The next few days passed in a strange sort of strained calm. Allen spent much of the time sleeping despite the nightmares that had taken to plaguing him each time he closed his eyes.
Each time he woke from his restless slumber, the pain from his injuries along with the feelings of vertigo and nausea seemed to lessen a great deal more, leading him to wonder just how long he had slept each time; if it had been days that passed rather than mere hours. When he was awake, he found he was rarely alone.
It seemed like each time he opened his eyes, one or both of the other men were there, and each time he couldn't help but feel uneasy, though the reactions he gave weren't quite as drastic as the first – despite the fact that a couple were close. It only took a short while for the disquiet to settle and for him to accept that, for the time being at least, it seemed as though they weren't going to harm him.
After a short while, Lavi almost seemed to have taken it upon himself to be Allen's caretaker; feeding him and looking after his wounds with an almost expert ease that made Allen wonder if the other had experience with such things, though he didn't voice the thoughts.
All in all, Allen decided soon enough that Lavi seemed... friendly. Extraordinarily so. There was something about him that seemed to make it difficult not to relax in his presence, despite the distinct feeling of discomfort that twisted his stomach each time something reminded him of what he and Kanda were. He still wasn't ready to say the word aloud. He felt as though, if he did, there would truly be no going back to how things were before that night.
On the other hand, Kanda wasn't anywhere near as friendly, and his being there wasn't as welcome to the youth either. His presence alone was unsettling, setting Allen's nerves on edge whenever he was in the same room, and Allen found it impossible to pretend the other wasn't there, even when he tried. He was always hyper aware, even when he tried to simply go back to sleep, that Kanda was there and it was something he found far from pleasant.
The icy demeanor the other always seemed to bear was something that didn't help in the slightest. His feelings towards Kanda were more uneasy than he would have liked, and Lavi's insistence that the dark-haired male wasn't as bad as he seemed wasn't quite as reassuring as he might have hoped. As time passed, Kanda spent less and less time around him when he was awake, much to Allen's relief.
Allen rarely left the room that he'd first woken in. When he did, it was usually only to go to the bathroom across the hall or wash up. Lavi usually brought food to the room for him, so he had little other reason to leave. Those trips to the bathroom seemed to be the only time Allen was alone, not even his own reflection there to keep him company thanks to the towel covering the bathroom's mirror.
It had seemed strange to him at first, but after lifting the towel that covered it the first time, he understood why they had covered it before he entered in the first place. He wasn't sure which had been the bigger shock; the grizzly red marks marring the left side of his face or the downy white that now took place of his reddish-brown locks.
Even if the extent of his wounds was still a shock, the markings on his face he had at least somewhat expected. The bandages that had covered his eye, the pain, and the memory of the demon carving into his flesh made it impossible for him to think for even a moment that his face was unmarred. His hair however…
That had been one shock he hadn't foreseen. The explanation he received from Lavi when he asked what happened had made him feel ill, almost causing him to lose what had remained in his stomach from his previous meal.
He hadn't had much desire to lift the towel since then.
That had been a couple days ago and if Lavi was to be believed - which Allen trusted he was - it had been five days since Kanda had found him bleeding out in that alley. His wounds had healed a great deal since then; more so than what he knew should have been possible. No doubt it was thanks in large part to the 'remedy' Kanda and Lavi had seen fit to give him, and though he was grateful to them for saving him, he still shuddered at the thought of how.
The wounds still needed to remain bandaged, still at risk of reopening if he wasn't careful, but there wasn't as much pain anymore so long as he didn't put too much pressure on them. He had little doubt that the strange-smelling salve Lavi applied whenever he changed the bandages was to thank for quite a bit of that. He found he wasn't quite so tired anymore, either, and he no longer felt nauseous or dizzy every time he so much as moved.
And even if he had still been exhausted, the thought of sleep had, by now, lost whatever appeal it had previously held.
Instead he found his mind wandering elsewhere whenever he so much as considered it; to his home and the father who was no doubt beginning to worry about him by now. Also, as much as he wished not to think of it; the question of whether or not he would be allowed to return to him after all that had happened.
Lavi and Kanda's kind were meant to be a myth and there had to be ways they stayed that way. Allen feared he knew just what those ways might be, in many circumstances. He had turned the thoughts over in his head multiple times by now, and it hadn't taken him long to realize what fate most likely awaited those that found out about the creatures that hid within the shadows.
That was a fate Allen had been positive awaited him at first, but as time passed and they not only left him to heal, but fed him and even tended to his injuries with such kindness and care, he had started to doubt that that was the case here. After all; would they truly do all of that if they just intended to kill him after?
