Allen isn't quite sure of whether what he's hearing, right at this moment, is what is actually blaring from the second story window to his immediate right. But, there is just no reason for him to be imagining Boston's 'More Than a Feeling' coming from that room of all rooms.
It just so happens that Allen Walker, because he has a shitty excuse for a guardian, has to walk to school every day. Even though the bloody man owns a car, he's usually too drunk to drive it.
So he happens to know who that window that belongs to.
And Yu Kanda just doesn't seem like the type that relates to 'More Than a Feeling.' Or any song at all really, because they generally have this thing called passion, which is something that Kanda so clearly lacks in all respects. What's he going to hear next – Chicago, Starship, something equally as eighties and actually decent? He kind of imagined the Japanese boy would listen to something like – heavy metal or something equally as threatening. Because really, where else could the man get his intimidations? He's just so full of them. But he kind of relishes the moment, because when else can he stop on his leisurely walk to hear a great freaking song?
He's really only known the guy for a couple of weeks, since he transferred into the local high school – some magnet school really, because he's a freaking genius and not at all afraid to flaunt it – and only because of this girl Lenalee who's actually pretty cool and is turning out to be, like, a really good friend. Which is cool. Cause she's extremely good looking.
He's only met the anti-social retard like, twice, but he really isn't too keen to meet him again. Firstly, the guy cannot seem to get his name right, and second-
"Beansprout? What the fuck are you doing outside my house?"
"I was actually so surprised that you had, you know, taste, that I went into some kind of shock for a few seconds. Thanks for waking me up."
He's kind of a smartass to the guy; he's a complete gentleman to other people though, really.
"That's a lovely vocabulary. Tell me, how was the GED program? Or did you not even have the smarts for one of those?"
Then something like a shoe is thrown at his head. It hits him right in the ear.
And it hurts.
"Argh – bloody, freaking – ow." He holds his ear and looks up at the smug, long haired man leaning out of his window. He gives him his best glare, which isn't really all that intimidating in the first place, and then continues walking to school.
"I hope you lose your hearing, fucking tea drinking limey," Kanda's mutter is just barely heard as he shuts his window and retreats back into his room.
"I wonder if he even knows what that means," Allen sighs to himself, continuing his trek towards the high school.
Allen has transferred in from England in the middle of his Junior year, which means he knows absolutely no one. Well, except for Lenalee, but she's a Senior at this other high school he's never heard of. And the only reason he knows her is – well, a kinda long story.
The day he arrived in America, at first actually intrigued by the general truth in stereotypes, he got lost. Horribly. It's not really because New Orleans is a very large city, it's just that there are a lot of streets, and a lot of, well, intimidating people. So he ended up wandering into some area of downtown that was actually decent compared to others. There was an aquarium and a boardwalk and, like, families with children walking around and not afraid. So he walked up the long path to the Riverwalk, entered the place, and quickly found that the absolute best smell in the world was coming from a little place down the way.
It's called Café-Du-Monde and he's been to the place like, at least twenty times since that first fateful one. They just have these fantastic little French beignets and awesome coffee. He didn't expect them to be so good, really, since he's been to France and has had actual beignets, but they were surprisingly amazing. He had started off with a dozen, just to see if he liked them; he did, it turns out, and the amount of people working back there (generally…two) just don't have the manpower to feed him all the beignets as fast as he can eat them. The people behind him in line tend to get rather pissed, but – well, this is off the topic.
After he'd just about cleared out the powdery pastries, he walked outside and ended up leaning against the railing and staring at the murky waters of the Mississippi. The water really was disgusting, but the boats were interesting to watch.
The air was kind of chilly, but nothing like England – rather mild compared to it really. It was January and only something like 10 degrees Celsius (no, he is NOT going to use that bloody system American just has to use. Why do they always have to be different and better?).
Then he heard this feminine voice bark out an extraordinarily loud laugh and turned around to see who it came from. It was rude, probably, but he was curious to see who could make a noise like that and still be dignified to live as a human being.
As it turned out, the girl with shoulder length green hair and exuberant purple eyes was exceedingly attractive. And that was as good a reason as any to not care whether she laughed loud enough for his friends back in England to hear her.
With her were these two guys, though the one on the right had hair long enough to graze the middle of his back and the one on the left had this earring in his left ear which led him to believe that, well, they were her remarkably gay friends. But hey. Who was he to judge anyway?
