Theme 3: Fingertips (Dec. 22-23)
Day 3 of Yullen Week! After this point, I'm seriously behind on the themes. I rather like this one (though again, I apologize for the length - 18 pages in Word...I just don't know when to stop), so I hope you like it too! Enjoy~!
They were cold. Frigid icicles drawing patterns around his naval, slowly and smoothly. His warm skin shivered under the other's touch. Nothing felt clear to him and he couldn't tell whether or not he was breathing.
The hand moved up along his body, to his ribs, chest, neck, and then slipped once from his ear to chin. He saw the lower half of a face there before him, hovering almost. Suddenly, it shot toward him and—
Allen Walker bolted upright in his bed, breathing heavily. He shook with a cold sweat while he clenched the sheets with white-knuckled fists. His stomach churned, unsettled by the recent images that returned if he so much as blinked.
It wasn't a bad dream. No, not a bad dream at all. It was the repetition. He couldn't remember the night it first played through his mind. Maybe it had started out as blurry snapshots here and there, gradually escalating into clearer pictures that eventually animated themselves.
At first they weren't nightly. Recently, however, they had become routine, waking him in the middle of his restless slumber. He never saw the person's face; not the whole thing, anyway. Then again, he didn't need to.
Drawing a wavering breath, he ran a trembling hand through snow white hair. Calm down, he told himself, sinking back into his pillow. He had few other options in the middle of the night.
Instead of trying once more for sleep, he lay on his back and stared at the ceiling. The brilliant waxing moon shone through his window, illuminating the stone floor next to his bed. He even tried making shadow puppets in the light to entertain himself for a bit. Anything that would let him elude sleep for a while longer.
The chill of the room made him retract his arm beneath the blankets once again. January was at its end and snow had fallen just a few days ago. Lavi joked that Allen blended right into the season around this time, and if it weren't for his exorcist coat, no one would be able to find him outside.
Nothing, it seemed, warded off the freezing air. Allen shivered under the blankets now pulled up to his chin. He didn't particularly dislike winter, but its nights passed slowly. He wished for nothing but daylight right now, huddled in his bed, still reeling from the dream.
Daring to close his eyes again, flashes of unwelcome images swirled through his brain. After this long and so many recurrences of the dream, it was far too late to say it had no significance. But to Allen, it was far too early to bring himself out of complete denial and admit just what that significance was.
He drifted in and out of a half-conscious doze for the remainder of the night, never falling deeply enough into the depths of sleep for any unbidden scenes to replay in his mind.
It seemed forever before the sun finally peeked its first ray over the horizon. As soon as his body registered the change in light, he flung the covers from his body and dressed for the day.
Stepping out of his room, he was greeted by Lenalee Lee. After a pleasant exchange of hellos, she eyed him suspiciously when he yawned widely.
"Are you feeling alright?" she asked tentatively. Allen was never one to complain, but she hadn't missed his recent paleness or the dark circles and bags under his eyes. This morning they looked quite bloodshot, crimson threads snaking beneath his eyelids from dull irises.
"I'm fine," he insisted, offering her a good-natured smile.
She mirrored it. "Just make sure you take care of yourself, okay?" she said, smile fading to be replaced with lines of concern between her brows.
When he realized she was waiting for his reply, he nodded his promise. "I will," he said.
Her grin returned and she left to bring her brother's morning coffee.
Allen yawned again, heading toward the cafeteria for breakfast and rubbing one of his irritated eyes. Food would, in all probability, improve his spirits as usual.
With single-minded desire, he rattled off a list of dishes to an only too happy Jerry, who piled them into Allen's arms continuously until the boy's order was completely filled. Luckily, the cafeteria was virtually empty at this time of the day, and no one was around to form a line behind him. Not to mention, his least favorite exorcist had been away for weeks on a mission.
Or so he thought.
Leaning his head around the mountain of dishes, his stomach sank when he saw, sitting several tables ahead of him, the figure of Yu Kanda, brooding into his soba noodles.
Appetite dwindling, Allen pretended not to notice him and sat several tables away. Lack of sleep took even more of a toll on him as a wielder of parasite-type Innocence. Having someone who made him uncomfortable around only made his stomach lurch at the thought of food and his head pound around his eyes.
He was truly exhausted. He didn't know how much more of it he could take. Setting down his fork, he rested his head in his hands and rubbed his temples in hopes of easing his headache. After this, he told himself, he would go about his day as usual. A dream was only that. Right?
Someone shook his shoulder vigorously. He opened his eyes blearily, looking groggily at the person beside him. It wasn't until he lifted his head from the table that he realized he had fallen asleep there, mountain of food mostly untouched around him.
Allen blinked a few times to clear his vision and saw Lavi standing over him with worry etched on his face.
