"A Ghost of a Living Man." Sorta onesided Parental Cross and implied Allen x Lenalee and Lavi x Lenalee; I guess there was Yullen if you squint into a microscope and tilt it upside-down in outer space. Takes place after Cross vanished, when everyone thought he was dead. There is character death involved, and it's from Lenalee's POV.
I'm guessing on the year :P I know it's the end of the fictional 19th Century, but that's rather… vague.
Disclaimer: I don't own D. Gray-man, it belongs to Katsura Hoshino, yadda yadda yadda oh look a story!
Allen Walker was dead.
He was killed during a battle with the Noah. Tyki ripped his heart out. Rhode tore him to pieces. And the Millennium Earl himself dropped his corpse on the Black Order's doorstep. It was a warning. A sign that he was better than the Destroyer of Time himself.
Allen… He had been on an edge ever since his master vanished and was presumed dead. The General Marian Cross was 'buried' next to his apprentice, even though his body was never found. The Black Order had placed a marble grave right next to Allen's, as a gesture of respect.
The Black Order, now lost of their hope to win the war, went into hiding under the protection of the Vatican, for without their most powerful general and the combined powers of Neah and Allen, they could not win.
They did not know, though, that their General was simply… away without leave, yet again.
"Lavi… don't you think… that we maybe shouldn't be here?" Lenalee whispered. The falling snow around the three Exorcists standing before the cemetery gate amplified the sound, and Lenalee clapped a hand over her mouth.
The redheaded Exorcist next to her slung and arm around her shoulders. Kanda didn't say anything. He simply lowered his chin into the high collar of his coat. Kanda doesn't speak much anymore. Ever since Allen-kun died.
In fact, none of them really spoke anymore. Lavi was all crooked grins; Lenalee was a shy glance, and Kanda was merely a shadow.
In reality, that is all they really were. Shadows of their former selves. Allen had been the one who had filled them with life, with hope, and with light. Now, they only ever went out on missions—practically once every blue moon—and for the first time in a year, they were visiting their dear friend's gravesite. It was December 25th, and the sky was pale gray. The trees stood dark and skeletal, and the cold gray stone of the cemetery walls seemed to loom over them. Lenalee leaned into Lavi, and shrugged her coat closer.
The trio walked slowly, their boots crunching into the skin of ice on top of the old snow, and pushing aside the new snow with a whisper. Deeper into the silent army of the dead
Underneath one of the skeletal oaks, there were three graves. One was older, white, and very plain: MANA WALKER.
There was another one, on the opposite side of it. It was made of polished black marble, and it read on its inscription: MARIAN CROSS.
The single grave in the middle was made of gray stone. On its inscription, it simply had a saying: The world is not simply black and white.
This was the grave of Allen Walker.
Lenalee reached into her pocket and pulled out three red roses. She placed one at the foot of each grave. She let her fingers brush against the inscription. "The world is not simply black and white," she whispered, echoing the inscription.
Lavi gave her a short, cold laugh. "Ain't that the truth."
Kanda was silent, as usual.
It was December 25th, 1898. Allen Walker's birthday.
The Black Order celebrated in silence, and respect for their fallen comrade.
Three Exorcists snuck away from the vigil held in the heads of those who lived, to pay their respects in peace and person.
"I… I wish he could just… be here. I want to see his face again, and I want to see him smile…" Lenalee said with tears in her eyes. Kanda nudged her with his hand, a gesture meant to be comforting. "I just miss him so much. I don't care what people like Rouvellier and Link thought of him. I just want him back."
"Lenalee, don't say things like that. We all think the same thing every day… we have to be careful not to draw you know who's attention," Lavi mumbled.
Lenalee buried her head in Lavi's shoulder. "I know…"
Kanda stood from where he had knelt. He brushed the snow off of his knees and said, "We should get back, before they notice we're gone."
Lenalee and Lavi both looked up. He was right; if they were caught out here, they'd never be allowed out again. A matter of security, as Rouvellier always (snobbishly) put it.
The three stood to leave. As they reached the path, Lenalee felt something hit the back of her head. Lavi turned when she scowled, assuming it was a child come to throw snowballs. Lenalee let out a soft cry. "T-t-imcampy?!"
The golden golem fluttered into her face, and Lenalee extended a gloved hand. Tim landed on it, folding its wings and nuzzling her palm. "Where did you come from…?" Lavi wondered.
