Allen isn't too sure how it started. It just…kind of happened. Like pretty much how everything else in his life happens.

[Mana dying. Mana dead. Mana in a suit that's too stiff and too unfamiliar and all the more unwelcomed, because the man lying in his place is definitely not the Mana that took Allen in but a fake-]

But it does happen, and Allen all but steps aside to let the events slide by and stands to watch them with wise-grey eyes and fake smiles.

. .

Cross' house is far different from Mana's. It's not as warm, or welcoming. Or very appropriate for a fifteen year old boy, for that matter. But whatever, because Mana had trusted Cross enough to leave the boy in the man's care, and this is the thought that crosses Allen's mind for the umpteenth time.

Of course, Allen's met Cross before [now he's realizing he knows why he's met him so many times, and spoken to him often, but not gotten to know him at all] so he doesn't feel so frightened by the thought of actually having to live with the man. But he is scared, shitless, so much so that when they're driving back from Mana's funeral and Cross reaches over to turn up the heat in the car, cursing all the while, Allen flinches.

Cross seems to notice, because he glances at the boy from the corner of his eye [eye? Seriously, who needs glasses when one eye's covered?] and grunts a low, "everything will be fine."

And maybe it's just exhaustion pulling at his defeated mind, but Allen mumbles an even lower, "I know" before drifting off to a not-so-deep sleep for the rest of the drive.

He's violently woken up, five and a half hours later, by a cat with long golden fur purring into his neck, pressing it's slightly chubby body into Allen's face. He mumbles a low, "Timcanpy…" before grabbing the cat by its middle and climbing out of the corvette and staring up at the house that will never be his home, but a place he'll live at for the next however-long years.

But before he begins his climb up the steps that lead to Cross' front door, he stares up at the sky and whispers a forgotten name that he'll only remember.

. .

Five days after Allen settles down in Cross' home [he refuses to call it his own] he's wandering around in Cross' garden, playing with Timcanpy – who's rolling around in the grass and jumping at insects, be it hidden in the pretty flowerbeds or flying above him – and doing nothing in particular.

That is, of course, until he hears something like a dog yapping and he notices Tim go on edge, fur sticking up unpleasantly and face drawn into a very vicious look of 'what the shit'. Allen thinks for a moment that he's never heard a dog in all the five days he's been here, before he remembers that this is the first time he's bothered to get out.

So much like the curious fifteen-year-old boy he is, Allen wonders over to the tall [it's not that tall, Allen notes, it's just that it's taller than him] fence and has to tippy-toe and cling to the top of it to see over it. And when he does, he gets a brief flash of white, black and blue – pretty runs through his head, like the flowers – and then there's a very angry boy scowling at him.

He thinks, beautiful, before burying the thought somewhere very far in his mind.

"Who're you?" the beautiful boy asks – though it looks more like a demand, or snarl. Whichever it is, it makes him look even more pretty than he already it. When Allen doesn't answer straight away, simple stares at the boy like he's really that interesting [and, truth be told, he really is] he scowls even more. "I said-"

"Allen Walker."

Allen finds it hard and easy to say his last name, which is something he connects to missing Mana [his memory, his warmth, him] and he can't explain why, but saying Walker makes his tongue feel heavy and numb in his mouth – makes him want to curl on a bed with something solid and just, be.

There must be something in his face, Allen will contemplate later when he's alone and thinking [which is something Cross mocks him for – "don't hurt yourself, idiot"], because the beautiful boy playing with a black Labrador in the backyard next door utters a, "Kanda" before throwing something in one direction, black dog chasing after it, and leaving in the other.

Allen doesn't know why, but he wishes the boy would come back.

. .

It's not until two months later, when Allen is sitting cross-legged in his bedroom upstairs, text books open and sprawled across his bed with one lying in his lap while he's chewing on the pink highlighter in his hand, that he sees the beautiful boy next door again.

[He's seen him at school sometimes – during lunch break, in between periods and classes, the briefest flash of blue-white-black and a beautiful scowl that make's Allen's head go fuzzy.]

It happens by coincidence, really. Allen had just so happened to look up when the boy – Kanda, he reminds himself firmly – had crossed his bedroom. Of course, Allen had never really thought about talking to the boy again, thought it had been a one-off, but when the other boy looks up as well and simply stares at him, Allen doesn't dare lose eye contact.

He doesn't want this moment to be a one-off – not at all. So they sit like that for good three minutes, until Allen unintentionally makes a face after sneezing [he really needed to dust his room sometime] and Kanda rolls his eyes skywards and disappears from the window Allen had been staring through.

For the twenty seconds Kanda isn't there, Allen wonders if he's being creepy – then he thinks, no, because it wasn't like the other boy was making any move beside just staring, but then after he thinks that he conjures up the awful idea of oh shit, I'm meant to be doing homework and cooking dinner.

Of course, homework and dinner are forgotten when Kanda is back, with one of those shitty mini-whiteboard things in hand, and the boy scribbles something on to it before flashing it through the window.

Weirdo. What the fuck are you looking at?

It's written in those tacky blue pens, the kind that'll only last for about two weeks, and Kanda doesn't seem at all angry – maybe a little irritated, but then again Allen's never seen the boy not looking like that. Allen looks around his room for a good two minutes after he realizes Kanda's expecting a reply.

Only, he doesn't have a whiteboard or something around to reply with. So he does the next best thing, and writes on the window with his bright pink highlighter. It takes a while, really – he has to make the lines three times thicker and write backwards, which a little hard in Allen's opinion, but finally he leans back and smiles timidly at his success.

I didn't know I had to have a reason to look out my window.

Kanda snorts – or at least Allen thinks he does – and he wipes at his whiteboard before scribbling on it again. This time, when he lifts it, it covers his face completely [which is kind of disappointing, really.]

You're a freak. Then, lower in the corner: what you studying?

Allen forgets about the world, for the better two hours of his day, and he and Kanda – pretty, irritable Kanda – talk with whiteboards and highlighters about nothing, though on the odd occasion Allen would write a complicated maths equation on his window or ask a question about physics and Kanda would reply with the answer, with the word retard or loser attached to the end of the sentence like an after-thought.

Dinner is half-assed noodles that night, and his homework is half done. Cross is out again for the ninth night in a row [is he ever coming back? Really] but nothing can stop the look of pure joy spread across his face.

. .

Two days after they speak across the windows, Allen is shocked to open the door to find – beautiful boy – Kanda standing on his porch, a plate of glad wrapped-something in arms. He doesn't even bother to wait, and invites himself into Cross' house before shoving the plate into Allen's waiting arms.

"My guardians home." Kanda offers as an explanation when he receives a very confused frown from Allen. He looks around the foyer, before making his way into the living room and settling himself in a velvet-cushioned love seat. [Cross may be an ass, and a womanizer, and an uncaring bastard, but his house is big and lavished in expensive antiques and beautiful colors. It's a house made in the late victorian era, Mana mentioned once, Allen thinks - when he was younger and whole.] "He wanted me to give them to you-" here he jabs a bony finger at the cookies on the tray. "-when he found out you moved in."

Startled, Allen places the cookies on the coffee table, staring at Kanda. Because. Because-

He's in Cross' house, and it seems awfully odd but somewhat nice to have the boy there. He looks at the beautiful boy, and is comforted by his presence more than he should be.

"Thank you." Allen finally lets out after the shock subsides and he's aware of the warmth spreading in his stomach. Like warm honey, or the first morning's coffee.

"Tch. Whatever."

It's a nice feeling, and he decides he rather likes it and – instead of burying it like before – he cradles it close to his heart, where-

[Mana's memory will always be, like he promised so many times-]

-he'll never forget it's there.

Allen feels the need to thank the boy again, for what he doesn't know. But Kanda stays for hours, though they do nothing in particular [TV, Allen eats the cookies, homework] and Allen - he doesn't mind, really, he enjoys the company; the warmth, that Kanda brings into Cross' cold home.

