A/N: I thought this would be a different change of pace from my last story.

Brain Damage
Part one

There was never an acceptable amount of bloodshed in battle. There was never an acceptable reason for such a gruesome thing to even exist. War, destruction, chaos…madness and all of it for something that seemed so…primitive. It was like the age old fairy tales of good verses evil and the "take over the world" theme that seemed to leak out of those dusted books your grandmother read to you dozens of times.

Monsters do exist; ugly, horrid creatures born of human sins, sometimes, not even horrid creatures. Just, humans.

How could people be willing to do such things to each other? Thoughts of wonder drifted through, as a young man—adorned in black—took down one of those wretched sins, dispelling the trapped and innocent soul attached.

"Allen! There's more!" A woman's voice echoed over the abandoned town. Hours before, that town had been no different than any other town and it scared him to think of that the fatality rate had been since the arrival of the Akuma.

Allen tore through the creature before him. Level one Akuma weren't much of a challenge, even in flocks. Level twos weren't much of a struggle anymore, actually. Once upon a time, this may have intimidated him. They'd all been wrung through until they were forced to be stronger. They had gotten to the point where this started as just another typical clean up job.

He wasn't a fool to think this mission would somehow be simple because he didn't see anything like a level four. He knew there was a Noah lurking somewhere. He could feel it. He wondered why it wasn't showing itself, but he didn't have the fear of them he had before. They didn't seem to want him dead…but then again, that said nothing about the safety of the people he cared about.

They'd been given the mission once they had received reports of Akuma activity slowly picking the town apart. He, Lenalee, Lavi, Kanda and Krory had been sent to the main battle front, while there had been others scattered around to rescue any survivors. They'd cleared so many, yet they seemed to just be pouring in just as fast as they destroyed them.

"Lenalee, where is Lavi?"

"He's closer to the town square with Kanda!" She called back to him, her voice wavering with the effort she forced into her powerful kicks. Her boots glistened as she danced like a destructive tornado. "We have to catch up, there are stronger ones there."

"I'm sure they could use a helping hand," he grunted, tearing through the mechanical flesh of an otherworldly creature, progressing forward with long strides. His thoughts immediately shifted to the probable expression Kanda would make if he'd heard that. It wasn't exactly a pleasant one either. Then again, there wasn't a face Kanda ever made that was what anyone could describe as pleasant. He was, to put it lightly, the biggest buzz-kill to ever grace Allen Walker's presence.

Despite all of that, his need to move forward was primarily a selfish one. He knew they needed to regroup and work in bigger numbers for efficiency, but he just wanted to be closer to that unpleasant—even bitchy—man. Allen had long since admitted to himself that he had an unnatural attraction. He wasn't going to attach any sentiments to it, but he wouldn't deny that he watched Kanda with nothing short of awe. It was like watching a water drop roll off a freshly bloomed flower. You didn't notice it at first, because of all the other flowers; but when you noticed that one, it was all you saw.

Kanda wasn't exactly a flower…he was more like a Venus Flytrap. There was a strange beauty about him, but then again he bit like a savage. That was what he saw when he and Lenalee finally caught up with the other two. The savage ferocity of that "flower".

It was clear he'd taken some damage, if Allen was to take note of his appearance. His long hair was floating about him and it was clear it was pissing him off as he gracefully hacked everything to death in front of him. Most of his jacket was in ruins, but despite that, there wasn't a mark on his skin. Just that strange tattoo on his chest.

"Yuu! I think the coast is clear!"

"Stop calling me by that name, you damn idiot!"

"Stop it, you two!" Lenalee interjected to stop the probable change in Kanda's target. Lavi knew how to push buttons like no one ever before and Kanda's buttons were made for being pushed it seemed. Actually, the only person who seemed to push his buttons better than Lavi, was Allen himself.

"Aw, Yuu's just being a grouch!"

A growl emanated off Kanda and the anger fueled his attacks. He brought Mugen down on the level two without even a pause. His sword clean cleaved the creature and released the soul from its imprisoned hell. Allen could see it clearly. At least the soul was saved.

Allen dropped into the clearing next to Lavi and the redhead turned a grin on him, "You guys finally caught up~"

"We were kinda blocked off after you guys bolted out ahead, you know," Allen replied, his face showing almost a pout to Lavi, who instantly grinned.

"Don't worry, Allen~! Yuu and I are tough cookies~"

Kanda cut in with a vicious bark, "I will kill you if you don't stop calling me that, idiot." Mugen point in Lavi's direction with a murderous intent glistening around it. He wasn't in a very good mood, it was clear. Well, not in a good mood according to Kanda. Which meant almost unbearably pissy to normal people.

