I kind of just wrote this randomly, typing as I went on with the story. I'm hoping it's in character for the most part. It's angst, because that's mainly what I write, and the ending might seem a bit rushed… in my opinion, anyways. I tried to keep it as canon as possible, as well. Might be a few spoilers. No pairings unless you see them; the only ones that would be hinted at is allen/lenalee, allen/kanda, or allen/lavi. I wrote it as purely friendship, but can be seen otherwise. Other then that, enjoy. Leave a review? :)
reflections can tear away at people. allen was no exception.
[break the mask]
He hated his reflection.
Everyone in the Order could tell; anytime the cursed exorcist saw his reflection, be it in a window or mirror, he would stop and glare, an empty look clouding his eyes as he was lost in a trance. No one knew for sure what exactly he saw, and, frankly, they didn't want to. It wasn't that they didn't care about Allen – they cared for him deeply, whether they showed it or not – but Lavi had once saw through Allen's left eye, the soul bound by chains, and he never wanted to see it again. When he had told Lenalee and Kanda, the former almost cried, the latter just muttered tch – although Lavi knew Kanda was slightly disturbed. But what he was seeing now, they were afraid to find out.
Kanda thought they were all wimps.
After all, bean sprout was just fine, wasn't he?
Then Kanda would tell himself not to lie. He knew there was something wrong with Allen. They all did. But no one knew what to do.
So Allen continued to hate his reflection.
It wasn't hard to miss, Lavi knew.
The scattered papers on the floor, the crumpled boy sitting in front of the glass, a defeated look in his eyes. The way his face was turned down, if that was possible. Empty.
He looked utterly… empty.
And Lavi was nervous.
Because despite his bookman ways, he still cared for Allen. They were close friends, why shouldn't he care? But caring sometimes wasn't enough; Lavi couldn't take away his reflection, it was impossible.
He wasn't sure what Allen was seeing in the glass, but he had a good idea it had something to do with the Fourteenth.
Silently, he picked up the papers, shoved them in his uniform – note to self; deliver the papers to the science division – and helped Allen to his feet, said boy barely moving.
He shook his head, motioning towards the direction of the rooms. Allen understood, sighed, and left, no purpose in his stride anymore.
And that scared Lavi more then any reflection ever could.
She witnessed it while delivering coffee.
He was working in Komui's office with Reever, trying to clear up as much of it as possible, a cheeriness as he chatted with the scientist. That was when he stumbled upon the hand mirror Komui had lost long ago. Reever had left to get something – taking his coffee first, of course – but Lenalee couldn't miss it. The way his shoulders slumped, his eyes locking onto the image the mirror was reflecting back. He stood rigid, never moving, never breathing.
Lenalee placed a delicate hand on his delicate shoulder.
He dropped the mirror.
It shattered, and so did his reflection. Yet somehow, what he saw still remained in his eyes, and Lenalee could see the lack of emotion and depth as his eyes became clouded and…
Was that what Lavi had said?
She was startled when he returned to cleaning up the office, his chipper actions slightly dimmed. She didn't know what he had seen, what he saw every time he saw his reflection. But whatever it was, it was destroying him.
And that scared Lenalee more then any reflection ever could.
He acted like he didn't care, because that was who he was.
But when he saw the bean sprout in the cafeteria, sitting with Lavi, Lenalee, Miranda, and Noise, he knew something was wrong. It was only when he sat down with them that he realized the utensils created a reflection.
Lavi and Lenalee had told him what they had witnessed, but Kanda just passed it off as them worrying too much over Allen as usual.
But when he saw the look on the young exorcist, the way his façade slowly broke down, Kanda knew that there was more to Allen then any of them knew. The others were lost in conversation, not paying attention, not seeing, but Kanda could. And he saw when Allen gently placed the fork down, staring ahead of him, not touching the little amount of food he had in the first place.
The samurai guessed that was why Allen didn't eat much anymore.
And that scared – I'm not scared, but I am… a bit… worried? – him more then any reflection ever could.
He saw it.
There was no escape, and he never really looked for one anymore. He knew what the shadow meant. The Fourteenth was eating away at his soul, gaining his own back slowly yet surely. He didn't miss the looks his comrades gave him, he didn't miss the way there eyes would linger longer on his, and he definitely didn't miss the fact he was being given fewer missions because of his lack of strength and energy.
His mask was breaking.
He wasn't sure what to do about it, though.
It had been his promise to keep walking forward, and even after finding out about the Musician from his master, he still promised to keep walking – because maybe he held a tiny shred of hope he could change his fate, because he didn't want to give up and lose – but once his reflection grew, becoming clearer, it scared him, made him lose the sliver of hope he once held dear.
So he smiled, because he didn't want everyone else to lose hope. For a while, it worked. They bought it, believing he was recovered and his old chipper self, but that wasn't true because how could anyone live with the guilt, the sorrow, the fear?
And what scared him more then his reflection, or his mask breaking, was what would happen when he finally lost his soul and killed the people he held dear.
-intervention for the damned-
They decided it would be best.
Well, Lenalee and Lavi decided. Kanda agreed to it just because.
Like he needed to justify his reasoning – it was kind of obvious, no? He cared.
They would talk to Allen about it. It because no one had the courage to admit that defeat was inevitable at this rate. But they decided they would do what they could, not matter the cost. Kanda knew all to well what the Fourteenth was like, for he had witnessed it.
When they had cornered Allen, who cheerily smiled and repeated I'm fine, stop worrying! Don't worry, I assure you I'm okay, like a broken record, they knew it was almost too late. Lavi spoke first.
"It's alright to be afraid. But trying to deal with it on your own is going to cost you in the end."
Allen stopped the record.
Lenalee said, "We're all worried about you, Allen. You're changing, and it's not… It's scary. Please, Allen… let us in."
Allen cast his eyes downward.
Kanda didn't speak. Instead, he raised his hand and slapped Allen across the cheek as hard as he could.
Then he spoke when he had his attention.
"You're fucking worrying everyone. Why are you afraid of a shadow? A reflection? You're afraid of yourself then, idiot. Don't you see? You have nothing to be afraid of if you fight, and move forward like you're supposed too. Do you not remember our first mission? Remember what I said?"
Allen blinked in surprise, but he knew the answer.
"Exactly. So stop being afraid."
Allen looked away, not sure what to do.
"I just… I need to be alone. Just for a bit."
And they left.
And he went to the piano room.
-the value of friendship; keep walking forward-
He wondered how he forgot the promise.
How he had lost sight of it, when it had once been the most important set of words he'd ever held dear.
He could still recall the day he joined the order. When he had first met everyone, conventional or not. But he realized he did have people who cared for him, worried about him, wanted him to win. Yet he still knew that it wasn't that simple.
Nothing ever was.
But somehow, while playing on the shimmering piano, he found peace. The shred of hope reinstated in the gatherings of his mind.
Because although he'd still see the shadow, and although there was still a chance he'd kill his comrades and become the Fourteenth, having his friends there for him – even Kanda, and Krory and Miranda and everyone – it made that realization a bit more bearable.
And there was one thing he'd always do.
He'd keep walking.