Hooray for stupidly long, completely pointless oneshots! I'm just glad I actually got around to finishing this, to be honest. I wanted to write a oneshot with no pairings, and this was what emerged from my warped, twisted mind. I just read it through a couple of minutes ago and it left me horribly confused, so don't worry if it does the same to you. I'll share my thoughts at the bottom, but no doubt you'll have your own. It was meant to be rather confusing, but even so...

Well, anyway. I have a bit of a thing for crazy main characters (yeah, I don't know either) so that was what happened... kind of. Oh, and because I've wanted to do this for a while...

Title: Cradle and All
Fandom: D. Gray-man
Pairings: None
Warnings: Mentions of death, death of a main character (maybe), madness and utter confusion
Rating: T


"Yes, Allen?"

"What is your favourite colour?"

"Hm? That's an interesting question, Allen. I suppose I would have to say dark blue. It's the colour of my darling Lenalee's eyes, you know. I don't think that there is any other colour quite as lovely."

"... I see."

"And what about you, Allen? Do you have a favourite colour?"


"... Well? What is it?"


"But Allen, grey is a shade, not a colour."

"Is there any difference?"

The halls of the Black Order were, ironically enough, white enough that they were almost painful to look at. Everything was painted a perfect, pristine white; kept sterile and clean at all times. Komui hurried down the hallways, frantically scrawling notes on the piece of paper pinned to his clipboard, excited beyond belief at this latest breakthrough. He stumbled slightly when he bumped into Reever but barely paused, already rushing on past to the room at the end of the hallway.

Once standing outside the room, he took a few moments to calm and collect himself, tugging his beret straight and neatening his hair, though he knew it was pointless. It wasn't as though Allen really cared what he looked like.

When he cautiously knocked on the door, he thought at first that Allen had perhaps fallen asleep. It was silent for a while, before a soft, light voice called out to him.

"Come in, please."

Komui barged in with a grace reminiscent of an elephant in a china shop, skidding to a stop only when steely eyes met his own, piercing through him. No matter how many times he saw the boy, he was still unable to grow accustomed to that gaze – everything about Allen Walker was a contradiction. He knew that he wasn't the only one who thought so; many people had commented on it over the months. Allen said nothing more, just staring at Komui.

Then, he smiled.

That was another thing that was unsettling about Allen – he almost always smiled. Komui, having read the reports, knew that the boy had even smiled... then.

"Allen, I'm sorry to interrupt you..." Komui trailed off when the boy laughed; gently, lightly. His voice was musical, his eyes alight with mirth that Komui did not – or particularly want to – understand. However, understanding was his job, and he was determined not to fail.

"Please, proceed. It isn't as though I was doing anything for you to interrupt," Allen said, waving a careless hand, though he still seemed amused. Komui swallowed heavily. He would be lying if he said that he had not grown fond of the boy in his time here, but he knew well that fondness for Allen would lead only to disaster. He had tried to warn his sister of the same thing, but he had the distinct impression that whenever the subject was broached, she would shut down and stop listening. The boy had already become a part of her 'world'.

"It's time for your next session, Allen!" Komui said, forcing false cheer into his voice and praying that his smile didn't look too fake. "Come on, I have lots of interesting things to talk about today."

"So, your name is Allen Walker?"

"Yes, that is my name; but, shouldn't you know that already, Lenalee?"

"I'm sorry, how did you know my name? I think I would have remembered if we'd met before, and I'm sure that I didn't tell you..."

"You didn't have to."

"... I see."

"No, you don't."

"Well, no, now that you mention it. So, um, if you don't mind me asking, how did you get that scar on your face? It looks like it was pretty painful, whatever happened..."

"Oh yes, it was. I felt as though my soul and my heart were being ripped in half. It was a curse, from my father; but I'm sure that I've said all of this at one time or another. Were you not listening?"

"But like I've already said, we've never met."

"...No, I don't suppose we have."

It never failed to disturb Lavi Bookman Jr. how much Allen could see when he wasn't really looking. The boy was so young, and Lavi often felt quite sorry for him, though he knew that he shouldn't really. Standing in the corner of the room and silently observing the 'session' that was taking place, he knew that Allen was perfectly aware of what was going on around him – Lavi didn't need to be a psychology expert to know that much. The boy answered questions without giving real answers, and left them only with more questions than they had started with – though Lavi was certain he did it on purpose.

