…How sweet things would seem
were we in that kind land to live together,
And there love slow and long,
There love and die among
Those scenes that image you, that sumptuous weather.
The island stretched out in front of them, vast and lush and silent. They didn't know how they got there.
Allen sits up, sand silting through his hair, clear cerulean water soaking into his skin. Kanda is next to him, similarly crumpled, clothes torn and blackened. He pushes himself out of the water, slowly, seashells and pebbles and so much useless kelp tangling; hanging, overwrought jewels, around injured elbows and legs; coiling, ropy strands, against his neck.
There are seagulls wheeling and a white sun searing down, and as Allen lifts Kanda's head out of the water, the burns littering their arms make themselves known. He didn't know how they Ark chose this of all places to flee, but as Kanda groans and coughs out a bubbling trail of water, he doesn't much care.
He'd asked for sanctuary. Somewhere safe. Somewhere quiet.
Somewhere abandoned, like they were.
Somewhere abandoned, like they'd done.
There's mango trees, ripe and paint-mottled with reds and yellows. Shellfish exist in abundance in the lagoon, fat fish circling their ankles if they stepped in the surf. Kanda starts a roaring fire, as they clean themselves off, using what rags they'd managed to salvage. It's not much. The flight as they escaped destroyed a good amount of their belongings. But there's enough rags left for bandages, enough metal and containers to use for cooking.
As Allen rubs the blood from Kanda's cheekbone, they look at each other and come to an agreement.
Don't talk about it.
Kanda touches the pentacle scar on Allen's eye, hands freezing.
Don't mention it.
No words are needed as they wash off in the freezing, glittering pool where a waterfall roars down. Allen avoids looking at his reflection. Kanda purposefully ignores the thick black tendrils swallowing his arm, chest, shoulder. Curled all the way up his neck.
They dry off next to the fire, lying on the sand.
The skies are now flaming with color; a rainbow burning at the stake. Bleeding across the clouds.
The sun goes down, and palm shadows stretch, razor-black across the sands marked by their footsteps.
There's so many stars.
Drowned suns that glimmer there
Through cloud-disheveled air
Move me with such a mystery as appears
Within those other skies
Of your treacherous eyes
When I behold them shining through their tears.
They're exorcists and they're used to sleeping in the open. But they have enough survival sense between them to put together a shaky, borderline-passable lean-to. In time, they lash together a dwelling on the sand, close enough to the trees.
It's sheltered by the lagoon, made primarily of just-sturdy-enough driftwood and layers of dry palm fronds. It's held up by rope, hope, spit, and curses. Kanda flatly calls it a pile of sticks, while Allen heatedly argues that it's at least the size of a respectable shack, though built more like a gazebo, more than enough for two people actually. Kanda tells him not to flatter himself so much, considering they were going to have to live in this thing. Allen brightly insists that it's wonderful, and proves it by patting it on the side.
Half the roof caves in.
Kanda chases him down and dunks his head under the surf.
That night, they eat crab, a meal that was part sand, part salt, and part meat. Allen boils water in a pot, explaining how it purified it, which was the best they could manage until they found a holding container big enough to store more clean water. Kanda turns onto his side and snorts, rolling out his sleeping bag.
They decide, with much calculation and planning, to add support beams to the roof, and to strengthen the holding pillars (if they could be called such) before adding walls. Kanda was almost insulted to reduce Mugen to such menial labor, but Allen simply hacks the wood into even planks with his activated Claw, and gives him a meaningful look. It's a good thing they brought a lot of rope.
They finish late afternoon, and the backs of their necks are sunburned, scorched red. Allen winces when touched, being so fair-skinned. Kanda fares better with his darker complexion, but not by much.
They bathe with the water that Allen boils, adding it to the freezing cold to produce a more comfortable temperature. They brought clothes, hardy ones, but a few pairs here and there have been destroyed. Allen thought to bring needle and thread, and sits patiently teaching Kanda how to stitch.
That night, they have fish (tilapia possibly, they weren't sure) seared and seasoned with sea salt (which Kanda had the sudden foresight to dry and gather from the rocks) and diced mango (which Allen had the sudden genius to marinate it with). It was the first cultured thing they'd eaten in a week.
They never get used to the stars.
Every night it's like a galaxy exploded, the dust and beautiful destruction scattered and blown across the sky.
Like spilled sugar, crushed diamonds, obliterated glass.
The sky itself is a theatrical production, with a relentlessly changing story. All sorts of players come in, make appearances; celestial theatre hands, ever watchful, constantly change the scenery. The hawk-eyed sun, the wheeling birds, the cool, silver-eyed moon. Backdrops of impossibly blue skies. Sunsets that are different, every time; expanding in new colors, blooming at different speeds. Like colored ink, watered down, seeping into parchment. The clouds become new worlds, old friends, strange faces.
It rains, a few times, and they both stand under the teeth of the howling black storm, soaked to the bone, gripping hands. Lightning flashes, thunder shakes the ground beneath their feet. They stand firm, limbs aching with shaking cold.
They watch the moon hide her face, disappear for a while, before coming back again.
Whenever she's gone, they grip arms, tangle legs, slide hands down backs and mark throats where anyone can see.
But there was never anybody there.
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.
