the fuck aren't you?" Lavi glared at Kanda. Kanda glared right back, "Well?"

"Yuu," the tone was warning, but Kanda didn't even bat an eyelash, "He-"

"Was I talking to you?"

"No, but,"

"Then I don't want to hear your fucking voice."

Lavi cringed, mockingly so, "Whatever you say, Yuu-chan, glad to see you're so worried."

Now it was Allen's turn to say it, to tell them-is now really the time? Except maybe it kind of was. With the bad timing and the-fact they really didn't need to be arguing with each other. But somehow that just made it perfect. And normal. And Allen was laughing along with that annoying voice in his head.

This is why you don't want to destroy the world? He froze at the haunting voice-Not now, not now-To save these broken people? How kind of you.

It wasn't kind at all. It was unbelievably selfish. Allen choked, but neither Kanda nor Lavi seemed to notice-at least-not until the chains were back, invisible and choking and-

"HolyshitAllen!"

"Moyashi?"

The tunnel vision again, Allen backed away, swallowing, This would be so easy if you just gave in.

Except he wouldn't. This was his body -not the 14ths. He wouldn't let him win that easily-never again. Or at least not now. He backed away until he felt the sharp blade of an Akuma at his back.

"You didn't check to see if I was dead did you?" He heard the familiar cackle that all the Level 3s seemed to have. He didn't have time to react before he felt that blade digging into his back, "Well...we'll see how much you pay for that mistake."

Allen could feel the cold metal pierce his shoulder but -but somehow-it stopped.

Everything stopped.

I told you. Just give in.

But you'll-He felt the chains wrap across his arms, legs, effectively holding him in place. And then he opened his eyes.

To a smiling face and monochrome.

Welcome back.

A hand held out, Will you let me help now?

No! Let me go!

Nea walked forward, two steps then three until he was kneeling in front of him, still smiling. I want to help. Don't worry I'll use your Innocence. Allen's eyes widened and Nea chuckled, I'm compatible with it too you know. Allen wasn't sure what was more unnerving, having Nea control his body...or having him be compatible with the same Innocence. Allen swallowed and pulled against the chains, but somehow his body didn't want to move. Something was keeping him there, relaxed despite his binds and the attempt only made Nea chuckle. I wouldn't try. These bonds were created by me, after all. And I am you...so to speak.

No you aren't.

Nea smiled and stood, reaching out with his hand again until his fingertips rested against Allen's forehead, I think you need to sleep. But Allen didn't want to sleep. He attempted once more, but yet again his body refused to fight the chains that held him. He could only stare, helplessly as Nea stood, ruffling his hair in a similar way that Lavi had -before turning on his heels and walking away.

It only took a blink for the world to come undone, Allen realized. One blink and the Destroyer of Time -was gone. One blink for his arms to go numb, for snow to begin to fall. He stared up at the black sky and frowned. As far as the eye could see -black, black sky. No clouds. Just snow. He wasn't even cold, but he could see his breath.

He wanted to shiver, but he couldn't even do that much.

So he stared, counted the snow flakes and watched them float down around him. He couldn't even think much past a few sentences, but then he was in his own head...wasn't he? He should be able to do more, and yet he was pitifully trapped. Maybe that was Nea's way of telling him who was in control. But then maybe-maybe it wasn't. He pressed against the chains again, and groaned. They were very, very real and he was very, very stuck.

Stuck here wondering what Nea was doing. He couldn't even-feel anything that ha-ppened.

This wasn't-this couldn't be happening. He was stronger than this, wasn't he? He had to be. What if Nea-hurt them? What if he didn't keep his promise? Allen clenched his fist and pushed again-I want to wake up!-but it was futile. No one answered him, not even a faint chuckle. He was powerless and that-

That was overwhelming.

"Ugh," He tightened his fists and frowned. This outfit was still too big on him. It was Nea's-he knew it was. So why was he wearing it? Whose-whose fault was it that he-

That he...could smell smoke?

Allen's eyes widened and he stared up at the sky again. The snow was beginning to fall much more rapidly than before, piling at his feet before turning to a sickening gray ash. What...? Then he heard the thrumming, like a wire pulled tight and shaken by a pluck of a finger. It ran along his feet, surrounding him with soundless waves -until he heard the screaming. Low and shallow, then loud and violent and-he barely had time to suck in a breath before he felt it.

His left eye activated.

He keeled over, squeezing his eyes shut-trying to -

Your friends aren't very nice. He let out a gasp when he felt a hand on his head again, then on his cheek to his jaw, turning his face upward. He didn't need to guess to know who it was. He knew-

See? He wanted to smile, They want me back...not you.