It was his job to 'diagnose' Allen, and so far every attempt to do so had been unsuccessful. Whenever he thought that he had made some sort of breakthrough, Allen would do or say something that would tear that theory to shreds. Either the boy was a bundle of different problems wrapped up in an innocent silver-eyed package, or he was just playing them all for fools.

Lavi quickly switched off his inner monologue when Komui began speaking in favour of mentally recording everything the pair said.

"Allen, I wanted to talk to you today about your childhood – tell me, do you remember it?" Komui's voice was gentle, and no doubt intended to be soothing, but it irked Lavi to hear him speak in such a way to someone who – for the purposes of this conversation, at least – was of sound mind.

He hated to think how it must make Allen feel.

Allen stared at Komui with eyes that seemed amused and bored in equal measures. He remained silent for a minute, and Lavi was beginning to wonder if it would be one of those fruitless days in which Allen stubbornly refused to say anything at all.

"It is hardly the sort of thing I am likely to forget," he said finally, his voice empty of emotion. Lavi perked up interestedly – Allen had rarely spoken of his past. Most of what they knew was gleaned from official reports and the like rather than from the boy's own stories and recollections. It would be fascinating to hear the tale of the events that had shaped Allen first-hand.

"That's a good start, I guess," Komui said uncertainly. "How about you tell us about it? It might be good to get it off of your chest, don't you think?" Komui sounded as though he was talking to a particularly stubborn, dense child. Taking this kind of condescending tone with Allen would have one of two outcomes, Lavi knew. The preferred outcome would be that it would rile Allen up, make him angry – provoke him into speaking and letting something slip. The other (more likely) outcome would be that Allen shut down and refuse to say another word.

Lavi held his breath as he waited for Allen to respond.

"Would you believe me if I told you?" Allen asked them, rubbing his forehead gently – it sounded as though he was talking more to himself than to the room's other two occupants. Lavi frowned quietly to himself, curious as to what Allen meant by that. The young, white-haired boy was gazing pensively into the distance, a strange expression clouding quicksilver eyes. Lavi was an expert at reading people, but even he couldn't quite decipher Allen's strange mood swings.

Today was no exception to that rule, it seemed. Komui didn't appear to notice Allen's expression, nor did he pay any attention to the shift in the atmosphere of the room. Lavi noticed, however, and felt himself tense, though he wasn't quite sure why.

"What are you talking about, Allen? Of course we'll believe you," Komui said reassuringly, scribbling shorthand notes on a scrap of paper as he spoke. Allen chuckled.

"Where do I begin? I suppose the best place to start would be when the boy fell asleep..."

"Ah! Good morning, Lenalee!"

"Good morning... Allen, there's someone here to see you today. This is detective..."



"... What was that, bean sprout?"

"So now you're deaf as well as stupid, baKanda?"

"Why you...!"

"I'm sorry, but do you two know each other?"


"No. I make a point of avoiding bean sprouts."

"Is that so, baKanda? Then tell me, why are you here today? I'm sure you didn't come to socialise – if that was what you wanted, then I think you're in the wrong place."

"I came to question you."

"Alright baKanda, take a deep breath and calm down; I was only asking. I'm sure that clenching and grinding your teeth like that can't be good for your jaw; don't you think, Lenalee?"

"I... well, I..."

"Tch, you're getting off track, bean sprout. Come one, there's a room set up for the questioning. Come on, we don't have all fucking day."

"My, my, do you kiss your father with that mouth?"

"I thought that the saying was do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"

"It is."

"Tch, whatever. Hurry up, bean sprout."

Link sighed, staring blankly at the pages and pages of information gathered for him to examine by agent Kanda Yuu – and why the man had ever joined the team, Link would never understand. He was reasonably sure that Kanda didn't do it out of the goodness of his heart; assuming, of course, that Kanda had a heart in the first place.

Rubbing his forehead tiredly, Link took a deep breath, scanning through endless minute details about Allen Walker and what little important information they had managed to find about him. He so far knew that the boy's favourite colour was grey, that he loved to eat sweet food and that his first pet had been a small, brown and white Jack Russell terrier. From the official documents pertaining to the boy, Link had found his hospital record, his previously non-existent criminal record and the few school records that actually remained. There was a small amount about where the boy had grown up, but the information was minimal.

