Three: Welcome tothe Pity-Party

Kanda stood glued to the spot as one word repeated over and over in his mind like a broken record: 'master… master… master'. Allen's surprised face flashed in time with the word like a neon sign advertising him in Kanda's mind. Why on earth would his beansprout call him 'master'? Better yet, where had he spent his life that he'd gotten into the habit of calling other men his 'master' anyway? A few horrifying scenarios occurred to Kanda, but he quickly pushed those to the furthest recesses of his mind. Surely Allen hadn't been some sort of 'entertainer'? Not at his age surely?

Questions swirled and attacked Kanda's brain, yet he quickly bolted after Allen. His heart was thumping wildly in his chest and he would like to have thought it was from anger or surprise, but it wasn't. This strange kid, his beansprout, exhilarated him. Allen was full of surprises and mystery, and all Kanda wanted to do was unravel him and his mysterious shroud. The delicious look of surprise on Allen's face called to the depths of Kanda's buried desire. Seeing the mystery-shrouded innocence reflected in the boy's eyes only made Kanda want to claim him as his own.

In the elevator, Kanda frantically paced from wall to wall. It seemed to take forever and a day to get from his apartment to the basement and he still hadn't figured out what exactly he would do with Allen when he caught him. Then, a surprisingly horrifying thought spawned in Kanda's mind: what if I scared him off and he's run away? In the back of his mind, Kanda knew the thought shouldn't have made him sad. Seriously, he'd just rescued the kid from some thugs and took him in. Why did the thought of his beansprout leaving make his heart ache so?

And again – what was with Allen suddenly being his beansprout?

Brushing this aside, Kanda was out of the elevator in record time and was sprinting wildly to his car when he spotted a white head of hair on the other side of a row of cars. Frantically, Kanda made his way easily through the tight space between the parked vehicles and stopped right in front of a dazed Allen, who was carrying more groceries than his small frame should have been able to. He had three bags in each of his hands and more hanging from each of his forearms. Kanda couldn't help but notice the way the toned muscles of the cat-boy's biceps bulged under the thin fabric of his long-sleeved shirt.

Out of all of the things he could have said, all Kanda – one of the most successful young people in the country – could say was, "Where'd that rag you were wearing go?" Allen looked up at his rescuer in surprise and easily lifted one of his occupied hands to scratch idly at his head, then to inspect his shirt. He guessed that in his rush to collect his rescuer's groceries, it had fallen off of his shoulders. White locks of hair fell innocently into his eyes, and very slowly, Kanda reached over and brushed it away.

Dark blue eyes met shining grey ones and locked. Something just under the surface swam temptingly in the cat-boy's eyes, like mysterious, captivating koi fish swimming just below the shadows in a pond. Before he even knew what he was doing, Kanda laced his fingers into the silky hair of his beansprout. He silently marvelled at how soft it was; despite it looking like it was a totally unnatural colour. Like he'd bleached or coloured it to look the way it was. Of course, it was natural…how?

Both of them unconsciously started to lean closer to each other, their eyes never breaking that precious contact. Kanda's fingers tightened in Allen's hair and he deliberately took a step closer to the younger teen. Chest-to-chest, their warm exhales mixed and mingled in the small space between them. Kanda revelled in the feeling of having his beansprout so close, and slowly started to lean in with his eyes flickering down occasionally to glance at Allen's pouty, pink lips.

Kanda had never wanted to kiss someone so much in his entire life. Not that he'd found many people who he thought were worthy of kissing him. Maybe it was Allen's cute, boyish features or maybe it was Kanda's loneliness that drove him, but all he could think about was making the beansprout his. Just as the two were about to kiss with their eyes closed and heads tilted readily to the side, a car screeched out of a parking space further away in the lot and broke the spell the two were under.

Immediately, Kanda sprung away from the unsuspecting Allen so fast he nearly fell over backwards. Allen accidentally dropped the groceries that he had been gripping in each of his hands and they fell harmlessly to the ground. Without a word, Kanda bent down, picked them up and started his way back toward the elevator knowing that Allen would surely follow behind. Especially since food was involved.

Sure enough, Allen trailed cautiously behind his rescuer, his snow-white tail flickering behind him curiously. His grey eyes were glued to Kanda's back, and he mused on how much he loved the way Kanda's muscles moved and rippled through his shirt. It had been a massive mistake to accidentally call Kanda 'master', yet he hoped he'd at least be able to stay there a few nights before he was kicked out. Again.

Back in the apartment, Kanda placed the groceries he'd bought on the polished stone bench top, where Allen also placed his load of groceries. He looked ominously at the groceries, then at the expanse of his kitchen cupboards, and then back again as he contemplated finding a spot for everything he'd bought. It almost seemed as if all of the food he'd bought would never be able to fit inside his pantry and fridge. Regardless of the fact that he was sure the kitchen of his penthouse was larger than the average kitchen.

"Uh, mas- Kanda?" Allen stuttered softly, tugging cutely on the sleeve of Kanda's shirt. Instantly, Kanda's expression softened a little and he looked down at his beansprout with a mix of caution and curiosity playing behind his deep blue eyes. He hadn't missed Allen's near-mistake, but decided to file it away for later, when he'd convinced Allen to stay, claimed him as his and when he'd unearthed all of his beansprout's secrets; in no particular order, mind you.

