It's like an explosion every time I hold ya
Wasn't jokin' when I told ya
You take my breath away
You're a supernova
And I'm a spacebound—
Chapter two: Rocketship
"…Is this truly necessary?" Allen asked, slightly put off at how he wasn't entitled to his opinion.
"Yes," Cross smirked, dragging a smoke from his cigarette. "Quite bitching and get in the car, brat!"
"But I can take care of myself!" he protested. "I'm already eleven—"
"I thought you were six," his infuriating guardian paused, and then the taunting expression darkened. "No means no, kid. You're definitely not legal to stay alone at home for a week, and I sure as hell don't want those fucking custodians coming after me because you wet the bed."
Allen's face was flushed an unhealthy red.
"Get in the car," Cross tapped the steering wheel impatiently. "Or I'll ground you."
"That's not much of a threat considering you are abandoning me," he sulked, clambering into the front seat with reluctance.
Cross rolled his eyes at the dramatics. "I sure as hell ain't abandoning you. I'm just leaving for a while to sort out the new job."
Oh yes, how could Allen forget the day where in Cross slammed the front door open with great gusto and the most smug expression—perhaps happy—that he ever witnessed on the womanizing bastard face, the red haired man declared that he finally quit his quote fucking quote job.
That included a mental breakdown for Allen because there were debts to cover and his guardian wasn't getting paid and he was still wasting it on booze and women and oh my god he was going to have to do odd jobs or sell himself—but Cross waved off his worries like it didn't even matter.
A month later his school called to say his fees weren't paid and he knew Cross was just wasting his life away in the brothel. He complained this to Lenalee in passing over the phone one day, and that led to Komui being dragged in the situation—and finally Cross realised the brat wasn't lying at that they were running low on money.
So, it ended up to the current situation where he was going to be carted off to the Lee's residence like a pet while Cross insisted he had to attend to god knows what for his new career. Allen only knew Cross was trying to enter the fashion industry, but he didn't know exactly what his guardian was trying to do. Considering Cross was formerly a forensic scientist, the sudden change in industry was totally off, and he was so convinced that Cross was going to fail and end up with more debts.
"I thought you like Lee's kid," Cross was saying as they drove towards the Lee's residence.
Lenalee and he had gotten closer over the next few months—most of the time it was because Cross kept bitching to Komui about his godforsaken job, and it was much better playing Monopoly or Game of Life with her than to listen to his guardian insult him. They even shared the same tastes in music, and once Komui stumbled upon them sharing headphones and he got the fright of his life when a mini robot started to chase him out of nowhere. Thankfully Lenalee wasn't too pleased at the disturbance and managed to shoo the robot and her brother away.
"Lenalee's fine," he agreed. But her brother isn't. "But…aren't we freeloading too much on them?"
"Oh Little Lee volunteered for you, so be grateful," Cross shrugged. If someone wanted to take care of his burden voluntarily, then he was all for it.
Allen smiled at the sentence, because it just showed how Lenalee was so entirely generous to a fault. He couldn't really comprehend how unselfish the girl was—right from the start when he met her, she was all smiles and warmth. And then as he talked to her more, she only ever made him laugh, made him forget that he looked different. She didn't mind the scar, the arm, or the now blindingly distracting white hair. In fact, she even suggested to him to dye his eyebrows white (a part where he overlooked), and grinned brighter when he returned the next time following her suggestion.
But staying with her—at her house—drew a bit of hesitation.
She was his friend, perhaps his first and only friend, but was he really that close with her? Close enough to the point that he was staying over…and for a week at that? It felt weird, suddenly to intrude on her private life, and then there was Komui who now seemed to throw him suspicious looks when Lenalee wasn't looking.
"We're here," Cross suddenly announced, snapping him out of his thoughts.
Allen helped himself out of the car, and stumbled when his bag of clothes hit him roughly in the chest.
"Now, I don't want Lee crying to me about how you're such a brat and begging me to take you home—because I won't," his guardian warned, and Allen huffed his cheeks. "I'll be back in a few days."
"Yes, Shishou," he mumbled dejectedly.
Cross paused for a moment. "…I'm not going to get gunned and die."
