Here's the first chapter of the sequel to a Charade of Flames! At the time of writing, in the manga, Allen is still quietly snoozing away. The aim of this fic is to give my version of what would happen in the final sequence of events leading up to the last battle with the Millennium Earl, and give Tyki and Evelyn a chance to live their lives in full. Therefore, I will deviate from the Manga chapters in the story after this in an AU final ending. I don't own D. Gray-Man or any of its characters, but I own OCs.
Moonlight Arrow: Thank you, thank you for reviewing! You made me and my beta very, very happy, and the best thing you can do in a review is to comment on the writer's language. Thanks for appreciating ACOF and being so enthusiastic about AMOS. (Yeah, I'm going to use the abbreviations from now on)
And also thanks to Greentreefrog, pizzas are immortal, Cstan, and LittleDarkLady666 for giving me excellent encouragement in writing this chapter.
Walking through the wastes of her dreams, Evelyn encounters broken and cluttered fragments, memories all, twisting around the melancholy chords of a violin. A small child with a strange lobe on his forehead dances about the feet of Klaud, tracing grey hands through grey air, laughing, "I'm going to be an exorcist!" The words echo, and as the silvery figures dissolve, more painful recollections surface. A blood-soaked white mask by a window. Lavi cries out in pain as he and Bookman disappear into a swirl of dark mist, that curls and reforms–
"Alma!" Kanda yells, Mugen swinging in a circle of whispering death, parting the grey mist about him like the shattered notes of the violin. "Thank you, Allen Walker," are the murmured words, quickly lost through the white glare of Ark gate, and the fading form of tattered coat and ragged hair. And Allen…Allen leaves.
Then a brighter memory washes over grey, and Evelyn draws some comfort from seeing Tyki, stopping by to drop off intel to Komui, golden eyes ever-bright in the dark mist.
Then amid the swirls of ash and dust, Evelyn sees Tyki as he was a few months ago, tears streaking down his cheeks, blaming himself for not figuring out the Earl's plan to target Kanda and Allen. The violin sings a haunting melody, a prelude to a nightmare. In the no-time of dreams, Evelyn does what she did then; she wordlessly holds Tyki, and Tyki holds her, as their silent tears fall together, finding what comfort they can from each others' presence. Then the nightmare surfaces, and the leering face of the Millennium Earl swarms toward Evelyn, wrenching Tyki from beside her.
Evelyn screams herself awake.
As she pants, heart hammering within her, the soft silvery light of dawn filters in through her window, bringing to life the blackbird in song on her wall, joining the birdsong of the morning. Evelyn closes her eyes momentarily, then growls and stalks off to shower and dress.
She is striding smoothly down the hallways, letting her feet lead her to breakfast, when Reever nearly bowls her over in his excitement. "Evelyn!" he calls over his shoulder as he sprints away. "Lenalee and Marie are back! And you know who they brought with them?"
Evelyn stands unnaturally still, the world rotating about her in trails of iridescent light. Could it be? She spins, coat-tails flowing about her in a circle, and whispers, "Acumen. Activate." A shiver runs up her bones, and raw power transforms her black and red gloves into cards, leaving a band of red around each wrist. At her word, they whirl around her, buffeting the lamps on the walls, and she powers up the corridor, sparks dancing around her boots and cards as they undulate, adding to her speed. I've missed him so much. Not to mention Master–
In the warm sunlight of the Order entrance, a tall young man with hair the shade of darkened cobalt, a rough scarf wrapped around his neck, and traveler's clothes of trench coat and rough boots is silhouetted, bordered by white flames.
Kanda Yu stares dispassionately at his surroundings, letting his eyes wander about the dull stone ceiling. Then he looks down and comes face to face with a pair of sparkling violet eyes.
The next moment, the breath is knocked out of him as Evelyn throws her arms around him, Acumen and her coat flapping about them in the wind of her passing. Kanda stares down at her, and slowly grins, returning her hug.