Wait…what?

"Hmm?" Kanda smiled a little, the corners of his lips turning up in such an unfamiliar way, it felt as if he were stretching muscles he'd never used. For the first time in a while, Kanda didn't feel completely alone, and he had the beansprout to thank for it, regardless of the little time they'd actually been acquainted with each other. Just being in the presence of the younger teen stirred warm, glowing feelings in the dark depths of Kanda's heart that he'd thought had been forever lost.

Allen walked over to where the groceries were piled haphazardly on the counter. Turning, he faced Kanda with a serene smile plastered on his face. "How about I pack away these groceries and you go relax?" Before Kanda could reply, he already started to methodically pull the assorted foodstuffs out of the grey plastic bags and into the cabinets and fridge. Not wanting Allen to take care of it by himself, Kanda hesitantly moved closer and started to copy what Allen was doing.

It was obvious that Allen had experience with packing away groceries – unlike Kanda – and seemed comfortable even in the unfamiliar kitchen. Both of them worked silently, although the silence wasn't awkward. Kanda felt comfortable around the beansprout, as if he'd known him his entire life. It went beyond that, even, as Kanda still wasn't comfortable around the few friends he was still in contact with from his younger days.

Out of nowhere, as Allen was squeezing a bag of broccoli into the cooler drawer, he asked, "Kanda, how old are you?" Surprised at the sudden enquiry, Kanda paused as he was putting plastic bags in the cabinet under the sink. If it had been anyone else, Kanda probably would have exploded in a fit of rage at the somewhat rude question. Although, anyone who was anyone would know all about the young, just-out-of-school entrepreneur and would never have to ask his age.

Since it was his beansprout though, he grumbled, "I'm nineteen," sullenly. In reality, he was also curious about Allen, but kept his mouth shut in case it was a sensitive issue for him. As much as Allen seemed to be a sweet, innocent teenager, Kanda sensed something dark and forbidden about him. It was as if Allen was shrouded in a cowl of dark mystery and was smiling through a mask to reassure those around him. While this probably should have made Kanda even warier to trust the cat-boy, it only made Allen seem more intriguing; not that he would ever openly admit that though.

This darkness around the younger teen made Kanda feel a sort of kinship with him. For Kanda had also suffered a dark past. Abandoned when he was a small child, Kanda had been left to fend for himself in a brutal boy's orphanage. With his sullen, brooding temperament, none of the hopeful couples that came through wanted to adopt him or take him in to foster care. That was until Master Tiedoll came. A veteran of the army, Tiedoll had taken Kanda and two other boys into his care and had taught them all how to fight and defend themselves. After one of the boys passed away suddenly though, Tiedoll became alcoholic and Kanda was again left to fend for himself.

"Wow, really?!" Allen exclaimed in shock, pulling Kanda out of his reverie. The beansprout seemed genuinely shocked at Kanda's age, although most people who didn't know about him generally were. Especially after telling him he was a multimillionaire entrepreneur. He'd bypassed the last years of his schooling and had forced his way into university when he was fifteen, then made his millions investing what little money Tiedoll had left him after he'd died in the stock market. At nineteen, he was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the time.

Kanda finished stuffing the plastic bags away and helped Allen put away the last of the groceries and turned to face him, "What? Does that surprise you, beansprout?" Without meaning to, Kanda's voice had come out low and aggressive. It was true that Kanda was a little bit hurt that Allen couldn't believe how young he was, considering his luxurious apartment and everything, but it didn't bother him that much. Did it?

Allen quickly dropped to his knees in front of a startled Kanda and palmed the hem of his pants. Unconsciously, Allen's tale reached around and wrapped inconspicuously around Kanda's ankle as he turned his chin up to look his rescuer in the face. The expression on Allen's face reminded Kanda of what someone would look like when repenting in an old-time church. The way the beansprout looked up at him made him pause, for the pure sorrow and fear in those eyes stopped him in his tracks. What had his beansprout been through?

"P-p-please master, please d-don't kick me out… please," Allen pleaded softly as tears gathered in his grey eyes and as sobs wracked his body. "I'm so sorry master, please forgive me," he mewled and buried his face in his hands as he knelt at Kanda's feet. Allen's tail gracefully moved from where it was wrapped around Kanda's leg to wrap around Allen as he curled in on himself – making himself as small as possible.

Suddenly, Kanda realised how similar Allen's behaviour was to his whenever he'd had to deal with Tiedoll while he was drunk. Kanda remembered kneeling at his foster-father's feet and begging him to leave him and his foster-brother – Marie – alone. He could almost feel the blows Tiedoll would rain down on him in quick succession, making his muscles ache for weeks on end.

At this, Kanda knelt down with Allen and pulled the sobbing boy into his strong arms. Dark blue-black hair pooled around them as Kanda guided Allen's head to the crook of his neck, where he sobbed softly. Small hands twined into the hair at the base of Kanda's neck and Allen innocently wrapped both of his legs around Kanda's middle. Entwined as they were, Kanda felt an answering heat – his libido – deep in the pit of his being. He knew that he could never take advantage of his beansprout in the state he was in, but still, he was aroused to be so close to him nonetheless.