. .

Allen meets Lavi in a funny way.

[Actually, it wasn't that funny. Lavi seems to think so, though.]

Surprisingly, they hadn't met at school, which is the only funny thing about the entire situation because now that Allen does know Lavi, he spots the tall boy at school a lot. How Allen managed to never spot him before will always remain a mystery to both.

They'd met at the park across the road from Cross and Kanda's houses, where Allen had been sitting in a chain-link swing and toeing the ground lazily, when he'd been reading a book he'd seen Kanda reading and Lavi had, well, just walked out of the bushes and scared the living bejebus out of the british boy.

Lavi kind of reminds Allen of Cross, what with his wild red hair and constant pick-up lines and winks towards any form of female – though Allen seriously wants to tell Lavi that, er, winking with one eye is kind of weird.

But Lavi is nice, and smiles at Allen in a nice way. Not like the way Kanda makes him feel, but still – it's there. And it's enough to warrant Lavi a friend, though the fact that Lavi knows Kanda quite well does seem to come into play a lot.

Like when Allen accidentally opens his mouth and says, "I wish I knew more about him."

And Lavi? He's the kind of guy that likes questions, especially Allen's.

"Who?" the red-hed prods at Allen's arm with a bony finger, receiving a disgruntled gasp from the younger boy. "C'mon, Allen! Be a friend and tell your good-ol' buddy Lavi!"

Sometimes, though, Allen feels the unnecessary need to punch the boy in his good eye, just for spite. Allen's seen Kanda at school doing the same to Lavi, and it's in these instances that he understands why.

"No one." offers Allen, when the red-head looks like he's about to prod him again.

For now, Lavi drops it - thank the heavens - and saves Allen the embarrassment of having to put a name to something he's still not quite sure is, but Allen is smart enough to know that the older boy doesn't give up this easily.

. .

It's six months later.

For five months and twenty-six days Allen has known Kanda - has seen the boy in his backyard, training with that sword or playing with his dog or, on the odd chance, meditating, and at school, where the older [three years older, according to Lavi, who's a bit like an Kanda-encyclopedia] boy is always scowling or frowning or, well, just being angry.

Kanda hasn't come back over since the day he brought over the cookies, though, which is a big disappointment in Allen's mind. Kanda doesn't even come back over to grab the tray he left three-and-a-bit months ago, which has been sitting on a side table beside the front door for at least three months and twenty-four days.

Allen thinks he's a little weird, but then again so does Cross.

Cross has come back a total of three times, twice for only a day and the third time only because he ran out of money and booze. Most of the time, Allen is alone - he doesn't really mind it, to be honest, but he does sometimes find himself wishing a certain long-haired beautiful boy would knock on his door and waltz into Cross' home like before. But it's never happened, and Allen doesn't expect it to happen any time soon.

. .

Allen doesn't know how he does it, but one day Lavi shows up on his doorstep. It's kind of an embarrassing moment, too, since Allen opened the door while wearing a pink apron that had been left behind by one of Cross', er, lady friends.

"Yo," Lavi waves him a lazy two-fingered salute, goofy grin parked neatly on his attractive face. That's when he stops, confusing crashing into his goofy expression as he leans forward, right into the British boys face, and whispers a low, "Allen?"

"Er." God, this was getting worse, especially since there happened to be someone with Lavi. Jesus. "Hello?"

Lavi leans back, stretching so he's looking at the house next door. Kanda's house. "You didn't tell me you lived next door to Yuu!"

You? "Um, I'm sorry. But what?"

"Oh, right. Yuu's name always confuses people," Lavi grins again, this time eyes dipping down to the very pink apron Allen is donning. "Kanda. You live next door to Kanda."

. .

A couple days after Allen's little encounter with Lavi at Cross' home, Allen finds himself being followed when he's walking home. This isn't really an odd occurrence, since Cross' street just so happens to lead off of a main street, but this time it's different.

It's different because the person following him hasn't dropped off, no matter how many different streets they pass, and Allen's never seen anyone else from school walk home his way.

Fear blooms in the back of his mind, though, when he hears what sounds like several pairs of footsteps, and he quickens his pace. Allen may be small, but hell if he can't run when he needs to. He casts a quick glance behind him, and is horrified to find at least four people following him. And, God, they're all at least twice Allen's size.

It's horrible, and Allen's absolutely terrified. He can feel the fear pumping adrenaline into his veins, and slowly his walk turns into a jog- his followers keep up, though, and Allen has half the mind to turn around and ask one of them what in the world do they think they're doing?

It isn't until Allen turns down the alleyway that leads to Cross' street does he regret it, because suddenly he can hear at least four pairs of feet stomping on the ground, running at him. And of course not being as dumb as Cross claimed him to be, Allen throws his backpack somewhere and lets the fear blooming in his chest explode, and he's running as fast as he can.

However, the fear pumping through his veins only supplies the shortest amount of stamina, and soon enough his captures catch up to him. The first thing Allen feels is a grab at his collar, which pulls and chokes him and he splutters as hands grab at him and he is absolutely terrified. He struggles, though, and thinks that if Cross ever finds out about this – if he bloody survives – he's going to shake his head and demand that Allen take self defense classes or something.

Really, Allen agrees right about now that he should, too.

Scraping at the barrel of his wits, Allen does something very stupid and starts punching. Because it's the only logical thing Allen can think of in this kind of situation, and God he's tired. He actually manages to land one on their leader, who reels back and spits, where a few red droplets are now staining the garbage that litter the ground.

He grunts out a low, "little brat," before punching Allen square in the gut, and sends the younger boy stumbling against the fence, doubling over in pain, before he hits the ground.

And, really, there is an aching akin to self pity in his chest, pushing the fear and desperation to one side, and where Allen is keeling on the ground he can see the blue sky above, and the sun shining like a beacon of hope.

God must really hate him, Allen decides.

But, maybe Allen is still in luck, because he hears the sound of a car pulling up at the mouth of the alleyway and a door slamming shut, and angry footsteps that are heading in their direction. For a minute, he thinks that maybe it's another of these thugs who are kicking the shit out of him, before he stops thinking all together when a boot connects to his face and cries out in pain.

The thug who'd punched him in the gut pulls him up, holds him against the wall and then hisses, "Where's Cross?"

Oh God, Allen thinks. They're debt collectors.

When Allen fails to answer, he sees the man frown and pull back a clenched fist. Allen shuts his eyes and squeezes them, get's ready for the pain that's going to envelope him in a second- but before that, he catches a glimpse of a beautiful face and long black hair.

In the two seconds that it took Allen to snap his eyes open, Kanda's hit the thug holding him in the jaw and has started on another, who seems to be in shock. Kanda's stamina, unlike Allen's wavering one, does not give out until he's successfully beat the crap out of all of the collectors, who are either no longer moving or groaning in pain. Much like Allen.

Then Kanda turns to Allen, mouth set in a firm line as he stares at the boy in a displeased manner. "Get up."

Allen complies, only because he's absolutely freaked out that Kanda's actually willing to hit him next, and winces at the pain that is gripping at his small frame. He shakes for a moment, almost falls again, before he stands up straight and follows Kanda to the car that is still running. Kanda climbs in first, while Allen simply stands there, staring at him.

Kanda gives him a look that calls him an idiot and pushes the passenger door open. "Get in."

Stumbling a little, Allen manages to slip into the passenger door, settling in his seat and doesn't bother with the seatbelt. Kanda doesn't seem to care, really, because the older boy pulls out and drives as if he didn't just beat the crap out of four thugs; as if he didn't just save Allen.

There's an aching in Allen's chest, but this time it isn't desperation or fear or even self-pity, it's new and undiscovered and Allen kind of likes it, even if it makes him rub at his chest to ease the feeling as if it hurt. Kanda doesn't bat an eye, and Allen supposes that has something to do with the fact he just got beat the crap out of, too.