The first two days went past faster than he expected. Komui dropped him off at school before heading towards Lenalee's school, he managed to catch the bus back and had dinner with the Lee family. It was almost unnervingly normal how they ate with comfortable banter at the dining table—and it certainly felt like he had a family.
Komui had repeated again his threat about having impure thoughts of his precious sister to which he vehemently denied—he was only eleven for god's sake, he wasn't Cross—and Komui didn't set another robot after him even if he was playing a card game with Lenalee alone in the living room.
He was given quite generously a room of his own—it was rather small considering it wasn't meant to be used as a guest room but it was doable, and he wasn't about to complain when he was being fed and sheltered for free.
If only he had met the Lees when he was out in the streets—he would have given anything for decent food and shelter.
On the third day after dinner, Lenalee dragged him to her room.
"Allen, what do you think of this?" Lenalee smiled at him sweetly, holding up a white shirt.
But the said shirt had a sort of ruffles at the collar with a bit of lace, and frankly it he didn't think it would look good on him, even if Lenalee was shoving it in front of him whilst smiling at the mirror reflection. Allen coughed, trying to think of a way to decline such that he wouldn't break her enthusiasm.
"It's…too girly," he eventually responded, making his tone light in order not to offend.
Lenalee chuckled, bringing the shirt in front of her. "On me, silly," she shook her head at his indignant cough that he did not just make an embarrassing mistake. "What do you think?"
Now that he looked properly, the collar was done much like a lolita fashion that certainly couldn't have been for males. Lenalee was waiting expectantly for his answer as she blinked owlishly at him.
"Lenalee!" Komui shrieked from the open door of Lenalee's room, causing both of them to jump for neither heard the door open. "What are you doing?" he asked suspiciously, eyeing his little sister and the boy who stood awkwardly next to her.
"I'm just asking Allen for his opinion," Lenalee replied with a sigh, trooping towards the door. "Nii-san, can you stop barging in every ten minutes?"
"But Lenalee—" Komui tried to protest, but under the unimpressed look the younger Lee was sending him, he faltered. "I'm just trying to make sure that this boy—"
"Allen is not doing anything but giving me advice," she insisted, shooing her brother out. "Don't you have work to do?"
"Are you trying to procrastinate your paperwork again?"
Almost like a kicked puppy, Komui grudgingly shut the door and left them alone in the room. Allen let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, rubbing his deformed arm out of habit.
"Sorry about that," Lenalee apologised, taking back her place next to him. "He gets a little overbearing, but I can tell he's warming up to you."
A little overbearing was quite an understatement actually. He envied her a lot—to have someone that cared for her so blatantly. But still, she had brother who loved her till the point where it was nearly suffocating, and the amazing thing was that she didn't exactly complain, instead, it was like she treasured it all.
"So you think this is fine?" Lenalee asked again, looking thoughtfully at her reflection. "Or this?" she rummaged in her closet and pulled out a similar shirt, but this time in black.
Allen really didn't get where she was going with this asking him for fashion advice, so he settled for asking. "What is this for?"
"Oh! I must've been worrying about it so much that I forgot to tell you," Lenalee grinned sheepishly, hanging both shirts back into the closet. "I'm actually going for an audition tomorrow," she explained. "A modelling audition," she elaborated at his blank look. "I've gotten a few gigs here and there but I'm still not that good where they'd pick me immediately…" she trailed off. "But anyway, I'm going to try my best!"
Allen nodded slowly, recalling that Lenalee was doing some part time modelling. "It is hard?"
"Modelling?" Lenalee mused, thinking thoughtfully. "It gets tiring sometimes. But I like wearing new clothes, and I like being in front of the camera. It's kind of fun," she glanced towards her closed door and lowered her tone. "Actually, I was thinking of quitting school to go into modelling full time," she admitted.
"Wow," Allen blinked. "That's pretty serious."
"Uh-huh. Nii-san will throw a fit but…"
"…But it's something you really want to do?" he supplied helpfully.
"Yeah," she shot him a brilliant smile. "I just feel this is it for me, you know?"
"Hmm…" he couldn't exactly say he understood, because he didn't' really know what he wanted to do with his life. "It must be nice to know what you want to do...I'm sure you'll do great and be famous."
"Sure," he replied smiling. "You're pretty, Lenalee. And it's hard not to like you."