It seemed unlikely to say the least, but the memory of the first one he'd met and the games he'd played were still too fresh in his mind, leaving a miniscule part of him unable to completely dismiss the thought. It gave birth to questions he would have preferred to never cross his mind; like even if they let him live, what if they still didn't let him go? What would become of him then? Would he simply be their prisoner until at last his life did come to its end – however short or long it might be?
Guilt twisted his stomach at the thought, the suspicion he knew he had no true reason for harboring aside from a bad run in with someone Kanda and Lavi simply shared their species with. That wasn't like him, he knew.
Allen had always tried to see the best in even the worst of people and he was sure not all of their kind could be as terrible as the one he'd met that night. That was something he had told himself multiple times by now, and he did believe that Kanda and Lavi were among those who weren't. Still, he found it unlikely that going home would be a simple task with what he knew now.
Such thoughts were enough to make him reluctant to broach the subject of leaving. Yet, he knew he couldn't just stay there either; patiently waiting for them to tell him what was to happen from there.
The more time passed, the more he knew Mana would be worrying, and making his foster father worry was one thing Allen truly despised doing, regardless of the circumstances.
It was well into the night; the sun having set hours ago, and for once Allen had found himself alone in the room for a majority of the night. Lavi had gone off somewhere a couple hours prior, though Allen had no clue where exactly, and Kanda had left him be ever since. Occasionally he would hear something if he paid attention, that would give him some clue what the other was up to - something he paid heed to for no other reason than curiosity. But that was rare, Allen's mind far too caught up in its own musings for him to actually pay attention. From the sound of it now though, he guessed he was likely in the shower.
That was something he had only vaguely noticed when it began some time ago, but as he took a moment's reprieve from the worrisome thoughts and it actually took hold of his notice he found a new thought forming.
Lavi wasn't there and Kanda was preoccupied… Maybe now could be his chance to go home.
If he were being honest, the thought of just leaving didn't quite sit well with him, not after all they had done. Though Kanda hadn't been what anyone could consider friendly or welcoming, he had saved Allen and brought him into his home while he recovered. Then there was Lavi, who had gone through so much trouble looking after him; tending to his injuries however he was able and even making sure Allen was fed. Yet, the thought of staying here any longer while Mana fretted over his well-being was enough to make his nerves sing with a mix of anxiousness and guilt that served to help him make up his mind.
He wasted little time once his mind was made, listening carefully to make sure the water was still running as he grabbed his shoes and socks from beside the door. He had little clue how long the water had been running, so as far as he knew it could shut off at any moment. He tried to be as quiet as he could, moving carefully as he crept from the room, his bare feet moving almost silently across the carpet. He made his way towards the living room, pausing at the end of the hall to make sure Lavi had yet to return. The room was empty, save for the furniture and Allen opted to continue on, only to pause once more as the desk near the corner caught his eye.
Guilt once again churned to life as he thought of leaving without a word, and after a moment of listening and considering, he moved towards the desk rather than the door.
The surface had next to nothing on it; a few quills, pens, ink, and some torn shreds of a thick parchment that looked as though they'd once been pieces of a letter. It wasn't until he opened a drawer, wincing at the sound it made, that he found the other thing he sought.
Pulling out a piece of paper, he carefully closed the drawer and grabbed a pen. Testing it on his hand to make sure it would write, he pressed it to the thin sheet and began writing;
Lavi & Kanda
Thank you both for all you've done. I wouldn't
be alive right now if it weren't for the two of
you, and I am eternally grateful. But I've caused
you enough trouble by now, and my family must
be worried sick by now, so I think it's time I go home.
Thank you again.
Pausing briefly, he considered a moment before adding;
P.S; I promise your secret is safe with me.
That done, he carefully folded the small letter in half, resting it atop the desk so that it stood on its own. He felt a faint smile come to his lips as he picked his things back up. It may not have been ideal, but at the very least he found he did feel better about leaving than he had before. Quickly now, he turned to the front door and moved towards it with a determined stride.
"And what do you think you're doing?"
Allen jumped a bit, his hand retreating from the door's lock as he glanced back at the owner of that familiar voice.
"K-Kanda," He said, turning towards the other as he tried to push down the feelings of nervousness that began to make themselves known. He kept his eyes locked on the other, watching for some form of reaction.
The other's hair was loose, just as it had been the first time he recalled seeing him, but this time the dark tresses were heavy with water, the last few inches forming small waves, while a towel draped over one hand was being used to dry them. A few drops of water dripped down his face and bare torso, the one's on the latter disappearing as soon as they came into contact with the loose fitting pants that hung on his hips.
He paid close attention to the dark haired's expression, finding his nerves fading, just slightly, when he realized that it wasn't much different from usual. His face was still a mask caught somewhere between boredom and agitation, his sharp eye seeming to hold nothing more than a trace of curiosity.