A warm feeling settles in Allen's belly, and spreads to his cold limbs and warms them pleasantly. Then he looks down, and sees his backpack tucked under his feat, and frowns.


"I found it." Kanda supplies, frowning too, mouth open as if he was going to say more, but then he shrugs and shuts his mouth in dismissal.

And maybe there is more to what he wanted to say, Allen thinks, but doesn't push it because he's still kind of scared of Kanda, seeing as the older boy just beat up four men. So instead he smiles, actually smiles, and let's out a light, "thank you."

Kanda grunts, eyes sliding over to the boy sitting in his usually empty car, and shrugs.

The unspoken You're Welcome hovers in the air, ready to be plucked out when needed, and Allen knows it's there, so he turns to the window and looks up at the vast blue sky, where the sun seems like it's winking at him.

. .

When they get back to their houses, Allen is not at all surprised that Cross' car isn't in the drive-way, and stares up at his house in the twilight sun. He still refuses to call it home.

With a sigh, Allen waves at Kanda, says, "see you later" like it might actually be more of a wish than the truth, before he begins limping up the footpath to Cross' house. He's not two steps up the footpath when he's stopped by Kanda's hand gripping his shoulder, and he finds himself face to face with the beautiful boy.


Allen frowns. Kanda copies him. It almost makes Allen giggle, and he would of giggled, if Kanda's face weren't so bloody close. Up close, Allen thinks that Kanda is even more beautiful, but decides now is not the best time.

"Excuse me?"

"Do you really expect me to believe that you can take care of yourself?" Kanda says, matter-of-factly. He gestures at Allen's whole being, as if to help his argument. "Don't kid yourself."

Allen is kind of amazed, that Kanda seems to care and that he's, well, talking. This is the longest Allen's ever heard him speak, and Allen feels a little ache at the thought that it's about his well-being. But he's getting ahead of himself.

"I'll be fine," Allen lies, because really he was just planning to get in, cook some noodles for dinner, do his homework and sleep. He'd take care of the damage when he had time. "Honestly."

Kanda rolls his eyes skywards, as if asking why he was putting up with an idiot like Allen. "Listen, bean sprout, I don't care. Really. But you're either going to willingly follow me, or I'm going to have to force you."

Maybe it's exhaustion, or maybe it's excitement at the thought of actually entering Kanda's home, but Allen gives the older boy a curious look at his apparently hospitality and follows Kanda up his footpath instead.

Both houses seem to be pretty much identical, what with the house shape and color and whatnot - now that he thinks about it, Allen isn't at all surprised Lavi was confused that day he came to Cross' instead of Kanda's - but the minute they step through the front door, where Kanda drops his keys onto a small side table leaning on the hallway wall, Allen is a little shocked by the inside.

He supposes it's mostly due to the fact that Kanda's house has had children throughout it his entire life, which is something Allen's learnt from Lavi [the incredible Kanda encyclopedia.] There are photographs of laughing faces on the walls, a few of Kanda from when he was younger- he looks exactly as he does now, with a sour face and dark eyes, but his hair is shorter and he seems to be pouting instead.

Okay, he can't help it, he laughs a little this time.

Kanda throws a disgruntled look at the younger boy, and coughs lowly in his throat. "Shut up."

Maybe it's just Allen's imagination, but he swears he can't feel any malice or threat in Kanda's words. It adds to the warm feeling in his stomach.

Tentatively, Allen follows Kanda to wherever the older boy is leading him. They pass through the lounge, which is fitted with two long couches and a coffee table, a television tucked away in the corner, and soon enough Allen finds himself in the kitchen, where Kanda points him to the table where he sits obligingly.

Allen has come to terms with the fact that he may, um, be infatuated with the boy. Allen thinks he's kind of silly for it, and he's sure that if- okay, when Lavi finds out, the redhead is going to laugh his ass of at him. Which isn't very nice, not at all, but totally understandable.

It's still very silly though, and once again Allen finds himself watching Kanda with hawk eyes. He watches, dazed, the moment the older boy reaches up into the top-most cupboard and has to stretch a little, lifting his shirt so Allen can see his fairly tan flat stomach. It makes a chill run down Allen's spine, and feels like a splash of icy water on the warmth that appears to be making itself a permanent residence in his stomach. God, he really hopes Kanda can't see it on his face.

"Where's it hurt?" Kanda grounds out, settling down in a chair facing Allen with a first aid kit open on the table beside him.

Allen deadpans. "Everywhere."

Kanda, who is prettiest when he's angry Allen is discovering, scowls at him. "Be specific, bean sprout." Really, was that nickname going to stick from now on?

"Fine." And Allen points out the areas which hurt the most, huffing all the while, before pointing at his leg and eye. "It hurts most here, though." Then, as an afterthought, "and it's Allen, jerk."

Clicking his tongue, Kanda picks up Allen's leg and settles it on his own knee, earning an embarrassed squawk from the british boy. "Calm down," he states, and begins to roll up Allen's pants-leg, revealing an ugly blue-black bruise which is stark against his pale skin. Allen doesn't miss the sticky blood that has dried on his knee, but feels sick.

He really hopes something like this won't happen again.

A silence hovers around them as Kanda slowly but carefully cleans the blood, wrapping a bandage around his knee and rolls the pants leg back down again. There are at least fourteen cotton balls dotted with sickly pale-red blood and pink disinfectant, but Allen ignores them as he watches Kanda busying himself, long black hair curtaining his face.

It's at this point that he thinks he may really, really like the beautiful boy next door.

. .

The next day, Allen is walking home again. And as was yesterday, he can hear footsteps behind him, keeping up with his own fast pace.

When he takes a glance over his shoulder, Allen is surprised to find Kanda following him diligently. The older teen gives him a glare, one that makes Allen turn around as his face flushes with confusion and...infatuation. The puddle of warmth in his belly is back, full force, and Allen is starting to realize he only gets it around Kanda.

Allen can feel Kanda's eyes on the back of his neck, and is glad of what happened yesterday.

. .

After a month of Kanda walking Allen home and Allen letting him, Lavi spots the duo and figures out in his own way. The next day after his discovery, he drags Allen over to the park - another book in hand, this time one Kanda accidentally handed him - and sits him down in the chain-link swings, hands on his shoulders as he stared at Allen seriously.

"You like Yuu."

Allen doesn't say a thing, but the way his ears are burning and the way he feels like his face is on fire are a dead give-away to Lavi, who is standing at his full height and letting out loud, irritating laughs, almost doubled over with the way he's embarrassing the younger boy.

"L-Lavi!" the younger boy wails, and slams the paperback on the older boy's head. It really didn't do much, but it made him feel better. He does it again when Lavi's laughter continues to ring out in the park. "Shut up!"

The third time Allen hits him, it's intentional. Seriously, it wasn't that funny, and he makes sure it hurts- a reminder for the next time he decides to laugh at him. The redness in his face has come down a bit by the time Lavi is only letting out little chuckles every now and then, sitting on the ground in front of Allen, legs crossed [like Kanda when he's meditating, but thinking this makes Allen flush red again and, wow- that sounds kind of stalker-ish.]

"You're funny, Allen."

"Oh?" Allen cocks an eyebrow at Lavi, whose face has settled into a look of pure content. This was, odd.

"Yeah," the redhead chuckles, scratches underneath his bandana before resting his arms on his knees. "But, you know, maybe Yuu won't mind."

Looking across, Allen can see the sun setting from behind both Kanda and Cross' houses, and is mesmerized by the streaks of pink and orange that are strewn across the sky in a messy arrangement. In the twilight, sitting on a swing in a park he never sees children play in, Allen wonders what Kanda is doing. He wonders if Kanda is thinking of him, because Allen would be joking if he said he wasn't thinking of the other.