"I'm back," he murmurs softly. Behind him, Marie and Lenalee look on, dumbstruck.
"Welcome home," Evelyn chokes, then steps back and examines him with a glimmer in her gaze.
Kanda winces. "Ah, yes about Master– ARGH!"
"You deserve this," Evelyn says imperiously, sniffing. "Master cried for weeks."
Kanda's voice is slightly muffled by the fact his face is squashed to the floor by Evelyn's boot. "Evie…" he says, sounding genuinely apologetic despite that she cannot hear him clearly. "I'm sorry. I really am. Can I get up now?"
Evelyn snorts, and releases him. "I'm getting Master Teddy." Without another word, she speeds off again, raising a small cloud of dust around the crouched form of Kanda.
Marie's laughter forces the Kanda's eyebrows into a sharp frown. But Lenalee notices with no little glee that he turns away to hide a smile.
Tiedoll picks at his breakfast moodily, turning his scrambled egg into a mush. He sighs again, and rubs his face tiredly. The Cafeteria is nearly empty by now, most science department members already back at their workstations. Recent events weigh heavily on Tiedoll's mind, and the food turns to ash in his mouth.
A gentle hand touches his arm. "Master Teddy," a soft voice admonishes.
Tiedoll spares Evelyn a half-grin, his heart warmed as ever by Evelyn's musical words. "Evelyn," he replies, noting with some surprise the barely restrained twitching at the corners of her mouth. "You seem…excited about something," he comments, wondering what it could be. He hasn't seen her happy in quite a while, rather, cold and sorrowful, like a winter held in frost.
Evelyn slides into the bench beside Tiedoll, and simply looks at him.
The fork slips out of his hand to clatter against his plate, and his eyes light up with renewed hope. "Is he…is he…" he gasps, tears leaking out of the corners of his eyes.
Evelyn gives a slow nod, and a smile blossoms over her features like spring washing away the bitter bite of winter. Tiedoll nearly trips over the bench as he vaults over the table and stumbles out of the cafeteria.
A crystalline laugh explodes out of Evelyn, and she and pours herself a cup of tea from the teapot at the centre of the table, her thoughts light and free. Suddenly, she becomes aware of the growling in her stomach, and reaches for the round cover of the dish in front of her. Her scream rends the air, and Jerry leaps out from behind the kitchen, only to give an even higher-pitched shriek.
Evelyn stares at Tyki's grinning head, sticking out of the silver surface of the empty plate, surrounded by faint hexagons. "Don't do that!" she yells at him.
"What?" Tyki asks innocently, rising up through the table and jumping down with an easy motion, the landing ruffling his crumpled hair and his white shirt. As he settles on the bench beside Evelyn, one laughing gold eye winks at Jerry and he calls, "Could I get a coffee? Black, please."
Jerry gets over his hyperventilating by reaching for the coffee.
Tyki turns back to Evelyn, and grunts as she stomps on his foot. He shakes the boot absentmindedly, saying apologetically, "Ah, yes. Sorry about just now."
Evelyn glares at him. "Oh, so you're sorry, then?" she says scathingly.
Tyki nods, tilts his head at her, and blinks as she flicks him on the nose, leaving it feeling inflamed. He screws his eyes shut, rubs his nose, and his cheeks flare with heat as he feels Evelyn kiss him quickly on the cheek and take his hand.
"Um," he stammers, as Jerry shuffles over and deposits a pot of coffee by his elbow. "Thanks!" Tyki calls after him, and turns back to Evelyn. "Uh…" he murmurs, his mind blissfully blank.
Evelyn rolls her eyes and stares at him coolly, reaching over with her free hand for a bit of toast. "Well?" she asks expectantly, raising an eyebrow.
Tyki deflates, his cheeks returning to their normal shade. "Alright," he sighs, facing her. Evelyn puts down her toast, and watches him seriously. She knows him too well to make the mistake of taking whatever this is lightly. Tyki closes his eyes for a moment, then he quietly says, "I thought something must have been going on at the Black Ark, because Sheril's been…slightly unhinged since Road disappeared."
