metisket: (dgm tattoo)
[personal profile] metisket

My brain is currently being eaten alive by overly ambitious KHR fic and the end of the crazy!Ed. LE SIGH. But here, so that you know I still live, there is D.Gray-Man fic.

The ever-intriguing question of why Allen and Kanda fail so spectacularly at getting along just got a little more intriguing. They really seem to be standing on opposite sides of the same problem screaming You are doing it wrong at each other across the gap.

They’re cute in their fail. :D

Spoilers through Kanda backstory. DGM does not belong to me. It belongs to Hoshino instead, a more evil woman by far.

Thank you to Zephy for the beta! ^_^

Italian translation by youffie_17
Russian translation by jayazz

Growing Up by Accident

Mana was sick.

At first it hadn’t seemed like much. A cough here and there. Maybe he looked a little pale, maybe he slept a little longer than usual. Just a cold, Allen thought.

It wasn’t just a cold. It wasn’t just a cold, and Mana hadn’t stood up on his own in weeks. His skin was like crumpled yellow paper now, like something was caving in inside him. Some days it seemed to take all of his energy just to keep breathing.

“How’s your papa doing today, Allen?” asked Daniela at the bakery.

“I think he’s getting better,” Allen said brightly, because the truth would have made her sad. “Maybe he’ll be up in a few days. I’ll bring him to see you!”

“Hm,” she said, and handed him a bag of rolls and loaves and sweet things.

“Oh, thank you. How much…?”

“My treat today. Tell your papa from Daniela, he’d better get back on his feet soon.”

“Thank you so much, Daniela!”

It was a good idea to keep Daniela from being sad. Sad people, people who’d given up on you—they didn’t give away food as often as people who thought it might do some good.

People tended to be decent, Allen thought. People usually wanted to help, and they would, as long as you were careful to make it easy for them. That was what he hadn’t understood when he was younger. He’d made people sad by not letting them help, and so they’d gotten upset with him. A misunderstanding, that was all. Except for Cosimo: he’d just been a dick.

Allen ran the rest of the errands. He bought most of what they needed, but on top of the free bread, he got free apples, free weird-chicken-bits, and a blanket that the butcher didn’t want.

He wasn’t going to have to go shopping tomorrow at all. A good day.

He ran up the steps of the run-down hostel they were staying in, but paused in front of their door for the lecture, the mantra he always repeated to himself before he walked into the room.

It doesn’t matter what you want. There’s nothing wrong with you.

Mana’s the one who’s hurting, not you.

All that matters is what Mana needs.

You don’t matter right now. You don’t matter.

You will be whatever he needs.

Allen opened the door.

For a moment he thought that Mana had died already, he was so still. But then he breathed in, a horrible, gasping rattle. They’d made it one more day.

There was less and less Mana could do for himself, but it didn’t matter. Allen could make up the difference. Mana didn’t need to do things, Mana could just work on getting well


and Allen would do the rest.

Mana’s eyes opened, and for a second, he obviously didn’t even know where he was. Allen wanted to scream.

He smiled instead. “Good morning, Mana.”

Mana gradually figured out where he was. After a moment of study, he remembered who Allen was, too, and frowned. “Allen. You’re being unusually sweet. Do I look that bad?”

Allen was terrible at this. “I thought I’d confuse you and trick you into eating healthy stuff while you weren’t paying attention.”

Mana smiled back. A point for Allen. “It might’ve worked, but then you had to go and open your mouth…”

He broke off to cough. He coughed and coughed and couldn’t breathe, and even when he could breathe, it hurt him. Allen could hear how much it hurt him. And there was nothing, nothing Allen could do except put down the groceries and sit close and think completely useless things like, I have plenty of air, Mana. Take mine.

Stupid. It didn’t work like that.

“I’m sorry,” Mana gasped when it was finally over, gave a breathless laugh. “And right when I was being clever, too.”

Allen smiled again and felt completely worn through, wrung out and exhausted, nothing left to give. How long had it been like this? It felt like forever. The memory of Mana being well didn’t seem real anymore, too good to be true, a dream. But no, it had only been…a year? Yes. Yes, because Mana had started getting sick right after he’d declared Allen nine years old, and by Mana’s reckoning, he was ten now.

Only a year, but God, Allen was so tired. He was tired of watching Mana hurt and of people being sympathetic and of pretending things were fine when they were horrible, when he had nightmares every night and every day was this

It was harder for Mana. It was much harder for Mana. Allen needed to suck it up, because this was nothing. He wasn’t the one hurting. There was nothing wrong with him.

Stop it right now.