"I..." For a moment, Allen considered lying, several lies even passing through his mind. Before he could decide on any, he saw Kanda's eyes shift to the side, and, following his gaze, Allen's own landed on the letter he'd written mere moment's before. Kanda's gaze returned to him in silent inquiry to which Allen finally answered. "I was gonna go home."
A raised brow was the only shift in Kanda's expression, his hand pausing in its actions. "Home?"
Allen couldn't help but tense ever so slightly, but just the same, he gave a decisive nod in answer.
"Bout fucking time."
Of all the possible responses that had crossed Allen's mind, he was certain that that blatant reply wasn't anywhere among them.
He watched Kanda return to drying his hair, draping the towel around his shoulders when he seemed satisfied, before moving towards the living room. Stardust silver eyes followed him, a slight furrow forming on Allen's brow.
"Excuse me?" He said, feeling the need to verify despite the fact that he was fairly positive he'd heard correctly.
Kanda's gaze leveled on him once more, a look of mild agitation showing in his eyes. "I know your hearing's not that bad, Kid."
A frown threatened to tug at Allen's features at the response, but Allen fought it back. He had scarcely spoken to Kanda since waking, but he had already figured out that Kanda may not have been the most polite individual if the behavior Allen had observed was any indication. However, that didn't seem to stop him from finding the response off putting.
"I just wanted to make sure I heard you right," Allen stated in response.
"If you heard me say 'bout fucking time' then yeah, you did," Kanda replied bluntly, a note of agitation similar to the look in his eyes lacing his voice. His gaze drifted away from Allen, moving to lock dead ahead. "Like I want to keep you around and longer than I have to. As soon as the damn usagi gets back you're free to go wherever the fuck you want."
Despite the confirmation that brought a wave of relief, Allen couldn't help but take a bit of offense to the ill-mannered response that accompanied it. Kanda hardly seemed the social type from what he'd seen and what Lavi had told him, but he couldn't recall having done anything that may have irritated the other to that much of degree. Then again, he supposed perhaps just having a room in his house taken up by someone he didn't even know may very well have been cause for Kanda's dislike of the situation.
"When do you think he'll be back?" Allen inquired, opting to try and ignore the rude response and the feeling of mild agitation that began to stir to life.
Kanda's eyes followed him as he finally moved away from the door, and towards a chair that rested near the sliding glass door that lead out to the balcony. Even if he might have to wait a while more for the red-head, that was something he found he didn't mind as much as he may have expected. He owed Lavi a thank you, after all, and he found he definitely preferred the thought of delivering it in person rather than through a mere letter.
A shrug rolled off of Kanda's shoulders. "Depends on how long it takes him to hunt."
"Hunt?" Allen questioned before he could really stop himself, only for his eyes to go wide as realization sank in. In an instant he jolted to his feet, eyes locked firmly on Kanda, whose only response was to raise a brow in a silent inquiry. "Y-you mean he's… He's not going to kill someone, is he?"
"What the…?" A look of incredulity crossed his features, the expression soon shifting to one of evident annoyance. "Hell no, idiot. We don't all kill when we feed, dumbass." He paused a moment, seeming to consider something before he added, "It's against our laws to kill humans when we feed."
A wave of relief washed over Allen, drawing a relieved sigh from his lips, only for a thought to occur to him, causing a furrow to form on his brow. "Then... what about the one who attacked me?"
"Whoever it was broke the law by leaving you for dead," Kanda stated, leaning back in his seat and letting his arms come up to cross over his chest. "Lavi's already planning on telling the head generals about it when he goes back. Then whoever attacked you will be hunted down and punished accordingly."
"The Order doesn't show mercy on anyone who breaks the law. And trust me; they'll find whoever it was. There aren't many who can escape the order's notice once they get it."
A curious expression crossed Allen's features, silently prompting the other to elaborate. For a moment, Allen had almost thought he saw the other's eyes flash with disdain, and he could have sworn he heard a note of bitterness in the other's tone.
He waited patiently for the other to elaborate, and when he didn't Allen was tempted to push the subject. He soon decided against it. If the other's tone were anything to go by, it seemed that that may not be something Kanda was all that eager to discus. Pushing a subject Kanda might not wish to discus didn't seem like the best idea, especially since the other didn't seem to be in a very good mood as was. Granted, this seemed to be Kanda's default mood, from what he'd seen thus far.
When Kanda didn't say another word, Allen considered going back to the room he'd been staying in and waiting there until Lavi returned, though the thought was dismissed soon enough.
Lavi couldn't be that much longer. Right?
After a few moments hesitation, he sat back down, setting his shoes down on the floor beside his newly claimed seat.
Neither said a word after that, and it wasn't long before Allen found the silence growing somewhat uncomfortable. He was tempted to try and strike up another conversation with the other, but several failed attempts at trying to think of something to talk about soon snuffed out that idea.