Lenalee raised an eyebrow at him. "You're just saying that to flatter me, aren't you? Trying to get into my good books before I get famous?" she teased, nudging his ribs.
"Just don't forget your first supporter when you do," he grinned back.
She chuckled, a wide smile on her lips. "Thank you, Allen."
When she came home skipping through the front door the next day, he couldn't help but grin, and it was the first time she hugged him—so tightly, that he forgot to breathe.
Though, that could be because of something else.
He was running.
"MANA!" he screamed, shoving people out of the way on the streets. "MANA!"
But the hustle and bustle of the crowded roads drowned out his shouts, and he couldn't see anything except the rain blurring his vision, and the wet coats of people brushing against him. Still, he was desperately searching…searching…because he knew the one he was looking for was somewhere here; he had to be.
He whipped around frantically, dead sure that he had heard a familiar voice, Mana's voice—and suddenly it was just so clear to him. Just a few steps away, his father figure was lying in a pool of blood, dark red blood that was steadily pooling.
With shaky steps he found himself kneeling down, stepping right into the blood pool.
"Mana…" he whispered, touching the figure.
He wanted so badly to reach out and touch the other's face—to see for one last time—but why couldn't he stretch his arm out any further? Why couldn't he see Mana's face?
"Don't look back, Allen," Mana rumbled, coughing. "Just…keep walking forward…"
He didn't even know he was crying until he couldn't see anything because tears were clouding his vision.
"B-but I don't want to!" he yelled, sobbing.
Allen jerked violently awake when he fell off his bed, crashing painfully onto the stone cold floor. He groaned, rubbing his ribs where most of the impact had landed.
"I'm sorry! Are you okay?"
"Huh?" he blinked, moaning when he realised a bruise was forming on his shin. "What?" then he nearly shrieked when he came face to face with someone else."…L-lenalee! What are you…" he choked. "What are you doing here?"
Indeed, what was Lenalee doing in his or rather, the guest room—he gave a glance about to check—at this hour?
"Sorry," Lenalee mumbled, squatting down beside him. "I…I couldn't sleep so I thought you might be awake…"
"Oh," he replied, blinking. "But it's… two thirty one—"
"I had a nightmare," she confessed, shifting closer to him. "I didn't want to wake Nii-san…and…and I thought you might…I'm sorry…"
Lenalee looked rather scared and distressed, very different from the smiley happy girl he interacted with. He noted she was crouching next to him while he leaned against his bed still rubbing his ribs—and he knew he couldn't leave her alone.
"Do you want something to eat?" he asked, because when he couldn't sleep, eating made it better.
She shook her head. "I just don't want to be alone."
Allen nodded, pulling his legs up.
"I'm sorry for waking you up," Lenalee apologised again. "But you were shifting a lot in your sleep…and…"
He rubbed his neck uncomfortably. "Well…"
"Bad dream too?"
He couldn't exactly lie, so he just nodded. "Yeah."
"Can I…" she was fidgeting a bit, and she shuffled closer to him. "Can I tell you about mine?"
"Um, sure," what else could he say? "Only if you want to," he added cautiously when Lenalee bit her lip hesitantly.
"I…was from China," she began with a small voice. "When I was very young, I was chosen to train as a national gymnast. It's a very great honour for the family...and my parents were all for it. But they didn't know what they did to us. Training was…" she visibly shuddered. "…tough."
She had grabbed his hand and she was squeezing it tightly, shaking like she was scared. Allen grimaced, truly hoping that she wouldn't start to cry—because she looked like she was going to—and he awkwardly starting to pat her hand.
"Nii-san managed to get me out and we immigrated here to Japan…" she continued in a quiet voice. "I keep dreaming of the times I was forced to bend over and over again. I don't ever want to go back."
By now she was clinging to his arm, and he gripped her hand back in assurance. "You won't, Lenalee," he tried to be as comforting as possible, but he hadn't actually had experience in comforting anyone. "Your brother is here with you. In Japan. Everything is okay."
She nodded, and after a few silent minutes it seemed as though she had calmed down considerably.
"Actually to confess," she started again, this time sounding stronger. "It's not the first time I saw you shifting in your sleep," she looked at him. "All the other times weren't too obvious, but sometimes you'd say something like Mana…"
Perhaps his smile looked a little too forced, because Lenalee dropped her gaze. "Sorry."