There was almost nothing useful, and as he sorted the stacks of paper into smaller, more organised piles, he mulled over what he had observed about the boy from the numerous surveillance tapes he had watched over the past few months.

Allen, at a glance, appeared to be a reasonably calm and quiet young man. The first time Link had watched a tape of him, he had been convinced that there was nothing wrong with the boy – however, he had been persuaded to keep watching, in case there was something important that they might otherwise miss.

The second time Link watched Allen, he felt mildly sorry for the boy, who seemed to have gotten mixed up in something that he clearly had nothing to do with.

The third time, he noticed some unusual quirks, but brushed them off. 'We are all individual' and all of that sentimental nonsense.

By the twentieth time he had watched the videos, Link was almost afraid to turn off the lights at night and was convinced of Walker's guilt.

There was nothing concrete – no single defining moment that Link could identify and say 'yes, this is why he is guilty'. It was a slow accumulation of many little things, things that in anyone else should not have been in the slightest bit disturbing; yet somehow, Walker made them appear absolutely terrifying. Something about the way he would hum quietly to himself whenever he had been left alone too long, or the way the meaningless patterns he drew on the window in condensation slowly began to take distorted shape.

However, Link's feelings on the matter were not evidence, and if the case was to be solved one way or another then it was evidence they needed. They couldn't afford to be kept on this case for too long, but without anything solid, the Courts insisted on dallying around and putting off a verdict.

The phone rang and in the confined space of Link's office, the noise was almost deafening. He jumped, taking a second or two to calm his frantic heartbeat before picking up the phone and answering in his most professional voice.

"Howard Link speaking."

"Ah, Link!" Komui's voice was as bright as ever, and Link caught himself just in time to stop the groan that wanted to escape. Komui's call invariably meant more work, and whilst he would not normally mind, everything about Walker's case just seemed to result in even more dead ends and riddles. "I hope you weren't too busy?"

"I was just sorting through Walker's files," Link answered honestly. "I'm afraid I still can't find anything. Was there a reason you called?"

"As a matter of fact, yes. I think that we may finally be getting somewhere with Allen – perhaps you could send a couple of people over tomorrow to speak to him and collect the latest files. He's finally started to open up and talk to us."

Link felt his heartbeat quicken.

"I'll see to it."

"Do you ever dream, Lavi?"

"Yeah, all the time! I hardly ever remember them later, though. What about you, Allen? What do you dream about?"

"My dreams are strange. Last night I dreamt that I was all alone in the middle of a lake. I was underneath the water, and I was watching everything that happened above. You were there, and so was everyone else. Then, when I was about to close my eyes, I saw my face staring back at myself, and I tried to drown the other me. I woke up when he stopped struggling."

"Wow, that is a strange dream. Last night I dreamt I was in a dark room that was all lit up by candles. You were there, and so was Lenalee and everyone else, and you were zombie-fied. I blame Dawn Of The Dead. Gramps always told me not to watch horror films before I went to bed."

"Was there anything else there?"

"Well, now that you mention it... Hey, hey, wait! We're supposed to be talking about you, remember. That dream that you told me about – do you think it could be linked to any of your memories? Have you ever had any similar experiences? Have you ever had dreams like that before?"

"It was a memory from a long time ago... But no, I've never dreamt it before last night. My dreams are usually very different. Sometimes, when I forget where I am, I dream that I'm in a room with a piano. Or sometimes, I dream that I'm sitting in a graveyard, or on a riverbank."

"Do you know why you dream of those things?"

"You're the psychologist, aren't you?"

"Well, yes, but..."

"Then you tell me why I dream them."

"I can't do that until I know more about you, Allen. That's why I'm here."

"What are you talking about, Lavi? You already know everything you need to know about me."

"... murder! You can't seriously be suggesting...?"

"Sh! He'll hear you..."

"... I heard he used his bare hands."

"... apparently he went crazy after his father..."

"... I overheard Chief Komui saying..."

Allen ignored all of the whispers that flew around him, the many eyes that followed his progress; beady and full of curiosity. They reminded him of birds – he'd always longed to be able to grow wings and just fly away. His silver eyes darkened slightly, but he continued walking, Madarao on one side and Tokusa on the other, the pair of guards more a formality than anything else. Had Allen been desperate to leave, he would have found a way to do so already.

Madarao knocked on the door and the trio waited patiently for the door to open. When it did, only Allen walked inside.