Instead, he once again turned his mind on his father and how things might go when he finally saw him again.
He wondered what Mana would say when he got home and what on earth he would tell his guardian about why he'd disappeared without so much as a phone call to let him know he was safe. He knew he couldn't very well tell Mana the truth. Even if Kanda and Lavi might allow it, he knew there was little hope of that going over 'well'. If he started talking about the existence of vampires and being attacked by one, he had a feeling he may as well just ask to be locked up.
Besides, it was more than just a little likely that telling about them would violate the 'laws' Kanda had mentioned. He still felt that it was unlikely that whomever made those laws would want anyone to be telling that they exist. He had a feeling that he didn't want to be on the wrong side of whoever that might be.
The sound of the sliding door being thrust open to its limit made Allen jump, yanking him almost violently from his thoughts as pale eyes snapped up to rest on the returning red-head.
"Oh, hey, Al!" Said ginger greeted cheerfully, closing the door behind him with a bit more force than necessary. He gave a small snicker at the annoyed exclamation that escaped Kanda's lips, though his gaze didn't leave Allen's form. "Shouldn't ya be resting?"
Masking his own mild amusement at the dark haired's reaction with a soft clearing of his throat, Allen shook his head a couple times before smiling up at the ginger. "I think I've rested enough. I'm feeling much better now."
"Really?" Lavi's expression brightened visibly, that emerald hued eye flickering over Allen's form as though searching for any sign that might contradict the smaller male's statement. "You sure?"
"He's sure," Kanda interjected before Allen's lips even had a chance to part with his answer, easily drawing Lavi's attention. "He's ready to go home."
Allen frowned just slightly, unable to say he was a fan of being cut off in such a manner. Though, Kanda had already made it clear that he couldn't be rid of Allen soon enough, so he supposed it shouldn't have been surprising for Kanda to want to cut to the chase. Lavi's gaze flickered back to him, curiosity laced with an edge of caution evident in his eye. "That true?"
Letting his smile return, though not quite as wide as before, Allen gave a single small nod.
"That's great, buddy!" The sudden volume of Lavi's enthusiastic exclamation almost made Allen jump as a grin spread across the red-head's features. Allen hadn't expected the sudden exuberance, though judging by Kanda's lack of reaction, Kanda didn't seem especially surprised by it. His only reaction was a roll of his eyes.
Lavi seemed extremely pleased – even more so than Allen would have imagined. "Man, I thought it'd be at least a couple more days before ya felt up to goin' anywhere. Yuu's blood must have helped even more than I thought it would."
Allen tried to suppress grimace, smile fading as his stomach churned uneasily at that reminder. He had never considered himself squeamish by any means, but that thought was still quite unsettling, and he didn't forsee that fading anytime in the near future. "Can you... please not mention that?" He pleaded, one hand coming up to rub lightly at the back of his neck.
"Sorry, sorry." Despite the words, Lavi didn't sound the least bit apologetic, his voice holding a carefree tone that it seemed he rarely lacked. "Forgot ya'd rather not think of that." His arms came up to cross behind his chest, one side of his mouth remaining quirked up in a crooked smile as an almost melancholy look entered his gaze. "Anyway, if you're sure you're well enough, I guess you'd like to get home as soon as possible, huh?"
"Yeah," Allen answered with a nod, grateful for the change of subject. "My father must be worried sick by now.
A look of realization painted the ginger's features, a slight wince contorting them a moment later. "Youch, yeah I'll bet. Bet he's probably gonna have it in for ya when ya get back." He gave another chuckle, before allowing his eye to shift to Kanda, still seated on the couch, and Allen's silver hued gaze soon followed. He didn't seem to be paying much attention to either of them, from what Allen could tell. "Hey Yuu, got a shirt Allen can borrow?"
Allen didn't miss the slight twitch Kanda gave at the name, dark eyes shifting to glare icily at the red-head beside the white haired as he pushed himself to his feet. "How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that?"
Lavi grinned, not seeming the least bit perturbed by the growl-like undertone Kanda's tone held. Allen couldn't help but wonder if Lavi was truly as unaffected by that cold gaze as he seemed, and if so, how long it had taken for that immunity to build.
"However many times ya want. Odds are I'm not gonna stop."
Mattering something that didn't sound particularly polite under his breath, Kanda moved towards the hall before disappearing around the corner. Allen stared after him, gaze only averting when the dark haired reappeared just a few sparse moments later. Without a warning he threw an article of white cloth at Allen, causing Lavi to give a loud laugh while the white-haired let out a startled yelp as it all but smacked him in the face.
"Just put the damn thing on." Kanda said, sounding as irritated as ever as he moved towards the front door, grabbing his coat from a nearby hook.