Then she was rushing out to the outside where he was, and she launched herself onto the binoculars.
"Kanda, give me 50 cents."
"Okay," he paused, and she looked hopeful. "Still fuck no." He deadpanned after a moment.
"Well, Lavi?" She turned to the other guy like she had expected nothing less of the asshole, gay friend of hers. Or whatever he was.
The redhead – how did he miss this before? – only had one eye. They were certainly a weird bunch.
Not that he was one to talk with his white hair and red scar and black arm.
"Sure, Lenalee," he chuckled. His hair was bright and styled with gel, obviously messy but reigned in from the headband he wore on his head. His only visible eye was green, and sparkled with something as he reached into his pocket and pulled out two American quarters. He was going to have to get used to the monetary system here. It was still so confusing. Where was his pound, or his quid? Nowhere. Nowhere at all.
That was when they all took notice of the strange, slightly creepy, and very obviously foreign boy who was staring at them.
He kind of had it coming that they looked suspicious as all hell.
"Ah, sorry," he offered with a small smile. "I couldn't really help…overhearing…" He'd rubbed his hand to the back of his head, and the one-eyed redhead laughed boisterously before clapping a hand on his back.
"Of course it's no problem, Mate." The guy was quite obviously mimicking his accent. Badly. "I know Yu tends to get loud sometimes, you have'ta excuse the guy. He just gets so excited about things. Especially young teenage boys like yourself!"
"I will seriously murder you one day," the obviously Japanese man growled. Allen didn't hear anything in the guy's voice that sounded remotely like a lie.
That was when he guessed, rightly so, that they two weren't gay lovers. He kind of felt abashed for believing it, but then he didn't – because really, it wasn't like they would ever know.
And that was how they met. But it isn't really how they became…acquaintances.
They became acquaintances like this:
After watching Lenalee as she pressed her face to the binoculars like it was the most interesting thing in the world, the four had walked back inside, relieved at the temperate temperature.
To digress, really, Louisiana has the bloodiest worst weather he's ever seen or heard of. He hasn't felt the legendary heat yet, admittedly, and he really can wait for it, but even in January it's always pouring raining. Apparently Texas is always chalk-full of droughts – why can't Louisiana use some of that Southern Hospitality he's heard so much about and isn't really seeing yet and give Texas some of their rain? Because, yes, it needs to stop.
It wasn't raining on that first day, thank the Heavens, but he was still just as grateful to get into the food court again. Then Lenalee actually continued talking to him. Like he was interesting or something.
"So what's your name?" She'd asked, and really, why was she so curious?
"Err, Allen. Allen Walker." He was really smooth in times like these, mainly because of his experience with the opposite sex. Which equaled about…zero.
"Oh my god, he's a spy, Lenalee. I've seen those movies." Lavi eyed him wearily, which was really unnerving because it was only done with one eye.
Allen didn't bother to tell the redhead that James Bond said his last name first, because that would make him a smart ass. And he wasn't a smart ass to people he genuinely liked.
Like these people. Well, Lavi and Lenalee. He was still on the fence about Kanda. The guy was completely ignoring the entire conversation and, well, him. He didn't enjoy being ignored.
And in times where he feels ignored, he tends to transfigure into something decidedly not polite and gentlemanly.
"What about your gay friend there? I thought he had a crush on me. Why's he so moody when he's obviously just met the love of his life?" He pointed at Kanda with his thumb, and Lavi actually doubled over with laughter.
"Oh-oh man I really like you, kid. But s-seriously, just because he wasn't serious about kicking my ass, you should watch out for yours. And not because of his very pedophiliac c-crush."
That was when he kind of felt this prickling on the back of his neck like fear. Because he could just hear Kanda's knuckles cracking behind him.
"It's awesome that you have the balls to insult him, though. A lot of people tend to act like little bitches in front of him." Lavi was wiping his tears away.
Then he felt a very, very hard punch on the back of his head and he kind of stumbled forward and saw stars for a few seconds.
"Oh come on, Kanda. You cannot possibly want to go to jail for beating up a little kid again." Allen could barely hear Lenalee over the pounding in his head. He took a moment to compose himself.