"Yeah," Allen replied with a yawn.
"Did you sleep last night?" Lavi asked, only half joking as he sat down beside the younger boy.
"A little," the fifteen-year-old admitted, staring back down at his plate. He picked up a fork and stirred the food around some more. His stomach begged for it, but he wasn't in the mood to eat.
"There's something on your mind," Lavi said, his stare boring into Allen's.
"N-nothing!" Allen stammered, gripping his fork a little tighter. It wasn't that he didn't trust Lavi. Allen himself still wasn't ready to give voice to the dreams he'd been having, nor to their significance.
Lavi seemed startled by the outburst, though, pausing before he said anything else. "You should go back to bed for a while," he finally suggested.
Allen's heart sank at the thought. It might be easier to sleep during the day, but who was to say the dreams wouldn't return just as easily? He couldn't spend the rest of his life trying to catch up on lost sleep.
Still, just to appease Lavi, he nodded and stood, if a bit unsteadily. "I'll see you later," he said, leaving the cafeteria hastily. As he did, he snuck a glance at the table Kanda had previously occupied. Needless to say, the man had left long before.
Dreading sleep, yet in great need of it, Allen wandered the Black Order Headquarters aimlessly. A bath sounded relaxing, but he feared that, too, would put him to sleep. He wasn't really up for training anymore, despite his best intentions, and instead walked outside for a bit.
He had forgotten his coat, but the frozen world around him did the job of keeping him awake with incessant shivering. The snow was beautiful, shimmering as the morning sun's light touched its surface. There were footprints leading from the doors of the Order to various points around the tower from when exorcists decided to train, or left on missions. Few left the building for just a walk at this time of year. In fact, the only reason Allen did was because there were more unpleasant things to deal with inside the castle that had been his home now for several months.
Running low on energy – only now did he remember that he didn't finish his breakfast – he found a cleared bench among many near the forest's edge. It was a nice place to sit in warmer months, but Allen wasn't looking for a nice place to sit.
He became half aware at some point that he was no longer shivering from the cold, assuming he had become used to the low temperatures. It occurred to him at one point, even, that going inside would be the smart thing to do. This was just before he dozed, leaning with his face propped on his hand.
Images slowly formed in his mind, starting with the lower half of the face from his dream. From there, the upper half built itself piece by piece until he saw sharp eyes the color of a starry but moonless night. Bangs the color of ink hung over the face and a smirk crept into its lips. Those lips approached closer, closer until—
Allen woke with a cough at the sudden pain inflicted to his rib cage. He looked up with apprehension to find Kanda standing beside him, Mugen sheathed, but digging into his side.
"Can you move that?" Allen asked, speech more slurred than he bargained for.
"Don't sleep out here," Kanda growled, moving his sword back to his side. "You'll get sick and then Komui will put you on a mission with me and expect me to take care of you." With that, he walked away, perpetual frown etched into his features.
Allen noticed his body was numb to the point where he wasn't actually cold anymore. He shivered again in bursts, and these things combined made it difficult to make his way back inside the headquarters. Immediately after getting inside, he returned to the eating hall for some soup. Jerry looked worried when the list only included hot soup and tea this time, but didn't comment on it.
It was well after lunch time and Allen felt as if the day had so far been a complete waste. He hadn't trained, hadn't even been awake for most of it, and had done nothing but make his friends worry.
Although the last dream had been so short, it was the most vivid so far. Never had he seen the person's entire face. He had no doubt who it was, even before then. That person was the reason he couldn't speak of the dreams or their meaning.
Resolving to make the rest of the day count, Allen trained – inside this time. As he went through the drills, his mind wandered everywhere but his training. It was sort of an automatic ritual now to the point where paying attention wasn't really necessary.
Should I just come out and say something? he wondered. No, that would be dangerous. I could…no…this is Kanda, he won't take that lightly. Maybe if I wait a few more days, something will come to me.
That was what he had been thinking for weeks already. It had only made him lose more and more sleep, more time to strengthen himself as an exorcist. The distractions were starting to interfere with his daily life as if they owned it.
When he finally left the training area, he was shocked at the time. Without realizing it, he had trained well into the evening. The halls of the Order were completely bare, devoid of any humans. After a quick shower, Allen returned to his room. Maybe such extreme exhaustion would ward off the dreams tonight.
Although he fell asleep almost immediately, the dream began as it often did. Fingertips brushed his bare skin and he felt the hair on his arms and the nape of his neck rise in anticipation. Fingernails scraped the surface of his skin, drawing white lines in abstract patterns.
At one point, he felt his whole body go cold when the cold hand spread its palm over his chest. When Allen looked up, he saw the face he expected. His whole face.