"Yes but if it weren't for me stopping them then... Nea chuckled, and Allen's eyes widened even further, this time in shock.

You-You didn't-

They're still alive. Seems the Redhead knows more than he lets on.

Of course he does.

You on the other hand, are a little worse for wear. Allen tensed, gasping when the grip on his jaw became far-far too tight, I suppose I should let you go back now. Oh wait. You are back, aren't you?

Slowly, one by one the chains disappeared. First around his legs, then his arms, and finally his neck and shoulders.

You-

Hurry and wake up.

It only took a blink, Allen realized, for everything to turn. For normalcy to come back, and for him to save someone. In a blink of an eye a person can be lost-and saved. He shook the words away and blinked, blearily.

He was no longer the one sitting in the chair, with ash-like snow drifting around him. Instead he had the smell of burning wood, flesh, and a set of hacking, watery coughs in his ear.

He barely managed to lift a finger when his legs crumpled, the warm lick of flame hitting him almost instantly -he knew it was Lavi.

"Yuu wait!" And the voice, drowned out by footsteps, "Fuck, stop I think he's back!"

"How do you know?"

"Look at him will ya? He's not-"

"Not what?" Allen felt a blade pressed harsh against his shoulder coupled with the pain-the searing pain of –Innocence.

"Yuu, look at him-he's not a Noah anymore." But that blade never moved and Allen almost fancied a thought about what exactly he'd done ...when Nea was in control. What they thought he did. What-he swallowed and attempted to lift his head. Kanda looked livid. More than livid. He could feel blood coating his tongue but somehow it wasn't enough to make much of a difference. The blade never lowered.

"Prove it."

What? Allen frowned, "How?" His voice was cracked but at least he thought he sounded like himself. The sword at his shoulder dropped, not quite all the way, but enough to see that maybe his words (word) and some affect. On second thought…why wasn't the sword at his throat instead? Allen didn't want to think of what that meant, only that he was glad. Kanda could have easily stabbed him –he could have easily been dead.

But he wasn't.

"Tch I don't know." Kanda finally answered voice low. His eyes narrowed, traveling from his eye to the tattered uniform.

"Yuu…trust me I think it's Allen." Kanda shot him a look, Lavi shrugged. Allen noticed he looked a bit bloodier than usual. Lavi noticed him staring. "I was closest." As if that explained everything, "Yuu—Yuu wasn't."

"Don't— " But the complaint fell short. Drastically short.

"Y'know I'm right." Lavi moved forward—limping. Dried blood on his pants from cuts Allen couldn't see, "All-en." The sword was gone—Allen gasped and his knees gave out. The ground never felt that pleasant, really. Or at least he assumed, but—"See? You're tired." Lavi helped him up, one arm around his shoulder to maintain balance, "We gotta get back to the hotel."

"It's fucking /destroyed/ you idiot."

"Well at least Link's there. He said 'e was watching the kids."

The kids…?

"Tch, and what? We're going to tell him what happened?"

"Naturally." Allen stiffened, "Sorry Allen, but we gotta. This isn't safe. If—" Allen didn't bother to look at him when he paused, but he heard the hitch of breath well enough.

"Tch let me." And suddenly he was being passed off, thrown up onto broad shoulders, "speaking of telling if you had a broken leg you should have fucking said so."

"But where's the fun in that, Yuu? I can still walk."

"That's not the—"

"Every time you do you should fucking say something—eh? Isn't that a similar deal?" Allen could feel Kanda stiffen, muscles already tense with battle instinct drawn even tighter due to stress.

"That. Isn't. The same."

"I said it was similar, Yuu, not the same. Neh, Allen?" Allen shifted his head a little so that it was resting on Kanda's shoulder, "Y'might wanna go ahead and sleep. Uhm…but…"

But?

"I guess…at least ask the Noah to introduce himself. That was kinda rude and all. Not to say what his name was…y'know?" Allen wanted to crack a smile, but he couldn't. If he had his way then they would never need to see Nea again.

"D…on't worry about..it." He murmured, eyes drooping, "You…won' have to…meet 'im…again…"

"You sure?" Lavi sounded so sure.

"Tch you better hope not. I won't go easy the next time."

"And how many times does that make it now, Yuu? Jeez you're a lot worse at this than I thought!"

"Because you think too fucking much!"

"Meanie."

Kanda snorted. "Not my fault."

"So is." He felt Kanda trip over a loose piece of rubble and frowned. Hadn't the whole city been destroyed? How had the inn been saved? If –Link really was still here and not somewhere safe then what would they tell him?