Allen frowned as he grasped the shirt, resisting the urge to level a glare on the other - though he doubted Kanda would notice. "Thanks," He mumbled after a moment. Kanda only grunted in acknowledgment.
Was Kanda always like this...? Or did he really dislike Allen that much? Allen couldn't help but wonder as he straightened out the white shirt he'd been so 'politely' handed. Pulling it on, he struggled to suppress a wince as the movement prompted a wave of slight pain to go through his chest, the cloth scraping against the still healing wounds on his face doing the same.
"Where are we going, Moyashi?" Kanda inquired as he pulled on his coat. He removed the still damp and slightly curled strands from his collar, gathering them in one hand before tying the long strands into a tight ponytail, only a few of the long tresses remaining free to frame his face.
Allen paused, his hand stilling where it hung as he reached for his shoes, eyes turning back on the other. "We?"
"That's what I said, isn't it?"
Allen's features contorted into a curious frown, "You're coming too...?"
"We both are," Lavi answered in Kanda's place, leaning one arm on the back of the chair Allen had claimed. "Ya don't mind, right?"
"Uh…" Allen hadn't expected either of them to come too, though he couldn't say he was opposed to the idea as much as he might have expected, "I guess not."
"Good. Then answer the question, Brat."
Suppressing a sigh, and resisting the urge to say something to oppose that nickname, Allen did just that as he pulled on his shoes, before getting to his feet.
Lavi gave a nod, pushing away from the chair and turning towards the door he had entered from, just a few minutes prior. "Alright then, let's get goin!"
The ginger opened the sliding glass door, and Allen's brow furrowed as the ginger stepped out onto the balcony.
"Shouldn't we be going out that door?" He inquired, nodding towards the front.
"Nope!" That familiar grin was plastered across Lavi's face as he glanced back at the other. "The way we'll be travelin' this exit's better."
"What do you..." Allen started, but was easily cut off as Lavi returned to grab his forearm and began pulling him towards the balcony, leaving no more room for Allen to protest. He released him as soon as Allen's feet left plush carpet in favor of solid wood, and Kanda followed at a leisurely pace. Giving Allen a light push when he reached the doorway, he stepped out as well, closing the door behind him.
"You'll see," Lavi chirped as he moved to stand on the balcony's railing. His eyes darted about as though looking for something. He gave a decisive nod when he seemed satisfied, glancing back at the other two over his shoulder. "Kanda, why don't you do the honors of carrying our little friend here?"
"Like hell I- Don't you-! Oi!" Before Kanda could finish his protest, Lavi gave a salute and knelt down, before launching himself off. He barely noticed how Kanda jerked forward, his hand closing on empty air where Lavi's hood had been mere milliseconds ago.
Allen's eyes widened as he watched the red-head all but sore across the space between the balcony and the building across the way, landing effortlessly on its rooftop before glancing back at the two of them.
Grumbling and swearing beneath his breath, Kanda knelt down a bit in front of Allen. For a few moments all he did was stare, uncertain. Surely he didn't mean for Allen to...?
"Hurry it up!" He snapped, and when Allen still hesitated to comply, Kanda reached back to yank one of Allen's wrists, causing him to stumble forward with a startled sound. He managed to catch himself with a hand on the other's shoulder, the one still in the dark haired's grasp being pulled over the opposite shoulder. Kanda glanced back at him, a faint trace of agitation clear in his expectant gaze. At last, Allen complied.
His arms hesitantly wrapped around the other's neck, his chest pressing against the dark haired's back. Hands hooked around his thighs, hoisting him up Kanda straightened out of his half crouch, Allen's grip instinctively tightening as Kanda stood on the railing.
"You get sick and I swear I'll drop you."
He gave no further warning, offered Allen no chance to prepare before he launched himself after Lavi. Even if he had been warned, Allen had little hope that he could have stifled the startled gasp that left him or kept his grip from tightening to an almost suffocating degree.
Kanda didn't even seem to notice. It seemed as though the instant they landed they were already off, Lavi setting an extraordinary pace that Kanda seemed to keep up with with ease.
The wind rushed around them, the cold night air piercing Allen's skin and stinging at his eyes until like tiny needles, though Allen found he didn't find it all that unpleasant. Instead he felt a rush, adrenaline coursing through his veins, and drawing a smile to his lips as the world all but blurred around them.
Several minutes passed like that, the only sound reaching Allen the rushing wind as Kanda and Lavi moved across rooftops with an ease Allen knew would never have been possible for any human being. He tried to keep his eyes open as much as he could, but eventually the piercing wind drew water to their edges, increasing the sting and forcing them closed. Even if it hadn't been for that, Allen knew it probably wouldn't have been long before the faint churning in his gut grew, causing him to do just that. Even if motion sickness was another thing he had scarcely felt before, he supposed if anything might make him feel such a thing, it would be this.
