Author's Note: So those of you who figured it wasn't the last one were correct, I did write an epilogue. :) I was going to wait longer, but I figured you guys waited long enough for chapter 3, so here is the Epilogue. I realize it's only been a couple days...But I also got excited.
I hope that you enjoyed this story! I certainly enjoyed writing it! (There will be no sequel, as I have a lot of time with sequels and don't generally enjoy them.)
Kanda staggered as Lavi tripped over a crack in the sidewalk, his friend tightening the grip he had around Kanda's shoulders and neck. The only 'apology' he offered was a giggle and a mumble of 'oops' that didn't really count as an apology, at least not in Kanda's book. He grinned at the raven-haired college student, who just grunted and wished he could elbow him in the ribs. But he couldn't, seeing as he was supporting half of his friend's weight as they walked down the street. He wished he'd walk straight.
He didn't really have the right to judge Lavi too harshly with his uneven footing though, seeing as the broken concrete of the sidewalk a little ways back had nearly sent him sprawling on his face. Much to the amusement of Lavi, who had had to catch himself on a tree as Kanda stumbled forward. The redhead kept getting seized with bursts of giggling that could rival that of a 12 year old girl and Kanda wanted nothing else but to push him into the gutter. But then he'd have to deal with Lavi whining even more and he didn't think Lenalee would approve him leaving his incredibly drunk friend in the street. Even if he was just as drunk.
Maybe not quite as drunk. Lavi probably wouldn't remember much in the morning, he had had more than Kanda. But seeing as Kanda was a lightweight (or so said Lavi), it didn't take quite as much to get him drunk and he had been tipsy after the second drink.
They had decided to go out in one last celebration of freedom before the new school year started and they were slammed with the workload of senior year. They had heard horror stories. Even Lavi was worried, even if he joked about it half the time. They didn't know when they'd get the chance to drink themselves blind drunk next, especially with the classes they all had so they had decided that in the last couple days before the summer break ended, they'd get shitfaced.
It seemed like a good decision earlier in the night. Now Kanda was questioning his sanity. Why had he let Lavi drag him to that fifth bar? Why had he let Lavi convince him that one more shot wouldn't make a difference (one more tequila shot did in fact make a difference, in case you were wondering)? Because once they got to the point in which Lavi had nearly pushed Kanda into a mailbox, causing loud and judgmental laughter to erupt from a group of under aged girls across the street, he realized it was probably a bad idea that they had had that much to drink.
He decided to blame Lavi.
"Can't we jus' call Lena?" Lavi moaned into Kanda's ear, whiskey breathe wafting over his face. The Japanese man made a face and again was tempted to push his friend into the gutter.
"She'll yell at us," Kanda growled. "You know this." And she would. She would be angry at them for waking her up at 2:30 in the morning, trashed out of their minds and stumbling around the streets in the dead of night, even if they weren't the only ones.
Lavi shuddered at the prospect of being chewed out by their other close friend. For a moment he was quiet before whining loudly, "Yuuuuuu." He nearly pushed Kanda into a lamppost as he leaned closer, drawing a sharp curse out of the dark-haired college student's mouth.
"What now?" he demanded. He was having enough trouble putting one foot in front of the other, let alone deal with Lavi's annoying nagging and talkative nature. Why was this a good idea? He was never going out drinking with Lavi again (he knew this was a lie). "What d' you want now?"
"I'm hungry," he moaned mournfully in an overdramatic manner and just to emphasize his point he covered his stomach with a hand. A moment later he was pushing up his headband away from his eyes, looking at Kanda expectantly.
Kanda glared at him. "So? What d' you wan' me to do about that?" he asked, focusing on the next spot of light underneath a street lamp. They were still a ways off from the apartment they now shared, and Kanda just wanted to be there already. But they really were in no state to drive, even if they could find Lavi's car where they left it by the first bar, and calling Lenalee was obviously out of the question. At least it was a straight shot from where they were now, and only required them to walk without turning until they hit the apartment complex in which they lived.
