Thanks to everyone who stuck with me through this. Hope yah enjoyed, in spite of the abundant unrequited love (Kanda's) and abuse (mutual).
I have this...alternate version of events (or conversation?) for this concluding chapter, but I'll have to think if I'm going to do something with it to turn it into a stand-alone, or whatever.
Out of Order
Kanda never figured out how he managed to get over his one-dimensionality, but having feelings for Lavi are screwing him over. What sucks the most? Lavi think Kanda’s crush on him is pretty funny. Crack-tastic but written to be in-character. Promise. GRAPHIC sometimes. Be careful.
INSTRUCTIONS: If you’re coming into this with the series completely done, the chapters can be read in ANY ORDER, so skip around at your leisure. They do have a real chronology, (indicated by numbers on top) but it doesn’t matter in the least.
When Lavi grabs his arm to stop him from jumping off their cleared platform and diving into the pile of level threes and fours, Kanda fixes him with a gleaming evil eye like a peeved mongoose has when it’s about to swallow a cobra headfirst. He barely has the time to think “Oh, gross” at the un-sexy sexual innuendo before Kanda grabs him by the cheeks and slams his mouth against his.
Jesus fucking Christ, it’s disgusting and wrong enough to make his soul retch its way out of his skin (What is soul vomit anyways? Ectoplasm?) but pretty damned hot anyways exactly because it’s his asexual friend turning out to be a hot-blooded nymphomaniac once bloodlust and adrenaline and perspiration has his uniform clinging to his (objectively speaking) rather nice ass crack.
And that is exactly the kind of shit creek Lavi’s mind goes to when something this jarring happens to him.
Ok, ok, good, good, Lavi thinks as the slick of Kanda’s sweat makes bodily contact a slippery, difficult thing. So, make a decision. Throw him off because you know you feel like gagging up a kidney at thinking about a friend like that, or when in Rome (as in, everyone has wild crazy desperate random sex when they think they’re about to die) do as the Romans do. Just stick it.
Aaaanndd then all chance of being able to sort through this in some logical manner gives way to what he vaguely identifies as desperate survival instinct because I’m being mauled. Lavi’s fantasized about viciously tonguing more people and parts than his sense of self-decency will allow him to admit to even himself, buthe knows Kanda’s pace-less slurping isn’t lustful by any stretch of the imagination. It’s like a starving dog harshly licking a bone to rip off any remaining shreds of flesh.
Another obvious tip-off that Kanda doesn’t really want to bone him/be boned stupid, even with all the wild thrashing that may or may not be angled towards Lavi’s erogenous zones--it’s all teeth and no lips and he isn’t biting in a rough-pain-pleasure way of breaking the skin (because Kanda’s breaking a lot of skin, alright) but wants to chew all the way through, top incisors meet bottom.
All that hitting of their teeth together is knocking Lavi’s right out of their gums. The blood between them is bubbling up and getting snorted up by his panicked, heaving breathing, stinging the very back of his nasal cavity with a copper sharpness. So yeah, he tries to pull Kanda off before he suffocates, or Kanda eats him out of hunger or some rare strain of reverse vore-fetish. But Kanda somehow gets a hold of his lower lip and chomps down all the way through.
It’s not being stuck through with a sword or getting shot in the stomach by an Akuma, but it it’s appropriately intense for his first-ever fainting spell.
When he wakes up he assumes that they won because he’s laid out on a familiar hospital bed. He wills himself not to bump the basin on the nightstand so he can have an intact reflection to look at.
Hell. Hell. The shape of the damage could be integrated with a geometric equation (hinging on the diameter of Kanda’s open mouth, he thinks wryly). There’s a sweeping swath of plumped pink bite marks and crimson burst vessels under the skin and umber dried blood and thick plum bruises from under his nose to his chin. The lurid rectangle looks wrong on his face--unsettlingly detached from the rest and kind of ugly for it, like a nutcracker’s flapping jaw.