Lavi's voice was strangely calm, the exuberance he'd seemed to hold before completely absent along with the distinct note of cheer Allen had come to associate with the ginger. The tone easily broke through the sound of the wind, despite its quietness, the weight that the simple name seemed to hold more than enough to draw Allen's attention. When Allen glanced at him he found the look on his face was oddly serious, the corners of his mouth turned down in the beginnings of a frown.
"Yeah." Kanda responded, his own tone clipped and cold, no trace of emotion detectible to Allen's ears. Quite suddenly, he came to a halt atop one of the buildings. "I see it."
Allen glanced between the two, his own features contorting into a confused frown at the sudden heaviness that seemed to hang in the air between them. He glanced around swiftly, feeling a small spark of relief when he realized that he recognized a few of the buildings surrounding them. They were almost to his place, but… Why had they stopped ?
"You don't think that's..."
Allen heard Kanda draw in a deep breath before letting it out in a prolonged exhale. "Only one way to find out."Allen's brow furrowed, only for a startled sound to tear from his throat as Kanda released the hold on his legs. Had Allen's hold on his shoulders not been so tight he had little doubt that he would have landed flat on his rear. When his feet were securely on the roof, he released his hold Kanda, leveling a slight glare on the other male. However, the expression was quick to fade, the exceptionally cold look on his face, as well as the oddly serious expression Lavi wore making his stomach tighten with the beginnings of unease.
"What is it?" He asked, frowning as he watched Kanda move towards the opposite edge of the rooftop, Lavi close behind. Allen was quick to follow as well, his brow furrowing when neither of them offered an answer "Lavi? Kanda? What's wrong?"
"Just... wait here, Allen." Lavi didn't even look at him when he spoke, the lack of shift in his tone or expression only making his anxiousness grow. The urge to argue reared its head, the desire to know what had put them both so on edge so suddenly alongside the uneasiness their reactions had brought to life making it all but impossible for him to so much as entertain the idea of simply standing by and waiting.
But before he could question, Kanda's voice sounded with a simple 'let's go', and with that they were both gone, dropping from the rooftop then taking off at an impossible speed that Allen's eyes couldn't even hope to follow as soon as their feet hit the pave below.
Brow furrowing once again, Allen stared at the spot where the pair had disappeared. He squinted, turning his gaze in the direction that they had been looking, hoping for some clue to what was going on. He saw nothing unusual, everything that was actually close enough for him to make out seeming just as he would imagine it to from such a height. So why were they both so on edge?
They must have seen something wrong, that much he could quite easily gather from their behavior along with the fact that, whatever it was, it couldn't be good. His disquiet only roared louder as he considered what lie in that direction. His stomach gave a disgruntled churn, suspicion and dread winding through his mind as he tried not to let it jump to the worst case scenario.
They couldn't have seen anything wrong near his home. Though a quick glance around had indeed determined that they were near, this area exceptionally familiar to the white haired youth, his home was still some blocks away-surely too far for them to have seen anything that could set the pair off in such a way. Yet, even as he tried to convince himself of that, the feeling of uneasiness that made itself known at so much as the possibility was difficult to dismiss.
Several seconds passed as Allen turned the thoughts over in his head, anxiety slowly growing until it finally became too strong to ignore. His eyes quickly darted about until they came to rest on the rusted ladder connected to one side of the building. It was a short debate – hardly even able to be considered such a thing - before he was moving towards it and climbing over the roof's raised edge.
Whatever had made those two so apprehensive couldn't have been good, that much Allen was certain of. And the thought that it could have been anywhere near his home was one that Allen couldn't just ignore, even if he had wished to. If there was even a remote chance that something was the matter, he needed to be there for his father, regardless of what the issue might be. He'd be damned if he would just stand by if his father was in any sort of trouble.
He set a quick pace to get down, almost reckless in his haste. As he turned to his new surroundings, he tried to suppress the shiver that threatened to race down his spine as an unpleasant sense of deja'vu washed over him. The alleyway was dark, brick walls rising on either side almost seeming to devour any light that may have dared to enter from either end, leaving a majority of the narrow space bathed in perpetual shadow.
Memories danced at his mind's edge in frightful flashes of image and sound; a shadowed figure closing in, the velveteen voice that sounded as he was cornered in that dead end, the world twisting around him as he was suddenly thrown to the ground...
He fought them back, pushing them all behind a stone wall of his own. The last thing he needed, he knew, was to recall that traumatic night from less than a week ago. He didn't dwell there long enough for the memories to resurface, instead moving quickly towards the alley's mouth where light actually touched.