"What did you find?" Evelyn whispers. I know Road has been gone for quite a while now, but what could Sheril have done?
"Sheril's imprisoned Lavi and Bookman," Tyki breathes, the words pouring out of him. "He's been keeping this from me, while interrogating them about a new weapon of some sort. A weapon of Understanding, I think he called it."
Evelyn forces her fear for her friends down, and asks, "How are they?"
"Alive," Tyki murmurs, looking away.
"But not well," Evelyn says sorrowfully. Sighing, she reaches up and turns Tyki's jaw back towards her. "But at the moment, the most pressing matter is that of your position." Violet eyes meet gold. "Does the Earl suspect?"
"No," Tyki shakes his head. "At least, I don't think so."
"Good. Is there any way to get Lavi and Bookman out?"
"I visited them in secret. Bookman warned me not to do anything, lest my position be revealed." Tyki gives a bitter laugh. "I'm too valuable a source of intelligence, apparently."
Evelyn pulls him into a hug and murmurs comfortingly, "It's not your fault." She hears him breathe in, then out, slowly.
"I've located Allen Walker," Tyki whispers softly next to her ear.
"What?" Evelyn pulls back and stares at him, hope glimmering in her eyes, her hands on his shoulders.
"I want to know what, too." The clear voice breaks over them.
Evelyn and Tyki's heads snap toward the door, where Tiedoll raises his eyebrows at them, Kanda in half-shadow behind him. Kanda looks like he wants to hack up a hairball, a deadly look in his dark eyes as he watches the couple.
"Tyki's found Allen!" Evelyn whispers happily.
The change in Kanda's expression is barely noticeable, but it's there, a maelstrom of bitterness, confusion, and strangely, relief. It flits across his face in an instantaneous shadow. Tiedoll, for his part, jumps across the room with a shout of joy and swings Evelyn around in a bear hug.
Kanda and Tyki stare at each other with the nonchalance of men who might kill each other at the slightest aggravation. Then Kanda says, "Tch," and moves into the light of the cafeteria, and Evelyn gapes at the red-hilted katana in its crimson sheath poking over his shoulder.
"You crystal-typed?" Evelyn exclaims, bounding over.
"What does it look like?" Kanda replies emotionlessly. He turns to Tiedoll. "I'm going after Allen."
Tyki raises his eyebrows at Kanda's back and looks questioningly at Evelyn. She shrugs and shakes her head. Sighing, Tyki says clearly, "If you're going to search for him, I'll have to drop in every now and then to provide you with new intel."
Kanda whirls and snarls at him, "Forget it."
Tyki fluidly rises and lithely strides over to Kanda. "You going toe-to-toe with me, pretty boy?" he says, dangerously calm.
"What did you just call me, curly-haired Noah?" Kanda murmurs, his right hand creeping up toward Mugen.
The next moment, a gloved hand smushes into either face and throws them apart, accompanied with Evelyn's angered shout, "Boys!"
Kanda and Tyki collapse, groaning, into opposite benches, clutching their heads. When their watering eyes open wide enough, Evelyn stalks between them and whispers in a terrifying voice, "I'm coming with you, Kanda. Tyki, you'll contact me with intel." She glares at them, violet eyes holding insurmountable danger.
Two voices squeak in unison, "OK."
Evelyn's deathly grin spreads. "Good."
Tiedoll laughs so hard he collapses to the floor.
Reever takes another sip of his lemon soda and focuses once more on the chart of figures on the desk before him. A pounding headache only exacerbates his fatigue. Then a high-pitched shout by his ear sends his blonde hair sticking up like spikes.
"What is it again, Johnny?" Reever says tiredly, swiveling to his right.
"MY GRANDMOTHER IS SICK!" Johnny wails, tearing at his curly hair, rocking on his knees before Reever. "I NEED TO GO HOME AND TAKE CARE OF HER!"
