AN: Was trying to watch the DGM anime earlier (I've read all the manga chapters so far), and then when I stopped my brain kept going. And then came up with this. Idek. My feeeeels.

The thing about Allen Walker is that he's not anywhere near the angel he pretends to be. He's more optimistic that a lot of them, sure, and he does want to do his best to help people. But he's never been a saint.

He's manipulative; he's gotten his hands dirty to accomplish his means. He's human, like anyone else. He's just as morbid as the rest of the exorcists, if not even more so. He's never been as perfect as people think he is at first glance. Kanda knows that better than anyone.

Shion is the exact opposite. The angel you see is very much the angel the boy is. Perhaps he's not perfect – no one is perfect – but he's a hell of a lot closer to an angel than any of the rest of them will ever be.

Shion helps people for the sake of helping people. He doesn't easily accept the idea of injuring another person, even to accomplish his own goals. He's weak, but not powerless – the kid is strong in his own way, anyone can see that.

He is, in short, everything Allen Walker ever wanted to be, but will never achieve. None of them – not himself, Nezumi, Allen – can ever quite be like that boy. He is different from them.

The rest of them, they have seen too much in their short lives. They've seen death, they've seen suffering. They've lived it for as long as they can remember. Any optimism they once had was long shot away in the struggle just to live another day.

They couldn't – can't – afford the luxury of hope and kindness like Shion can. He was raised in a world far different from their own, walls or not. Shion never had to see the cruelty behind the world quite in the way any of them did. He's seeing it now, yes. He's feeling the pain of those around him as he sees their suffering.

But it's different – Shion is different. He doesn't know the feeling of complete and utter loneliness, of complete and utter helplessness, of bitter hatred towards the ones that left you like this. Unless his entire world, all that he holds dear, is destroyed right in front of his eyes, and he's left struggling to make it day to day, he won't ever know.

Kanda can feel it, the thought the rest of them share – 'How can he be so open, when he knows nothing of suffering. Would he break under the sheer weight of it? I want to know. Why does he get to be so free, so careless? I want to see him fall, just once. See how he feels when he knows what it really feels like to suffer. To understand why we can't afford to be so open like he is.'

It's like a silent understanding between all of them. It's written in the lines of irritation across Nezumi's face when Shion says something particularly airheaded and idealistic. In the slight iciness that wasn't there before in Allen's smile. In the way Kanda himself falls silent unable to even express proper irritation at the boy's idiotically optimistic hopes and dreams for this world – for them.

And yet, none of them truly wish for the boy to suffer. Despite the differences between them and him they still cherish him in their own ways. He doesn't realize any of it – and how could he, not understanding their way of thinking – but they do their best to keep him as untainted as possible.

They all know what true suffering is like. They don't want him to go through that. Not one of them wants to see him – or anyone else, for that matter, but especially this boy – suffer that way. They don't want him to know the bitterness of being truly alone, the steel bite of hatred. The way the once happy memories burn and scald once everything you once loved and lived for is gone from the world and all you have left is anger to drive you forward.

He will never have to dirty his hands like they once did, because they will dirty their hands for him. They will take every bullet sent his way. They all do their best to protect him from the cruelties they know humankind is capable of. They can't shield him from the truth, and they wouldn't try to keep him oblivious – they know how lethal it can be. But the less he gets to experience for himself, the better for them.

Because that difference between him and them is exactly what makes him so precious to them. They don't want to create another them. They cannot save the world to atone for their sins, hard as they may try, but they can keep this one child safe. They can keep him untainted and happy, and if they work together, maybe they won't fail, for once.

They might all be humans, but they are the closest beings to demons that they know. And this boy is the closest thing to an angel they will ever see. And if they can keep this boy an angel, they don't mind becoming demons.

They might be sinners, and they can't be saved, but at least they can keep this boy a saint. And maybe, just maybe, that will be enough for all of them.