"How old do you think I am?" Allen grumbled, rubbing the back of his head. It hurt. Very much so. "Seriously, I'm not young enough for anyone's love to be pedophiliac, and I'm certainly not a child. I'm seventeen."
"Woah, really?" Lavi leaned forward, surveying his face. "I guess the white hair does make you look a lot older, that's a great fashion statement, by the way – so forward. Anyway, I think it's your girly face that does people in."
"My hair is not white because of a fashion statement, and please don't call my face girly. I mean, I don't have the long, beautiful hair framing mine, so I don't deserve the title."
"Do you want to die?" Kanda growled behind him.
"Seriously? You went to jail for beating up a child? What kind of man beats up a child? You might have a good punch, but you certainly aren't going to kill me-"
Then the man was in front of him, and his hands were on his throat. "I did not kick any child's ass. But I will kick yours."
"You know, Yu, you keep calling that a misunderstanding, but really, that kid in the sandbox was fairly adamant that, you, ya know, kicked him. He also happened to have this boot shaped bruise on his chest. Besides, you were only in juvi for a couple of days. No biggie. It's happened to us all a couple of times. Also, please stop choking the British kid. I've just met him and I really like him, so I don't want him to die."
At this, reluctantly, Kanda removed his hands and brushed them off on his jeans. He gave Allen this smug grin, as if to gloat. Like the bloody prick could actually be proud that he almost killed someone.
He ended up getting bruises from that.
"Haven't we established that I'm not a kid?" he choked out. His voice was actually a bit raspy. "How old are you, anyway?"
"Well, Yu and I are twenty –"
"Stop using my first name or I will put my hands on your throat."
"Miss Lenalee's seventeen. By the way, Yu, that's really kinky, but that has got to wait until the bedroom tonight."
Kanda let out some strangled yell of rage and stomped away. Allen was really wondering how he even had friends.
"Anyway, Allen Walker," Lenalee picked right up from where the conversation had dropped off. "We've established that you have guts, and that you're British. Why are you here?" They were kind of walking aimlessly down the long strip of stores. Or at least he assumed that. He didn't know where in the hell he was going.
"Well, really, I'm not entirely sure. I just go wherever Cross does. He's kind of like my guardian, but he's a pathetic excuse for one, so I consider him more of a…moocher." He sighed. "And I got a scholarship to this place called Benjamin Franklin or something, I don't know I haven't seen it yet, so that kind of sealed the deal. Seriously, Benjamin Franklin. Why?"
"You just don't like him 'cause he kind of helped, you know, separate jolly ol' England from the country that kicked your asses."
"You really think I'm sore about that? It happened like, two hundred and fifty years ago." Allen was getting less and less formal as time went on, which tends to happen to him when surrounded by genuinely good people. People who aren't Cross or Kanda or just general strangers on the street.
"Well, two hundred and twenty four, but who's counting?" He flashed Allen a blinding grin and, really, the redhead could be more of a smart ass than him sometimes. "Anyway, Ben Frank? Rocking school, man. You must be pretty smart."
"Obviously not as smart as you."
"I really, really like you. Have I mentioned this yet?"
"Kind of. Where'd you go to high school? Actually, where are you now?"
"Well, I went to this wacked up school named Jesuit. Fucking Catholic schools man, they will be the death of us. Like, every child. Ever. But I graduated with top honors, so that was cool. And it's better than some schools." He eyed Lenalee.
"Really? You're comparing Cabrini and Jesuit? Why?" She sighed, heavily.
"Because I can. Anyway. I go to LSU now, I'm just home for break. Have to go back up in a couple of weeks unfortunately. Like, one. But I'm coming back down for Mardi Gras, because who is going to miss that shit?"
"Mardi Gras…I've heard it's very…provocative." Allen glanced over at Lavi, then watched the multitudes of people they passed. There was such diversity, but it was nothing like London. He briefly wondered where Kanda went, but then realized he didn't care. His head and throat still hurt.
"Well, yeah, but so is New Orleans in general really." Lavi shrugged. "And man, the drunk people are funny. They're even funnier when you're drunk yourself."
"Isn't the drinking age twenty-one here?"
"Yeah, doesn't stop me. Or Yu for that matter. Or anyone. At all. Again, this is New Orleans."