Kanda's hand idly stroked Allen's back soothingly while the other rested on his head. Tears stained the older teen's shirt and he could feel their wetness on the skin of his shoulder. Gentle sobs wracked the smaller teen's body and Kanda noted the way his snowy ears were pressed flat against his head. Regret, thick and strong, tugged at Kanda's heart as he recalled the harsh, raucous tone he'd used with the obviously fragile teen.

After a while, Kanda didn't really know how long, Allen warily pulled his head free of the comfort of his saviour's neck to peer up at him. His grey eyes burned with a deep, soul-crushing sadness and fear that floored Kanda. Tears still clung stubbornly to the rims of his beansprout's eyes and as softly as he could, Kanda reached up and brushed the moisture away.

"Allen," he whispered softly, the horror and sadness clear in his voice, "what the hell happened to you? Why are you like this? Why did you call me 'master' before? Why are you crying?" All of the questions Kanda had been shoving to the back of his mind for consideration came springing to his lips. It was like his rational mind had gone on holiday and he was left with only his instinct to steer himself in the strange situation.

Kanda watched as Allen's face slowly changed from that of an utterly broken human being to that of a contrite young man. Instantly, the older teen hated the expression; the fake, brittle smile that didn't reach Allen's eyes and the coquettish tilt of his head, which seemed to be an automatic, rehearsed movement. Kanda wanted to explode, with anger, desire, frustration, sadness, empathy… the list of mind-boggling emotions he wasn't used to went on.

"Tell me, Allen." It was not a request, but an order. Kanda really hated that he had to order Allen, like a master, but he really wanted to know. He wanted to help his beansprout, in any way he could.

The contrite smile vanished from Allen's round, childish face and was replaced by a pained grimace. His soulful, grey eyes focused somewhere far in the past where Kanda could never hope to see. He didn't miss the subtle tightening of the younger teen's hand on his forearm, but it made him want to smile. Already, Allen was going to open up to him.

On a spur of the moment decision, Kanda effortlessly scooped a startled Allen into his strong arms and walked them to the large, comfortable arm chair in the den. Covered in soft pale-brown suede, it was perfect for curling up on. So, Kanda did just that and settled himself into the plush cushions of the chair with the smaller, fragile teenager cradled in his arms.

Allen softly began his tale, "I don't know why, but somehow, I was born with the ears and tail of a cat," grimly, Allen dipped his head forward to put his ears on display. "My…deformity drove my parents to leave me at a travelling circus' grounds, where they probably thought I rightfully belonged. I was about four or five I think." Alarmingly, tears started to well up in Allen's eyes again, but they weren't sad or fearful tears, but happy tears.

"At the circus, my father – or the man who I thought was my father – Mana, looked after me. Then he died, and I was alone again." His voice trailed off sadly, "All alone…"

"Allen…" The younger teen ignored a worried Kanda; lost in his memories.

The beansprout curled up smaller in Kanda's arms, resting his head delicately on his shoulder. "Then, as I was starving and walking the streets of some town, a man with red hair and wearing a black cloak took me in as his apprentice. He was a pimp." Kanda's arms tightened fractionally around Allen as a shiver ran down his spine. "He… forced me to work for him, and only him."

"I never learnt his name, he only ever told me to call him 'master'. Now, I guess it's just a habit to call older men, intimidating men, 'master'." This revelation stuns Kanda. He knew he was standoffish most of the time, as he liked his space, but intimidating?

Then, Allen started to cry – really cry this time. Big, gut-wrenching sobs from the pit of his being. Regret continued to attack at Kanda's heart; why did he have to make his precious beansprout have to relive all of that? Some other emotion started to well up in Kanda as well: a deep, knowing empathy. He knew some of what the broken teen in his lap had gone through, for he was broken too.

So, to take Allen's mind away from his grief, Kanda softly started to retell his own story. Like Allen, he didn't leave out a single detail; not of the orphanage, or Tiedoll or his brothers. He told Allen of the tough, solitary years of university where he was looked at like a freak and the nightmares he had every night of being utterly and completely alone in the world.

When Allen's tears dried and Kanda's story finished, the two of them sat in a pitiful silence. Yet, they both found solace in the fact that together, they were both pretty fucked up. Both of them were alone in the world; made for each other. As gently as he could, Allen leaned his head up as far as it would go and captured Kanda's lips in a quick, chaste kiss.

"Welcome to the pity-party," Kanda murmured, a small, shy smile playing on his usually scowling lips. Then, leaning down, he kissed Allen, deepening their contact and opening his mouth to welcome the younger teen's tongue inside.

And they got lost inside each other.


AN:

This chapter is longer, and kind of disappointing… yeah, there was some sexual tension at the beginning with Kanda's somewhat kinky mind glossing over possibilities, but then I just had to ruin it by telling both of their pasts. Sorry. But I really couldn't help myself.

Oh how I love to write for fucked-up characters. The joy. (That was not sarcasm.)