"Good day, Komui, Lavi, Kanda, Lenalee..." Allen trailed off, his bright silver eyes meeting those of the last man in the room, and a strange, almost feral smile curled at the corners of his lips. "Link."

The man seemed slightly taken aback by his casual greeting, but didn't reply with anything more than a simple nod and "good day, Walker."

Allen smiled in response, his teeth flashing in the light. He confidently took his seat on the plush sofa, his arms beginning to cramp from the tight position the straightjacket held them in. The fingers of his left hand were twitching but he studiously ignored them, focusing instead on the other occupants of the room.

"Link here will be observing us today," Komui said slightly nervously, and Allen tilted his head to the side, curious.

"Yes, well, I suppose that is what he is good at," Allen agreed, and Link's eyes widened. "But why is today any different from any of our other sessions?"

"That isn't important right now, Allen," Komui said quickly, waving a hand, and Allen's eyes narrowed. Komui was lying to him. "Why don't we pick up where we left off last time around, hm?"

"Where did we get to last time?" Allen asked innocently.

"You told us about the boy that fell asleep," Komui said, his voice wavering slightly as Link raised an incredulous brow at him. Allen sighed softly, his left eye aching faintly. He brushed the pain away, more than used to it by now, and tried to focus on organising his story in a way that would make it believable without straying from the facts.

"I did, didn't I? That's the beginning of the story, but I haven't found the end of this path yet – every time I think I'm drawing near, the road just twists and forks another way and I'm lost all over again," Allen paused, sighing slightly. All eyes were fixed on him, waiting for him to speak again. "I think my earliest memory is of a smile. It was a bright red smile, painted, but no less real for it."

"Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top..."

"How long has he been singing now?"

"Over an hour. Ever since we found him drawing on the window..."

"Oh yeah, I heard about that. Man, there's something wrong in his head if he can do that, and I don't give a damn what the doctors say. Apparently when the police found and arrested him, he was standing in the blood and laughing as he wrote musical notes around himself. Creepy, huh?"

"Yes, he did something similar this time, only it was with his own blood. The worst part is, there wasn't even anything in there sharp enough to make a decent cut – he just bit right through the pads of his fingers. And this time, he wasn't drawing music."

"No? I heard you could hear him humming the tune as he wrote it down."

"When the wind blows, the cradle shall rock..."

"Well, it might have been music – it just looked like a bunch of weird symbols in a circle to me."

"In a circle?"

"Yeah, weird, right? Nobody could read it, but he insisted the entire time that it made perfect sense and we didn't see it because we didn't want to."

"Crazy fucker."

"Heh, yeah."

"When the bough breaks, the cradle shall fall."

"Have you heard him at night, though?"

"No, I've never had a night duty. Why, what does he do?"

"I think the kid must have nightmares or something; he screams his fucking head off. He yells at someone called Mana to get out the way and then starts calling for his dad."

"His dad? But I thought his dad was..."

"Yeah, he is. It doesn't make any sense, does it? Anyway, sometimes he calls out in all these different languages, and you remember that bullshit story about demons he tried to feed the Chief when he first got here?"

"Yeah; what about it?"

"Well, I think the kid really believes it."

"... That was the first time I saw a demon. I suppose that when it comes to something like that, you expect it to get easier. You would think that you get desensitised after a while, and stop noticing how much pain they're in, but you don't. There's no way of getting used to it. So you just keep walking and pretend you don't see them all lying by the wayside, all the souls that begged you for help, because that's the only way you can continue moving forwards."

Link exchanged an uneasy glance with Komui. Lenalee looked as though she was on the verge of tears and Kanda seemed to be thinking hard about something. Lavi's eye was in shadow, his expression unreadable.

"The first soul is always the most horrific; I learned that after my first level three. My right hand and my left; the me that is human and the me that is not. The light and the dark. Both are me. Komui, you once asked me why my favourite colour is grey. That is why. It is neither black nor white, but a mixture of both. It reminds me of the light and the dark sides, that black and white do exist but that there is something in the middle. A third side."

They all frowned, and Allen laughed quietly, his silver eyes sad.

"But you don't understand a word I'm saying, do you?"

"... Please, say something."


"Allen, we can't help you unless you cooperate with us..."

"I don't need your help, Komui."

"You wouldn't be here if that was the case. Allen, please try to understand, we're doing this for your own good..."