When the silence that Lavi provides is too overbearing - this is the first time Allen's seen the older boy so goddamn quiet, it's scary - Allen goes to say something, mouth open and taking a deep breath, when Lavi beats him to it.

"You know," the redhead starts, face contorted into one of pure content and- and something Allen can't quite figure out. "Maybe this'll be good for him? God knows the guy needs to loosen up," then he tilts his head towards Allen, eye curved and voice a light tenor. "Maybe you're good for him, Allen?"

And Allen, for the life of him, can't figure out what the hell to say back to his friend, so simply turns back to the houses across the road - Lavi does the same, smile still in place - and they both watch as the sun sets and sets the sky ablaze with startling purples and pinks above the rooftops.

Beautiful, Allen thinks, but not as beautiful as the boy whom he can't see watching him from his lounge window.

. .

The first time Allen stays at Kanda's is an... odd affair.

Truth be told, Allen finds it rather embarrassing, since his only reason for doing so was the storm that had suddenly hit town, and quite frankly scared the living hell and all its nine circles out of him.

He'd simply shown up at Kanda's front door, in his pajamas with a sleeping bag wrapped around him in a protective manner, and Kanda had let him in with only the slightest hint of hesitation. It must be the unholy hour, Allen reasons - after all, he wouldn't have liked it if someone had knocked on his door at 12:30 AM on a Thursday.

He's actually surprised that Kanda had been awake, but that's before he sees the open textbooks on the coffee table, a cup of steaming tea resting beside them.

At any rate, Kanda isn't kicking him out, and it's nice and comforting and the older boy even points him to the couch, where Allen finds two blankets laid out. Almost like he's been waiting for Allen to show up. He almost laughs, before a rather loud booming noise makes him jump and let out a tiny squeak. Kanda coughs, as if he wants to laugh but doesn't, and watches Allen crawl under the blankets.

Finally, he speaks. "Scared of a little storm, bean sprout?"

If Allen wasn't so goddamn scared, he would have argued, despite the truth in Kanda's words. Instead he pokes his tongue out at the older boy, and cherishes the brief smirk the other throws his way. At least he isn't wet, he supposes, but he can't say the same for his poor sleeping bag, which is hanging limply on the coat rack like an abused, er, sleeping bag.

Once again Allen finds himself saying a certain two words that tumble out of his mouth whenever he's around Kanda: "thank you."

Kanda shrugs, sitting down by Allen's feet and leaning over his open textbooks.

Allen slowly falls asleep to the sound of pages being flipped occasionally and the smell of fresh tea, which calms him so much he feels like he's with Mana again. And for the first time in a long time, he dreams of things other than broken buildings and his deceased father.

He swears it isn't Kanda's warm presence or the way he can almost imagine the older boy leaning his way that calms him the most, honestly. Because Allen isn't a stupid love sick girl for Christ sake.

. .

It's a month before Kanda and Lavi graduate that Allen meets Lenalee, who he remembers as the girl who'd shown up with Lavi at his house that one time. She's a year old than him, he remembers from the redhead, and very, very nice.

And also knows Kanda very well.

Lavi has also told her about Allen's infatuation with the older boy, which Allen hits the redhead for. At least seven times. It doesn't make him feel better, though, but Lenalee laughs and coos over Allen because this, and confesses that she had too, at one point, found herself adoring the beautiful boy.

"It happens," she explains with a timid smile and a shrug. "But, you know, you two would be a cute item."

Allen groans, in a way that suggests he would have straight out agreed on a better day, but for now buries his flushing face in his hands and deflates while he politely ignores Lavi's snickering.

. .

Two weeks before graduation, there's a party. Lenalee and Lavi demand that Allen come, but he refuses- at least, he does until Lenalee lets slip that Kanda just so happens to be going, but only because it's his foster brother hosting it.

So, yeah, he goes, and finds himself standing in a corner as far away as possible from the throng of sweating, dancing teenagers. He's practically begging Lenalee and Lavi to let him leave, but both deny his requests with vigor before dragging him off to dance with them.

It's embarrassing and tiring and he doesn't understand how people can do this every weekend. He somehow manages to pull himself out of the buzzing crowd, side-stepping and dodging people who know him from school, and soon enough finds himself out on the front porch, where no one is.

At least, he'd thought so, until he spots Kanda standing with someone. Allen guesses if it weren't for his infatuation, he wouldn't of batted an eye at them, but he is infatuated with Kanda, and this causes Allen to splutter and stop dead when he sees them.


[God really must hate him.]

-there is beautiful Kanda and a blonde scantily-clad woman who has her boobs in his face, eyes heavily lidded with a flushing face, and she looks worn out and her lips are puffy and- Allen can't think very much after that, as he feels like his heart is being torn to pieces with piano wire.

Wow, he thinks, and can practically hear his heart breaking in the evening silence.

Allen turns on his foot, and doesn't notice the hurt that's spread across his pale face; doesn't even hear Kanda utter a startled, "bean sprout?", and Allen finds comfort in the cold of the night.

The only thing he acknowledges as he walks through the silent streets is the ache in his empty chest and the coldness in his stomach.

. .

Allen misses graduation, and hasn't turned up to school in three weeks.

For those long three weeks, Allen curls up under his blankets and sleeps. At least, most of the time he sleeps. He doesn't cry, however, as much as he can feel his body wanting to, and that's only because he has too much pride for that. However girly Cross may claim him to be, he is one-hundred percent, British Born, male.

In those three weeks, he hears the doorbell ring several times. He hears Lavi and Lenalee's worried voices calling to him, persuading him to come down and open the door and let them in. Not once has Allen left his room when they are there.

Though Allen rarely closes his blinds, even when he was sleeping or changing, when he catches Kanda staring into his room, at him, one day he closes them quickly and doesn't open them again.

Sometimes, when Allen is sitting in the lounge or making food in the kitchen, he feels like he's being watched. Every time he gets this feeling, he looks out the windows and catches the briefest glimpse of long black hair and oriental features. A month ago this would have made his heart ache pleasantly, but now it makes him frown and ignore the still beautiful boy next door.

Cross is still not back, so when Allen gets a call at some unholy hour in the morning, he wholeheartedly believes it to be the obnoxious man and almost starts to bicker with him, but then he realizes that a) Cross would not call at 3:14 in the morning as he'd be in a random hotel, in a random bed, with a random girl, and b) Cross is usually not this quiet.

And suddenly Allen's wide awake, as if he hadn't just been having a nice twelve-hour nap, and he's fully aware that he can see Kanda's light on through a gap in his blinds.


The silence that greets him is maddening, and Allen has half the mind to slam the phone down before he hears a sound, like a sharp intake of breath. He hears Kanda's deep uneven breaths, sounding as if he'd just run a mile in the dead of the night.

Something is wrong, so terribly wrong, and Allen feels that familiar ache at the thought that maybe - just maybe - Kanda has come to seek his counsel. It tugs at his heart strings, which he has ignored completely for the past three weeks, and quickly he rips his blinds open, and sees the older boy staring at him through his open window.

Kanda's face is pinched, as if he was in pain, and Allen doesn't fail to notice the way his body is shaking. He's not even wearing a shirt, and had the situation not been so bloody serious, Allen would have taken the time to stare at it. But not now - later, if he's lucky.

"I'll be over in a minute."

It takes longer, however, for Allen to get ready. He takes a quick shower which consists of mostly cold water, and leaves the house in its chaotic state, not even bothering to finish buttoning up his shirt or tie his laces or even pull on his gloves. Christ, he says, "fuck it" loudly before jumping the fence that separates the houses and simply lets himself into Kanda's home.

The next sign of something being wrong is the fact all the lights are on, as if Kanda has been searching for something and hasn't bothered turning them off in his wake. Allen puts it all at the back of his mind, though, that and his current brooding, and takes the stairs two at a time. Allen has never been upstairs, but seeing as the houses were identical, he has a pretty good idea of where Kanda's room was.