"It's okay," he replied after a while.
Neither of them spoke after that. Lenalee hadn't let go of his arm, and he found it wasn't exactly uncomfortable to have her leaning on him for support. Time passed, and he didn't know he was zoning out until he heard Lenalee mumble something and shift a bit—then he realised she had fallen asleep.
He just wondered what Komui would say if he found his precious sister snoozing on him—and all possible theories didn't seem very good for him. He tried to ease her off as gently as possible, but she was gripping his arm too tightly to let go.
Giving up, he decided that perhaps he could explain his way out tomorrow.
It was already four plus in the morning, yet as he tried to doze off again, he just couldn't.
His heart was beating way too fast for it to be normal.
It turned out that Cross dumped him at the Lee's for two weeks instead of one, but his guardian eventually returned. He missed staying at the Lees, because Lenalee kept him company all the time and even Komui was rather hospitable to him at the times the Chinese man wasn't giving him suspicious looks.
"Brat, you've gotten fatter," was the first thing Cross said to him when they reached back home.
"That's because they fed me," he retorted in reply.
"Don't get smart with me kid," his guardian replied. "I feed you too. Now shut up and clean the house. It's fucking dusty."
Considering no one had cleaned it for the past two weeks, it was to be expected. Allen grumbled, reluctantly heading towards the storeroom to get a broom to start with the floor. He not so subtly glared at the older man who just plonked himself on the couch and lit a cigarette.
"I bet you didn't do anything," Allen muttered under his breath, storming past Cross with the broom stick.
"What's with that look?" Cross eyed him across the room, raising an eyebrow. "Are you sulking just because I took you away from your crush?"
"I am not sulking!" he grounded back exasperatedly in reply, even though he was clearly sulking at how he was being forced to be a maid the moment he stepped home. "And what crush are you talking about?"
Cross smirked. "I saw the way you were eyeing Little Lee after she hugged you—" he started convincingly, watching his charge drop the broom in utter shock. "Now what did you two do? Have sex?"
Allen spluttered—with a good reason. "S-SHISHOU!"
"What?" Cross blinked, taking another drag.
"Lenalee is—we didn't—I don't know why you even thought of that!" Allen groaned, picking up his forgotten broom. He wasn't even in the mood to clean anything now.
"Easy," the older men replied as thought obvious. "You were staring at her like she was god's gift to men."
"I-I was not!" Of course he wasn't, because if that even happened, Komui would have cut off his head and fed it to the vultures.
"Hey kid—" Cross snorted. "I didn't teach you to be a goddamn wimpy brat who can't even admit his own feelings."
"I like Lenalee as a friend," Allen insisted just so his guardian would get the point. "Why do you care about who I like anyway?"
"I don't," Cross shrugged. "I just think you look fucking pathetic when you try to insist you don't like her."
"Fuck you too, kid."
There was just no way Allen liked Lenalee in the way Cross was insisting—his guardian was just a prick who loved to make fun of him. Moreover he'd only known Lenalee close to a year, and he certainly hadn't had any thoughts to ask her out or anything, and perhaps the most important point of all was that he was eleven.
He didn't think at eleven years old, he could even like someone romantically.
Lenalee was just a very good friend. A close friend. And perhaps his only friend. It was natural that he treasured her a lot, and of course he was slightly unsure when Lenalee started to gush about one of her own childhood friends.
"I can't wait for you two to meet!" she was saying excitedly to him over her dinner table—he had frequently went over for breakfast ever since the holidays started, and it was an easy escape from a drunkard Cross. "He's a childhood friend of mine—now he's in high school so I don't really get to see him much these days. But he promised me he'll drop by today, so I can introduce you guys to each other!"
Allen looked unsure, touching his scar on his face.
"He won't care about that," she promised. "Okay, maybe, he might comment on it, but he doesn't mean the stuff he says. He's really nice person, I promise!"
"If you say so, Lenalee," Allen replied, relaxing a little.
He was certain he could trust Lenalee, after all, if she was close to this person, that that person couldn't really be that bad.
Oh how wrong he was.