He’s a little indignant--weirded out, more like-- that no one thought to clean him up while he was out. That would have been the smallest courtesy after he’d gotten knocked out of commission while defending the Tower. It wasn’t FROM defending the Tower, but still. Likely there were more severely wounded people to be taking care of. Either that or there had been some inferences made and no one wanted to look into how to treat someone with a bad case of Akuma mono.
There’s a knock on the door and without even peeking around the frame, Kanda slides in quietly without even blinking owlish remorse. He dressed in a ridiculously unthreatening oversized shirt and black slacks. Lavi watches as he seats himself on a bench opposite to the bed--a very close opposite, the meant-to-hold-hand-of-the-half-dead-thin
“I’m sorry,” he says, a disturbing cliché of innocuous folded hands,“ about your mouth.”
It’s so obvious he’s not repentant that Lavi stares. Confirmation that it was no passionate and bestial kiss fueled by battle ardor or the crazies, Kanda says “mouth” instead of the more romantic “lips”. Everything, from Lavi’s lips to tongue to teeth to gums to jaw--his whole mouth--just fucking hurts. He got attacked, not frenched.
Physical damage goes both ways with a good hit and Lavi notices that Kanda isn’t exactly unscathed. Around his serene, expressionless mouth are lightly green contusions with rainbow undertones--negligible enough to be food stains from leafy vegetables. They’re almost pretty in their sickly delicacy compared to Lavi’s multicolored wreak. Lavi’s a bit blank-headed at the moment, but knows it is a definite requirement that he sucker-punch Kanda in the ear for the difference. It’s too stupid (it literally feels retarded and Kanda would just kill him) so he doesn’t.
“Does it hurt a lot?” Kanda asks in moderate decibels. He’s got Lavi dumb in both senses of the word, so he keeps talking on his own.
“Hmph…” he snorts to himself. He crosses his arms. “I can’t remember all that well, but if I swallowed any of your teeth, I’m willing to give them back to you.” He frowns a little and the pale ellipses on his skin frown with him. At Lavi’s silence, he presses him. “If I did, the sooner I know the better. Sticking a finger down my throat will only work for so long.”
“No. No, you didn’t.” Lavi replies. He does a quick check of running his tongue along histeeth, searching for gaps even after he says it. There’re all there but sure as hell was going to check for chips later. Was it worth asking Kanda to spit up the chips?
“You can say something, you know.” Kanda tells him matter-of-factly and a bit coolly. “I can tell you--I--didn’t bite your tongue.”
“No. I’ve got nothing. Whatever…whatever, Yuu.” Lavi says. Shit, the muscles on his mouth are so hot and tight from inflammation that it feels like he’s trying to force a ball of pure rubber to stretch, if stretching a rubber ball means complete searing agony. His bottom lip’s engorged to the size of a small snake, but he’s going to repress this as much as possible and try to think of the holes as battle injuries.
He looks down. He realizes that crispy feeling in his movement ever since he came to is the congealed blood in the fibers of his shirt front. It’s flaking and floating onto the sheets, looking like clay dust. Well, lips do bleed like crazy. He’s been leaning on his palms, so he shifts all his weight to one and sticks out an arm. “Hey, come here.” Lavi thinks a euphoric victory hug might be permissible.
Kanda doesn’t move and doesn’t change a smidgen of his unruffled countenance.
Since he wouldn’t put it past Kanda to make a pact with the Noah last minute, Lavi decides he might as well make sure. “…We DID win, right?”
Kanda gives a haughty, barely perceptible bow of his head to signify a “yes”.
“Anyone dead?” At Kanda’s noncommittal stare, Lavi sighs and lists who he wants to know about specifically.
“Anyone out of Bookman, Allen, Lenalee, Kro-chan, Miranda, Komui and the scientists, Jerry, the Generals, Marie, Chaoji and co., Bak and co…”
“Who?” Kanda answers uncooperatively. Kanda gets up and settles himself on the bed next to Lavi while Lavi’s brain neatly pulls his stomach out if its plummet, because if the last few months have proved anything, Kanda is more of an emotional volcano than he lets on. So his apathy really means everyone whose name he does recognize is fine.
