Collector

By Uniasus


She collected broken things – ripped up teddy bears and non-ticking clocks. And then she fixed them. Time Record was better at than she was, her innocence's work was flawless, but if she did things manually the repairs lasted longer.

Her collection grew when she joined the Black Order, but she found herself acquiring people instead of items. There were so many broken people in her new home, and not broken in ways Matron could heal. Broken in mind, in soul, in heart. She was good at fixing broken things, not so much at fixing broken people.

That's not to say she didn't try.

But it was hard. Her tools were thread and needles, tape and paint. She didn't know where to begin to fix her fellow exorcists. After all, she'd never been able to fix herself either.

Lavi had no heart. Or at least, he almost didn't have a heart. She could see it beat sometimes when he looked the way he did when a comrade was injured, when he was told he'd never see Allen again, when Lenalee didn't return to the ship. But it was a stifled heart, surrounded by bands of steel that kept constricting, forcing his heart to become smaller and smaller. She could tell it was a painful process, how his face would be both empty and haunted after serious talks with his mentor.

Destroying your own heart, what a sad thing.

But, it was something he chose. Something that if he really wanted to, Lavi could have walked away from. But he hadn't. And even after all that he had been through in his time at the Order, the red head still didn't show signs of not wanting to be a Bookman.

She wanted to help him, but the only thought that come to her mind was to crush his heart faster, stop drawing out the pain. But she didn't know how to do that, and more critically she didn't want too. Fixing things was supposed to make them work, and for people to work, shouldn't they be happy? A heartless Lavi, even one willingly made, she wasn't positive that would make him happy.

Kanda had no future. She couldn't tell what it was, or how she knew, but there was something in his past that he clung too. He clung to it so tightly he didn't truly belong in the present. He didn't pay attention to his peers; he ignored their joys and concerns and asked that they do the same for him.

He didn't see Lavi's attempts to befriend him, didn't see Lenalee's posturing or short skirt. She thought he saw Allen from time to time, but than realized all Kanda saw was a roadblock, a nuisance so persistent it had to be strongly dealt with. He couldn't see that they all thought of him as a comrade, a friend. All he saw was the past; some simple, tiny part of it that he kept reaching for.

She was Mistress of Time, Controller of the Clock, and knew better than anyone what while history can catch up to, things can never be what they once were. What Kanda was looking for? He'd never find it. Not like how he imagined.

And what was the point of pining for a time in history when tomorrow might not come? They had all been injured, grievously so, but Kanda didn't mind. He didn't mind the cuts and stabs, the blood and gore. It was like he didn't believe there was something waiting for him next week, next month, next year, or at the end of the war. With no future to look towards, there was no reason for him to try to not die.

If Allen, Lenalee, and Lavi couldn't help Kanda, what could she do? She couldn't create a future for him, he probably wouldn't like it. But maybe if she forced him to at least be in the present, to look around him and see. Allen was doing that, so it was possible, but she didn't like the idea of having Mugen pointed at her all the time. But the nightmares of Kanda dying and not caring, or of his crumbled face when he realized the past he wanted would never come, still haunted her in the night.

Crowley had no self-worth. He didn't see himself as useless, but he saw himself as unliked and stupid. He got lost, couldn't identify a street scam, and scared most people who saw him. Villagers would run away, curse him, and she could see the weight on his shoulder every time he returned from an unfriendly mission.

They were all unfriendly.

Even in love, he was worthless. The woman he adored declared him to be a tool, and even now that's all he saw himself good at. He feasted on akuma blood, could suck the poison out of his comrades, was an exorcist. But he obeyed orders to a T, like a good little solider. Tools had to work well to be liked after all.

Central's similar views didn't help matters either.

She knew how to fix Crowley, she was broken in a similar way, so she smiled at him, praised him. It delighted her to no end to see the way he light up whenever he received a complement from herself, Allen, or Lavi.

But it was a light that quickly burnt out, and she hoped she could fix him before it was too late.

Lenalee lacked courage. She was always, always so afraid. The teen was good at hiding it, but then again the people who left on missions never saw her face after they left. It was a horrible thing to look at, full of empty eyes and pale skin. The face of someone scared.

She wasn't too sure what Lenalee was scared of at first and guessed that it was the idea that her friends wouldn't return safely, but deep down Lenalee wasn't that selfless. Her world had crumbled before, with her parents death and her forced move to the Order. She almost didn't make it through. And now, with a personal world so much larger, the Chinese girl knew its demise would hurt even more.

The acts cloaked in courage, like taking on the level 3 and drinking her innocence, where because she was scared to lose her world, scared to face what the destruction of a part of it would mean to her. She lacked the courage to pull through it, to not stand on her own feet and rely on herself. Because, she wasn't very good. An exorcist who hated God, she wouldn't get very many blessings. So she believed in luck, and hoped it never left.

It could have been an easy fix, place her in a situation where she had no option but to learn to deal and put aside her fear from time to time, if it not always. But there was always the chance training mimicking such a situation would kill her.

But none were as broken as Allen.

Allen had no trust. He didn't trust his smiles to be real, to hide what they should. He didn't trust his mind to not betray him, his soul to not fade away or be eaten. He didn't trust his father's love anymore, never held such a feeling for his master. And he didn't trust himself to win. Tyki had come back after all, and if his own parents had abandoned him at birth how could he trust that everyone else wouldn't either? His childhood was shattered, and in the present life he was watched like a traitor. It was no wonder why he didn't trust himself.

And worse, she couldn't help him at all because he didn't trust in her abilities enough to think she could. He didn't think any of them could. He used to pick off akuma with his eye before they could; forcing his arm to started to fall apart.

Allen didn't even trust them to kill him when the time came down to it, when the Fourteenth took over. She knew because she found the pills in his uniform jacket.

He was right, no one would be able to kill him. They cared too much. Trusted him to win too much. If only he could see it.

She tried offering her services, could see the others try too, but it still didn't work. And he didn't notice that they knew his smiles were fake. She pretended they were real, she didn't need for him to have his lack of trust in them confirmed, and maybe forcing herself to buy into them would give Allen a bit of trust to himself. Lenalee, Lavi, and Crowley helped. Kanda just ignored it.

Nothing she did worked – she was useless, cursed, ugly, Miranda. Collector and fixer of broken things; collector and witness to the breaking of people.


A/N: Just a little story that popped into my mind that I wrote this weekend. I still think it gets worse as you read on, I really love Lavi's section, but that was the one that forced me to write this to begin with...

Anyways, I went to a steampunk convention yesterday, and as DGM takes place in the same time span, I can't get the idea of a steampunk Order costume out of my mind. XD