A/N: Usually I don't do anything for new chapters, but after 204, I had too. So be warned, there be spoilers ahead. And angst. Lots of angst. Standard disclaimer applies.


those left to burn


The wall erupts into a heaping mess of rubble and bricks and death, but all he can see is the golden interior of a golem; his golem. The remnants of the Reaper still cling to his body and arm like lint, his mind faltering and his heartbeat racing a race that shouldn't have been run. There are screams, shouts, surprised cries, and all he can do is hold onto the girl who saved him; the girl he never trusted, the one who trusted him. What fate, irony, sick, twisted life.

God, he figures, has left him for dead. God, he knows, must not care anymore.

What has he done? All he wanted, all he ever tried to do was to set the souls free, to send them into an afterlife of peace and no more torment. He's tired, he's sick, he's breaking, and now he's losing his sanity. What cruel judgment. What cruel fate.

Where's Link? He hopes to the God he doesn't believe in that he's alive, because that man has been more of a companion, friend, then the Order itself and that unnerves him.

Now he's left to his own devices; left to consider the consequences of the brutality that was bestowed upon the murderer of the man who had trained him.

A shifting causes him to look down, and he drinks in the sight of the Noah in his arms. Road has never looked so fragile; she has never looked so much like a child, so little like a brutal human with a hatred for humanity. It makes his stomach cringe in ways he never thought possible. Her white dress is stained with dirt, blood—his blood, most likely. Tyki is somewhere, probably up ahead cursing at the Headquarters that had locked the Exorcist for so long. He wonders, just for a fleeting second, what would happen if he saw his reflection. His blurred reflection—

Allen. Allen. Allen.

He doesn't know who that is anymore. Isn't it just a name, a label? His thoughts and Neah's thoughts mesh together, blurring the thin lines and causing physical changes to appear; ashen skin, golden orbs. Yet it doesn't scare him anymore.

Neah has been more of a friend then the Order.

Something is burning, and when he looks down, he spots his own imprisonment garb tainted with crimson like a setting sky, colors painted darkly into the fabric of his clothing. The night is decorated with specks of light and blue, black. There is something tinting the air, a smell that coats his body sweetly and scratches his parched throat, taunting him, acerbic in nature—

Freedom.

It's freedom, he knows. There's just something about the aroma and the atmosphere that clings to his fingers, his flesh, his eyes. It is freedom, unobtainable yet dancing in front of his shattered soul. A voice calls him back to reality, and he meekly nods to the fragility in his arms.

"Allen, are you alright?"

He can hear the hidden words, the secrets hidden in folding lights.

Allen, does it hurt? You know you're going to have to come with us. You're branded a traitor, Allen. Allen. Allen.

Allen.

Death is in the air again. The scent is familiar, and he isn't sure where it's coming from. He hopes and prays to the God he no longer believes in that his companions are alright, that they're escaping the clutches of this thing called Fate. He doesn't think he can bear anymore loss. He doesn't think he has anymore to lose, not after tonight—

No home. No Order. No Exorcist.

He has been stripped of his identity, or maybe he never had one to begin with.

Kanda. Cross. Who's next?

They are dead, he accepts this fact. He knows the former's past; he knows of Alma, of Bak's parents, of the atrocities performed by the people he once held in high honor. This is a Holy War, he remembers. There is no such subject as 'fair play' in a game that is calculated by death. There is no winning; there is only loss. It is not measured by who's on the right side; it is measured by which side is left when all is done (blown to pieces, with a sick scent coating the air like a child's blanket. Is this what you wanted, God? For your followers to be sacrificed for the sake of your bloody war?)

There is another shuffle in his limbs, and it is then he realizes he has been standing in the shadows for nearly ten minutes. There's more screaming, and there are bodies like ants shuffling out of the wreckage that was once a prison cell. He can hear Lenalee shouting his name, unshed tears laced onto her words. He can hear Bak and Komui and Johnny all trying to sort this mess out yet he knows they can do nothing for him now. He is gone, he has shed himself of the title 'Exorcist.'

Tyki pulls on his arms.

"We need to go."

Again, all he can do is nod, stare. There's nothing to see anymore. The scene in front of him is twisting into something intangible, hard as concrete, soft as silk. He feels as if he's floating in a sea of uncertainty, yet it feels right; as if this, this, was his destiny, his Fate. And he knows, believes, hopes, that the second he steps away with the gray faced Noah, his trust will be replaced and the Order will be stripped of an Exorcist that they never truly had to begin with.

This is war, he tells himself. There is no room for regret, remorse, repentance.

There is a crayon of color trailing behind, bright as day, menacing as the Reaper in the night. Behind him, the shouts grow quieter, and they are heading in the wrong direction—purposely? Maybe they still have hope. Mislaid hope, because God has abandoned them tonight. God has isolated them all. God, God, God. He's buried his sorrow in his followers.

He wonders briefly if these thoughts are his, or Neah's. He knows he's made the right (only) decision when he feels nothing about abandoning them. There is nothing but desolation in the core of his stomach, his heart.

Allen, Allen, Allen.

Allen—a forsaken shell that once held a boy who just wanted to save those who could be saved, because he was left for dead long before he understood what blood was.