They had moved in together once their previous leases had run out, three months prior at the end of the spring semester. Sometimes Kanda questioned why he had thought it a good plan to live with the redhead, and then remembered that Lavi was one of his best friends, that Lavi was one of the only people who could actually live with him, and that living with a roommate was so much cheaper than a one-bedroom, which Kanda had been doing before. Lavi had wanted Lenalee to join them, because a three-bedroom made rent even better, but Komui, Lenalee's overly protective brother, had put a stop to that even though he knew Lavi and Kanda and knew that Lenalee could hold her own. She lived just down the block though, so it worked out well enough when they wanted to hang out.
It had been six months since the night they exhumed the grave of the crazy ghost at the Campbell house, and they hadn't talked much about it. In the beginning, they had discussed it, the two had asked Kanda questions about Allen and about what he and the polite ghost had spoken about during their meeting. Lavi did this while Kanda was dosed heavily with painkillers while still in the hospital, trying to get his friend to be as honest as possible. But even under the influence of strong painkillers, Kanda made no mention of the time he and Allen had shared, if it had even happened.
For a while after, Kanda couldn't stop thinking about what happened. He couldn't stop himself from focusing on what could have been, if Allen hadn't, well, been a ghost. If he had had been a living person, from this time period with a heartbeat and a future. Sometimes he would daydream, and then he would catch himself and reprimand himself. He was no teenage girl fantasizing about that-one-boy-in-class. He wasn't Lavi, who was chasing yet another beautiful person (this time a man with handsome olive skin and honey-colored eyes that, when Lavi had first pointed him out, reminded Kanda of Neah for some strange reason). He didn't chase, he didn't swoon, he didn't hunger for. But he did, for the ghost he could never have.
Lavi started taking him out after he had told his friend about the problem he was having. The idea was to make Kanda interact with the living and stop dwelling on a ghost they had known for two or so weeks, and hey, maybe get him a boyfriend or at least laid once in a while. And it worked, it distracted Kanda, and they fell into the habit during the summer to go out to the bars. Thank god they both had good jobs, or else paying for all of those drinks would have been impossible.
And school would put a stop to that, hence the last hurray for the summer.
"Feed me," Lavi demanded and grabbed hold of Kanda's ponytail, giving it a sharp tug. The tug made his head jerk back and he retaliated with a hand in Lavi's face, pushing his friend away forcefully as Lavi wailed.
"I'm not your fucking babysitter," Kanda snapped, righting himself from the shove he had given the redhead.
"Let's stop an' get somethin' to eat," Lavi continued. He would not give up. Falling into step beside his friend, he slung an arm around Kanda's neck once again. Kanda tried and failed to push him off.
"The fuck would be open?" Kanda snapped back, focusing on Lavi's face. "It's like three in the morning."
"I dunno," Lavi said unhelpfully.
Kanda didn't know what was between here and their apartment, where they could get a bite to eat. Three months wasn't all that long to figure out what was and wasn't open at three in the morning. Especially since he didn't want to chance turning onto a different street in search of food and get lost because of the state of inebriation the two were in. So they'd have to try and make do with something on this street. Which didn't seem like much.
"Why are you so hungry? Can't you jus' wait?" he asked his friend.
"No I'm hungry now, Yuu," the redhead repeated.
Kanda squinted at him and leaned forward just a little. "Are you…high?" he asked as he just caught a whiff of something that had been hidden under the smell of alcohol clinging to Lavi. The eye-patched college student raised his hand and held his thumb and pointer an inch or so apart.
"Little bit," he said with a wide grin. "And now I got the munchies!"
When had he snuck a joint in? Kanda had no recollection of Lavi disappearing to smoke at any point during the night, unless it had been in edible form, then he had no clue since Lavi ate a lot. He glared at his friend. Why did he make his life so difficult? Why was he hammered and stoned? Wasn't one or the other enough? No wonder Lavi was having trouble walking straight.