Reever suppresses the urge to kick Johnny in the head and simply repeats, like he has dozens of times, "Not that excuse again." One hand rubs his face.
"It's true!" Johnny snivels. "It's a family matter–"
This time Reever lightly pushes Johnny over with is shoe and yells, "I know what you want to do. Believe me, that's what I want to do! But searching for Allen is nigh on impossible!"
Tiedoll's voice resounds from behind Reever's shoulder. "Actually, it isn't at all impossible."
"General!" Reever exclaims, turning. "Ah…I thought no one else was in here…"
"It's quite all right." Tiedoll gives a crazily happy grin.
Johnny shuffles over to Tiedoll and slowly stands, sniffling. "You said…something about finding Allen?" Hope unlooked-for lightens his eyes behind his thick glasses.
Tiedoll sighs and quietly explains Evelyn and Kanda's plan.
Johnny nearly squeals with delight and yells, "Then I can go with them!"
Reever forces him into a chair, stares him in the eye, and says seriously, "If you go with them, you will be breaching your orders. They are Exorcists. They can act as if they are on a mission. You can't."
"But…but…" Johnny wails.
Tiedoll pats his shoulder. "Leave it to them. Allen is their friend as much as he is yours." His kindly eyes glimmer.
Johnny is silent for a long while. So long, in fact, Reever starts to think something is wrong, silent not being a word he usually connects with Johnny. Then Johnny straightens, blinks back tears, and says bravely, "Well, I'll have to redesign Mikky to only communicate with us, and not the Order then."
"Good man," Tiedoll says.
Evelyn kicks at the grass by her feet and leans against the cliff wall, the hood of a green cloak shadowing her face, cinched at the collar with her silver chain. The sheer rock face stretches up to the arch of blue like a roadway to the heavens. Just around the corner is Headquarters' entrance, but Evelyn's position is hidden. Next to her are two bundles; one, her personal bag, and the second, a little food and money.
A short while later, Kanda emerges from the undergrowth and adjusts the straps on his pack. A cream-coloured trench coat hides his uniform as effectively as Evelyn's cloak hides hers.
"Let's go," Evelyn says.
"Are you sure you can wear that openly?" Kanda asks suddenly, pointing at where her cloak is fastened by her chain. The pendant of poker chip and cards flashes in the bright morning sunlight.
"Yes," Evelyn replies shortly, and turns. Mikky follows her, wings beating frantically.
Kanda overtakes her. "Let us be off. If Leverrier finds out about this, we're good as dead," he says emotionlessly.
"So optimistic," Evelyn murmurs under her breath.
For the fifth time that afternoon, Evelyn backhands another drunk guy in the face and listens as he thuds to the floor, alcohol fumes issuing from his mouth. Kanda grunts from the bar beside her, nursing a glass of something golden.
"I don't see how the curly-haired idiot couldn't have given us Allen's exact co-ordinates," Kanda snarls, glaring around the pub. Half the guys in the smoky room have already fallen over into their own sick, and the slightly less tipsy keep a curious eye trained on the Kanda and Evelyn, perched on stools by the bar.
"Well, Allen's quite good at hiding, and I'd rather not jump him," Evelyn murmurs back, then chokes on a sip of apple cider as a slurred voice blurs the air by her ear. "You…you're beau…pretty…like…like the shparkly…shtars…"
Kanda's gloved fist darts across her vision and slams Drunkie in the face. Sloshed with pain and spirits, Drunkie crumples into the heap of unconscious guys slowly piling up next to them. "This can't go on," Kanda groans as he watches Drunkie twitch. "You're attracting too much attention."
Evelyn grins as she eyes something over his shoulder. "I don't think that's my problem anymore, pretty boy."
Kanda's lip curls in disgust as he looks around.
"Hey pr…pretty girl…" the seriously slushed man dribbles, reaching a grime-covered hand for Kanda's hair. "Can I buy you a dr-drink? S'll be–"
Kanda empties the rest of his tankard of ale, with which he had smashed into the face of the filthy man, over the man's insensible features. Then he turns to Evelyn and narrows his eyes at her silent chuckles.