“… Are Allen and Lenalee around?” Lavi requests. This has to be the most inappropriate end to a war ever. Trust Kanda to be the type to actually pick it out for them to share together. Lavi needs to be having a meltdown about the ultimatum Gramps gave him about picking a side once it was over, or hugging the guts out of the two kids, or drinking... Drinking. Drinking definitely would’ve been nice--he would have liked the alcohol as a disinfectant and a memory obstructer.
“I haven’t seen them since I carried you to the hospital ward.”
“You carried me?”
“I was the only one who could find your body. Obviously.” It just feels weird to have Kanda so dead-pan. Usually he’s stingy on giving straight answers without at least three sentences worth of bitching as padding. Lavi never really comprehended how much of a clutter-mouth Kanda was before until now.
“Did they say anything?”
“They said, “Oh my god, is he dead’. And I said ‘no’ and made them get out of the way.”
Lavi can’t imagine Allen and Lenalee being that dense. Or hell, even that tactful if they noticed the state of his face. Allen and Lenalee may be dancing around rather than actually dating, and they may be a sweet slow-romance kind of couple. But if they don’t realize what human bite marks on skin imply, they don’t deserve any traces of libidos they have.
“Didn’t they want an explanation?” he asks dryly.
“I told them you got hit with an akuma bullet.” Kanda pauses-- if it’s deliberate, Lavi can’t tell. He adds, “In the mouth.”
“Yeah? Then why aren’t I dead from the virus?”
Kanda shrugs. “Said your teeth deflected it.” Lavi thinks, a bit crossly, Kanda is picking a terrible time to start being cute.
“Yuu…that’s just stupid. They didn’t believe you.”
Kanda shrugs again. He could have been fighting a smirk at the corner of his slightly battered mouth. “Sometimes, people tend to let me lie.”
Lavi sighs. Shortly, he returns:
“All right.” Lavi picks up the cotton cloth next on the tabletop and sticks it into the water. He scrubs at his neck to loosen up the stiffness of dried blood and spit, an attempted cheerful whistle petering out because puckering up pinched like pliers. Kanda surprises him by speaking first.
“I fucking hate your mouth, you know.”
Lavi’s always felt that such long, elegant eyelashes are perfect for Kanda. Nothing else can get a glare to that level of danger. They extend the shape of Kanda’s eyes so his narrowed eyes are sharpest Lavi’s ever seen. But at the same time Kanda can’t help it that they look like they’ve been teased out, femininely lengthened and bolded as if with mascara. What Kanda can DO when he’s pissed, that’s genuinely scary. But the way he LOOKS when he’s mad just takes him one step closer to drag. Violent drag.
Lavi makes sure his own eye is round and bright and saccharine like a baby animal’s. He’s copying it from how Lenalee looked a second before grinding some poor sap’s genitals into his pelvis for grabbing her ass. Lavi supposes that this particular offense isn’t too far off in seriousness.
“Well, Yuu…I don’t know what to say. You can’t possibly think that you have a better chance with that ‘I love you’ line now that before you tried to chew off my skin. That’s not what you do when you love someone. Unless you’re a black widow. Or a praying mantis. In which case, you’d STILL be the girl, by the way.”
“Can you shut up about stuff like that for once? It’s just…” Kanda rarely ever talks like a normal person. He has to snap, or growl, or bark, or hiss. He’s about as new to interaction that doesn’t threaten painful retribution as a baby is to walking. And about as wobbly and cranky at his level of success .
“Look, I GET it. A lot of the time, words are all you are. And that’s the part about you that I HATE…I was going a little insane from the fighting, but I was thinking about you the entire time…like all the times you pissed me off…and how that made me love you more…and that pissed me off and made me love you more.” He takes a breath and a break, then picks up again. “When I thought one of us might die…I just…snapped, all right? I wanted to kiss you and I wanted to kill you and that’s where I ended up.”