"I think that I would be a better judge of what is good for me, don't you agree?"

"Maybe, but-"

"No. I've put up with all of this nonsense when I want nothing more than to go back home. My eye is aching, my hand is twitching, and I have to sit here all day answering questions. It's as if none of you remember what is going on!"

"And what is going on, Allen?"

"Everything; nothing. The end, the beginning, and it's all at once. It makes my head hurt when I think of it, but I can't think of anything else. I spent all of my life dedicated to the Holy cause, I gave up everything I had for it, I died for it, and I want nothing more than to see Mana again, and I am denied even that."

"Allen... who is Mana?"

"Do you believe in fate?" Allen asked suddenly after a few minutes of silence. Thrown by the change of subject, there was no response for a moment.

"Why do you ask, Allen?" Komui asked nervously; this conversation wasn't going the way he had been hoping it would. He had been hoping that Allen would finally reveal something useful to them but so far, all that the boy seemed to be doing was leading them in pointless circles.

"Out of curiosity."

"Yeah, I think that I believe in fate a little bit; but that doesn't mean that the future's set, you know? I think that there's always something we can do to make it our own," Lavi spoke up, and Allen gazed at him for a few seconds, before smiling slightly, a knowing glint in his silver eyes. He nodded as though something had been confirmed, but didn't comment any further.

"Tch, idiot bean sprout. The future is whatever you want it to be." Everyone's eyes whipped around to meet Kanda's gaze – no one had expected him to actually speak. He glared defiantly back, his brow furrowing in agitation. "What?" He growled. "The bean sprout asked and I answered."

"Whatever I... want it to be," Allen repeated slowly, and to everyone's horror, tears began to roll down his face. Kanda looked suddenly uncomfortable as everyone but Link turned to glare at him, shifting slightly where he stood, though he didn't back down. Allen continued crying almost as though he didn't notice he was doing so, completely unashamed of his tears. He was almost like a small child in the way he openly sobbed, and suddenly the occupants of the room found it incredibly difficult to believe that the young man in front of them was lying about everything.

"But I never wanted any of this!" He shouted suddenly through his tears, voice shockingly steady. The others all exchanged stunned glances. "Cursed, abandoned, loved, hated, admired, adored, distrusted, I never wanted any of this! How can the future be what I want when all I want is the past? Tell me that, Kanda! How can I keep walking when I just want to stop and go back?"

Tears still rolled down his face, and Allen couldn't even lift a hand to wipe them away.

"Allen," Komui murmured. "Why are you so desperate to return to the past? I've seen your files and... that isn't something you should want."

"Mr. Cross-"

"Just Cross."

"Ah, I see. Well, Mr. Cross, I'm sure that you can guess why you're here, can you not?"

"If it's about the brat, then yeah, I've got a pretty good idea."

"You were the one to take him in after the death of his previous guardians, and so it is only natural that we should question you-"

"Who are you trying to convince here, me or you?"

"Mr. Cross, if you would please stop interrupt-"

"Just get on with it."

"Yes, ahem, well, have you ever noticed any behaviour that seemed particularly unusual? Any violent tendencies or anything that might help the case progress?"

"Violent? No. Unusual? The kid's the definition of the word."

"Would you care to elaborate, Mr. Cross?"

"Not particularly."

"Please, allow me to rephrase. You will elaborate on your previous remark, or you will be charged with withholding information that could aid in furthering the investigation, and-"

"You sure like the sound of your own voice, don't you? Well, I might as well tell you; what harm can it do? The kid was always obsessed with history and he loved the Victorian era especially. He had a vivid imagination and was something of a piano prodigy – the kid could play like a pro just days after playing for the first time. He suffered from a lot of nightmares, hated anything reflective and liked to make up stories – but seriously, he was just a brat. The kid wouldn't hurt a fly."

"Maybe not, but he certainly seems to have no qualms about hurting humans."

"No, you don't understand, none of you do, you couldn't; can't. I need to go back to that past because it's all I have left," Allen said desperately, his eyes pleading with them to understand even as he told them that they couldn't. "There's nothing for me here and now, not anymore! How could you even hope to understand when not a single one of you understands yourself? How dare you presume to tell me what I should and should not want? I want my childhood back, nothing more!" Komui took a deep, steadying breath.

"Allen, what do you remember of your childhood?"