"Let's go," Kanda growls, and slams some money on the bar.
Evelyn follows Kanda out into the late afternoon sunlight, musing over their next steps. "Is there any way to help Lavi and Bookman?" she wonders aloud, glancing around the square.
"Not likely," Kanda says dispassionately as they push through a particularly thick crowd surrounding a fat, dancing performer of some sort. "The force needed to break into the Black Ark in the first place…" he suddenly lowers himself onto the marble base of a statue and rubs his temples. "Stupid headache..."
"Are you actually drunk?" Evelyn chortles, bending over to examine him more closely. "The great Kanda Yu can't hold his drink?"
Kanda squeezes his eyes shut and snarls, "Evie. Shut–" His head turns suddenly to his right, and he trails off, watching the street performer.
"What's wro…" Evelyn feels the words die on her lips as she, too, beholds the clown. In a trance, she slides between the crowds, towards the twirling figure. In her mind, she strips away the gaudy collar, top hat and poofy costume over wiry form, the crazy hula-hoops and baubles, the buttons and the white facial makeup covering a barely concealed scar…
Evelyn sees Allen Walker.
"Kanda…" Evelyn chokes, and dry-swallows. "I think that's…" she glances to her left, and chills break out across her brow.
Kanda glares at the clown, one hand fingering the hilt of cloth-wrapped Mugen, beast-eyes nearly afire with cerulean hate. "That clown…something makes me want to slice him up."
"What?" Evelyn squeaks.
"Just…let me slice him up a little bit…" Kanda breathes, striding purposefully forward. "I'm really, really pissed off by this guy…" Mugen is already half-drawn from its sheath, silver edge grinning wickedly. As Evelyn extends a hand to delay Kanda, a sudden pulse of air flattens them both, and screams erupt around them. Evelyn watches in horror as a black pool spreads in inky waves below the clown. An Akuma mouth, horribly gaping, rises up out of it and swallows the clown.
Mugen dances out of its sheath even as Acumen activates, wreathing Evelyn's hands in amethyst flame. As they dart toward the Akuma, a shudder runs through the metallic form of the demon, and it ruptures in a shower of black matter and crackling. Out of the ashes of the Akuma, a white shadow rises, feathered edges surrounding an exquisite silver-filigreed mask.
Kanda and Evelyn skid to a halt by the wavering form, Mugen sparkling with hidden emotion and Acumen drawing a circle in the dust. The figure in white shifts, and reveals a small child clutched to his chest. As he slides effortlessly down the fallen Akuma's sides to the cobbles, the perfect mask slips off his face, and Kanda's eyes widen.
"Woyashi?" he breathes, a strange, ambivalent emotion edging his words.
Tyki leans against the statue at the top of the pillar, balancing precariously on the ledge, the wind catching the pure white tails of his coat. Wisely crouches next to him, a scarf wrapped around his head. Tyki had tried to come himself, but the Earl had somehow found out and decided Wisely should accompany him. He is not impressed with his nephew.
Wisely scratches his ear and glances at Evelyn. "So that's who the Earl was talking about."
"What?" Tyki snaps, more sharply than he had intended.
"Didn't you know?" Wisely says luxuriously, stretching. "That girl has the Innocence of understanding. Are you really as thick as you look?"
Tyki growls at him and struggles to keep his face blank in the light of this revelation. "What does he intend to do with her?" he asks carefully.
Wisely shrugs. "Wait 'till the opportune moment to capture her, then torture 'till she offers to serve, blah blah blah." He glances up at Tyki, and says strangely, "Don't you know the routine?"
"Interesting black and white, as always," Tyki laughs uneasily. He looks back down at the three exorcists. "Scout the perimeter of the town for more exorcists, will you?" he says. "Return to the Ark after you're done."
"What about you?" Wisely asks.
"I want to see how our brother the Fourteenth deals with this. I'll tell you all the details later," Tyki replies quietly.