“Uh.” Lavi returns. “Well, that’s very…” Unapologetic…? “…Honest of you. But I don’t think turning carnivore on me got anything through to me that you wanted. It just kinda makes me think that…you’re an asshole. But I kinda thought that before. It looks like no win, no loss, Yuu.”
“So I’m an asshole. So are you. My God, are you an asshole, and I’m literally gross when I like someone. But I just tried to rip your mouth off your face, and somehow I still love you and you STILL haven’t stopped making fun of it.”
Lavi can’s help screwing himself over one last time “Consistency’s the sign of a good couple, yah know.” he fills in sweetly. “Or any kind of long-term relationship…like friends. Or um, even a short-term friendship. Uh. Sorry.” he remarks lowly in the subsequent painful silence. “Look, Yuu…I know this sucks for you. Really, I do. But there was really no avoiding that. I’m dead annoyin’ to deal with. And y’know…and I’m not just talking about my personality. I think you’ve got some idea of what I’m talking about…”
“I do.” Kanda interrupts. “Where are you going? With Bookman.” he clarifies.
“Eh?” This is uncharacteristically quick of Kanda. “Uh…it’s a secret!”
Kanda swears and throws the wet towel into Lavi’s face with a smack.
“Don’t act like I’m going to follow you, idiot!”
“Well, are you?”
“Good! Because I don’t know! I just…go wherever a Bookman and his assistant need to go, and I’ll be damned how the Panda figures it out every time. For real, so don’t kill me.”
“I wasn’t going to!”
“You’ve already tried to. Like, a lot. So I’m just being careful, okay? ”
Kanda groans and buries his face in his hands. “We’re not at the end of the world any more. You’re going, I don’t have any time left... And I’m not even twenty yet. Fuck…Fuck!”
“This’s just…what the hell…How the hell did this happen?” Kanda gripes. “I told Komui that I’d go to Japan with Lenalee and Chaoji as a clean-up crew tomorrow. And before you ask” he snaps at Lavi, “He’s finally caught on that they’re hot for each other, so Allen’s getting shipped to the China branch to help them rebuild there. I overheard him ask that section chief to set up a date between bean sprout and some scientist …Loofah or whatever. You’re supposed to go with him and encourage him to play the scene or something, but whatever, you’re going to run off, right? Stupid bitch STILL wastes the most time on that sister complex after seeing the apocalypse.”
“So whaddya call this?” Lavi teases. “A ‘friend’ complex?”
“Fucking…” Kanda rages. “God, Lavi it’s going to be SO healthy for me to get over you!”
“Yep.” Lavi answers quietly. Kanda stubbornly clenches his jaws and glares. “It sure will be.” Kanda angrily takes in a lungful of air and turns a cold shoulder, but Lavi wraps around him from behind anyways.
“I’ll miss you, Yuu. I mean… I liked you. I liked you a lot. Mm, yeah, Lenalee and Allen and Komui and Miranda and Noise and Tiedoll and everyone else likes you too, but that’s for the side of you that’ll protect everyone and save the Order and won’t give up, and all that usual ‘he’s nice deep, deep down’ crap. “Lavi squeezes.
“I like you. I like that you’re a prissy bitch. I like that you talk shit about people to their faces for no reason and give em mean nicknames when I give em cute ones. I like how you were always able to kick the shit out of me. You’re not nice, Yuu.” Lavi leans his head on Kanda’s brightly. “…You don’t have to be. And you don’t need to love me or me to love you. I like you a lot.”
Kanda blinks, but he’s a lot further from tears than he thought he’d be. What the…? That bastard, what the fuck. How had he managed that?
He turns around and seizes Lavi.
“Just say good-bye, all right?” He warns gruffly and irritably. “Or else I really WILL spend the rest of my life hunting you down so I can rip out your kidneys and make you drink from them. Bookman too.”
“Yeah. Sorry I didn’t think to talk to you about it, but we coulda figured out that the ending would decide for us.”
“…It’s not so bad. At least I didn’t end up forcing you.”