"Yuu, look, how 'bout there?" the redhead piped up after a moment of silence as they continued down the street. Kanda looked up to see where he was pointing and saw, across the street, on the corner between 2nd street and 27th avenue was a small convenience store with a glowing OPEN sign hanging in its window. He was actually amazed that any light from inside could shine out through the windows as well, as they were plastered with advertisements for candy bars and microwave burritos and coffee and cigarettes and hotdogs.
Lavi grabbed his arm hard and tugged at it. "Oh hotdogs. I want a hotdog. I want five hotdogs. Let's get hotdogs, Yuu."
"Stop with the 'Yuu'!" Kanda snapped and shook Lavi's painful grip on his arm off. He didn't know what it was with Lavi and hotdogs, but whenever the redhead was high he wanted them. And it was always five. He found it oddly specific. Not that he was thinking about that right now, he was too drunk to care. And at the mention of food, his stomach growled and made him realize that he, too, was hungry and yeah, probably should eat something after all that alcohol.
Kanda glanced both ways then crossed the street at a diagonal, Lavi following him close behind, much too excited for the hotdogs he would soon be able to eat (that is, if the store even had any at this hour).
The door jingled cheerfully as they entered and saw a slightly dingy and incredibly crowded store before them, shelves high with everything one would expect to see at a convenience store. Lavi made a beeline to the hot pass where hotdogs slowly rotated as Kanda picked his way through to the other side of the store.
"You two seem like you've had a fun night." Kanda ignored the cashier's statement, too focused on choosing what type of chips he wanted. Getting the correct type of chips was incredibly important for him while drunk, he didn't want to make a mistake and end up buying one he then wouldn't eat once out of the store. He could tell that the cashier, a younger man by the sound his voice, was amused with the two of them. It didn't surprise him, he was sure Lavi was now laden with his five hotdogs and whatever else he had eyed.
Finally making his selection of chip, and grabbing a Coke after another moment's thought, he turned to the counter. And nearly dropped the bottle of soda in his hand.
The young man standing behind the counter in a horrid red and yellow uniform looked…familiar. Ghostly familiar. His hair was brown, as were his eyes and were wide-set within his pale face. Even his lips were familiar. Were the same. He hadn't thought of Allen in several months, Lavi's idea of partying having helped chase those thoughts from his mind. But here he was, standing in front of the spitting image (sans the silver hair and eyes, and the jagged scar that had marred the ghost's face), smiling politely at him.
"Is something wrong, sir?" he asked politely, head cocking to the side.
His voice was even the same. He peered at the nametag pinned to the man's chest and read Allen. They even had the same fucking name.
Do you believe in resurrection? Well, maybe we'll meet again. Allen's statement echoed in his ears, even after all these months. Was this really happening? How? How was this happening? He felt like he was seeing a ghost. A ghost of a ghost. I must be drunker than I thought. Am I high too? Did Lavi sneak something into my drink?
"You just remind me of someone," Kanda grunted, eyeing him as he set the Coke and bag of chips down on the counter. Lavi appeared at his elbow and set down his five carefully wrapped hotdogs, a Redbull and a chocolate bar.
"Got my dog – Oh my god," the redhead said, breaking off midsentence to stare wide-eyed and open mouthed at the cashier standing before them, now looking even more confused than seconds before. "It's you. How is it you?"
Kanda elbowed him hard in the ribs.
"It's me? I think you're mistaking me for someone else. Your friend here said I looked familiar as well. An old friend perhaps?" Allen asked as he took the items and rang them up. Kanda stared down at the glass counter where multi-colored lottery tickets were being shown, listening to the young man's voice. He couldn't be much younger than they were. Maybe he even went to the same college. It wouldn't be a surprise if he did, the University was a huge one and the chances of meeting any specific person was slim.
"Sort of friend? Dunno what to call him. Yeah, friend. He's dead though," Lavi said and Kanda tried to elbow his friend again in the ribs. This time Lavi stepped to the side just in time and walked into a gum rack, knocking half of the packets of gum off of it and onto the floor. "Shit."