Yu Kanda stared down at him, demanding Allen acknowledge his dominance. Allen wasn't quite sure how to react at this point. He had never seen this far in the dream, had never thought of what he would do when Kanda's face finally revealed itself. So he merely stared upwards, noting the angular jaw line, nose, and cheeks. His eyes were cold as always, but there was something behind them, something deeper that Allen would only get to if he shattered the ice and dove into the pools to get to it.
It was Kanda's voice, but Kanda's lips weren't moving.
"Oi, Bean Sprout!"
Allen was puzzled. He wanted Kanda's lips to move with the words. They were supposed to, just like in the real world. He wanted to see it, even if only in the dream.
The sheer volume of those words, the way they vibrated in the air, wrenched Allen out of the dream. For the first time in his memory, the real world was even more shocking, horrifying even, than any dream. Even after taking in the situation, he wasn't quite sure it was truly happening.
Allen knelt on all fours, straddling Kanda's waist, palms pressed to the bed on either side of his head. Kanda was dressed for bed in an informal kimono that opened almost to his naval. It was a neutral tan lined with black, Kanda not being one for vibrant or loud colors. It suited him, Allen thought momentarily.
Then he noticed the older man's expression. The only word for it was enraged as he sat up and shoved Allen to the floor.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he hissed, trying to quiet his anger so as not to wake other members of the Order and have them get the wrong idea.
Allen stammered in unintelligible syllables, enraging the samurai even more.
"Spit it out!" Kanda commanded, glaring straight through the timid boy on the floor beside him.
"S-s-sleepwalking," Allen stuttered, not trusting himself to say anything beyond that one word.
"Why the hell are you sleepwalking into my bedroom?" he demanded.
That backed Allen into a corner. Telling Kanda outright that he'd been having recurring dreams about him over the past few weeks would be the biggest mistake he could make. He froze where he sat, cheeks flaming with embarrassment.
This puzzled Kanda. Why was the kid blushing? He hadn't been the one waking up to another guy on top of him in the middle of the night. Of course it was the one night he'd forgotten to lock his doors. The mission he'd just returned from left him exhausted, and he had barely put on his robe before falling into bed, asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
His head began to ache, a dull throbbing in his temples from the sudden awakening that did nothing to improve his mood. His thoughts were scrambled, buzzing by each other like a swarm of locusts.
"Never mind," he finally sighed, having gotten no answer from the cursed boy. "Go to bed and leave me alone."
Without visible hesitation, Allen fled the room, leaving Kanda to his rest. As he walked down the hall, his face grew hotter. It made him only more thankful that the halls of the Order were very dimly lit and most of their usual occupants were in bed or working in the science department. Even so, his thoughts kept him wide awake for the rest of the night.
By the time morning rolled around, Allen's exhaustion showed through from the vacancy of his expression to his shuffling gait. As he scuffed to the cafeteria, he attracted the attention of concerned finders before meeting Lenalee and Krory as they left for a mission. Lavi was bidding them goodbye when they called Allen over.
"Allen, are you feeling okay?" Lenalee asked, brow crinkling with worry.
The white-haired boy snapped to attention. "Y-yes, I'm fine," he stammered, offering her a quick half smile. The last thing she needed on a mission was to be worrying about him over nothing.
He caught Lavi's appraising stare before turning back to Lenalee. Krory, too, fixed his gaze on the youngest among them, ever one to write his feelings across his face.
"Just be sure to take care of yourself," Lenalee said, resting a hand on the boy's shoulder in farewell. Krory echoed the sentiment with a solemn nod.
"I will," Allen promised.
"Well, good luck," Lavi said with a grin, wrapping an arm around Allen's shoulders. The other two exorcists nodded their thanks before making their way to the Order's front doors.
As soon as they were out of sight, Lavi turned his perpetual smile on Allen. "So? How about we go get some breakfast?"
"Actually, I—" Allen began before Lavi interrupted.
"It'll do you good, Bean Sprout." Although the grin remained, the redhead's eyes held a more serious intonation. When it was there, escaping Lavi proved nearly impossible. So the two set off for the eating hall, Lavi babbling to Allen's deaf ears.
Once they sat down with their meals, Allen's mountain of plates dwarfing Lavi's and forming a barrier on either side like a tunnel to Lavi's face across from him, Lavi started questioning.
"So, Bean Sprout, what's on your mind?"
"My name is Allen," the fifteen-year-old corrected him. "And it's nothing."
"Come on, it's obvious it's bothering you," Lavi pressed, as Allen shoveled a large bite of omelet into his mouth.
"I'm just a little tired," Allen admitted, averting his eyes back to his plate. He contemplated telling Lavi about the real problem, but there were so many people around. Not to mention he didn't want Lavi himself letting it slip in conversation.