"I think you're forgetting I'm not even from this country. I don't know anything at all about New Orleans, really. Aside from the debauchery Cross will not stop talking about, the very scary looking people, and now, that everyone is an alcoholic."
"Hey, I think you've pretty much got New Orleans down to a 't.'"
"I agree with Lavi, really, but you've yet to learn about our impossible-to-spell-street-names. Go ahead. Try and spell Tchoupitoulas. I dare you."
"I'm going to guess it doesn't start with 'c.' A silent letter is in front of that, I guess?" Allen shrugged, not really having any clue.
Very quickly, Lavi spelled out, "T-c-h-o-u-p-i-t-o-u-l-a-s."
"You don't count. You used to live on that damn street."
"Actually, I used to live on Bienville. Not Tchoupitoulas. Same city, though, so I guess you get points for that."
"Bienville? Where did I even get Tchoupitoulas from, then? Besides, I can see someone like Kanda surviving their smart-ass comments on Bienville, but I don't know if I can believe you did."
"And you think that Tchoupitoulas would have been better? Besides, I can take care of myself." He flexed his biceps. Which, actually, weren't as skinny as Allen's, so he had that going for him.
"I swear if I hear that gun show joke from you one more time, I will let Kanda mutilate you."
And Allen had no idea what they were talking about. Not even remotely. He was kind of being ignored again as well, but he figured that was only because he didn't really know these people. Really, why was he tagging along with/stalking them?
That was when he heard a voice he really, really, really didn't want to hear.
"Kid, is that you?"
Allen turned to Cross. The tall man was quite obviously just as surprised as he was.
"What are you doing here? And with, like, friends or some shit? Seriously? Why would anyone want to hang out with you? Especially a cute girl like that. Even the kid with one eye is cooler than you."
"I guess I shouldn't really be offended," Lavi shrugged lightly, smiling a bit.
"Really, Godfather," He really hated calling him that. "I'm just trying to enjoy my first day in America." Second, technically, since he'd touched down in New York, and then had flown to Atlanta, and then got on a plane to New Orleans. And by that point he was just about collapsing from exhaustion and jet-lag.
Cross scoffed. "Whatever, just be home by dinner."
"Right…by the way…where is home again?" Cross looked at him as if he were crazy. "Well, it's just that I was only there for about four hours, and that was spent sleeping. And then I went out –"
"And promptly got lost, right? Fucking kid, really. How are you still alive?"
He felt his throat. "I don't actually know." He paused. "Can I at least have an address?"
Cross paused, apparently deciding whether or not it was worth it to tell him. He conceded after a moment, finally, and said, "It's off of Robert E. Lee, on Music." He shot Allen this disgusting look before grinding his cigarette between his teeth and repeating, "Do not be late for dinner."
"I get it, sir," Allen sighed. He checked his cell phone for the time, noting that it was almost three. "Wait – what time is dinner?"
But Cross was already gone.
And that was kind of how they became acquaintances.
At the end of the – whatever – Lenalee had given him her number. He was really, really bloody happy until Lavi gave him his number as well. Which meant, no, she was not interested in the small kid with white hair and red markings. He then gave his number to them, and left just in time for the bus to take him a couple blocks from his house.
While he was making dinner that night, he get a text message from Lenalee. All excitement was thrown out the window when he read the actual message.
Hey Allen, Lavi thought it would be a good idea to give you Kanda's number as well. Just in case. And don't tell him I was the one to give it to you. It's 504-555-6980. Hope to see you soon our newest, British friend!
He was kind of amazed she was one of the human beings who didn't feel the need to text in numbers or abbreviations, and he was glad for it.
But why in the hell would he ever need that man's number? Ever?
Yeah, thanks. I appreciate it, guys. Hope to you soon as well my newest, American friends.
Really, he couldn't even remember a time when he was shy anymore.
Well, actually, he can.
Like right now. Sitting by himself in the cafeteria at Ben Franklin, literally despising the education system and their ban on cell phones. Because he actually really enjoys texting with Lenalee and Lavi. He's never, ever sent a text to Kanda, and he doesn't really plan to, but he does like the other two.
Anyway, the second time he met them went like this:
"I cannot fucking believe this."
Allen, really, wasn't surprised to hear the amount of disgust in that sentence. Kanda was just as annoying as he remembered.