“You’re never actually all that clever, Mana,” he said, blinking fast because his idiot eyes were starting to sting. “Maybe it’s best you don’t try.”

“Brat,” Mana murmured. “I thought I’d break you of being a brat, but apparently not.”

Allen didn’t like Mana’s wistful tone one bit. “Antonio gave me a free blanket and random chicken pieces he couldn’t sell. Daniela gave me free bread and told you to get better. Paulo gave me free apples. None of them think I’m a brat. They think I’m sweet and charming and blah blah blah.”

“Well, you’ve got them fooled, haven’t you?” Mana said fondly, reaching out a hand. Allen grabbed it. “Thank them for me when you see them again, Allen.”

“I will.”

“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Mana murmured, almost sounding guilty. Allen smiled firmly back.

I am anything you need me to be.

* * *

“For the glory of God,” Leverrier said.

Kanda didn’t know what was meant to be for the glory of God because he’d stopped really listening about ten minutes ago, and was now just drifting in and out at random.

“The Black Order is the only thing you can rely on.”

Kanda rolled his eyes and stared out the window, refusing to look at Leverrier. Relying on the Black Order would be like suicide. With all its secrets, lies, and betrayals, it was more dangerous to its operatives that any akuma. Nothing was what it seemed. Information was hoarded, forged into weapons and cages.

Everyone knew the score; there was no point in Leverrier’s lying about it. Everyone played the game anyway because they thought it was the only option.

Everyone except Kanda, who knew the whole setup was bullshit and refused to have anything to do with it. He’d lost this game at least once already and saw no need to do it again. He’d never had much patience for games, anyway. As far as he could remember.

“It is unacceptable for an exorcist to resist the will of the Black Order, which is the will of the Vatican, the will of His Holiness the Pope!”

This lecture was about letting Lenalee hide in his room. He wasn’t supposed to do it, because it was apparently—


—heresy, right. Blasphemy, too, he didn’t doubt. Blasphemy, sort of like forcing Innocence onto non-accommodators or mingling the dead and the living and growing them in vats would be.

Oh, wait.

“I hope you understand what I’ve said here, Kanda Yuu. I won’t tolerate disobedience.”

He’d love to know what they thought they could do to him at this point that would make any impression. He was pretty sure he’d already been tortured to the limits of Order imagination, and hey. Still standing.

Of course, even people who knew better tended to look at Kanda and see a preadolescent Japanese kid. Kanda forgot the truth himself, sometimes. His memories of his life before were pretty patchy, while the body’s demands were immediate. Every once in a while, he found himself acting like he really was the age he seemed. Hiding his injuries, trying to act tough. Mooning, sulking. Kid crap.

Maybe that was why resurrection was generally frowned on. Too confusing for everyone.

And not just confusing, but surreal. For instance: when he’d died, Leverrier probably hadn’t been much older than Kanda’s body was now. They might’ve known each other, though Kanda couldn’t remember it. He suspected he could only remember the things that had been most important to him, so it was no surprise he’d forgotten Leverrier. He wondered how they’d gotten along the first time around.

He liked to think they’d hated each other.

“Remember what I’ve said. Report any further breaks in discipline directly to me. Dismissed.”

“I’m not reporting anything to you,” Kanda informed him, nice and slow, so there’d be no misunderstanding. Then he bowed and left, footsteps echoing through Leverrier’s stunned silence. He made it all the way into the hallway before Leverrier called him back. He kept walking. He’d wasted enough time.

What the fuck kind of joke had that been? Even if Kanda’d undergone a complete personality change and decided to play Order games after all, he sure as hell wouldn’t buddy up to Leverrier: living evidence of why brainwashing children with militant religion was a bad idea.

As it was, Kanda’s personality hadn’t changed lately. So screw their games.

Everybody lied? He wouldn’t lie. Fuck them. Their lies hadn’t done him any favors; he’d be damned if he’d pull the same shit on somebody else.

If everyone kept track of every word spoken, then Kanda wouldn’t speak unless he absolutely had to. If they wanted to torture the shit out of Lenalee, he’d hide her. If they wanted him to live forever, he’d kill himself off deliberately. If they wanted him to forget his past, he’d hold on to the broken pieces of it with everything he was.

He didn’t owe them anything, he didn’t want anything from them. He couldn’t shake the bastards yet, but he could make sure they weren’t doing anything but coexisting.

Things would change once he found who he was looking for. Until then, there was no reason to rock the boat. Let them think they’d made him into a relatively obedient exorcist (again). Let them think whatever they wanted. He wouldn’t lie, but he wouldn’t volunteer information.

They weren’t getting anything more out of him. They’d taken far more than their pound of flesh already.