"There's a level three!" They heard a voice carry. From what any of them could guess, it sounded somewhat like Krory. Where he was, none of them were really too sure, but there was a sinking feeling that spread across the clearing and without a doubt, the cry of "level three!" hadn't been just a joke.

They all stood in the center circle of the town, eyes moving around and inspecting everything they saw moving. Smoke and trembling buildings were all they saw. The air fell stagnant and the tension rose to almost numbing heights. They were accustomed to fighting higher level Akuma, even taking out some level fours…but the higher level Akuma had abilities that one could never be sure about. It was like sticking your hand in a dog's mouth and wondering how many teeth it had and how much it would hurt if it bit you suddenly.

"Shit, where is it?"

Lavi stood straight, his hammer shaped to his height and the large end about the side of a carriage wheel. "I feel strangely like prey."

Just as Lavi's last word left his mouth a nasty screech invaded a silence. The sound filled the clearing so suddenly it made Allen jump a little. "Kwahafawfawfaw!"

It sounded almost like laughter, a shriekish horrifying laughter. The ground seemed to crack from above the laughter, where the Akuma pulled itself from. It was below them with long razor appendages attached to its sleek main body.

Lenalee dashed toward Lavi and vaulted him out of the way of one of the swinging appendages, carrying him out of reach and up on one of the desecrated buildings. His single eye didn't leave the spot he'd been in, or rather, the spot next to where he'd been standing before Lenalee brought him to safety.


Allen turned his body to look back over his shoulder after his necessary retreat to higher ground. He didn't like the sound of that strained word. He didn't like the way Lavi almost seemed ready to jump right back into that potential death trap. He didn't like Lenalee's terrified screech. He didn't like the chill that flew up into his body and stopped his heart cold as his eyes connected to the source of the sudden dread filling ever cell in his body.

One long appendage curled around Kanda's body. Its tightened grasp seemed to coil over every necessary spot to keep Kanda immobile. The long serrated spikes caressed his bare skin and drew lines of blood to cascade down his body. It's strangely pulsing appendage wrapped itself around Kanda's neck and before either Lavi or Allen could get back to the body, a loud sickening crunch was heard.

Lenalee's cry was heard over all the noise taking place. She caught up with Lavi, who was about ten steps behind Allen, as they watched the creature drop their fellow exorcist's unmoving body. His neck was contorted into an unnatural direction, and without even thinking, Allen closed the space between them to grab his body before the creature could do any more damage. Lavi activated his hammer and set out to blast that thing to ash with the twisting flames that came from his seal.

"Allen, is he okay!"

Allen set him down and checked over him. His pulse was still there, which meant his heart was beating…but he wasn't breathing. "I…I don't know. There's blood everywhere. Looks like it's coming from his ears. His neck looks broken."

Lavi swung another hard hit to the Akuma that was letting off more eerie laughing noises, "Snap his neck back into place!"

"What?" Allen's eye widened at the suggestion and he looked over Kanda, not even wanting to think about such a thing.

"Just do it!"

The snow haired boy shook his head and tried to calm his nerves, "Lenalee, can you hold him still?" He asked, not really needing her help, but wanting her presence out of his own fear. He was thankful for her understanding in that respect. She placed her hands on his chest, a sense of urgency in her eyes as she glanced back to Lavi, who was fighting the level three Akuma, assisted after several moments by Krory.

Allen closed his eyes and grit his teeth hard, his hands on each side of his fellow's head. 'I'm gonna be sick,' he thought and wrenched Kanda's neck straight with a strangled crack that he knew he'd never forget in his lifetime. Several moments of anxious waiting passed and Kanda opened his eyes. His body had been able to heal a broken neck.

"Oh Thank god." Lenalee cried.

But Allen knew immediately something was wrong. His eyes were open and his neck was seemingly better…but there was still blood flowing from his ears, thick and coagulating. He pressed his fingers into the thick red fluid. It was sticky. It was like it was clotting as soon as it came from his ears… "Kanda, can you hear me?"

No reply.

"BaKanda? Are you in there?"

Again, no response but a dull look in two almost catatonic eyes.

"Allen? What's wrong? Is he not healing?" She leaned close, inspecting the state of his eyes. They were unfocused and unblinking.

A painful thought occurred to Allen as his eyes continued to be stuck on the dark clumps of blood. "Lenalee…I don't think this is just bloo-." He started as he witnessed a horrifying sight unravel before him. From the man's ear, emerged a purple butterfly, floating out as if to taunt him. Teasing him.

His heart pounded so heavily in his chest he thought he was going to die himself. He could ear the quite laughter echoing from no where and everywhere all at once. "L…Lenalee…we have to get him back home now. Now."

To Be Continued…

A/N: Decent opening chapter? Yes? No? Die in a fire piece of shit? Let me know!