"Why the hell is he here?" Kanda pointed at Allen huffily, clearly not happy. But Allen wasn't sure if he was ever happy, so…
"He's here because we like him, Yu," Lavi smiled, leaning back in his chair.
Allen wasn't really in his element, a strange house with people he'd met one time. And then Kanda obviously hated him, but that was alright, because he hated Kanda back.
"Kanda, you don't have to be here if you don't want to be," Lenalee sighed. "Don't force yourself."
Kanda grit his teeth. "I'm here for the free fucking food, and that's all."
Lenalee's house was kinda big and actually scared him, like, a lot. Mainly because her older brother was there too, and he was watching them like a hawk.
"Anyway," Lavi started, still smiling.
He never stopped smiling.
Kanda never stopped frowning.
"I was thinking we could, like, show our British friend around today. Like, really introduce him to New Orleans, ya know?"
"Such as?" Allen asked, actually a bit afraid of what Lavi had in mind.
"We're going to Bourbon."
Now, Allen didn't really know a lot about New Orleans, granted, but Bourbon was fairly infamous. And so, even though it was four in the afternoon – they ended up going to Bourbon street.
The thing about Bourbon, he learned fairly quickly, was that there really wasn't anything to do if you weren't at least eighteen. Like he wasn't. He'd only just turned seventeen, actually. But Lavi somehow got him into a bar. A sports bar – and grill, really. But still. Bar. Alcohol.
Anyway, they sat at a round table for four, and Allen immediately picked up the menu.
"You're going to eat dinner this early?" Lenalee asked, leaning back in her own chair. She eyed Allen, obviously surveying his scar. He tried not to let himself get self-conscious.
"What? No way. I've just gotta eat something – I'm really hungry."
And he really was. He hadn't eaten since lunch. And that was like, three hours ago.
"What's good? Wait, really, what is Andouille? I love food and I have never heard of that."
"It's in gumbo. It's just kind of like a sausage." Lavi told him.
The door to the sport's bar was open, and jazz music wafted in. New Orleans, while unorthodox, did have a lot of culture. And he kind of loved it for that.
When the waiter arrived, he flipped open his notepad and said, "What can I get ya?"
"Well," Allen started. He smiled. "I'll take the homemade red beans and rice, an order of crawfish etouffee, and a banana's foster. Oh, and a water to drink please." He folded his menu and handed it to the kind of bewildered man. The waiter took it and directed his attention to rest of the group.
What the hell? Lavi mouthed to him; he shrugged. It wasn't even as much as he usually ate. Just a snack.
Lenalee was next. "I'll take a – uh," she glanced at Allen. "Just a sweet tea, please."
"Miller," Lavi said simply when the man turned to him. And even though Cross wasn't cheap and didn't drink crap like Miller, he still knew that was beer.
It was Allen's turn. What the bloody hell? He mouthed. And Lavi just shrugged at him like it was the most normal thing in the world.
The waiter, like Allen, wasn't an idiot. "May I see your ID, sir? It's required."
"Oh yeah, sure," Lavi grinned. He reached into his back pocket, took out his wallet, and held out an ID to the waiter. So now he was drinking illegally and using a fake ID.
Who in the world was he hanging out with?
The waiter, apparently satisfied, turned to Kanda. He didn't even have to ask before Kanda said, "If you don't have soba here, don't even bother asking for my order." The man then frowned, sighed, and shook his head before leaving the table.
Allen wasted no time in harshly leaning over the table and hissing, "Are you out of your mind? That is illegal! Why am I hanging out with a delinquent?"
"Woah, man, keep your voice down. I seriously love the accent, but I don't want to get, like, arrested over a beer." Lavi snapped back; he wasn't angry, just a bit hurried in how he spoke. His tone was low, though.
"What are you, twelve?" Kanda snorted.
"Wasn't it established that I'm seventeen? Seventeen. I know you can't count that high, but please remember that." Allen sighed, leaning back in his chair. "And oh, uh, you aren't driving." He motioned to Lavi.
"Dude, it's one bee-"
"Let him walk home, fuck," Kanda grit out. "Seriously, I don't know if I can take much more of this before I commit murder."
"Okay, okay. I don't really wanna walk from the French Quarter to my house, and the bus actually disgusts me, so you can drink one beer and drive."
"Wow, thanks mom."