When Allen swings the door to Kanda's room open, he finds the boy sitting on the edge of his bed, hair out and curtaining his long face like a shield. It's in this moment that Allen sees the wild and untamed thing that Kanda is, and at first he stands in the doorway, unsure of what to say or do.

Kanda's eyes slide over to him for a second, blank and dark. There is something about the way the boy looks, almost scared and intimidated, that causes a ball of tension to snake into Allen's stomach. Carefully, silently, he makes his way across the room to where Kanda's bed is situated, still not sure if he likes this Kanda. Unsure of what to think. Or say. Or do.

Finally, he decides that sitting down beside Kanda is a gamble worth trying. When Allen sees the tension in Kanda's shoulders ease, he shifts closer, and closer still, until his leg is pressed against the older boys and his shoulder is touching Kanda's biceps. His voice, though light and almost a whisper, sounds disrupting in the silence surrounding them. "Kanda, what happened?"

Almost two minutes pass before Kanda sucks in a shaky breath, hands clenching and unclenching in his lap. "Daisya."

Daisya? Oh, yes. Allen remembers that name - he's Kanda's foster brother, right? The one that hosted the party three weeks ago-

"Yes?" Allen manages, and only just. It's difficult to hold back his feelings for now, but he's doing this all for the sake of the other boy. The way he looks kind of scares Allen. It just- doesn't seem right. Not at all. "Yes, what about Daisya?"

"He's dead."

To be absolutely honest, there is no way to accustom yourself to death. No matter how many times Allen has tried to adjust to the idea of death, he's just not able to. And had someone been there for Allen when Mana died, maybe he'd have known what it was like to be comforted. To be lead as he mourned for a man that only he knew to be kind and loyal and loving.

But Allen has an idea of what it would have been like, to be comforted. He gently pulls Kanda closer, stretching his arm around his shoulders. He embraces him, hums a soft tune that Mana use to sing when they traveled, and rocks the older boy against his body. Kanda's big, he remarks, big and strong and powerful - seeing him like this isn't pitiful or pathetic, it's simply wrong.

The warmth is back, and it gently envelopes Allen - he imagines it enveloping Kanda, too, and with this in mind he embraces the boy tighter. Almost willing them to become one.

And hour later, and Kanda is fast asleep on Allen's shoulder. Allen welcomes the comfortable silence with open arms and an open heart, and hums a lullaby he wishes he could remember properly.

. .

Allen attends Daisya's funeral, holds Lenalee's hand when she begins to cry and excuses herself with Lavi in tow, casts Kanda quick but meaningful glances, and mourns for Daisya.

Kanda is stiff when he helps Marie, Tiedoll and Chaoji lower Daisya's white casket into the earth. The minute the service is over, Allen follows Kanda to his car, where they climb in and embrace the warmth. It was really cold.

Not two seconds later, it begins to pour.

Allen can't explain why, but the anguish around him makes his heart heavy, makes him take a second look at the people around him and wonder, what had he been like? When he stares at Kanda, is that how Cross had stared at him?

No, Allen decides. No, because he and Kanda were different and therefore they reacted differently. Besides, Allen is nothing like Cross.

Staring out the passenger window, Allen closes his eyes and prays, and for once not just for himself.

. .

It's been a year.

After Kanda graduates, Allen finds himself seeing more and more of Kanda and his home, and less and less of school and its stationary walls. The older boy doesn't seem to mind, in all honesty, as he never kicks Allen out. Sure, there are the occasion threats, but they are playful most of the time.

The only time Allen even stays at Cross' home is when the man is home, and therefore wanting food. Cross never asks about school, so Allen never tells him. It's simple - logical even.

The anniversary of Mana's death comes and goes, and though Allen thought it would be hard, he finds himself turning to Kanda in his times of need. Mana's death is number one on his list.

Allen feels different when he's around Kanda, and the warmth that the boy brings is intoxicating. It's not as if Allen is desperate for Kanda's presence, he simply feels more at ease when he's with him. Even so, Kanda knows that Allen is still a fifteen-year-old boy and therefore needs his education.

"Bean sprout," Kanda states, smirk in place on his pretty face. He holds a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, settling both in front of him on the coffee table as he sits at Allen's feet. "Hurry up, you'll be late."

That's stupid, Allen wants to say, but decides against it and huddles against his pillow on the couch. He's taken to sleeping over, another thing Kanda hasn't argued against, and because of it he often sees Kanda at his funniest. Like when he wakes up with terrible bed-head and growls out orders to no one in particular - Allen thinks this is what happens when a teenage boy is left alone in a big house for too long, and is glad he isn't by himself in Cross'.

Of course, he never mentions that this is when he thinks Kanda is the cutest.

Allen can feel Kanda whacking him, but ignores him in for an extra five minutes of sleep. When Kanda gives an impressive whack, however, Allen can't help the yelp he lets out and finally rolls over, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes.

"You're such a pain in the ass, JerKanda," Allen mumbles, still not fully awake. Stretching his arms up rewards Allen with the soft popping of bones, and after a few more stretches he moves on to his legs, which are tangled in his blankets. Only, he can't move them - a certain pain in the ass happens to be sitting on the blankets. "Oi, jerk, move please."

"Pshh, bean sprout," Kanda sneers. "Make me."

For the past three months since Daisya's funeral, Allen's been at Kanda's whenever possible. For the latter two months, he's pretty much lived with the older boy, even though it seems like much longer. Still, there are the moments when Allen realizes he really doesn't know Kanda very well, but has so far shrugged the feeling off. He was happy the way they were now, even if the ache in his chest stated otherwise.

On the other hand, Allen would be lying if he said that he didn't wish something would happen. Allen is absolutely, one-hundred percent sure that Kanda is so goddamn thick and is as dense as metal to not notice Allen's feelings towards him. Hell, Lavi had picked up on it when his infatuation had first started - was Kanda really that slow?

The morning, Allen decides, is simply not the time to go about thinking about things that honestly needed lots of deep thinking, especially when a beautiful japanese boy was mocking you. Allen childishly pokes his tongue at the older boy, and tugs on the blankets until they're free. It's not right that Kanda seems to walk out of the bathroom after half an hour, looking perfect, whereas it took Allen a good hour or so until he looked at least a little presentable. It had to be Kanda's shampoo or something.

An hour later, and Allen is at least a little bit fed [he only ate six pieces of toast, two plates of bacon and eggs and a bowl of cereal] and picks up his messenger bag, pulling it over his shoulder while yawning.

"Enjoy your freedom, JerKanda," Allen waves, stepping out into the summer sun. It's getting hotter everyday, and the british boy remembers that, holy crap, he had a month before summer holidays. Where had time gone?

"Enjoy your education, bean sprout," Allen can hear Kanda's mocking tone.

"The name's Allen, idiot."

"See you, bean sprout."

. .

Allen hates school. There is no other way to put it. He hates it, God he hates it. The only possible good thing about school is the food. And that's saying something.

He's on one of his rants again, two steps away from actually stabbing his textbooks and sacrificing them, seated at the kitchen table with Kanda reading one of his books. At least Kanda has the decency to pretend to listen, only shown by the occasion disagreeing grunts or insults he throws at Allen - but it's okay, he's use to it by now.

After Allen finishes his tiring rant about his English Teacher, who appears to be French or rather, complete with rude hand gestures in the air and mocking tones, he deflates. Picking up his pencil, he spends ten minutes doing one maths equation, not because he's dumb, it's just...hard to focus when the person he happened to have taken a fancy to was sitting across from him.

And maybe the question is a little difficult, but that's besides the point.