"It's Allen!" It was an unusual outburst from the ever polite Allen Walker. The next bite of omelet poised on his fork was catapulted into the air behind him at the violent jerk of his fork. His recent loss of sleep finally caught up with him in the form of an extremely foul mood. Even the idea of igniting arguments with his friends had no hope of suppressing it.
Within moments after the outburst, and taking in Lavi's stricken face, something collided with the back of his head. Reaching up automatically, he felt a mass of slimy strings dripping into his snowy hair. Grimacing in disgust, he pulled it away to find himself holding a small handful of noodles.
He glanced at Lavi, whose eyes were now fixed on a spot behind Allen. His face held a mix of reactions, as if he didn't know whether to laugh or bolt from the room. As Allen slowly turned to follow to elder boy's gaze, he noticed several others around them staring in his direction. When he finally saw what – or who – was behind him, he knew why.
Kanda stood, glaring with the intent of shooting venom from his eyes. His body was completely rigid, chopsticks in one hand, soba and tea balanced in the other. On his blue-tinted bangs and running partway down the bridge of his nose was a smeared line of ketchup. In his tea sat the piece of omelet, the drink splattered across his exorcist uniform.
"Did you throw this?" Allen demanded, holding out the fistful of soba.
"You threw this," Kanda growled, pouring the remnants of the tea onto the floor with the omelet.
"I did not," Allen said darkly. "I don't think it's necessary for you to make a mess for someone else to clean up, either."
"It came from your fork," Kanda replied, voice low and impatient as he brought his face closer to Allen's.
Allen's heart sped up and he hoped more than anything that he could keep up a wall of frustration. Pieces of his dreams flashed behind his eyes, Kanda's unmoving lips visible in darkness before it receded to show his entire face.
In his concentration, Kanda failed to notice Lavi rise from his seat on the other side of the table. He wouldn't have thought anything remiss at all if he hadn't felt a light pattering atop his head, like dry raindrops. Looking up, he beheld Lavi leaning over, sprinkling grains of rice into Kanda's ebony hair.
Momentarily forgetting his conflict with Allen, Kanda snatched the front of Lavi's shirt, knocking over quite a few of Allen's dishes.
"Stupid rabbit, what the hell do you think you're doing?" the samurai spat, eyes now glowing bright with rage. Given Kanda's unfavorable temperament, it took little to provoke such a reaction.
"Looks good on you, Yu," Lavi teased, much to Kanda's chagrin.
Just when it looked like Kanda would punch the overly cheerful eighteen-year-old, yet another substance hit him in the chest. A rumbling growl welled from deep in his throat as he swiped it away, searching the room for the culprit.
Out of nowhere, Lavi got in the back of the head with a pancake drenched in maple syrup. It dribbled off the ends of his hair and down over his eye patch. He laughed openly, grabbing one of Allen's bowls and hurling it randomly into the air.
Allen made to protest before a hardboiled egg smashed into his temple, bits of shell scattering over his shoulder. He wouldn't have retaliated at all, except someone else grabbed the precious dango right off of his plate. Already fickle temper flaring, he scooped up a bowl of curry, flinging the content in the direction of the dango thief.
By now, the entire cafeteria was wrapped up in a full blown food fight, no one having a particular opponent. Dishes, food, and drink soared across the room from all sides. Some, like Kanda, simply tried to pummel anyone within arm's reach when they got hit.
It lasted what seemed like hours before Komui intervened, managing to quell it with the help of most of the science department.
"Who started this?" he asked, face serious, although an amused glint flickered in his eyes.
All exorcists and finders in the vicinity stepped back to reveal Allen and Kanda, both covered in now unidentifiable remnants of meals. Kanda stood defensively, Mugen drawn to cut down anyone who crossed his path. Allen, on the other hand, sat on the floor, propped back on his hands and slightly disoriented.
Komui sighed good naturedly. "I should have known. Both of you, please come with me."
Allen and Kanda followed in tense silence. Allen still felt very dazed, the adrenaline rush of the food fight wearing off rapidly to give way to his returning fatigue. Kanda strode a couple steps ahead of him. The tension between the two exorcists was palpable. Allen felt a flurry of emotions course through him – embarrassment, shame, anger at himself – and they thundered ceaselessly through his brain. He was hardly conscious of stepping into Komui's office. The blood pounding in his ears prevented him from hearing what Komui said the first time.
"Allen?" the Chinese man said.
Allen blinked rapidly, bringing himself back to reality. "I-I'm sorry, what was that?"
"I said, I'm putting you and Kanda in isolation together."
"What? No!" Allen exclaimed. Komui's words certainly explained why Kanda had now fixed him with an even more vehement stare than usual.
"It's only for a little while," Komui continued. "A few days, at least."
"Why?" Allen demanded incredulously. "Can't we just clean the mess in the cafeteria or something?"