That stopped him. The tears slowed and eventually ceased completely as Allen stared in open-mouthed shock at Komui. The Chinese man seemed to be a little uncomfortable and shifted slightly under the blatant stare, but didn't say anything more. Finally, Allen blinked a couple of times and closed his mouth.

"But... But I've already told you, I know I have," he stammered. His confusion seemed genuine enough to the spectators, though they all knew that he was lying. He had always clammed up when his past was so much as mentioned.

"No, Allen, you've never told us about your past," Lavi said gently, knowing that the boy often reacted more positively towards him than the others – with the exception of perhaps Lenalee. He didn't understand why, but if playing on that was what it took to get information from Allen, then Lavi was willing to do so, no matter how much he hated it. He could sense Lenalee's betrayed yet curious look, could feel how much Kanda wanted to hear the answer, despite his feigned disinterest.

"I... haven't?" He asked finally.

All of a sudden, his features smoothed out into an expression of schooled patience; what Lavi would describe as the perfect poker face. His eyes were blank, the shining silver now flat and dull – tarnished, almost.

"My memories and my thoughts are all... a little bit jumbled together, so you'll have to forgive me if I forget anything, or if anything is in the wrong order. You already know that my earliest memory is of a – no, wait, that's wrong. Before that smile there was the same one again and again, and after that, before I was me, I remember pain. So much pain, and countless tears that were both my own and not; violent ends and worse beginnings," Allen was rambling now, the flow of words seemingly beyond his control. "In the mirror there was a reflection that was mine but I didn't know it, didn't recognise it, and I no longer knew my own self-"

"Allen! You aren't making any sense," Komui said quietly. "Just start at the beginning and tell us everything."

"My memories don't make any sense to me either," Allen said sadly, staring at the wall just behind Komui rather than at the man himself. "But then, that's hardly surprising; not all of them are mine, after all."

"Shut up, shut up, shut up shut upshutupshutup-"

"Allen! Stop that, what do you think you're doing?"

"Lenalee, make him stop, please, make him stop, make him be quiet, it hurts, Lena, help me, help me help mehelpmehelpme-"

"Allen, stop who? There's no one else here!"

"Stop it, please, stop it, it hurts, you're hurting me, stop it, stop it stopstopstop-"


"Mr. Walker."



"... Sir, I'm not sure that-"

"Silence! I was speaking to Walker and not you, Miss. Lee, and if you value your job, you will not interrupt me again."

"Haaaaaa... Ha... Ha-ha. You always did... enjoy exploiting your... power over those who were... weaker than yourself, did you not, Malcolm C. Leverrier?"

"Before I was me, I was Neah, and-"

"Near to what?" Lavi interrupted immediately, wincing slightly as Allen levelled him with his disturbing silver gaze. He seemed vaguely amused for some reason, and also irritated that Lavi had dared to interrupt him in the middle of his confusing story.

"Never mind – it hardly matters now, the shadow's been gone for so long anyway... It's just me now, and maybe that's all it'll ever be," Allen said sadly, though his eyes were dry now. "He's long gone, and I suppose I'm glad, happy for him. He got what he'd always wanted, in a way."

"Who did?" Kanda asked abruptly, his brow furrowed, and Allen turned to him, mouth twitching at the corners as though he saw right through Kanda's somewhat feeble attempt to mask his curiosity. Perhaps he did – Allen was sharp, perceptive, as Lavi well knew. It didn't matter that he spoke in riddles or that he had ki... Well. That didn't bare thinking about, really.

"There's no point in me telling you – you wouldn't know who he was, and if this turns out like the last time, you'll find out soon enough anyway." Allen laughed at that, the sound loud in the confined space of Komui's office, and slightly deranged. "Then again, this isn't anything like last time, I know that now. I tried to make it the same, but it didn't work and now I'm here, as are you and you don't even know why. Neither do I, in truth, but at least I can guess. That's your problem – blind, deaf, mute, dumb and completely helpless. At least I can see."

Allen sighed.

"But, I still haven't answered your question, have I? I'm sorry about that – I often ramble, I know. My childhood wasn't what one would call ideal. I don't remember who my birth parents were, but that hardly matters. Mana will always be my father, no matter how many times the pattern repeats, no matter how many colours in the cloth change. I was a clown, a born performer – making others smile when I myself had long forgotten how. Mana changed that; he taught me to smile again, and then took it all away from me when I had thought that it would last forever.