Allen coughed, miserably, into Kanda's shoulder.

"Oi you better not get blood on—"

"S'not blood, Yuu." Kanda sighed in relief, "But Allen…y'don't look so good." Understandably. Allen coughed again, "Maybe y'need to lie down when we get back?" Assuming there was a decent bed to take care of for both the saviors and destroyers of this village.

"Is the hotel even fucking there?" Allen wanted to laugh—always leave it to Kanda to point out the bloody obvious.

"Well we'll just find out, won't we?" Allen felt the distinct lurch yet again, as they set off, maneuvering around rubble –leaving Lavi behind (he only knew this because, well, Lavi was yelling at them to slow down-). He wasn't quite sure how long they'd been walking for, but during that time—with the steady beats of Kanda's footsteps against the ground, he felt himself doze off. No dreams, just pleasant blackness that came from fatigue. It was only when they started going uphill (up a crumbling set of stairs?) that he was jostled awake. He could hear Lavi laugh behind him, -half broken sentences of:

"…okay…?"

"…sure..?"

"…drop him…!"

"…won't…"

Allen groaned a little, "Mngh…?" He wished he could hear more than one or two words. Unfortunately his wish wasn't granted. He felt himself being set down to lean against something only slightly softer than the brick wall Kanda had pressed him to earlier, but it didn't do much for his wakefulness. He could hear another voice, added with Kanda and Lavi's. Had they been met halfway?

"…inside, okay?" Had he been more awake he could have sworn that was Link's voice. He was being jostled again, -this time with Lavi's yelp of-

"Yuu! …careful!" He felt a hand on his shoulder, "—sleeping, right?"

But –he wasn't sleeping.

"…think I care? Ch,"

He felt Lavi's voice, right by his ear, but so far away "…like him, right?"

There was silence for a moment, and Allen—was confused. What…? He struggled to keep his eyes open but they refused. Blatantly. Someone was laughing off in the distance, and he felt himself jostled a little more, this time being forced to lay down instead of lean. Not that he minded the difference, but he could feel a sticky sort of wetness as his back hit the covers. Then came another set of half sentences, this time a little less frantic:

"…wounds later…"

"Yuu, watch him."

"Why the…should I?"

"…Because? We've been…Yuu…?"

"…..again…"

And again he couldn't make sense of the words. It was frustrating in more ways than one and he-He wanted to sit up, tell them he was fine (or at the very least awake) but something was preventing that. Fear? Pain? What? But all he saw when he tried was the darkness behind his eyelids. But he didn't want that. He tried to force his mouth open, but his lips felt glued, tongue heavy. Then Lavi spoke up, once more –in an almost teasing tone.

"Yuu's a liar~"

"No!"

"…yelling?" Wait—was that—Lenalee? Or was that just a nurse? He couldn't tell the difference. Because—wasn't Lenalee supposed to be at the Order?

"Nothing!" Lavi again, louder this time.

"Che."

And then again, Lavi's voice—echoing somewhere above him, soft, "You'll watch him….to be decided…?"

"….off…" Allen felt an extra blanket being added. Had he been shivering? He frowned, shifting—or trying to. His body wouldn't move.

"…down, Yuu…not what….something, y'know?"

"…Just go."

Allen heard the sound of a door creaking shut, and the sound of a chair being moved across the floor. He heard Kanda sigh in the next minute, muttering, "Stupid." Before he too, went quiet.

All around him—quiet. He didn't like it. Not one bit. If he stayed quiet—immobile—for too long then—what about Nea? He heard a distant chuckling in the back of his mind in answer, but he forced it to remain just that. Forced, but even he knew right now only a weak comparison would do. Weak and horrifying and –he wanted to gag.

Dammit. He heard the chair creak, then suddenly a cool hand on his forehead—what, what, what?

"Tch…nightmare….asleep?" Another mutter. Hold on, eh? Allen struggled—he wanted that touch to stay there—it meant—it wasn't-

It seems someone likes you.

Allen gasped at the soft voice. No, no, no!

You can't stop someone from liking you.

The voice was getting louder now, That's not what—

Nea laughed again, softly, in his ear, Really now?

He heard the chair scrapping, and footsteps, What did you do?

Another laugh, if Allen concentrated enough he could see the familiar constant grin of when Nea was nothing but a shadow.

Get out of my head! But it was futile. He knew it was.

No. The answer wasn't very helpful. Don't worry I won't take control. Unfortunately that one with the sword…Kanda? Kanda Yuu? He doesn't like me much. Allen tensed and, if he could have moved his mouth (or at the very least felt it) he would have frowned.