"Che," Kanda scoffed. "If you'd been listening, he already explained that, Bean Sprout."
"Now, now, you two," Komui interjected, gesturing for them to calm down. "Allen, there is nothing to gain for either of you by simply cleaning. I've already asked some of the staff to take care of it. What you need is to learn to coexist! Wouldn't it be easier if you and Kanda could get along as friends?"
"I won't be friends with someone like him," Kanda deadpanned.
Komui floated over to the space between them, putting an arm around each their shoulders, jerking them closer. "How can you know that if you've never tried?"
His frivolous tone only stoked the fire of Kanda's discontentment. The samurai tore away from Komui's hold at the same time Allen ducked out of it.
"Please consider something else," Allen begged. "Any punishment but that."
"Absolutely not," Komui declined as a finder hurried into the room.
"Sir, the room you asked for is ready," he said.
"Thank you," Komui answered as the man left, then turned back to the two disgruntled exorcists. "There's no time to waste! Let's go!" he scurried from the room, not looking back to see whether or not they were following him.
After exchanging mutually displeased glances, the two boys set off after their supervisor. Komui led them to a part of the headquarters that few people had reason to venture into. In fact, it served only as an isolation wing, and few conflicts escalated to the point where isolation proved necessary.
At the far end of the hallway, Komui pushed open one of the creaky stone doors. The inside of the room looked very similar to the regular bedrooms occupied by members of the Black Order. Stone walls surrounded them on all sides, including the floor and ceiling. In the center of the former lay a braided rug woven with the colors of autumn. On either side of that sat twin beds clothed with neutral tan blankets. The ultimate eyesore was a large painting resembling, to a frightening degree, Komui and Lenalee dancing hand in hand through a field of brightly colored flowers. A window between the beds cast the sun directly on it like a spotlight.
"Take that down," Kanda ordered immediately.
"But it'll inspire you to become closer!" Komui gushed, clasping his hands with bliss.
Kanda drew Mugen, pointing it so the tip of the blade hovered millimeters from the man's nose. "Get it out of here now, or I'll cut it down myself."
Komui shrieked, darting over to shield the painting with his body. "No no no, I'll take it! I can put it in my office!"
Once he had it in his arms and Mugen sheathed once again, Komui's serious face returned. "This is where you'll be staying. I'll know if you leave, so don't get any ideas about sneaking back to your own rooms. Good luck!" he sang as he backed out the door. "Oh," he added, poking his head back in, "you can go get whatever you need for the next few days from your rooms, but that's it."
As soon as the door clicked shut behind him, Kanda removed the belt holding Mugen, dropping it on the bed to his left. He took off his exorcist jacket, covered in foodstuffs, and draped it over his arm. "I'm taking this one," he said in a tone that left no room for debate.
"Fine," Allen agreed. "I'm going back to get a couple things."
Kanda merely grunted an affirmation, leaving the room himself to take a bath.
Allen wouldn't have minded doing the same, but going there with Kanda was out of the question. Instead, he returned to his room after washing his hair in one of the bathroom sinks to change. While he gathered what he needed, his anxieties heightened at the thought of spending even a single night in the same room as Kanda. The dreams would undoubtedly return. If he had walked all the way to Kanda's room the night before, what was to say the same wouldn't happen when he only had to move ten feet across the room?
As it was, he could already feel icy fingertips brushing his stomach and chest. He shivered uneasily, locking his bedroom door before making his way back to isolation.
Kanda still hadn't gotten back by the time Allen returned. The cursed boy breathed a sigh of relief. He had to figure out a way to make himself so tired he couldn't dream, and it had to be done without leaving the room.
There was no telling when Kanda would be back, so he quickly set to his morning routine of balancing himself on his thumb on the post at the foot of his bed. After five hundred or so pushups, he tried meditation in hopes of calming down. That is, until Kanda stormed in, face set in a deep scowl.
Allen jumped in surprise, recoiling a bit. "Kanda?"
"What?" the Japanese man snapped. A damp towel was draped around his neck, sopping hair cascading over it and down his back. He'd abandoned his uniform in the wash, wearing a pair of black pants and a white button down shirt instead.
"Is something wrong?"
He met the white haired boy with another uncensored glare. "I'm stuck in the same room with you. If I find you…if you…again—"
"It won't happen," Allen supplied, fully aware of where Kanda was going. Although he spoke the words with conviction, he had no idea how much truth they held.
The day passed slowly and painfully, neither boy having anything to do, especially now that they weren't allowed to leave the room for anything but the bare essentials. Kanda spent most of the day meditating or polishing Mugen, going out for meals and yet another bath in the evening (presumably just to get away from Allen for a while).
Allen, however tired he felt, took no chances with naps for fear of what he'd do while unconscious. He didn't want to wake up with Mugen plunged into his stomach. Dread flooded him when, after finally taking a bath himself, he entered the room to find Kanda getting ready for bed at nine o'clock.