Summer holidays. Allen wondered what Kanda would be doing; spending his time at home or maybe working? To be honest, Allen can't really picture Kanda doing a temporary job like being a gas attendant or a check-out boy. The jobs seem too tedious, and surely Kanda would get so frustrated that he'd probably blow up the store or service station. But what job can Allen imagine him doing?

"Take a picture, it'll last longer."

Okay, oops. Allen flushes a little, embarrassed, and turns. Nine times out of ten Kanda catches Allen staring at him, which is a total accident most of the time but- he can't help it. Allen's eyes just seem to focus and zoom in on the boy whenever he's in the same vicinity as him. It's totally not his fault.

Kanda cocks an eyebrow, and Allen really wonders how someone can be this dense. Christ.

"Erm," the flush is dying a little, so that only Allen's ears are red. "S-so." God, he really is pulling at strings here, before metaphorically clapping delightedly as he remembers the reason for his zoning out. "Summer holidays soon!"

Now Kanda's eyebrows appear to be having a competition to see which one can reach his hairline first. Which is kind of funny but Allen was trying to be serious here, dammit.

"Yeah, so?"

"Well," what was he suppose to say? Actually, Kanda, I'd like to know whether or not you have plans for the holidays, and if not - hey, want to continue this little charade we have going on? Because I'm sure you're too goddamn dense and stupid to realize that I actually might have a big thing for you but we can spend the entire summer trying to bring you to that conclusion? "Um."

This, apparently, isn't the right thing Kanda wants to hear, because he tch's at Allen and draws his attention back to his book. Allen swears Kanda's book collection is getting more action than he is, especially with the older boy, and decides right then and there that his goal for the summer will be to pull him away from his bloody books. Even if it kills him.

It must be his sudden anger, because the connection between Allen's brain and his mouth is momentarily cut off, and without meaning to he opens his mouth and starts spouting words he should have thought about first. "I just wanted to know if you were busy during the summer and maybe we could hang out and do stuff!"

The minute Allen's mouth clamps shut, a sense of humiliation swells up in his entire being, and for once he agrees wholeheartedly with Cross and Kanda's constant remarks on his stupidity.

"Fine." Kanda's voice is dismissive, almost like he'd been waiting for Allen to say something along those lines. Allen is too bloody embarrassed and red faced to notice the smirk Kanda hides behind his book. "Whatever."

. .

"Freedom!" Lenalee punches the sky, sighing delightfully as she falls into the soft grass on Kanda's front yard. She turns her head and grins at Allen. "Isn't it great?"

It is, actually. It's amazing. But Allen has other things on his mind, like a certain beautiful japanese boy whom he was suppose to be doing 'stuff' and 'hanging out' with. What the hell did that mean anyway?

Lenalee, with her amazing female intuition and general brain usage, gives Allen a look of, 'oh God - do tell!'. Allen kind of wants to ignore it, but decides against his better judgement and tells her anyway. At the end of his long explanation over something that could've taken two minutes instead of fifteen to say, she gives Allen a look of pure awe.

"Allen," she says, like she was somehow amazed at being in his mere presence. "You sly dog!"

Allen really doesn't under how letting his mouth run wild can warrant being called a 'sly dog', but obviously this is from a female perspective. God, Allen really doesn't understand the female mind. Just thinking about Kanda long enough makes him want to explode, never mind the many things females must think about.

"The only problem is, er," Allen grins sheepishly, scratching the back of his head for lack of anything else to do. "I have no clue what to do. With Kanda."

Lenalee lets out a giggle, and wiggles her eyebrows suggestively just like Lavi would've. It earns her an embarrassed squawk from Allen, whose face is putting Lavi's red hair to shame, and a low, "Lenalee!"

"I know, I know," she flops her hands across her stomach, lying back as she looks up at the sky. "But seeing you get worked up is hella'funny, if you get me. Should've seen your face!"

It's about here that Allen realizes that, yes, she's been hanging out with Lavi way too much. That was a problem Allen was going to have to fix, before anything drastic happened.

"Well, I suppose I could help," Lenalee smiles, just like the sun the day Kanda saved Allen's british ass from being kicked back to his country of birth. "What're friends for?"

. .

Lenalee is an evil, evil woman, Allen concludes, and vows that though her advice is sound and helpful, doing things like serenading Kanda with flowers and showing up randomly in Kanda's bed is definitely not the way to go about his infatuation. If anything, that would probably do more damage than good, and right now there is no hope for Allen and Kanda if things start going down.

A few days into the holidays finds Allen lazily waking up on Kanda's couch, stretching his legs a little like a cat and yawning. It's only eleven o'clock, Allen discovers after close inspection of the DVD player, which means that Kanda must be up because the day the japanese boy slept in past seven o'clock would be the day the four horsemen of the Apocalypse knocked on Allen's door. And it was only the first week of the summer, so Allen really hopes he gets to spend at least a little of it relaxing.

Not to mention what in the world Allen was suppose to plan with Kanda.

After a while of simply staring up at the ceiling and sorting through his thoughts, Allen crawls out from under his blankets and pulls on a shirt and shorts - he's taken to sleeping in boxers only since the weather made him feel like he was in a sauna - and pads around the lower parts of the house, searching for a certain beautiful boy.

Allen finds Kanda in the backyard, playing with his black labrador, who Allen discovers is named Mugen. The dog gives Allen a scathing look, but is distracted by the soft pet that Kanda gives him. Its in these instances, Allen also finds out, that Kanda is his most sweetest, and only with Mugen.

That was another thing that was going to be put down on Allen's 'pull-Kanda-away-from' list, including Kanda's book collection. Allen reckoned if he was lucky, he could re-direct Kanda's attention.

"Bean sprout," Kanda greets him. Wow, Allen thinks, and has a hard time focusing his eyes on the older boys face and not his exposed chest. That's another thing, too, as Allen sometimes stumbles upon a shirtless Kanda and it's really quite distracting.

"It's Allen," the boy corrects.

"Bean sprout."


Kanda rolls his eyes, mutters something under his breath that sounds an awful lot like 'idiot' before he picks up a green cross-shaped soft toy. Throwing it as hard as he can in the wide backyard, both boys watch as Mugen chases it with vigor, before settling down to chew on it. Times like these Allen misses Timcanpy.

"What're we doing today, sprout?" Kanda asks, looking over his - very attractive - shoulder at the younger boy, smirking. "Anything exciting?"

Sometimes, infatuation aside, Allen really does wonder how in the world he got himself into this situation. If it were up to Allen, he'd settle down for an ice cream and a film, but Kanda doesn't like sweet things and apparently owns no films whatsoever, even if he does own a DVD player. How much sense did that make?

"Um," Allen scratches the bridge of his nose, right in between his eyes, face contorted into his thinking-face. "I don't know. What do you wanna do?"

There it is again, the face that Kanda pulls when Allen knows the older boy is calling him an idiot in his mind. God.

"Fine!" Allen throws his arms into the air, defeated. "How about we just hang out- er, here?"

The older boy raises an eyebrow at Allen, and shrugs. Like he didn't really care what happened. "Whatever."

. .

The first time they kiss it's at a party.

It's at Lavi's house, which is big and full of so many books its pretty much its own state library, and only because of a dare that Lenalee had made them, giggling all the while. Allen really didn't get it, how they could all be high school students and be playing Truth or Dare like they were at a slumber party.

However, at the time this is not the thought he has in mind, because right then there is alcohol swimming pleasantly through his veins, so he's a little buzzed. Kanda's had a few, too, probably more than Allen, but he's obviously able to hold his liquor better than the younger boy.

They're all sitting in a wide circle, an empty beer bottle positioned in the middle, and the tip of the bottle is pointed at Allen menacingly. But Allen can't think straight, anyway, and when the words 'kiss Kanda' fall off of Lenalee's tongue the only thing Allen can actually think to say is, "sure!", like he was that eager.