Can't blame him.

Nea chuckled again. Then, softly, an unthreatening murmur. The voice was receding, You can't see me can you?

.No?

A short, bitter laugh.

Then wake up.

-Waking up wasn't exactly painless.

In fact, Allen would have rather woken up gracefully than to be shoved, rather violently, out of whatever paralysis Nea had (unintentionally?) caused. "Allen?" He felt a hand, grip at his shoulder, "Oi All-en! Hey, hey don't scare us like that!" It was Lavi (he'd recognize the voice anywhere, even if it was slightly garbled –like he was hearing it through water) but—what? Why was he here? Hadn't only Kanda been here a few minutes ago…? "All-en—wake up?"

Why was it a question? Allen tried to force his eyes open.

It didn't work.

He tried again—"'Ey—Jiji I think something's wrong—" He felt a pair of old hands touch his face and grimaced.

"Hnn…he's awake."

"Yeah well he isn't moving gramps. That t'me basically means—"

"Shut up and get me fresh water." Immediately Lavi shut up and Allen heard a pair of footsteps leave the room. The door never shut, but then it didn't have to. A few seconds (minutes?) later and Lavi was back—"Put it down over there."

"Righteo."

"Now hand me a washcloth."

"Sure thing!"

"Hmm…you brought the ointment too, didn't you?"

"….Yeah, but that stuff smells nasty!"

"Do you think I care?"

"Eugh…well, hopefully Allen won't bitch at me about it later." And immediately—Allen could smell something strong and pungent, overriding whatever other medicine-like smells had been in the room. He heard the vague sound of gagging—

"If you're going to be sick then get out."

"But gramps—"

"They do not need to clean up after someone who is perfectly fine."

"I have a broken leg?"

"But you are still walking…are you not?"

"Well yeah. I'll be bitched at when we get back though."

"Then you will be reprimanded then. You're turning green. Leave."

It took two seconds for Allen to hear the footsteps, and then the door slam shut. Two seconds more for something he'd—rather forget to be forced under his nose and—holy fucking ChristWhat?

He gagged, eyes snapping wide open.

"Ah, there we go." He would have sat up, but he doubted he'd get his body to move that quickly, under such a short (he thought?) amount of time, "I'll assume you know why I'm here?"

Allen wheezed, willing himself to forget the horrifyingly pungent smell of—"What…what…was that?" He doubted every word came out clear and concise. Judging from Bookman's face, they didn't, but he seemed to understand.

"Wasabi." He murmured, "Along with a few other…ingredients. Lavi hates it," Can't blame him, Allen's eyes moved to the door as he tried to snort again, "but it's very effective…as you can see. Look at me." Allen's eyes drifted back and Bookman's eyes narrowed, "Regular eye movement, good. Blink once to say if your left eye hurts, twice if it's fine."

Allen blinked twice.

"Can you move any other…body part besides your head?"

Allen attempted. Failed. It felt like his arms were weighed down by lead. His legs—the consistency of jello. Only spasms told him what his will wanted them to do.

"I see." Bookman sighed, gripping one of his hands in a death grip, feeling for a pulse, "Sluggish movements, spasms in the legs….it's too soon to tell, you'll need proper rest…somewhere other than a half-caving in hotel room." He turned his head upward, "I'm surprised this place is still intact." Allen knew those words weren't meant for him to comment on. Like he could (apparently).

Suddenly Bookman stood, "I'll leave you to rest then. You're coherent enough. Now I must go find Lavi, lest I find him…emptying his stomach somewhere less…pleasing." And then just like that he turned, footsteps light against the dingy carpeted floor. Allen almost wondered if he should have tried to say something—but what? Bookman wasn't the easiest to talk to, with cold comfort and watching eyes. Allen half wondered how Lavi could stand it.

But then he must have been dealing with that his whole life. Allen sighed, turning his head to the ceiling and still willing the horrendous smell to go away. It seemed pointless to sleep now that he'd been so brutally woken up, and he didn't want to risk…what might…happen…if he did. So—he simply settled with staring at the blotched water stains in the corner, eyes narrowing to try and find shapes.

It wasn't until his eyes opened again that he realized he'd fallen asleep. It was dark out, or maybe just early (it had been nearly sunset when the Akuma first attacked. They weren't usually ones for broad daylight attacks, but this apparently was some sort of different. He'd have to ask Lavi if he got the Innocence—why hadn't that been the first thing he asked? Oh wait. Because he'd nearly been stabbed again—by Kanda.) Allen shifted his gaze to his right, towards the door where he could see Lavi propped up against the wall—a thick bandage adorning his leg. So he finally got that taken care of, Allen's lips twitched to a smile, and he was almost glad he had the feeling back in his face enough to do so.