His eyes skittered about, taking in his surroundings; the buildings with their windows mostly dark, the street lamps and stars the only things that illuminated the otherwise darkened street. But even their glow wasn't enough to completely envelop it, leaving small patches of shadow in the spaces between.
It was such an eerie scene; one that now filled Allen with a feeling of uneasiness that he found all but impossible to shake. As he began walking, he couldn't help but glance back over his shoulder ever few moments, half expecting to see that dreaded figure trailing him from just beyond one circle of light or another.
Soon enough, he broke into a jog and eventually a full on run despite the slight pain it caused in his chest. The desire to get home was rapidly becoming that much stronger as fear mingled with apprehension, brought on by the memories still so clear within his mind's eye, making him feel like prey all over again.
He ran faster past alleyways,only slowing when he came to an intersection to make certain the road was clear, before returning to his previous pace. Even when breathing began to grow more difficult, he didn't slow.
The closer he got, the more confused his he found emotions became. One street left with no sign of trouble and eagerness began to join the mix, knowledge that he was almost home making him run that much faster, almost overshadowing the misgivings he'd had before.
If there was anything wrong he'd sure he'd of seen some sign by now; a crowd out of place, too many lights, or maybe even the lights or sirens from police or something of the like. But the night was still, almost startlingly so, and, while eerie, he believed that was a good thing.
It wouldn't be long now before he was home.
He was almost there, almost back to Mana and the home they shared; both things he had dreaded that he might never see again just a couple hours ago – if that.
The familiar voice's cry sent a spear of shock through his system as Lavi suddenly appeared in front of him, as if from thin air. Allen stumbled, trying to stop himself before he could crash into the redhead and take them both to the ground, coming uncomfortably close to doing just that in the process.
"Didn't we tell you to wait back there?" Lavi questioned, the smile he wore seeming almost forced as he reached out steadying hands to make sure Allen didn't fall.
"I... I didn't... want to keep Mana... waiting..." Allen lied, needing to take a few shallow breaths between words, each one sending an icy burn down his throat and into his lungs. Offering the other an apologetic smile, he hunched over, one hand resting on his knee while the other came up to clutch lightly at the shirt over his wounds, his racing heart hammering away beneath his hand. The pain he had previously been able to ignore was suddenly to prominent for that, and he wondered if he had worsened the injuries with the exertion of his run. He hoped not.
"Right..." Lavi said, glancing back over his shoulder for a couple moments before turning his attention back on Allen as a hand came up to rub lightly at the back of his neck. "About that, Al... I think we should go back to Yuu's."
"Wh-why?" Allen inquired, a furrow forming on his brow. Swallowing hard, he straightened up, shoulders still heaving ever so slightly as he looked steadily at the ginger. "We're already here... and Mana... He's probably-"
"Just..." Lavi cut him off, a hint of what almost sounded like nervousness in his tone. Upon a closer look, Allen couldn't help but think he was looking quite tense, the light that was usually present in that emerald hued eye oddly dull compared to what he was used to seeing. "Take my word for it, Al."
Wariness gave Allen pause, silver eyes staring intently at the other male for several long moments. Eyes darted to the corner beyond the ginger as anxiousness once again began to rear its head. He gave a slight shake of his head before straightening up and moving to step around the other. "S-sorry Lavi but... I need to see my da-"
"Wait." A strong hand closed around his upper arm, jerking him back with enough force to wrench his shoulder. A flash of pain crossed his shoulder, a wince contorting his features before wide silver hued eyes moved to the other with a spark of fear entering their depths.
"L-Lavi, what the-" He began, trying to yank his arm free of the red-head's grasp, only to wince once more when the other's grip only tightened. His gaze darted from the hand closed around a thin arm to the other's face, and his struggles faltered at what he saw.
Lavi's expression was different now; appearing unnaturally stern, but there was a look that resembled... pity? In his visible eye. When he spoke, there was the faintest trace of what almost sounded like desperation in his tone. "Allen, trust me." He tried to force a smile, but Allen found the expression lacking, not even a trace of the red-head's usual cheer present. "Let's just head back to Kanda's."
"No." The answer was instantaneous, Allen not even considering what the other was suggesting. Why was he even suggesting that in the first place? He'd seemed so glad that Allen was well enough to go back home... what had changed? Anxiety returned as he renewed his struggle, not even caring as they wrenched his shoulder, causing a burning ache to surge to life. His previous fears were slowly worming their way back to the forefront of his mind, and despite the desperation to push them back, Allen found them harder and harder to ignore the longer Lavi held tight to his arm with a borderline bruising grip. "Let go of me, Lavi!"
"Allen, please! You don't-"
"Just let him go."