Everyone is in awe as Allen makes his way over on his hands and knees to where Kanda is sitting, crawls into the older boys lap and smiles timidly as he pulls Kanda's face down by the tails of his hair, and presses their lips together gently.

When he pulls back, smiling at Lenalee like the tipsy fifteen-year-old that he is, she and Lavi are doubling over on each other, laughter filling their side of the circle. At the confused frown Allen shoots them, Lavi holds up a polaroid camera.

In the two seconds it took Allen to sober up, he's turned in Kanda's lap and dived across the room, where he's making grabbing motions at Lavi's throat. It's not fair, though, when Lenalee plucks the polaroid photograph from Lavi's fingers and runs away as fast as she can - and everyone knows that Lenalee is on the track team, so Allen has absolutely no chance in heaven or hell of catching up to her.

Now, Allen concludes, not only is Lenalee Satan in designer boots, but Lavi will replace her at her throne if she needed to be somewhere.

. .

The next day, Allen wakes up at- wow, eight-thirty to the sound of the cordless phone ringing from a direction that he can't quite pinpoint. After much digging, though, Allen finds it underneath him in between the couch cushions.

"Hey, Allen!" Lenalee's voice is bright and cherry, and Allen really does wonder how she knew it'd be him who picked up Kanda's home phone. "Wanna go to a movie? There's a horror movie I'm dying to see, and Lavi said he'd come! What'dya say?"

I say sleep and humiliation, Allen's mind supplies, because he's certainly not forgotten what happened last night, and maybe Lenalee can hear this in the way that he sighs over the phone.

"Oh, come on! Lavi and I are sorry about what we did last night, okay? I'll even get rid of the picture, if it makes you happy?"

...actually, now that Allen thought about it, he kind of wanted to see that photo. But, that was for another time - right now he had Lenalee to deal with.

"Fine." Allen finally caves, raking a hand through his messy hair and tugging at a few strands that block his sight. "What time?"

"Eleven?" the boy hums an affirmative. "Cool. Hey, why don't you ask Kanda if he wants to come? Tell him the movies full of blood and stuff, it'll probably peak his interest."

And Allen laughs at the girl, because - knowing Kanda - it probably would.

"I'll see you at eleven, Lenalee." Allen says as he hangs up, throwing the phone into the pile of blankets on his makeshift bed. Yawning, he pulls himself out of the covers and pads around the lower level of Kanda's house, completely forgetting about putting on pants or even a shirt.

Finally, he finds Kanda sitting down at the breakfast table, reading the same book from before and frowns. It's not until Kanda turns to look at him, though, that he really does regret not finding a shirt.

Because Allen really never had pinned Kanda as being the eye-molesting type, but it seems that the minute the older boys eye land on him and all his bare skin, they don't move again.

[In the back of his head, Allen briefly wonders what Kanda's face looked like when they, um, kissed last night. Now he really wants to see that photograph.]

At the forefront of his mind, however, he's having a little panic attack because- though comfortable with it -Allen realizes Kanda's actually never seen how far up his black arm travels, and almost immediately he pulls it around his back and begins to back out of the kitchen slowly.

His chest gives a tight squeeze when Kanda frowns and calls, "bean sprout?"

Allen looks away though, because he can't see the look of disgust on Kanda's face; he doesn't think his heart will be able to take that kind of abuse. He's become so accustom to it from others- from strangers, teachers, doctors and nurses and other patients -that even though people think he must be use to the look, and he really is, if Kanda looks at him like that, he won't-

And Allen gasps suddenly, because he hasn't felt someone grab at his black, cursed arm since. Since Mana was alive and-

"Bean sprout," Kanda repeats, leaning over the shorter boy and when Allen blinks down at his own arm, he feels it being held in Kanda's bigger hand and- wow. Wow, no one else has ever touched his arm in almost ten years.

He blinks.

Blinks again.

Blinks a third time because this is obviously a dream, Kanda would never outright go and. And touch him, right?

Kanda's never touched him.

Somewhere deep in his chest comes a warm ache, Allen's heart and stomach switch places and he feels sick, almost faint, on this. Feeling blooming so hard in him that.

That he does something very, very stupid and leans up on his toes, presses his mouth against Kanda's and everything goes to hell because Allen is really, really stupid.

The first way Allen knows everything has gone to hell is how he feels Kanda drop his arm.

The second is the way that Kanda tenses up, mouth slack against Allen and why hasn't he pulled away yet?

And the third? The way Kanda's big, strong arms [the shorter boy realizes with a sick kind of fascination that he's described the Japanese boy with what is, no doubt, a very feminine, girly perspective] are wrapping around Allen's waist and wait what. What?

The tenseness that Allen felt before is suddenly gone, and the slack mouth that he'd been pressed against rather timidly is now pressing back with equal enthusiasm, and the hands on his naked waist settle comfortably and pull Allen close, flush against Kanda and.


And- "Yuu!"

And Allen breaks away quickly, feeling a little dazed and dizzy, eyes swimming and warm ache in his chest growing warmer and warmer.

He's dreamed about this moment, has seen it in his inner mind theatre over and over again, imagined how he would kiss Kanda or how it would happen or where. But now that it's happened, he's a little shocked and a lot dazed and wow. Wow.

Truth be told, he never thought it would actually happen.


The feeling in his chest blooms again and he wonders if Kanda feels it, too.

"Woah, what's goin' on in here?" asks a voice, and Allen turns to see Lavi and Lenalee standing in the hallway behind him. A red flush creeps up his neck, and part of him dies a little at their knowing look and wiggling eyebrows.

Instead, he leans his head against Kanda's chest- smiles a little when the older boy stiffens, but doesn't pull away -and waves his black hand Lavi and Lenalee's way. "We'll be ready in a minute."

. .

An hour later finds Allen sitting beside Kanda in an almost empty theatre, and he'd be a liar if he could say he was actually watching the movie.

He'd be even more of a liar if he could say he wasn't actually watching the beautiful boy sitting beside him.

Lavi is sitting on the edge of his seat, popcorn near tipping on his lap while Lenalee laughs and points and prods at the redhead.

Kanda is staring, bored, at the screen, but Allen can tell he's watching it.

Almost an hour into the movie, and almost three boxes of popcorn later, Allen feels a timid feeling spread through his chest as Kanda accidentally brushes his hand against Allen's, tapping gently on the back of his dark [gloved] hand, before settling down.

Allen wonders if this is what it feels like to be whole again.

. .

The first time Allen and Kanda sleep in the same bed is almost a month later, after more timid touches and awkward moments in the morning; of Allen waking up with more confidence with his arm and now, almost, he doesn't really mind when Kanda picks it up at the breakfast table and turns it over.

It's kind of nice, to be honest, in a stupid, girly way.

And it's gotten even warmer over the holidays, so being able to wear less was, in some way, also nice.

But the first time Allen and Kanda share a bed is during another huge storm, much like the one that caused Allen to go to his house the first time, and it's only because the older boy refused to leave Mugen outside.

And it wouldn't of been so bad, really, but there was no way Allen would be able to sleep even a little with Mugen barking the way he was, especially when the dog licked his face and Allen jumped so high he was sure the entire neighborhood had heard the thump.

So Allen picks up his blankets, choosing to leave his clothes messily thrown on the couch like so many other nights, and silently makes his way upstairs, to the spare he knows once belonged to Daisya. He stares at the door, a little skeptical and apprehensive, before sighing and turning to walk down the hall to the room he knows is still occupied.

Quietly, he knocks on Kanda's door, and waits for the grunt that he knows follows.

"Kanda?" he whispers, opening the door and finding the boy still up, curled up at the top of his bed reading a book. He blinks. "Oh, I didn't mean to-"

"What's wrong, bean sprout? Scared of a storm again?"

"Shut up, jerk!" Allen scowls, and cherishes the smirk the older boy throws his way. "I was just, um. Wondering."