There was a grunt, and then a shift of cloth and Allen's eyes darted to another (darker) corner of the room. There was Kanda, too, leaning against the wall, with Lenalee leaning against his shoulder. So she is here. He shouldn't be surprised, but he was. He'd have to ask later, why she was here, but for now she looked content to be sleeping, nestled against Kanda in a way that Allen was sure would irritate him…had he actually been awake.

The picture was still endearing, though, even though he was sure Kanda had been dragged here.

He couldn't have been worried, after all. No. That wasn't like Kanda at all—but bits of conversation (the only bits he'd heard) still flitted around the forefront of his mind.

He likes you. Allen frowned.

But he can't. He told himself, fingers twitching, aching to grip at—something. The covers? He wasn't sure, but the need was there, He's Kanda and—He's had far too much shit happen. Far too much. Allen took a steady breath, it can't be in that way. Lavi was just teasing.

He didn't know why, but he didn't quite believe it.

That thought hurt more than it should.

Dammit.

Another shift of movement, from Lavi, had Allen sent nearly to a panic. It was only when his voice, low and sleep ridden, murmured, "….You awake, Sprout?" That he calmed, frowning at his immediate reaction and forcing it down. Lavi shifted again, Allen could see the moonlight shine oddly against his pale skin, telling him that maybe there had been more roof damage than he thought. Lavi tried to smile, "Good t'see Jiji's…method…worked. Y'were out like a light when he finally found me." Lavi stood, slowly, mindful of his wounded leg, and moved toward the bed, "Not that 'e was too happy t'find me dumpin' my innards in a rain bucket but…" He trailed off, patting his hurt leg, "They finally found me too. Wrapped this bad boy up, though s'nowhere near perfect." He sat down at the edge, watchful of where Allen's unmoving legs were, and being careful to not, well, sit on them.

Allen was grateful. Allen wanted to laugh. But he didn't, because Lenalee was still sleeping, even if Kanda looked like he was fighting against whatever dream he'd been forced into.

"Took a while for 'em t'sleep. Think it's cuz painkiller's dun exactly work, with Yuu." Lavi murmured, eye trailing over to where Kanda and Lenalee were resting, "…Bet'cha you're wonderin' why she's here, right?"

Allen nodded. At least he could do that much now.

"Obligation, methinks." Lavi leaned back to stare at the ceiling, Allen stared. "Or at least—she thinks. Anyway. To you, I mean." Lavi turned back to face him—smiling goofily, plastically—seriously—"Lotsa people like you, Allen. Even Link does. It's why he isn't here." He trusts us enough to watch you.

It's something he could easily get in trouble for. Allen's face fell a little. Right. Because no matter the worry—no matter the good will that others had towards him and likewise, he was still being watched. His fingers twitched again. Lavi saw the movement.

"S'frustratin' isn't it?" Allen jolted when Lavi's hand brushed his own, "Not much y'can do about it though. What will be, will be. Y'just gotta keep trudgin' forward to get to the next spot. You get?"

Allen nodded. More than.

Lavi smiled again, "Good. Now go back t'sleep. If y'need t'we managed to scrounge around for some sleepin' pills, so y'can have something t'make it easier?" Lavi motioned to the glass half full of water, and the small white tablets resting on the napkin next to it.

Allen shook his head. No thanks. He'd rather not tempt fate in any way possible. He could sleep just fine.

"Thought you'd say that." Lavi sounded almost wistful, "Wish I'd need them once in a while too, but when y'got nothin' t'look forward to when you close your eyes then what's the point in the end?" He shifted to stand, giving Allen's hand a squeeze before dropping it and hobbling back over to the chair.

Before he could reach it, though, he turned back, smiling once more –brighter, "But y'know t'morrow's a new day. We'll be headin' back to the Order in the mornin' so you'll be up early. That meanin'—a few hours." He cocked his head to the side, "So y'might as well use 'em to sleep." He situated himself back on his chair, propping his leg just so on the smaller stool and sighing, "G'night Moyashi. Sweet dreams."

For once Allen wouldn't complain about the nickname. For once he felt not need to.

And really? Sleep sounded good. But…he could stand to stare at that water spot a few more seconds, right? No one could blame him for that. When the only thing he could control anymore was when he would wake, and when he would sleep.

Suddenly that water spot was the best thing in the world. How silly was that?


END PART 1


If you've read this far, it'd be nice if you could drop by and review? As with all my chaptered fics, I won't update them here if no one's willing to read them.