* * *

People had a way of accidentally forming habits. What had made perfect sense with Mana made much less sense applied to everyone he liked, but by now, Allen didn’t know how else to be. He didn’t know whether to worry about that or not.

Whatever you need.

He found, as he got older, that he wasn’t always sure what he wanted for himself, if anything. He was usually too busy figuring out what his loved ones wanted him to want. He didn’t know how Mana would have felt about that. (Is this what Mana would have wanted?)

There was this much to be said for the mindset, anyway: it had kept him moving. It had gotten him this far.

“I have no idea what I’m supposed to do,” he said.

“Just be yourself, Allen,” Lenalee told him. Allen wondered why people were always saying things like that when nobody meant them. Allen knew perfectly well what he was like. He knew he was doing everyone a favor by keeping that knowledge to himself. Why would Lenalee assume he was wrong?

“Well, that’s a start,” he replied, because a polite lie must be answered with a polite lie, “but what should I say?

“We’ll have to wait and see what we’re up against,” Lenalee said, firmly upbeat.

Under normal circumstances, it was the finders’ job to calm civilians down after an akuma attack. This one, though, had been right outside Edinburgh, meaning there were a lot of people who wanted calming down. So the exorcists had been drafted.

Allen didn’t know what Komui was thinking sometimes. He really didn’t.

Lavi and Bookman had gone off on their own, God help anyone they were supposed to comfort. Miranda and Marie were together; they’d be fine. Allen was with Lenalee, which might have been okay, and Kanda, which was utterly ridiculous.

Kanda had many talents, Allen appreciated that. But the very idea of him comforting people was more deranged than Komurin, off-the-wall lab concoctions, and Komui-shaped singing dolls combined. He was going to be impossible, Lenalee was going to have to gag him, and Allen was going to end up doing all the talking. Unless Kanda escaped Lenalee’s vigilance and talked, too, in which case…

Allen was tired just thinking about it.

They went to the first house. The man inside was the only survivor; his family had apparently died while trying to run home. Allen was prepared to be very sympathetic.

Within thirty seconds it was obvious that Allen wasn’t going to be able to muster any real sympathy; that, in fact, it was going to be all he could do even to fake it. The man was a thin, weedy creature. He walked with a stoop, like someone constantly anticipating a kick to the stomach. He had a nervous habit of wringing his hands and licking his lips whenever someone addressed him.

And all of that would have been fine, except that he had to go and speak, too.

“How are you going to protect me?” he sniveled. “How are you going to keep those things away? Stay with me!”

It was terrible, Allen thought, how torn up he was about his dead wife and children.

Their very first house, and it had to belong to a man they couldn’t change, couldn’t use, and couldn’t stand to be around. Of course.

“Please don’t worry, sir,” Allen soothed. “Akuma don’t like to come to the same location twice.”

Kanda snorted, and even Lenalee raised an eyebrow. So it was a blatant lie. So what? The truth wouldn’t help this man, it would only keep them in the house longer. Allen was opposed to that.

He didn’t see why Lenalee should care, anyway. She’d never shown signs of caring about strangers before. And Kanda, of all people, ought to be doing everything in his power to encourage their rapid escape, not making unhelpful noises and prolonging the whole painful scene.

“You’re going to abandon me!?” the man shrieked.

“Of course not,” Allen murmured. “A few finders will stay here in case you need us again.” They’d stay for a week or so, anyway. That made it true enough. Out of the corner of his eye, Allen saw Lenalee put a restraining hand on Kanda’s shoulder. Allen willed him to stay quiet. “Is there anything we can do to help you right now? Was your house damaged? Do you need food?”

Surely the man liked to be coddled and given presents.

“I’ve been afraid to look!” he announced. “I thought they might still be around—”

“They’re definitely gone,” Allen said, pleased with the perfect truth of the statement. “I know it.”

The man nodded fretfully, though Allen couldn’t tell whether he believed it or not. “It was horrible, you don’t understand,” he said. Allen rather thought they did. “Those…those things came down the road, and in a second—in a second, I just knew—I knew I’d die!

Kanda made a low, disgusted sound. He opened his mouth and Allen’s heart sank. “First time I’ve ever gotten somewhere too soon,” he said.

Now why had he said that? Where was the point? It wouldn’t have taken any extra effort to be polite. In fact, it would have taken less—all he’d needed to do was not talk. So why? Why go out of his way to be a dick?

Allen felt exactly the same way, in this particular case, and yet somehow, by some wild feat of self-restraint, he’d managed not to blab his opinion to everyone. Because any idiot could see it wouldn’t do any good, and would, in fact, make the job harder. What the hell was Kanda’s problem? Did he have to do this to Allen every time?