Kanda simply stared off into the woods. Lavi and Lenalee followed his ebony stare, catching a glimpse of a tall figure wearing black beneath the oak tree on the hill. His flame red hair drifted behind him on the breeze… and when they blinked, he was gone. Tim stayed, though, and Lenalee stuffed him inside her pocket.
"Lenalee! Where were you?" Komui hissed, seeing his sister, and her friends, slip in through a hidden door in the Order HQ.
Lenalee froze, giving him a deer-in-the-headlights stare. "I… um… I mean, we were…"
"We were visiting their graves," Kanda mumbled.
"You were what?"
"We were paying our respects, nii-san. Today was Allen's birthday… we figured we might as well."
"Why didn't you just ask?!"
"Because I knew you'd say no!"
Komui was silent. He looked away. "Just ask me next time. Rouvellier was wondering where you guys were—he said you were bound to sneak out eventually, and he figured today was better than any other day."
Lenalee scowled and headed off to her room. Kanda rolled his eyes and followed her; Lavi gave Komui and apologetic look. "It was my idea in the first place," he whispered, before flying after his friends.
"Tim, is General Cross still alive?" Lenalee whispered to the golden ball now resting in her palm again. The golem bared its fangs in an obscene grin. Lenalee allowed herself a soft smile. "He's still alive… Was he visiting Allen, too?"
Tim's nubby feet kneaded her hand. It seemed to be considering something. Finally making up its mind, it flew to the door and rested on the door knob.
There was a knock on the door. Lenalee pulled the door open to reveal one Lavi and one Kanda. Tim grabbed Kanda's hair in his teeth and tried to fly back into the room. "Um… come in, I guess," Lenalee said bluntly.
When Kanda and Lavi sat on the edge of Lenalee's bed, Tim sat himself in the middle and began to show them a recording. Compared to some of the older recordings on Tim, which steadily lost quality, both graphical and audio, this one seemed to be new—probably within the last month, or even week.
Little to their surprise, it was the General Cross himself. The angle was skewed, as if Tim had been resting on his knee, but nevertheless, it was him.
"So… Lenalee, Rabbit, and Pissy Samurai Guy…" Cross addressed them. Kanda scowled. Lenalee giggled—that was definitely the General.
"I've seen the graves; I know you think I'm dead. Well, you know now, I'm not—just barely alive. I'm probably going to end up dead sometime within the next year; my life is only as long as I have will to keep it up."
This comment silenced their mirth at his introduction. "It's not really worth your time to come look for me. Yeah, I'm dying… I've been dying for over eighty years. When I found Allen—damn brat, always so puny and useless, and whaddaya know, now he's dead—but anyways, I guess you can say… he made my life better. I guess he made everyone's lives better. The kid had a way about him like that. I think the only reason I ever thought I hated him was because I thought my time was up altogether, and he just made it… bounce right back."
Lenalee glanced at Lavi; the young Bookman seemed to be wondering why the General gave Timcampy to them just to watch him ramble and repeat the same thing over and over again.
"I figured you'd be there today. At his—our—graves. It is his birthday, after all… and you guys were always so pitifully loyal.
"Had Allen ever told you why I never stayed at the Order? Why I never put down roots, or why I tried to not care about him?
"I was afraid of love. Everyone I'd ever loved—my family, my friends—they were always taken away from me. Either they left, or they died, or they had a newfound hatred for me that prevented them from remaining my friend. I never stayed behind because I was afraid that it'd happen again, and then I found him. The sniveling brat beneath the dead oak tree. He became my apprentice, as you know—and when he died, barely last year, it happened again. I lost one of the very few people I ever cared about.
"I guess you can call me a ghost of a living man, now.
"I heard a long time ago that people who have pictures of their lost ones aren't as lonely. I guess you can take a look at whatever's here on Timcampy—he was always with Allen, so I guess he's got plenty.
"Like I said before, don't bother to come look for me. I'll probably be dead. Although, I suppose I can't stop you. If, in the event that you want to place a corpse beneath that black headstone, I guess you'll find me in Venice, where my ancestral home is. My family is all gone, now, so I will, as always, be alone.
"Good luck, kids. You'll need it, I suppose."
With that, the image of the weary-looking General faded, leaving Lavi pondering in a way that only a Bookman can, and with tears in Lenalee's eyes.