“Erk… don’t even joke about that. ” Lavi cracks nervously. “And for Chrissake, can you help me out and get Miranda? I can’t be walking around like this.”
Maybe Kanda takes a little longer than he should to answer, but that’s because he’s picking up the cloth on the floor, and hell, thinking pretty hard, so Lavi manages to sneak in his thing.
“What? You hoping that I’ll just keep the hickey? The whole ‘mark of possession until it fades’ thing? Get Miranda, you perv, that’s for lovers, not friends!”
“Lavi…I can’t wait until I hate you again--”that’s all he can get out before Lavi chucks what looks like a pretty big rock at his front teeth “OW!” Kanda’s hand’s fly up and catch the scarlet dribble running over his lower lip. “Goddamni-What the hell’s wrong with you?!” He scoops up the gray object out of a fold of sheets pooled on the floor and is about to whip it back when Lavi grabs his wrist and snaps it down.
“There, we’re even. Take THAT if you want a memento. Don’t need it any more.”
Kanda forces himself to actually take a look at what Lavi tried to concuss him with. The silver under the letters are marked with one thick line.
“Engraver didn’t know what to do with the space for a last name, I guess.”
“Your exorcist badge? Wha-no, you freak, that’s just creepy. That reminds me of Tyki Mikk, not you.”
“Whaddya want, pity sex? You’re not allowed to answer that, by the way. Now, if you don’t want a gap between your teeth as a keepsake…Get Miranda!” Lavi laughs.
Allen takes one look at Kanda’s bloody mouth and tries to block Lenalee from entering the room.
“There are…things that some people do when they love each other…” Lavi can hear him try to explain in a strained voice. “And…they have a different approach to it than couples like us…but the thing is, ahm, I learned this when I was with my Master…it’s something that people like us should try to avoid seeing…”
“Oh good Lord.” Lenalee’s horrified words waft through the gaps in Allen’s arms and legs barricading the door. “What’s happening now? Is Kanda eating his dead body or something? Allen, let me through already!” There’s a shuffle of Lenalee trying to push through.
Kanda settles the issue by sweeping past, yanking on that stupid pimp cape Allen wears while he’s in ultimate mode and jerking him flat on his back . In a bittersweet(?) recreation of their first moment as lovers, Lenalee topples on top of Allen with a small scream. Kanda steps over their bodies and goes out to fetch Miranda. He can hear Lavi greeting them cheerfully over Allen’s shouting.
Later that night he leans over the broken wall of the uppermost level of the tower--quite a few floors lower than it was before the fight. He can actually make out Bookman kicking Lavi furiously about the shins--he’s too tired after doing his part in the battle for one of his signature flying kicks. Lavi’s dawdling is irritating him, but then Lavi nimbly breaks away and darts a few paces ahead, pulling to a skidding halt. He tosses his hands in the air. One is a palm he puts to his mouth and flings back out. The other one’s a fist except for a standing middle finger.
Kanda gets the stupid English pun on his name and waves. But Bookman’s a little puzzled and very grumpy--to him it looks like Lavi’s making the gestures at the building. Which makes enough sense for him to justify putting a little extra spring in his step to boot Lavi in the behind for being clingy. Kanda idly watches the idiot sheepishly trot ahead of his master until they’re both out of sight.
Before he goes back down to a non open-air floor, he remembers to reach into his pocket and toss the badge over the cliff. Then he heads back into the faint babble of the send-off party for the exorcists heading out for clean-up missions tomorrow.
The thing’d be too incriminating if found, and Allen and Lenalee would be crawling all over him like pesky little ants with their questions. (Allen’s already being twice as uppity to him as usual because it’s supposedly “his” fault that he had to explain to Lenalee what a “fetish” is. And the very fact that he knows what it is with such precise clarity has got her wary, which has Allen sulky.)
The love he had found at the end of the world had left plenty of traumas to remember him by. Coming out of it and looking back is like remembering a story, only all scrambled up. He’s going to leave it that.
It wouldn’t be like him to try to put it in order.