I would never do this to you.

“Shut up, Kanda.”

* * *

Kanda had given up on almost everything, and that worked for him. Only one thing mattered; the rest was irrelevant. Once he found who he was looking for, he’d be done with this life. He was on his way out.

People tried to hold him back, to pin him down. Marie was the worst, but there were others who’d snuck in when he wasn’t paying attention. Somehow hiding Lenalee had gone from being a fuck you to the Order to being…something he did to keep her from being unhappy. And that started a flood. Zhu. Theodore. Daisya. Komui.

God, Komui. He cared so much about Lenalee that it spilled over onto all of the exorcists, and for the first time, the Black Order became a place that could be mistaken for home. For the first time, it was possible to believe that you were seen as more than a weapon.

Kanda respected Komui, but Komui couldn’t change the Vatican, and as long as the Vatican was calling the shots, this job would still be shit when push came to shove. Kanda’s lotus days were over. He respected Komui, but that wasn’t enough. He was still on his way out. Komui obliged him by respecting that.

They all respected that.

And then a white-haired idiot came along and refused to respect anything.

“Nice to meet you,” the idiot said, holding out a hand. An endearingly nervous smile. Broken behind the eyes.

Kanda thought, I already know you.

He’d known from the moment he saw that upturned moon-face, and he wished he’d had a legitimate reason to kill the kid right then. Because that was how this was going to end. The fool would try so hard to hold on to hope that it would drive him insane; he’d win everyone over just in time to destroy himself. Oh, Kanda knew.

Alma. Allen. God was a real son of a bitch.

“I’m not shaking hands with someone who’s cursed.”

It wasn’t discrimination, it was bitter experience. That first day, Kanda knew exactly what to think of Allen Walker.

By the end of the second, he had no idea, and it irritated him.

Kanda had been trying to do a stupid finder a favor by telling him things the way they really were. The facts of life in the Order: adapt, and die anyway. The truth burns, idiots. Get out while you still can.

The beansprout had seen Kanda being as close as he came to altruistic, and had thought it was an attack. That wasn’t the problem.

If Alma had thought Kanda was unjustly attacking someone, he would have thrown himself between them, made a joke, dragged Kanda away. He wouldn’t have attacked Kanda. Not unless Kanda had attacked him first.

It was all wrong. And it got more wrong with time.

“I won’t do a thing to save you,” Kanda said, meaning, I never save anyone; I won’t do this to myself again. I won’t set myself up for a fall.

Allen didn’t listen. He never listened, he was a moron. And then it turned out that Kanda was full of shit anyway, meaning that Allen thought he was right not to listen.

Things were not going Kanda’s way. Marie thought it was funny, and, more annoying still, so did Komui. Which was how the whole Edinburgh disaster came to be.

“How are you going to protect me?” asked this guy they were supposed to be—Kanda didn’t even know—distributing happiness and sunshine to. As if they had enough happiness and sunshine for themselves, let alone enough to throw down to a worm like this. Kanda had only come along because Lenalee had given him a dirty look.

“How are you going to keep those things away? Stay with me!”

Kanda eyed the man and found himself thinking of the lines of cutting on a human body that were meant to test out the sharpness of a blade. He’d never tested Mugen that way. Not Mugen in its present form.

He had to turn away from the guy before he was tempted to experiment. He knew Mugen was superlatively sharp, anyway.

“It was horrible, you don’t understand,” the waste of space went on. “Those…those things came down the road, and in a second—in a second, I just knew—I knew I’d die!

Really moved by the fact that his wife and kids had been killed in front of him, this guy. But as long as he made it, who gave a shit, right? He could get a new wife, new kids.

Kanda often questioned how much humanity deserved to be saved.

“First time I’ve ever gotten somewhere too soon,” Kanda said, because the guy had it coming.

And Allen turned on him like a snake, turned on him like the asshole was worth protecting. “Shut up, Kanda,” he hissed.

What. The fuck.

Allen couldn’t possibly care about this guy: he was like the anti-Allen. So why play nice with the jerk? Why would he encourage someone this worthless? Why would he get pissed off at Kanda for not playing along? Why did he always lie?

I would never lie to you

“Fuck off, beansprout.”

“Boys,” Lenalee said. “Don’t fight.”

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-18 12:57 pm (UTC)
nagaina: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagaina
...And I think you just nailed the entire crux of Kanda's personality right here.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-18 01:54 pm (UTC)
theodosia21: sunflower against a blue sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] theodosia21
Once again, all I can say is this is perfect.


metisket: (Default)

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