"Do you always go to bed so early?" Allen inquired apprehensively.
"If I'm going to be here with you for days, I'm going to spend as much of that time unconscious as possible," Kanda replied coldly.
Allen's pulse quickened. "But if you do that, Komui will keep us here longer," he warned hastily.
"Act," Kanda supplied, pulling the bedcovers back and climbing in.
"But…" Allen trailed off as Kanda turned away from him. He couldn't think of any ideas that would keep the man awake.
The lights clicked off and Allen found himself sitting in the subtle glow of the waning moon. Nerves kept him awake while he lay in bed – at least until Kanda's heavy, rhythmic breathing reached his ears.
His eyelids became heavier, closing for longer periods of time. Soon, even if he were conscious enough to open them, he wouldn't have been able to. His senses faded one by one, dipping him gradually into sleep's domain.
It allowed him only a few fleeting hours of peaceful sleep before the dream began as usual.
Icy fingers froze trails over his heated skin in the dark, so carefully he could feel each contour of the man's fingerprints. They moved from his collarbone up to his jaw line and then around his face. Each time they touched one of his features, the same one appeared on Kanda.
But there was something different in them tonight. Unlike every other, Kanda grinned sadistically, unveiling a row of predatory teeth like razor blades. Even in unconsciousness, Allen felt his body go rigid and then cringe as dream Kanda lunged for his throat so fast his image blurred.
Allen bolted upright in his bed, uttering a sharp cry at the very moment his veins would have been pierced. Cold sweat trickled down the back of his neck and he shook as if with fever.
Kanda, too, shot from his pillow at the sound, groping in the dark for Mugen. "What's going on?" he slurred, mind and body still catching up with instinct.
"N-n-nothing," Allen stammered, trying to quell his quaking limbs.
"Al-len." His voice broke mid-stutter despite how he tried to control it.
Kanda's eyes adjusted quickly, despite how the moon now shifted away from Allen. The boy sat stiffly in his bed, pale and trembling in bursts. He looked as if he would be sick.
"Did you see something?" Kanda pressed, becoming irritated now at being woken up in the middle of the night.
"Well, what is it?"
"N-nothing. Just a nightmare." By now, he had had some luck calming himself. He still didn't want to look at Kanda, despite his reasoning that reality would be comforting compared to what he'd just seen.
Kanda leaned his sword against the wall. "I thought you said—"
"I can't help it!" Allen shouted. "They're dreams, they just happen."
A pang of guilt shot through the Japanese exorcist. It wasn't as if he couldn't relate. Hallucinations of lotuses were like nightmares, except there was no waking from them. Even Kanda was capable of empathy.
He drifted off again in minutes after turning away on his pillow, leaving Allen to wrestle with his inner self. The change in the dreams made Allen's stomach churn. Wrapping his arms around his chest, he rested his elbows on his knees, burying his face in the blankets covering them.
Although he thought sleep would be impossible, mere minutes passed before he was thrown into yet another dream. His dream self's muscles tensed when Kanda's face appeared, anticipating another attack. Kanda stepped toward him, and Allen realized he was seeing Kanda from head to toe for the first time in these dreams.
He recoiled as Kanda came closer and closer until their foreheads almost touched. Kanda's hand reached up, caressing his cheek with fingers marginally warmer than Allen remembered them. The hand swept beneath his chin, tilting his face up to lock eyes with the taller man.
And then their lips met. So soft, so gentle, yet so sure and hungry. It lasted what seemed like forever, and Allen caught himself consciously thinking that he wished he wouldn't wake up. Not even the promise of dango could tempt him now.
Suddenly, Kanda's lips broke from his, the ponytailed exorcist pushing him away. In one blink, he vanished, leaving him staring into a blank white space.
"I am going to kill you."
Allen's eyes shot open and he found himself dangerously close to Kanda's murderous face. Had he just…? No. No, impossible, Kanda would've sliced him in half by now if he'd done that.
Terror crept through him, confused thoughts tripping over each other and making him dizzy. What am I doing here? Is this…this is Kanda's bed. No, no, no, I'm going to die!
"Bean Sprout," Kanda said with an icy vehemence. "Get off, now, or I will run you through with Mugen."
Slowly returning from shocked immobilization, he forced his knees and elbows to bend the right way. Climbing off of the livid exorcist, Allen dropped to the floor, weak-limbed and blushing madly. He couldn't meet Kanda's furious expression.
"Tell me what that was about," Kanda demanded.
Allen's head jerked upward against his volition. "I…I didn't…" At Kanda's intensifying ferocity, he deemed it best to be honest. He had nothing to lose at this point. "You…you're the thing – the person – I've been having dreams about," he finally muttered, averting his eyes so maybe he wouldn't get the full brunt of Kanda's anger.