"He gave us… he gave us Allen back… in a way…"
Kanda stood from the edge of the bed. Lavi looked at him expectantly. "What are you doing, Kanda?"
"What do you think I'm doing? I'm going to go find Cross."
"Don't worry about Komui." Kanda grabbed Timcampy and pocketed the golem before he extended a hand to Lenalee. "We're going, and that's that."
The last time I was here, I was here with Allen… Only last time, it wasn't pouring rain.
Three drenched Exorcists, now far away from home with naught but a note left for Komui, stood in the rain before a huge iron gate. Several bars were cut off in favor of a large oval, containing a huge "C" and a hissing cobra.
"Think this is it?"
"Well, this is the place that we were directed to."
Sure enough, most of the nearby townspeople had known exactly who the Cross family had been. Every comment had contained, "They're long gone, though, so the manor is bound to be abandoned and dilapidated, so I'd be careful."
The gate complained at it was opened, releasing a loud squeak. A few birds panicked and flew out of the trees.
The cobbled path leading up to the dark manor was covered in long grasses and weeds. Lenalee nearly tripped, and latched onto Lavi's arm to prevent herself from falling.
The huge wooden door was also similarly unkempt—there was a two-foot-long chunk missing from the window, and the knocker was tangled in the grass clumped under the door.
The door creaked as it opened, and a warm light hung from the end of the black corridor. A candelabra had been lit, indicating someone's presence.
The found General Cross sleeping in what appeared to have been a library, piles of scorched books resting on the floor. Kanda nudged him with Mugen before pulling up another chair and dropping Timcampy on the General's lap.
Cross glared at them with a slit red eye. "You obviously didn't listen to me," he said tiredly. "Tonight's the night, and… dammit, I was hoping I'd be alone."
"Tonight's the night for what?"
"The night I die, kid."
"…Oh… yeah, that."
"Why the hell are you here?" Cross asked.
"We believe this is yours," Kanda said, motioning to Timcampy.
"I gave him to you three."
"We don't know how to access his data."
"Bullshit," Cross said, laughing. "I've seen you do it before. Why are you really here, kid."
Lenalee stepped in. "Allen was yours too. I don't know if you've already looked at your past with him, but Kanda figured you might as well look with us."
Cross scrutinized her. "No… I haven't. I didn't really have much a mind to."
"Well you're going to. I don't care if it's your last night. You have as much a right to his memory as we do."
"The kid hated me!"
Lenalee could hardly argue. "I'm sure he didn't hate you. I mean, you were his mentor for—what, five years?"
"And the whole time… do you have any idea how often he tried to off me? To run away?"*
"Well, let's just go with 'I lost count.'"
Lenalee frowned. Then, she grabbed Cross's shirt and pulled him closer to her face. "You will watch with us. He didn't hate you. Allen never hated anyone except for maybe the Millennium Earl," she hissed venomously at him. Cross shirked away, before he collapsed back down into his chair.
The golden golem answered his master by flitting up onto his shoulder.
"Find anything you can containing Allen. We need to see it all."
The golem was still for about two minutes, and the group waited in silence. When Timcampy began to show them the few images, sound clips, and videos with Allen in them, Cross picked up Timcampy and placed him on a nearby table. The general then leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms over his stomach.
Every now and then, Lenalee swore she saw a slight twitch of his lips, the closest she'd ever seen Cross to a genuine smile. Lavi and Kanda were both completely absorbed in the images of their lost friend, and Lenalee eventually found herself drawn in as well.
By the time Timcampy was finished—there was a surprising amount of Allen-related stuff—the sun had risen and was filtering through the dusty window onto Cross's face. The general's face was… changed, in a way they never expected—his flame-red hair was as white as Allen's had been, and age lined his face and hands. His skin was cold—the great General Marian Cross was finally at peace.
Before they abandoned the Cross Manor, Lavi struck a match and dropped it onto the floor of the library. It snagged onto soggy books and dry hardwood, and thus, Cross's final tomb was created, in the embers and ashes of his home.
A/N: Urk, I was bored . I was in a depressing story mood. Sorry for unnecessary details and stuff, and sorry for Lenalee being all… sappy? I dunno .
*Nehh... I got that idea sorta from a story called "101 Failed Attempts at Escaping from Cross Marian" by Orange-Moon-Goddess. It's really good... you should read it~
Please just review it XD It'll make my day~