Wisely nods, then is gone.
Tyki closes his eyes and tries to think of a plan. His mind stays hopelessly blank.
"Allen!" Evelyn yells, leaping forward, but stops hesitantly as Allen lowers the child to the ground.
"I've shown you a terrible performance," Allen says softly to the little girl. "I'm sorry. Be careful on your way home." His white-gloved right hand gently brushes away the tears on the girl's cheeks. She suddenly leaps forward and hugs Allen's neck tightly, then turns and darts away through the crowd.
Allen's gaze follows her fondly, then he turns toward Evelyn and Kanda. "Allen?" Evelyn asks.
Allen turns and makes a bolt for it.
Rolling her eyes, Evelyn sweeps Acumen in a sizzling arc of flame and snagging it around the ankle of Allen's clown boot, jerking him back with a painful crunch to the cobbles before her. Typically, he stumbles to his feet again and stubbornly begins to stagger away. Kanda simply steps forward and sweeps out his foot from under him, even as Acumen tightens around his other ankle and leaves Allen without any balance whatsoever. His Innocence deactivates as the back of his head smashes into the ground.
Allen gives a tortured gasp as he stares up at them, eyes glazed, wearing a stupid-looking baggy clown costume.
Kanda places a hand at Allen's collar, keeping his weight on him, and murmurs, "Ah. I understand now. I thought you were so irritating because it was you."
"Don't be so violent, Kanda," Evelyn admonishes, but can't help a huge smile from spreading.
"Woyashi?" Kanda asks. Allen sulks quietly, unresponding. Kanda says his usual "Tch," and motions at Evelyn. "Give me something to rub with." Evelyn mutely hands him a handkerchief. Kanda's face splits in a satisfied smile as he raises the cloth. Allen screws his eyes shut in preparation.
"OW IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS!"
Kanda fluidly blocks the kick to his head as Allen yells, "ARE YOU TRYING TO PEEL THE SKIN OFF MY FACE, BAKANDA?" His scar is now easily visible, purple against the pink of his raw skin.
"Woyashi," Kanda gives a half-grin.
"IT'S ALLEN!" Allen and Evelyn shout in unison.
"So. You haven't turned into the Fourteenth yet." It is a statement, not a question.
Allen's face darkens with shame. "How did you find me?" he asks quickly.
"Curly-hair," Kanda says with vehemence. "But let me ask a question. How did that Crow, Howard Link, die?"
Allen goes still. "Howard…died?" he whispers, shock wiping his face clean of all but innocent sorrow. Then a sudden shudder runs through him, and his left eye whirrs to life. "The Fourteenth..." he gasps.
A shivering second of silence.
Then the world explodes around them as another Akuma, mouth agape most horribly, lunges out from below Allen. Allen's sword leaps into existence as his white cloak dances about him. "What, are you crazy?" Evelyn laughs at the Akuma, using Acumen to spring into the air. " You chose to appear when three Exorcistswere above you?"
The Akuma howls as it is skewered by Allen's sword, Mugen, and Acumen. Then Allen shivers, and looks at the ground, where dozens more Akuma gates swirl and reform like pools of ink. Allen presses a hand to his forehead, then crown belt towers above them, pushing Allen up to a roof where he turns tail and flees, yelling, "Tim! Take me to the most isolated place you can!"
Evelyn feels a presence by her side, and turns to see Tyki, immaculate in a full-length white coat. He turns to her, eyes dark. "Follow me," he murmurs, grabs her hand, and slips into the alleyways of the town. His hand is strong and warm over hers, and she clutches it gratefully as the maze of alleys whirl and spin around her. Kanda's light steps follow them. Tyki does not speak further, and weaves his way through the town with a sparkling intensity in his golden eyes.
Finally, they reach a bridge spanning a dry canal, and in the soft blankets of shadow under the arch lies a crumpled form with a golden golem fluttering about its head.