"After that, I got lost so many times. Countless dead ends and wrong turns, but I found my way eventually and when I came out of the mist, everyone was there waiting for me, even if neither party quite knew it yet." Allen nodded to himself, seemingly satisfied with this explanation even if the listeners had some qualms with it. Still, they said nothing since the boy seemed to be in a talkative mood today.

"After that, I ceased to be human, and became a sword – later, I would find that funny. I was... dispensable, replaceable. That didn't hurt as much as it probably should have.

"Eventually, my time came. It was unavoidable, I suppose, but that didn't make it hurt any less. I was weak, I knew it then and I know it now. There was nothing I could have done, I know that as well, but that doesn't stop me feeling regretful, as though I should have tried." Allen pouted slightly.

"I was alone that time. I'd always been alone, walking on as I did, but I'd never minded the solitude until then. It wasn't until it was too late that I realised I craved the company I'd never had. Well, that's a lie. To anyone watching, it would have looked like I was never alone, but it certainly didn't feel that way. As soon as I touched that piano, I was alone, and he started to take my place – no, perhaps even before that. And then, when it finally happened, there was no one there."

Allen laughed bitterly, curling in on himself as though it physically hurt him to laugh. Nervous glances were exchanged over the top of his head.

"Then, I woke up."

"Allen Walker, you stand before the Court today with the charge that you did knowingly, and with pre-meditation, murder all immediate members of the Noah family – Earl Adam Noah, Lulubelle Noah, Waizuri Noah, Sheryl Kamelot, Rhode Kamelot, Tyki Mikk, Skinn Boric...

"How do you plead?"

"Not guilty."

Allen caught the eyes of all of the room's occupants, one by one. A half-smile still rested on his face, but it was peaceful now; gentle. He turned his head to stare at the window for a few seconds, before he began to laugh. It was soft and quietly amused, nothing like the harsh tones of before.

"Again, huh?" He murmured, his voice loving and amused, as though speaking to an old friend. Everyone turned to glance at the window, though they saw nothing that might have elicited such a reaction from the boy. He laughed again, and this time the sound was coloured by a subtle sadness. "I guess that's all that's left to do now, isn't it? It's just like last time around; will it end the same way, I wonder?" He heaved a sigh, before shifting his gaze back to Komui.

"Is that all you wanted to know for today?" He asked. "I understand that my explanation was probably quite difficult to follow, but I cannot think of any other way to word it."

"Not quite, Walker," said a voice from the doorway. Everyone but Allen spun around to stare at Leverrier – Allen just dropped his head, staring at the ground. He wouldn't let anyone know how much the man's presence still affected him. How he still trembled with rage and terror at those sickening tones, that mocking glare. "We still don't have a confession from you."

"And you won't be getting one, because to confess to killing the Noah family would be a lie, and I severely dislike liars, Malcolm C. Leverrier," Allen replied crisply. The irony of the situation was that that statement in and of itself was a lie – all Allen had ever done was lie, so how could he hate liars? However, the first half was almost the truth – he hadn't killed all of the Noah family. Leverrier chuckled.

"I think you should know that none of us believe your lies, Walker." Allen chuckled.

"In that case, I think you should know that none of us like you and your baking is simply abysmal," Allen said, smiling grimly. The appearance of Leverrier never meant anything good. The man seemed to inflate and his face darkened until it finally chose to pause at a shade of unhealthy purple. Allen knew how to push the man's buttons, and he knew that no matter what he said, he would always be guilty of one thing or another in the man's eyes. He might as well enjoy it while he could.

Leverrier took a few deep breaths. "Walker is to appear in Court in one week's time," he said coldly, glaring at everyone as though daring them to disagree. "You'd better be ready to start telling the truth by then, Walker."

Allen laughed.

"Oh, but Leverrier, when have I ever done anything but?"

"The jury has found the defendant to be guilty of all charges. He is to be executed by means of lethal injection."

Allen's arms were still restrained, even now, when he had no inclination to run or try to escape. He glanced around the room, taking in every bland feature, a small smile on his face. He accidentally caught the eyes of the few other people in the room – Bak Chan and a couple of people he recognised as being members of CROW. They stared at him, at his smile with wary gazes, as though it was living proof of his madness.

"So it will be just like the last time, then," he murmured, staring up at the ceiling. He didn't try to resist – he was limp in the straps that held him down in case he struggled. "Just you and me, again, Neah. The line dies with us, again."

