Summary: In the shattered aftermath of the Level 4's attack on the Order, Lavi realizes he's been doomed to care from the start. And he might be okay with that.
A/N: Prompt for May 25th: D.Gray-Man, Allen/Kanda/Lavi/Lenalee: seeking comfort in proximity - "Remind me that we'll always have each other, when everything else is gone."
I am so, so very late.
Stepping over shattered stone and mortar, broken beams and splintered wood, Lavi catalogs every detail of wreckage, every stain of blood. He imagines the bodies that once lay against those stains, the blows that struck those arches, his mind cataloging the precise fall of each piece of debris, each angle of collapse.
Each crack in the walls.
If he wanders long enough he can dredge up a memory for each place he’s seen, and imagine an image of each event he missed. It isn’t like him to speculate. He’s supposed to catalog the facts alone, trajectories and splatter patterns and solid evidence of disaster, not imagine how they came to be or whose blood left them. He finds himself doing it anyway, a secret shame he catalogs away in his head with everything else, so deep and so low that Bookman will never hear of it.
It’ll break his heart someday, the weight of each fractured piece of the Order’s walls, of each broken bone he sees in staggered, bloodied footprints against the stone. Perhaps it already has.
Bookman warned him so many times. He’s listened, in the past. He always used to listen.
Lavi rubs his bandaged cheek, presses against the swollen bruise, the shallow cuts beneath the gauze and savors the pain of it, the proof that he isn’t dreaming. He’s still here, in the wreckage. He’s still living.
He turns a corner into bright lights, hollers and laughter, Kanda’s snarls and Allen’s taunts and presses his cheek harder.
He’s still here. Allen is ducking Kanda’s swing, tumbling nimbly through precise strikes uncompromised by Kanda’s fury. He’s got a wooden sword in his hand but he isn’t using it. He’s not used to it yet, and Lavi admires the swift, agile lines of his movements and every flaw in his awkward strikes. He admires each and every blow Kanda lands on him: jabs and pokes and irritable stabs that carefully knock Allen’s form back into shape.
Allen isn’t a swordsman. He never has been. He’s learning now only because his innocence has forced him to. It’s clear in the way he moves; Lavi has watched masters, watched Kanda, move the way a swordsman moves for too long not to realize that Allen isn’t one.
Lenalee is sitting beside the court, hollering encouragements to Allen as he and Kanda dance around each other. The ruby rings at her ankles glitter in the light beside a cracked step. She’s the first one to see Lavi enter, and Lavi hesitates at her smile. He pushes against his cheek again until she stands, still a little wobbly on her feet, and takes his wrist. “Don’t poke at it,” she admonishes him, her fingers warm and strong against his skin. “You’ll just make it worse.”
“I’ve had worse,” Lavi says, but the words are just formula.
They make her laugh and roll her eyes all the same. “Come on,” she says, and guides him to the seat beside hers.
The court here is shattered too. The ceiling is caving in, there’s glass on the floor, carefully swept to the side and away from Allen and Kanda’s bare feet. There’s scaffolding holding some of the broken bits in place. Other pieces are scattered about their legs. Lenalee’s feet are bare too, and she avoids each piece with careful grace.
Lavi watches quietly for a moment. Then he takes his cue and hollers with her, egging Kanda on, because that is fun no matter what the situation. The formula of it, the consistency in how he reacts, is comforting. He doesn’t change. He sputters and snarls and rages each and every time, like clockwork, and Lavi revels in the consistency.
He revels in the fact that Kanda is still there. There like Lenalee at his side; he knows she’s basking in it too. She’s basking in the cracked pieces of her world’s puzzle and the glue sticking, holding them together. Each yell is another pin. Each laugh, a bit of thread. Each movement stitching them back together again.
“Let’s stay like this,” he says, unexpectedly. He surprises himself, surprises her, and surprises their entertainment as Allen skids to a stop. Kanda pulls his swing an inch from Allen’s head. He scowls and drops the wooden blade, leaving it clattering upon the floor. With a huff he turns and wanders to them, leaving Allen panting, hands on his knees and his head tilted.
Kanda sits closer than he usually would, Lavi thinks. For a moment Lavi has to resist teasing him over it. Instead he leans, props himself against Kanda’s shoulder, and loves that Kanda doesn’t move.
He grunts, shrugs just enough for show, but he lets Lavi lean on him.
Allen smiles. He smiles like moonlight and falling stars, brilliant and beautiful and sad. He smiles with something lost in his eyes, the pain of those taken from them scarring his heart still, and the pain of each one saved bleeding those scars red.
He’s just close enough that Lavi can catch his arm, and he does. He catches Allen’s arm and tugs him stumbling down, laughing into Lavi’s embrace. His laughter is a broken thing. Broken like the walls and it hurts, but Lavi can hear it. He can memorize it, remember it forever, recall it as if it were there with him every day after this.
Bookman always said he shouldn’t get close. It wasn’t his duty, it would ruin his work.
Lavi wonders sometimes if it isn’t because of this: because getting close hurts like burned needles to the eye and open sores upon his skin. It burns hot and he hugs it close because he can’t imagine being without it now. He’s tried. He’s supposed to.
It’ll break him. It’ll ruin him in the end, but he can’t.
Lenalee leans against his other shoulder, burying him in their warmth completely as Allen settles his head against Lavi’s shoulder and presses a sweet kiss to his throat. Allen’s quivering laughter quiets to steady breathing. His skin is damp with sweat, his cheeks flushed. He’s still battered horribly but he’s warm and there.
They’re all there.
They’re here with him beneath shattered beams and broken glass and the stains of the dead.
Remind me, he whispers in the quiet of his mind. Remind me that when all this is said and done. When this is all over, that we’ll still have each other. He can’t say it aloud. Maybe he never will.
But he wishes it all the same.