He cringed at the rustling of sheets beside him, gasping when Kanda's fingertips brushed his neck.
"Relax," Kanda said, too harshly to receive the desired effect.
Allen dared look back at him, filled with curiosity. Beside him, on the edge of his bed, sat the Japanese exorcist, hand outstretched. His ebony hair fell loose over his shoulders and back, a few strands coiling around his arm.
"If you're going to attack me, do it while I'm awake." The words sounded even gentler than those meant to soothe the white-haired boy on the ground.
Allen gaped in surprise. Of all the things he'd expected Kanda to do, the last was nothing. He hadn't even considered relaxing of all things.
"I-I didn't mean to attack y—"
"Shut up. Go to sleep."
"But Kanda…what if—"
"It doesn't matter. I'm tired, so go back to bed."
Although Kanda's words lacked their usual bite, his glare remained fixed on the boy still sitting on the floor. Allen recoiled internally, and it must have shown on his face, considering how disgusted the Japanese man looked. As Allen fixed his unwavering stare on Kanda's face, he became lost in his features. Sharp, stern eyes glowed beneath a curtain of hair the color of the night sky. Ivory skin fell in shadow, covering his angular cheeks and nose. He sat on the bed, one leg drawn up as if in defense.
"Stop staring," he demanded, jerking Allen out of his reverie.
"Ah, s-sorry," Allen stammered. "But do you think, maybe…" He trailed off, thinking better of his question.
"What?" Kanda snapped.
"Can I…" He couldn't seem to speak the words, so instead settled for gesturing at the bed with a halfhearted wave.
Kanda looked taken aback for a moment, but not as repulsed as Allen imagined. A deep, awkward silence stretched between them as the white haired boy waited for his answer. When Kanda offered none, he figured he might help him out a little.
"If I fall asleep and start dreaming again, I might end up doing the same thing. If I'm already with you, it won't wake you. Probably," he added, eyes darting to the side momentarily. When they revisited Kanda's face, the expression they met was nothing short of conflicted. "Kanda?"
"Shut up, I'm thinking," the Japanese man quipped. After mere seconds, he relented. Pulling back the covers, he allowed Allen in beside him, but only so the kid wouldn't wake him up in another couple of hours.
Or so he thought.
Allen crawled onto the mattress, doing his best not to touch the person beside him. It was inevitable, however, when he realized that if he didn't want to touch, he'd fall out of the bed if he let his body relax. Kanda didn't seem too keen on moving over to begin with, so Allen only had about a third of the bed.
So he rested his back against Kanda's and closed his eyes. He drifted off immediately, the extra warmth a small comfort.
Kanda, on the other hand, found the bean sprout's weight against him unsettling. Although the kid didn't weigh much to begin with, Kanda couldn't help but notice it pressed to his own body. In fact, he admitted to himself, he didn't actually mind it.
All at once, his thoughts ceased. Why had he thought that? Never had he considered the kid as anything other than a pure annoyance, a righteous fool who couldn't resist saving other people, even when it was hopeless.
Lifting his head from the single pillow, Kanda peered over his shoulder to sneak a glance at the boy behind him. He perceived thin shoulders rising and falling steadily, white hair splayed across the other half of the pillow. Allen had curled into a half-fetal position, presumably to use his legs for balance, preventing himself from tumbling over the edge of the bed.
Mechanically, as if his body acted on its own, Kanda shifted silently onto his back. His hand outstretched, fingertips just barely touching Allen's thin shirt. As he moved them forward, the only thing separating the skin of the two exorcists was that single layer, that one piece of material that Kanda only had to tear off in order reach skin.
Suddenly, Allen yelped, body jerking forward. Before Kanda had time to think, he grabbed a fistful of Allen's shirt, keeping him on the bed. The boy lay still for a moment, hands pressed to the mattress. Then he looked over his shoulder to find Kanda's hand intertwined with the back of his garment, gazing down on him with a mixed look of concern and discontent.
"A-are you alright?" Allen asked groggily.
"Idiot, why are you asking me that? You're the one who jumped out of his skin and almost fell off the bed," Kanda retorted, releasing his hold.
"Oh," Allen said, still taking in the situation with his foggy mind. He sighed, slumping back on the pillow and running his hands through his hair. "Sorry," he added.
When the boy raised his arms, they pulled up the lower part of his shirt to reveal a stark white, but lean and muscular, stomach. Kanda observed its contours from a couple inches above Allen's naval to his hips descending to the waist of his pants. He was still pretty scrawny looking and Kanda wondered briefly how much of the mountain of food was consumed each day by his parasitic Innocence.