Tyki skids down the banks of the canal effortlessly, an arm circling Evelyn's waist to aid her balance. Kanda snorts as he follows. As they reach the small figure, Allen raises his head and groans, "Neah, do you hate me?"
Evelyn starts as she sees the light grey tone of his skin. "Allen…" she breathes.
Tyki lets go of her hand and crouches by Allen, grabbing his collar to get him to a sitting position. "You're fine," he says quietly. Allen nearly sobs with pain, and Tyki is startled by the unbridled desperation in his eyes. "You feel the Noah?" Tyki asks quietly.
Allen nods, too much in agony to speak.
"What do you have in life to cling on to?" Tyki whispers. "Fold them around the Noah and bind it."
"Nakama," Allen chokes through rapid breaths.
"For me, it was Evelyn," Tyki murmurs, sparing her a glance. "Allow your friends to protect you by defending your mind."
Allen's breathing comes easier, but his skin is still tinged grey.
On the canal behind, an Akuma erupts out of a gate with an earsplitting crack. Mugen finds it noiselessly. Kanda doesn't even spare it a look.
Allen raises his gaze to Kanda, and asks, "Why are you here? I was really happy that you're alive, but weren't you going to stay with Alma?" His voice raises in horror. "Any why are you in the Order's uniform? Why are you throwing away your freedom?"
Kanda stutters forward with a spasm-like motion, grabbing Allen's collar and slamming him against the bricks. Tyki watches curiously. Kanda glares at Allen, wild hurt dancing in his dark eyes. "Because," Kanda begins, as if every word causes him pain, "I swore not to tell anyone until I die…Alma's last moments was mine, and mine alone." His eyes narrow. "You gave this to us, so we are free."
Allen stares at Kanda for a moment, then begins to sob. Kanda drops him unceremoniously like a sack of potatoes and steps back. He rolls his eyes when he sees Evelyn's red-rimmed eyes, and looks at Tyki.
Tyki raises his hands. "I'm not crying for you, mate," he says quickly, eyes wide in mock-horror.
Allen faints mid-sob.
Tyki, Kanda and Evelyn stare down at him.
"Well, that was easy," Tyki mutters.
Allen slumbers quietly, tucked up warmly between the sheets. Tyki, Evelyn and Kanda sit on the sofa opposite, watching him. Allen gives a little whiffle. The hotel manager hadn't objected to how odd the three of them looked, carrying an unconscious boy between them, when Tyki had slammed a bagful of gold on the receptionist's desk.
Kanda snorts. "Want me to yell at him again?"
"Kanda…" Evelyn warns, glaring at him.
Eventually, tired from waiting, Evelyn falls asleep on Tyki's shoulder, Tyki staying absolutely still. In the silence, the tension builds. Finally, Kanda whispers spitefully to Tyki, "Why are you still here, anyway?"
Tyki shifts slightly to rearrange Evelyn's head from his shoulder, and looks at Kanda pointedly, motioning at Evelyn. Kanda stands up and mutters, "I'm going to scout the perimeter."
"I'm coming with you," Tyki murmurs, and gently lowers Evelyn so she is lying on the sofa. At Kanda's questioning scowl, he shrugs and says easily, "What? I'm bored."
If Evelyn hadn't been asleep, Kanda would have unsheathed Mugen by now.
They leave the hotel together, Tyki grinning at Kanda's discomfort.
A blonde-haired man with long braided hair moves like a wraith in the shadows, his steps silent, coat masking his handsome face. The shadows climb up the wall, but somehow he knows the rhythms of the night and the soundless voice of the walls. He prides himself in his skills of stealth, of being able to move without anyone noticing –
Howard Link's face makes a horrible crunching noise as it is slammed into the wall.
A surprised, yet smooth voice intones, "The Crow?" the pressure lessens on the chokehold against his neck.
Link rubs his nose dejectedly as he spins, knife appearing in his hand. Tyki simply stares at him, and says wonderingly, "How did you possibly survive? When the Earl pulled me back through the portal, you had feathers sticking out of your eyes." The moonlight reflects off his white clothes, blaringly advertising power. Tyki Mikk has no reason to hide, being incredibly powerful.