"Hey, I'm only looking out for our safety. Except for his," Allen motioned to Kanda. "You can strap him to the roof with duct tape."
"I am seriously going to throw you out of the car the next time you enter it."
"Anyway, Allen, can't you drive?" Lenalee asked, folding her hands and leaning her head on them. She was obviously used to the little tiffs.
"Well, not in America." Not in England, either, but that wasn't the point. His hand-foot-eye coordination on a scale of one to ten was somewhere in the negatives.
She lifted an eyebrow and then said, "I'll drive."
"How is that better? You nor Yu can drive worth shit, and I promise I'm not being racist. You just can't. At all." He smiled at himself a little for the pun on the word 'you,' and then turned to Allen. "I am serious. Like, you would have a better chance of surviving with me piss-ass drunk than with Yu at the wheel."
It didn't really make him feel better, but it didn't necessarily make him feel worse either. He just filed it under, 'Never let Kanda drive.'
"Well, at least I'm better than Kanda anyway," Lenalee shrugged, flipping her hair. Kanda growled something Allen couldn't understand in the least.
When they were done at the bar/grill/whatever Lavi decided it would be a good idea to walk the rather naïve seventeen year old down the street. Which it was not.
Because no matter the time of day, naked people make him flush with embarrassment. And they seemed to be in every building. It was about five-thirty, not the time for night life, so why were there so damnmany?
Kanda actually had the gall to laugh at him a bit after seeing him tuck his face in his hands. Lavi was the one to comment on it, "Too much for ya, little pal?"
"You know, sometimes I'm kind of disgusted at the street. So I can see where Allen's coming from." Lenalee mused. "I kind of want to bury my face in my hands and weep for humanity."
"It's not so bad," Lavi grinned, walking past a particularly erotic store. They walked for a while in a kind of silence, where Lavi would comment on various women and make Allen really uncomfortable.
"Let's return to the car, now." Kanda growled after a bit. It was less of a request than a demand.
"Can you go twenty minutes without being a complete arse?" Allen sighed.
"Probably not. Turn around. Now." Kanda was gritting his teeth. He stopped walking and looked at them expectantly.
"Is our little Yu scared?" Lavi grinned. They all knew something Allen obviously did not.
"You know what happened last time I was down there." Kanda spat. "I will fucking walk home if I need to, but I refuse to go any further down this goddamn street."
"Chicken." Lavi muttered. "You only got slightly molested."
And now Allen was successfully intrigued.
"I'm sorry, but what?" Allen asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Let's just say Bourbon caters to every persuasion. And the bars for certain persuasions are that'a way." He pointed down the street.
"Persua-oh." He paused, and then he started to laugh very loudly.
Kanda's eyebrow ticked.
"Whew, kid. I mean really, I am floored by your bravery. Kind of inspired by it actually," and Lavi started to laugh.
It seemed Lenalee couldn't help it. She had to laugh as well. And then they all just kind of bonded in a fit of laughter over Kanda. Which he didn't enjoy. At all.
His face was red, probably from a mixture of anger and embarrassment, and then he stomped away. Allen kind of watched him go, and saw that he stopped next to Lavi's car and leaned against it moodily.
"I feel kind of bad for that," Allen said, chuckling still. "Don't think he'll forgive us, eh?"
"No, probably not. Like you said, he's kind of an ass." Lavi straightened himself as best he could. Then he turned and started walking towards the car.
"Rather than what?"
"No, like – rather. As in: indeed. Or. I don't know – yes."
"I am never going to get used to your British speak." Lavi sighed, rubbing his temples. "It's like another language."
And that was how they became acquaintances/friends; they've been texting like crazy since that day. The incident he's dubbed as 'the time I learned Kanda has depth and good taste in music' was the first time he'd seen the guy since the incident Lavi dubbed as 'the time I almost pissed my pants laughing because the new British kid actually has the guts to tease Yu about gay men hitting on him.' And really, he doesn't hate him as much anymore. Because who can show disrespect to a Boston fan?
Truth be told, he wouldn't absolutely despise learning more about the Japanese teen.
Because while Kanda seemed to like 80's music, he was kind of obsessed with 80's movies. And maybe they could become some sort of friends over that.
I would like it to be known that I am currently ripping this entire thing to bits and changing a lot of really shitty things that I did. I also want to apologize for some of the really shit things that I did.