Allen blinked in shock. "Oh," he said and watched as Lavi crouched down and picked up all of the gum. He made no move to help the redhead. He seemed shocked at what the two obviously very drunk men were saying. Then he smiled. "Will that be all?"
"No," Kanda said as Lavi messily dumped all of the gum back into the rack. "I want your number too."
His friend let out a startled little noise, something that sounded kind of like 'oh shit Yuu' and tugged at his arm. He pushed him away as he fished out his wallet. Allen's eyes had widened somewhat, but that smile never really left his face. It was just like the ghost's smile. Calm, comforting, nonjudgmental.
He didn't know how this whole resurrection thing worked. This man was around their age, but Allen's spirit had just been released from its curse six months prior. He was sure that he could figure something out, he was sure there was an explanation of how these things (for example, maybe time really wasn't all that linear for souls). But being as intoxicated as he was, he wasn't really coming up with anything. Besides the need to stay in contact with this young man. That he had decided.
For a long moment, Kanda held his breath, hand half extended with his money, eyes never leaving Allen's gentle face. And then the brown-haired boy said, "sure," and grabbed a piece of scrap paper and scribbled down his ten digit phone number. Then he took the money Kanda was offering and gathered his change. He picked up the paper with his number and together with the coins and dollars handed it back to the college student. "Have a good night and a safe trip home."
Kanda stuffed his change in his wallet, along with that small piece of paper and put his wallet back into his pocket. Then he grabbed his Coke and chips as Lavi gathered his hotdogs, gaze flickering between Kanda and the cashier several times before grinning and heading out of the store. The long-haired young man sent several looks over his shoulder before the door blocked his view.
"I knew there was sum'in' up with you an' Allen!" the redhead said through a mouthful of hotdog. After several more gulps and minimal chewing he had finished his first dog and started on his second. "I just knew it!"
He was grinning that stupid grin that always bothered the hell out of Kanda. He just wanted to hit him over the head with his soda bottle. "Just shut up and eat your hotdogs," he snapped out, but he smiled to himself. Well, maybe we'll meet again. I'd like that. He hadn't expected that. He had given up all hope of having something with Allen. But this, this was a shock, but a wonderful one. Did this mean that during 19th Century Allen's time, there had been a Kanda, maybe somewhere in Japan at the same time? Maybe. Maybe there was another Neah and another Mana, somewhere else. Maybe Neah wouldn't go insane.
"I'll eat your hotdog," Lavi retorted then fell into a fit of giggles that resulted in him choking on the hotdog he had started to eat. He had stuffed the Redbull and chocolate bar in his hoody pocket, along with the other hotdogs he hadn't yet gotten to.
"You're a fucking idiot," Kanda said and hit him hard on the back.
"Don't hit me. You're so violent, Yuu," Lavi said, finishing off his second hotdog. "But," he said as he unwrapped the third, "… Allen and Kanda, sitting in a tree –" he spewed hotdog everywhere as he sang "– K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes ghosts, then comes dogs, then comes fucking up against a post!"
"Get the fuck back here," Kanda shouted as Lavi sprinted away from him after that last line. He dropped his bottle of soda and chips in favor of catching up with his friend. He wouldn't be drinking that for a while. Looking back at it, he was sure that the two of them must have looked fucking ridiculous because they were both still trashed and what seemed like sprinting to the two of them was probably lopsided staggering.
"Allen and Kanda, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I – ahh Yuu no stop!" Lavi yelped out as Kanda finally caught up with him and tacked him to the grass outside their apartment complex. "No my hotdogs! They'll get crushed!" They would get crushed, seeing as Kanda had pinned him down on his stomach, but he didn't care. "Uncle! Uncle! Uncleuncleuncle!"
Still, the idea had its appeal, but it probably wouldn't be up against a post, as Lavi had said. He figured the redhead had chosen that word because it rhymed and he was impressed he actually was able to rhyme that drunk. He would be texting Allen, and maybe, just maybe, something more would become of it.
And the first time they kissed, it was just like the kissed shared with the ghost, nearly a year previous, and Kanda knew he wanted no one else, if Allen allowed it.