He's traveled, he's lived rough, he's survived.
For the first time however, he's completely competent. More self-sufficient than he believed possible.
Furniture that wears
The luster of the years
Softly would glow within our glowing chamber
They sleep under a shelter that doesn't shake in the wind anymore, not since they found those reeds in the forest to weave around the planks for walls. They can identify every single noise in the night, attach it to the throat of a bird, a frog, a wild boar, those yellow-eyed tree-cats they'd found a week before. They swim in the lagoon, and waterfall, and surf. They climb trees, leap through them like the buildings they used to race across back in their exorcist days.
Allen's skin was almost the golden brown of a Noah's, without the sickly gray tinge. Kanda's hair grows coarser, glossier. Their clothes are worn down terribly. So they go around naked more often than not.
…Neither of them mind, to say the least.
They both teach themselves how to cook, or at least make meals more sophisticated than charred fish and boiled mussels. At night, they sleep staring at glowing red embers, curled close around each other. Every night, boughs and garlands of white flowers would bloom inside the forest; unfurled wide, spilling their scent into the air.
Taking possession of the island.
Flowers of rarest bloom
Proffering their perfume
Mixed with the vague fragrances of amber
They never mention it.
But occasionally, Kanda will catch Allen staring at himself too long while bathing in the pool. Neither of them know if the 14th is gone, or if they'd somehow managed to leave him behind. It becomes more frequent, until every time they pass a reflective surface, Allen is staring. He finds Allen sitting at the cove one day, alone. He is humming a broken melody, the one from the Ark. There are frequent pauses, as if he can't remember the tune. And Kanda finally snaps. He demands to know what was causing that look, and Allen whispers that there's only one reflection in the water.
Neither of them know what to say to that, what it could mean.
It was too much to hope for. Too good to be true.
He can't be dead, Kanda says, and Allen only nods mutely. The implications of this were too mindboggling, too shattering to not address. That night, they finally talk, for the first time since coming to the island, of what they'd run from, what they'd just left behind.
For the first time, Kanda knows about Mana, and Allen's past, about little anecdotes of him when he was young, living on the streets, in the circus, following Cross through brothels of every country in the world.
Finally, Allen knows the full story of the Third Exorcists, about Kanda's childhood at the Order, growing up under Tiedoll, Marie and Daisya. About the lotus.
That night Allen cries.
We abandoned them. Lenalee... Lavi... Komui. All the others.
The war's been over, Kanda says, over the crackling fire. They didn't need us anymore. The only thing that would've happened if we'd stayed would've been instant capture by the Vatican, so they could try and torture that Noah out of you, dumbshit.
He's not there anymore.
They're both silent, staring at the flames.
Our Innocence didn't disappear, Kanda finally whispers. The Earl and the rest of the Noah were all killed, but we had to take them down individually. The Akuma are the only ones still around, even the Order's disbanding. Why would your Noah suddenly disappear?
Allen is silent.
Gold ceilings would there be,
Mirrors deep as the sea
The walls all in an Eastern splendor hung—
Nothing but should address
The soul's loneliness,
Speaking her sweet and secret native tongue.
It's quiet, and hard work, living a charmed life. But they manage perfectly, growing used to the silence and the heat and the harshness of nature. They eat well, keep fairly healthy and clean, and neither grew tired of the other's company. They have sex on the beach, one of many dreams of Allen's that was fulfilled almost daily. They dived off the waterfall, learning to dodge the rocks, and performed insane acrobatics through the trees. They rediscovered each other, and thrived in their self-proclaimed exile, their little sanctuary. But they did miss the past. They did miss the others.
Sometimes, Allen would call the Ark up, just to wander through its rooms, aimlessly. It provided for them occasionally, if they happened to stumble across rooms that had food or clothing. Now that all the Noah were gone, Allen was the only one capable of working it. It was secure, fully functional.
But they never visited the others.
…Slowly, the land is rolled
Sleepward under a sea of gentle fire.
They're sitting on the shore, staring out into the horizon, when Kanda takes Allen's hand.
They've lost track of time, at that point, the seasons permanently sweltering and sunny, but they still know the meaning of it.
Let's grow old together, he whispers.
And this is coming from Kanda; fierce, hunted, damaged man that he is. But more importantly, it's coming from Kanda, fierce, hunted and damaged boy though he is. Allen smiles, bright as the sun beaming from above, and whispers okay.
They're damaged and hunted and isolated, both of them ex-soldiers, dying boys.
But they'd built themselves a sanctuary. Took a leap of faith, and lived it.
There, there is nothing else but grace and measure,
Richness, quietness, and pleasure.
— "Invitation to the Voyage", Charles Baudelaire
translated by Richard Wilbur
Gave them a happy ending for once. Almost. (:
This was created all in one sitting, for once totally inspired and happily conceived.
I'll never explain where the 14th went or how; that's a mystery to me too.
(I don't know. It's that simple. Sad, for an author. But embarrassingly true.)
These excerpts were pulled from my Lit. Book's copy of Charles Baudelaire;
ironically one of his only non-depressing pieces of work. The poem's almost here
in its entirety, but you should look it up.
Sleeping bags were invented sometime during the late 19th century.
I looked that shit up.
read and review! much love.