Kanda's eyes wandered discreetly to Allen's left arm, still up massaging his forehead. Now that he thought about it, Allen had looked exhausted since breakfast. Kanda noticed more than his fellows gave him credit for. Being an exorcist, acuity of observation wasn't something he could just turn on and off from the battlefield to home.
Turning his attention back to the boy's stomach, he reached out again – more consciously this time. His fingertips merely brushed Allen's skin before the boy recoiled, scuttling backwards toward the head of the bed.
"Wh-what are you doing?" he demanded.
Kanda opened his mouth to speak, though he had no words.
Luckily, Allen supplied them, relief washing over him. "I thought I'd fallen asleep and started dreaming again," he said with a nervous chuckle.
"You dreamed about that?" Kanda mused, eyebrows raised in rare curiosity.
Allen sputtered some unintelligible response, a deep blush coloring his cheeks.
"Stop moving away."
The snowy-haired exorcist obeyed only out of shock at Kanda's request. His shirt was still pulled partway up, and Kanda replaced his fingers on Allen's abdomen. The boy shivered at his touch, however light it was.
"Your hands are freezing."
Kanda ignored the comment, grazing his fingertips along the smooth, taut skin. Perhaps because of his cold hands, Allen felt particularly warm. Kanda pressed his hands into the heated flesh as if trying to reverse the degrees of warmth. In fact, before his counterpart said something, he hadn't really noticed how frozen his fingers truly were. He was so used to it now, especially in the winter.
Allen gasped loudly as Kanda ran his hands up to Allen's chest, under his shirt, relishing the heat radiating from the younger.
"K-Kanda, what are you doing?" Allen whispered sharply, as if someone were listening in.
"Touching you," he said, more sharply than he meant. "To get warm."
At one point, Kanda found himself unable to move much farther up the boy's body because of the buttoned shirt. He fumbled with the fastenings, starting from the bottom before Allen joined from the top.
Wasting no time once they were all undone, Kanda repositioned his hands. Then, deciding just warming his hands wasn't satisfying enough, he wrapped his arms around the younger's waist, pulling him closer. He smelled of the clear, snowy earth, just like snowflakes floating down from the clouds. It was a pure, innocent scent, one that surrounded him instantly, immersing him in nature's will. The only difference between Allen and the snow was the heat, and Kanda was glad for it.
"You're freezing!" Allen exclaimed, snuggling into Kanda's half-open robe. Slipping his hands inside it, he skimmed his fingertips over skin taut with muscle, trailing over each contour.
Without thinking, Allen worked his way to Kanda's shoulders, reaching up to the man's chiseled jaw, and bringing his face down, closer to eye level. Kanda's eyes held something Allen had never seen. Not in him. Kanda never looked so fiery, slate gray eyes bright with anticipation.
Hesitation cast aside, he pressed his lips to Allen's just a little clumsily. He had no experience with this, no way to train or practice for such a thing as kissing. Even he hadn't expected it until this very moment.
Kanda's tongue prodded Allen's lips, gently at first, and a little more fiercely when the younger didn't grant immediate entrance. The inside of Allen's mouth was cooler than his outsides, Kanda thought, probably because the kid slept with his mouth open.
Their tongues mingled, inhibited only slightly by their teeth. Each explored the tiny crevices in the enamel, tracing the miniscule spaces down to the gums, running over cheeks a few times. At one point, Allen bit down unintentionally on Kanda's tongue, initiating a much needed break for air.
By now, Kanda straddled Allen's waist, looking down at him with only a thin string of saliva connecting their lips. Each boy gasped for breath, cheeks a little pinker, bodies a little warmer as they tried to catch it. The blanket lay forgotten, crumpled at the foot of the bed near Allen's bare toes.
As the two lay intertwined on the bed, Kanda removed one of his hands from beside Allen's ears. Sifting through his cascade of hair, he touched Allen's face once more, the British boy gazing up with something between adoration and undiluted lust.
Kanda's robe fell open, exposing his shoulders and upper arms. Allen reached up to run his fingertips down the length of each. Kanda's own touch faltered when Allen tickled his inner elbow.
"I thought you said you wouldn't want to be friends," Allen reminded him sleepily.
"We're not friends," Kanda corrected him.
"This isn't friendship. Think, Bean Sprout."
"It's Allen," he replied with a yawn.
Even the cursed exorcist's tired mind could comprehend how strange it was for Kanda to stutter like that, and on his name, no less. Allen closed his eyes, fingering a lock of Kanda's hair as he drifted back to sleep.
"Sounds good," he whispered, letting the Japanese man settle in beside him before sinking into a dreamless slumber.
Thanks so much for reading! Please review (I do so love reviews)! I should admit now that I never do much editing on my fics, so if you find something that really bothers you about it, please let me know and I'll take a look. Looking forward to your thoughts~ :3