The sky above him was dark blue, so blue, the colour of Kanda's hair and eyes, it filled his gaze infinitely.

He chuckled softly to himself. "Still, at least this time it shouldn't be quite as drawn-out."

What seemed like hours were spent watching the blood spill onto the ground, bright red and green, reminding him comfortably of Lavi.

"Do you think this will be the last time? Will it repeat again?"

There was a flower beside him; just one, blooming bright and just out of reach, the exact shade of Lenalee's joy.

"Which reality is the real one? Which Allen Walker am I now?"

There was no-one with him but the gentle presence in the back of his mind, whispering soft assurances to him.

"This is it, isn't it?" Allen asked quietly, speaking more to himself than anyone else. Still, Bak seemed to think that he was expecting an answer. He gave the boy a sad, wavering smile.

"Yes, it is," he said softly, the needle slipping into the vein in Allen's arm. He pushed the plunger slowly down, and Allen watched his eyes carefully. The boy didn't appear to be outwardly concerned by... this. He sighed and let his head fall back against the headrest as though it was suddenly too heavy to hold up. Allen smiled.

"I'm glad," he whispered.

"Let us through! You don't understand, we have to see him! Allen!" That was Lenalee's voice, and Allen felt his eyes open wide in shock, though he couldn't do much else. There was a dull fire spreading through his veins, holding him in place as it burned. "Please, you have to let us in there-"

"Move, now," Kanda said, his voice dangerously low, and Allen had a sudden vision of him standing tall and proud, Mugen in his hand and his eyes glinting with fury.

"Allen?" That was Lavi's voice, and if Allen could only force himself to open his eyes – when had he closed them? He couldn't remember – then he knew the expression on his friend's face would be panicked. "Allen! Listen to me buddy, you've gotta open your eyes for me, okay? There's new evidence, the Courts are gonna re-examine the case, but you've gotta stay with me, pal, okay?"

"La-vi," Allen whispered, and it hurt to move his lips and tongue enough to form the words he needed to say. "Lena-lee, Kan-da..."

"We're right here, Allen, they're going to get the antidote now, okay, you've just got to hold on a little bit longer for us," Lenalee said, and Allen could hear the tears in her voice. He tried to smile, but it seemed almost impossible and he drew a deep, shuddering breath.

"Don' cry, Lena..." Allen gasped, his chest getting tighter by the second. "Glad 'm not 'lone... this time."

He thought that they might have said something else, but his ears seemed to have stopped working properly as though he was deep underwater. But he was warm now and comfortable, and just above him he could see a smiling face, one hand reaching down towards him. Allen felt oddly weightless, but it wasn't unpleasant.

"Mana, I'm scared and I had a bad dream. Will you sing to me?"

"Of course I will, Allen."

"Allen! Allen, wake up, please!"

"Thank you, Mana! I love you."

"Moyashi-chan! C'mon, you're stronger than this!

"I love you too, Allen."

"Baka moyashi, if you die now I'm going to kill you!"

Allen smiled.

"And down will come baby..."

I love you...

"Cradle and all."

Mmmmm, I do love me some crazy Allen :) Or do I? That is the question of the day, isn't it folks? Okay, here are the facts:

Modern day (more or less) and Allen was charged with the murder of the Noah family. Since he always talks in riddles about another life and demons etc, he was taken to a secure facility so that his mental wellbeing could be checked out before the Courts made a final decision. He appears to remember his previous life as an Exorcist, but no one else does. In the end, the Courts decide that he is guilty, and he is sentenced to death (we don't have the death penalty in England anymore, but use your imaginations. Also, I know next to nothing about the justice system and hopefully I'll never get caught XD) That's... about it.

Which raises some questions.

Does Allen really remember his past, or is it something that he created, like a fantasy world? Did he really murder the Noah family, or was he falsely accused? Were the Noah familyin this human or super-human? Was Allen the only one telling the truth the whole way through? Does he die at the end or not? What happened in his childhood since it wasn't like the one in his 'previous life'? Was any of it even real, or just the bad dream he went to Mana about?

It's up to you. I'd love to hear thoughts and opinions (both on the story itself and my writing) in the reviews, hint hint. I have my own ideas (particularly about his childhood. I'm kind of sad I couldn't squeeze that in) so share yours :)