"Nice to see you, too," Link replies drily. Something sharp rests on the back of his neck, singing hollowly. Keeping his eyes forward, he says emotionlessly, "Kanda Yu. I thought I'd never see you again. I'm glad to see you've come back."
"Shut up," Kanda snaps. "That sounded weird."
Tyki tries not to laugh, and is not entirely successful. As the little chuckles overwhelm him, Kanda glares (he's been doing a lot of that) and Link turns slowly. "You look healthy," Kanda mentions as he tilts his head at Link.
"I'm surprised you would worry about me," Link says, sarcastically grateful.
"I don't," Kanda snarls.
Tyki straightens, wipes away a stray tear of mirth, and waves his hands at them self-importantly. "One of you should propose to the other," he chokes, and doubles over in laughter again.
Link, supremely indifferent, answers Kanda's unspoken question. "I'm alive because I ran away. They…don't like Crow who fail in their missions."
"You here to kill beansprout?" Kanda asks dispassionately. "I'll be the one to kill him." This sobers Tyki up immediately.
"Nope," Link says, smiling brightly. Then he says with previously unseen sincerity, "If the boy can fight against the monster within him, I want to be the one to see it, and find the source of power that gives him that will to survive."
Tyki grins, and claps a hand on Link's shoulder. Link twitches. "Now, then!" Tyki smiles dazzlingly, "Since the both of you now have had your nice little reunion, we can go back to the hotel, right? Evelyn's looking after Allen."
Link is silent for a moment, then turns and tilts his head at Tyki. Letting his words fall with the weight of hammer strikes, he comments disbelievingly, "You left your girlfriend alone in an unknown city, with only an unconscious, unstable budding Noah for protection?"
Tyki blinks once, then speeds off, not bothering with streets but running straight through the walls and houses.
Link chuckles and looks at Kanda. "Stop being such a sourpuss," he laughs.
Tyki nearly bursts into the room, and sighs with relief as he finds everything as they left it. After a while, Kanda and Link appear, and Kanda says flippantly, "Well, did you have your little heart attack?"
"At least they're safe."
"Why don't you two kill each other?" Link offers, dumping his bags in a corner.
Tyki smirks. "Pretty boy."
"Do you even care for Evelyn at all?" Tyki asks quietly.
"Oh, but I forgot, I cannot compare to your love for Evie, can I?" Kanda returns. "You know why I hate you?"
"Why?" Tyki yells.
Kanda yells back, even more loudly, "Because I love her more than anything, but she will never love me the way she loves you." Tyki's mouth drops open.
A soft voice intercedes. "I thought you had gotten over it."
Kanda and Tyki swivel to the sofa, where Evelyn rubs her eyes tiredly and frowns at them. "As much as it's sort of nice to have two boys arguing over me," Evelyn says in a dangerously low voice, "I would much rather you guys heard my opinion." She turns to Link. "Oh, and hi. Nice to see you alive."
Link bows deeply to her. "Pleased to be back, Miss Merle. You're as beautiful as ever."
Kanda and Tyki glare at him together. Perhaps they would have come to blows, if Allen had not chosen that moment to murmur sleepily, "Wuzzgoinon?"
"Allen!" Evelyn says joyfully.
Allen blinks, and groans. "Link! So glad to see you! Why did you come back now, of all times?"
Link bustles over to shake his hand, and says airily, "Well, I wanted to be there to see you recover. Besides, we're going to raid the Black Ark to get Lavi and Bookman."
"What?" Allen, Tyki, Evelyn and Kanda exclaim in unison.
Link rolls his eyes. "Leverrier knows everything. Wasn't that always going to be your next step after finding Allen?"
"I like him. He's smart," Evelyn comments, and smiles at the other two men's growls.
Opinions? Please tell me what you think about where this is going. I want to write some serious angst for once (though I think I can't write anything without inserting humour) Thanks for reading :)