The doorbell rang, and Lenalee jumped excitedly. "I'll get it!" she announced enthusiastically, skipping over to the door and swinging it open.
She was blocking Allen's view from the table, but he saw that she jumped and hugged whoever it was. "Kanda-kun! It's great to see you again!"
There was a low grunt. "Get off me."
Lenalee only chuckled and released the other. "Same as always," she smiled, turning back to Allen. "Allen! Come over!"
Hesitantly, he did so, and he stopped when he saw the person he was supposed to meet. Slender figure, fair skin, high cheekbones, striking cobalt blue eyes and of course, long silky black hair tied up—didn't Lenalee say this was supposed to be a guy?
The lack of chest. Right.
"Kanda-kun, this is Allen Walker, the one I was telling you about," Lenalee was saying, pulling Allen closer.
"Allen, this is Kanda-kun. Kanda Yuu."
"It's nice to meet you, Kanda-san," Allen bowed politely, smiling.
Unfortunately this Kanda only snorted, a condescending expression on his pretty features. "What's up with old man hair?" he sneered, crossing his arms as he scrutinised the scrawny kid. "And his fucking face is weird."
"Kanda-kun!" Lenalee rolled her eyes, slapping his shoulder. "Play nice."
"Why should I?" Kanda scoffed, barging past them all to enter the house. "He's just a Moyashi."
Even though Allen had received many similar comments about his appearance before, he usually ignored it, but this time, when it was coming from someone who was supposed to be Lenalee's friend—he just couldn't help the surge of irritation that flamed.
"I'm not a Moyashi!" he insisted, whipping around to shout at the back of this new rude person.
Kanda paused in his steps, giving him a cool glance. "I could care less. Don't talk to me."
Allen scowled, narrowing his eyes. This person reminded him of Cross, and he didn't like that thought very much.
"I'm sorry about that," Lenalee patted his arm when they both watched Kanda disappear into the kitchen.
"You said he was nice."
"Well," she looked slightly guilty. "I swear he is! Just that he's got this thing about not showing his true feelings. Just give him a chance?"
At her hopeful expression, he couldn't say no.
For Lenalee's sake he really did try to get along with this Kanda Yuu.
"So…how did you meet Lenalee?" he asked, trying to strike up a decent conversation.
"Why are you still talking to me?" Kanda demanded. "Go and fall off a cliff."
"I'm trying to be nice to you!"
"Go bother someone else who actually cares."
"You…are the most contemptible person I've ever met."
"Really? I don't fucking care."
"What the fuck did you say?"
"You do look like girl—" Allen suddenly found himself viciously yanked forward by the collar.
"I dare you to repeat that," Kanda hissed, fist raised. "You have no right to call me anything, you fucking short brat."
"So what if I'm short?" the white haired boy demanded, ignoring the fact that his life is in danger. "I'll grow."
Kanda smirked, eyes narrowing. "Is that what you tell yourself?" he mocked cruelly.
Allen gritted his teeth, very tempted to hit the other—but he promised Lenalee that he would try—perhaps she'd accept the excuse that his hand slipped.
"I don't even know why Lenalee is friends with a person like you," he muttered eventually, huffing.
Kanda dropped him uncaringly. "Isn't it obvious?" he scoffed, crossing his arms.
Allen never hated anyone so much as Kanda Yuu, especially when the other smirked darkly with the most smug and infuriating expression that he had the displeasure to actually witness.
"She likes me."
There was a minute of shell-shocked silence until Kanda scoffed, sauntering away, but Allen just couldn't move.
There was just no way.
There was just absolutely no way that Lenalee would ever like someone like—
He clenched his fists tightly, narrowing his eyes. He treated Lenalee better than Kanda Yuu ever would. Why Lenalee was even friends with this…this…douche bag was clearly beyond him. Before he knew it, he already acknowledged the fact that he was jealous—and he hadn't even realised he was in love with her yet.
I apologise for taking so long with this. :/ It's so much harder to write Allena that I had to force myself to sit down and complete this chapter before meddling with Cantarella hahaha
See, there's always a perfectly good reason why Allen doesn't like Kanda. :D
I sort of like the Cross/Allen kin-hate-ship. Cross does care a lot about the boy (with good reason of course) just that he's a jackass, so he acts half sweet and half…like an ass. Well.