And Kanda rolls his eyes skyward, like he's calling Allen an idiot and a bean sprout and lots of other mean words he likes to use for the other, but shuffles over a little bit and gives Allen a pointed look.

When Allen simply stands in the doorway, like an idiot and a moron and everything else he could call himself right then, Kanda gives him another pointed look. That calls him lots of mean, mean things.

"Fine!" Allen stomps over to the bed, ungracefully dumps his blanket on it before crawling underneath and maybe trying to see how close he can get to the older boy without him noticing.

He gets to about three inches from where, if he reached out a little bit more, he could just brush Kanda's hip with the tips of his fingers, and with this thought in mind he settles down into the warmth spreading through his chest; feels it tickle at his insides and he swears the tiny content sigh that comes out of his mouth is definitely at the warmth of the bed and not that of the boy beside him.

Allen wonders how deep he's going to get, before shrugging it off and closing his eyes.

. .

Allen has always been a strange sleeper; could sleep through the most awful earthquakes or the one time he slept through a fire down a block from his old home, sirens and police and people screaming horrors at each other.

He wakes up to black outs and thunderstorms and knows when something bad is going to happen; remembers waking up from a terrifying nightmare and crawling into bed with Mana and realizing, with a sick kind of humor, that he wasn't dreaming.

That the nightmare was real.

This is what, Allen thinks, wakes him up almost four hours later- four hours after crawling into bed with Kanda and he thinks, wow, because he never thought in a hundred years that he'd wake up sleeping beside the beautiful boy next door.

The ache in his chest tickles at his insides, and he almost sighs in absolute content.


Shuffling closer, Allen falls back into what has to be the best sleep in his small, small life.

. .

The next day Allen wakes up to the first rays of the sun filtering through Kanda's shitty off-cream curtains, dawn still upon him and with a quick look at the electric clock beside him on the bedside table, he sees 5:38 and almost bangs his head on the small table. Why is he awake?

He attempts to crawl out from the deliciously warm covers, shuffles away from the dead weight beside him before he realizes that, suddenly, he can't move any further.

The arms that Allen swears up and down were not there before around his waist tug until Allen is pressed, flush, his chest against Kanda's chest, the older boys nose digging into Allen's collarbone.

A slow flush is creeping up the boy's neck, and all Allen sees is Kanda's milky flesh and he's suddenly, painfully, aware of how hard he is and thinks, shit, because that's the only thing to think when you're in this kind of situation, right?

And the worst part is the tiny, little moan that comes out of Allen's mouth when Kanda stretches against him, and he's sure Kanda should be awake because there's no way in hell the older boy can not feel something pressed against his hip.

Maybe the God's have smiled upon him, Allen thinks with slight hope. Maybe, if he slides away carefully, he can get away before Kanda really wakes up-

"Bean sprout."

... Or not.

"Uh." Allen says intelligently, and flushes something wicked at the close proximity to the others face. He really shouldn't be able to count Kanda's surprisingly long, girly eyelashes. That was just. No.

"... Bean sprout." Kanda says again, and Allen wonders briefly if his stupidity has finally moved on to other life forms and has taken over his- his? -beautiful boy and-



"K-Kanda?" the white-haired boy whispers, and feels something hard against his inner thigh, finally notices the way their legs are tangled in the sheets, and almost- almost -whimpers when the older boy presses into him a little bit. "Ah-"

Kanda grunts and looks away briefly, colors prettily and Allen thinks, beautiful before pulling his face back around; presses their lips together softly and sighs through his nose when Kanda presses back after a pause.

It's fulfilling and wonderful and so many other things that Allen just- can't put into proper words, at least not without sounding very, very weird and a little love sick and maybe like a girl which he most definitely is not.

Then Kanda rolls his hips and the gasp that flitters out of Allen gives the other boy enough room to press even more, licking into Allen's mouth and this is probably the most erotic thing to ever, ever, happen to the british boy.

And Kanda whispers, "fuck", against the flesh of Allen's neck, rolls his hips into the smaller boy and Allen-

Comes, with an embarrassing whine dying in his throat and thinks, God, kill me now I don't care just no kill me. Like. Now. Oh my god, and covers his face with his hands and prays to God for something like death to come upon him because that was down right. Embarrassing. Wow.

[Don't get him wrong, it was wonderful and amazing and if Kanda didn't walk out right now out of shame for the both of them then he would be more than keen to try it again. With less clothes, maybe. And more warning.]

Instead, Kanda barks something that sounds like a laugh against Allen's chest and the shame dies down, a little, because the taller boy isn't walking out on him. Yet.

He's laughing, which is something Allen would have never thought possible, but he's not leaving.

Finally, after Allen feels he's been sufficiently shamed and his pants start to get sticky, he shoves Kanda's shoulders, scowls and says, without much venom, "Get off!"

Kanda smirks, and says, "you already did."

. .

Two months later, and Allen thinks he may be in love.

Not. Not love. But Love love. Real Love.

And he may be knee deep in it.

. .

Allen graduates, only barely, but he does and it's wonderful. Oddly, Allen never thought it would have mattered so much, but it did and he's glad he at least managed that in his small, small life.

Lenalee takes Allen's hand as the students are set free from the bonds of high school and skips [well, she skips, Allen drags along like a little rag doll] across the grass and pumps a fist into the air.

"We made it!" she says, almost sings, and twirls the white-haired boy in her arms. She's so happy, Allen knows, because this is what Komui has always wanted for her and well. She's very happy.

Allen smiles. "We did."

"How are we gonna celebrate?" she asks, an hour later, when they've collected all their things and walking to Kanda's house. [Lavi promised a party, as per usual, and said to go to the older boys because it would be easier for Allen.]

[This would not have been so embarrassing, if Lavi hadn't wiggled his eyebrows like he sometime does and given the shorter boy a knowing smirk.]

"Let's go to New York." Allen says, because he's always wanted to see a real building, like the ones you see in generic Hollywood action movies, and he's suddenly very excited by the thought. "Let's go to New York. I hear they have amazing cheesecake."

"Food, Allen? Is that all you think about?" Lenalee laughs anyway.

"Yes." No. I think about Kanda. All the time.

"Then we should go to New York." The taller girl says with a smile.

. .

"Cheesecake?" Lavi blinks at the mention of New York from Lenalee, who dumps her stuff in his arms the minute they walk into Kanda's house. Allen is suddenly very regretful of what he said earlier and almost, almost, wishes he hadn't said anything.

Almost, because Allen doesn't lie about food very often.

"Cheesecake, bean sprout." Kanda says, smirking around his cup of tea and Allen almost wants to say, shut up, Jerkanda before he remembers why Kanda's all smirks and not scowls today.

Turns out, Kanda's quite a gift giver when he's in the mood, or Allen manages to graduate. Allen's had to divert his thoughts all day when he thinks about how Kanda woke up him this morning, the jerk.

"Yes, cheesecake." Allen says, just as snooty, if not a little flushed across the face.


"Shut up, JerKanda."

"Up yours, bean sprout."

Already did that, Allen's face reddens. Kanda smirks a little broader.

"You guys are cute when you act all lovey dovey!" Lavi comments, and earns himself a clip to the jaw. "Hn, that's not very nice, Yuu-babe. Oh!"

And quickly, almost as if he's afraid of what Kanda might do next so he goes to stand beside Lenalee, the redhead pulls a piece of paper that- oh- oh dear God-

"Remember this, Allen?" the taller boy grins, and waves a photograph in the british boys face. "What, it's been a year?"

Allen's face goes even redder, if possible.

Kanda rolls his eyes skywards, frown still permanent, but there's something like resolve and acceptance and something else that Allen can't quite figure out, not just yet, there. It makes his heart swell and his face pale a little bit.

"So, cheesecake?" the older boy asks, as if they were the only ones in the room.

Allen grins. "Cheesecake."

. .