The deep voice drew their attention, a single green hue and a pair of pale gray moving to rest on Kanda as he approached the pair. There was a note in his voice Allen couldn't quite name, something lying just beneath the surface of that usually icy voice. Whatever it was, it seemed almost out of place.
"But Yuu-" Lavi tried to protest, glancing between the two of them, his brow furrowing.
"No buts." Dark eyes came to rest on Allen's form, the dark hues even colder than Allen could remember having seen them before. But after only a couple of second his gaze drifted, moving from Allen to Lavi and his voice when next he spoke was stern. "He won't believe or accept it any other way."
There was a moment of silence in which Allen's mind raced, trying to make sense of what the other meant. What was Kanda talking about? What was there for him to believe? What was there for him toaccept?
Had something actually happened to...?
The anxiousness was far more than just that by now, dancing precariously on a precipice of panic that just made it that much more difficult for Allen to catch his breath.
Lavi hesitated, his expression growing conflicted. But, after a moment, he let a quiet sigh pass his lips, his grip loosening on Allen's arm until the younger was at last able to pull it free. He stumbled a bit as he did so, taking a couple steps backward while his gaze flickered between the two. Kanda was staring at him with a level gaze, his features an expressionless mask he couldn't even hope to read, while Lavi was looking of to the side, not meeting Allen's gaze.
Turning swiftly, he moved towards the corner, part of him expecting to once again be stopped by a powerful hold.
He wasn't, and for a few sparse seconds he wasn't sure whether he was glad for that or not.
Within seconds he rounded the corner he had come around countless times in the last few years.
And in an instant his blood chilled to ice within his veins.
The sight before him was so similar to the one he'd expected to greet him; the one that was like a comforting photograph engraved in his mind's eye, but something was so drastically different that Allen almost couldn't believe this was the right street - didn't want to believe it.
A row of brick buildings Allen was achingly familiar with lined the sidewalk across the street; the little flower shop he would sometimes help out at, the reasonably sized building that housed a few small apartments. Both were almost exactly as the photograph deemed they should be, but between them... Between the two, where his and Mana's home came to rest, was drastically different than it was in his mind's eye.
Unbidden by his own will, his feet carried him closer, his throat growing tighter and tighter with each step as denial tried to sweep away growing panic. His heart beat faster than a hummingbird's wings, almost threatening to break free of his chest as his breaths came faster in and out of his lungs.
"What..." He whispered, his voice strained and choked as he finally came to a halt in the center of the road, the word being forced from a throat that felt suddenly too tight for even air to pass. "What... is... H..."
His and Mana's home was fairly small, just big enough for the two of them. The two story house had had two rooms taking up the second floor – their bedrooms – while the first was occupied largely by a sitting room, a small kitchen and bathroom taking up the remaining space.
What his eyes were seeing and his mind was struggling to make sense of was something drastically different from the place he had come to call home.
The second floor was all but destroyed; the only sign that it had ever existed a segment of wall and floor in the back corner - once a part of Allen's room; now no more than charred black stone and scorched wood. The rest of the second floor was gone, the brick and wood that had made it and the roof now seen clearly as piles of dust and debris through an empty space left by a shattered window; its own surroundings blacker than the night sky. Most of the walls on the first floor remained in tact, only a few segments pushed out or knocked down by the falling debris. But even much of what remained had not done so unscathed. Brick was blackened by scorching heat, the remaining glass of the opposite window disfigured and darkened while all that remained of the front door was a couple pieces of burnt wood, barely kept in place by its hinges.
As Allen's eyes began to fall he caught sight of something that seared denial even deeper into his core, even as the sight of it burned into his brain with an almost agonizing certainty. There in front of the charred opening was a single small mound of flowers, and resting among them, a top hat Allen recognized with excruciating ease, despite the top edge that had been singed, leaving a hole that almost seemed to match the one Allen could already feel forming in his heart.
'This.. this can't be real,'was what his mind first whispered, trying to find some sort of explanation that didn't include the contrary.
Maybe... Maybe it was just another nightmare. That was it.
It had to be.
There was no way this was real - there was just no way! He would wake up and... and his home would still be there-his father would still be there.
He just had to wake up.
He just had to wake up and he'd be home; safe and sound in his own bed - in his own room. Then he'd go downstairs and find Mana making breakfast – just like always, and when he told Mana about this crazy dream he'd tell him that it was just that.
Nothing but a sick dream.
But even as those thoughts swarmed within his skull, trying to overshadow everything he'd seen, he knew.
He knew the struggle for air and his pounding heart, the dull pain of his knees hitting the concrete, the acrid scent that hung in the air; the rapidly growing sting behind his eyes, and the burn of bile that rose in his throat until he finally gagged, lips parting to let it land on the pave before him...
He knew none of those were a part of his dream.
They were far too real to be part of a dream.