Kanda/Allen + LinkWord Count:
Spoilers for post-Edo arc.Prompt:
Written for a_mbry0
! <3 Sorry I'm so late with this, bb. OTLSummary:
Link experiences the nature of Allen’s and Kanda’s working relationship up close.Proximity
Howard Link was not a man who took particular pride in anything he did. He was a man of duty, and survival in his line of work called for a vicious brand of pragmatism. Pride was for the frivolous, for those who still had the luxury of choice, and Link did not count himself amongst them.
Certainly, the years that he had spent in the service of Central and, following that, as Lvellie’s right-hand man, had been instrumental in cultivating such a perspective. Yet, in his private moments, Link remembered the harshness of reality that had been forced onto a band of ragtag orphans who had nowhere to go and little to survive on. Dreams and pride had not served them then. Hard work, suffering, and the knowledge that each day could well be their last – that was what they had fed on.
Link’s own experiences, however, were painfully limited when it came to understanding how the exorcists of the Black Order functioned.
The destruction of the old Headquarters aside, it had been little over a day after Cross Marian’s disappearance - Komui had proven remarkably resilient against classifying it under anything other than that - but Link found himself sitting sedately next to his charge on a train bound for a provincial French town regardless of the Order’s circumstances. Said charge was currently engaged in what was about to culminate into a fist fight with the other exorcist who had been assigned to them for the mission.
“My name is Allen, you prick!”
Link could feel a tension headache developing as he eyed what apparently passed off as normal interaction between Allen Walker and Kanda Yu.
He had, as per his duty, observed everyone that Walker came into contact with. Through a handful of altercations in the corridors and the Black Order’s grapevine, Link had gathered that the relationship between Walker and Kanda had always been strained at best. The current coach full of stifling male testosterone was evidence enough.
Link spared a moment to wonder if Komui had saddled him with the both of them on purpose as a symbolic roundabout way of spiting Lvellie for the announcement that had transpired earlier that morning. As it were, Kanda had been the only exorcist present who had seemed unfazed by Walker’s impending Noahfication. Link would have attributed the lack of a reaction then to indifference if only he hadn’t had the pleasure of being shoved into a small private train carriage with Walker and Kanda not four hours later.
Whatever Kanda’s attitude towards Walker was, it wasn’t indifference.
It was rapidly becoming clear that Kanda single-handedly possessed the ability to work Walker up into impressive fits of petty rage in less than ten seconds. Link didn’t think that Walker’s relationship with anyone else had its fundamentals so rooted in animosity. It baffled him to think that anyone who spent more than ten minutes in their combined presence could think of them as friends, but it appeared as though everyone in the Black Order did.
Link pursed his lips as Walker reacted to a terse snipe about the colour of his hair as though he’d been dealt a mortal slight.
Link could not think of a more unlikely trio than theirs, and wondered for the umpteenth time if he was being jerked around by Komui’s sadism. Walker and Kanda were manifestations of things that Link had given up in his bid to honour duty and to survive. As exorcists, both were in positions that forced upon them the reality of the ongoing war and the frailty of the human condition. Yet, in his own way, both clung to an unnecessary sentiment that could very well compromise survival.
Against all odds, Walker was still an optimist, if not an idealist; he had emerged from adversity time and again, most of the time fraught with losses, but on his feet nonetheless. Walker’s beliefs were interestingly resistant to external influences. He was an optimist because he still chose to believe despite knowing better.
For all his ruthless efficiency, Kanda was proud. It wasn’t the sort of pride that originated from achievements, nor did it require or seek acknowledgment; those were forms of pride that were weaknesses, mantles that could be ripped away to reveal the lesser man beneath. Kanda’s pride was the quiet, sombre pride of a swordsman who had absolute confidence in his abilities, which came from the knowledge that, if they should fail him, there would be no reason nor time for regret. Link considered such pride dangerous, and anathema to survival.
Still, they weren’t the only ones who clung to the unnecessary. A short few weeks at Headquarters had seen Link struggling to comprehend how so many in the Black Order were determined to practice a balance between sentimentalism and pragmatism.
Link blinked as his introspections were interrupted by Kanda reaching across his seat to fist the lapels of Walker’s uniform. Link reminded himself that he was an observer. And as an observer, he had no obligation to diffuse this— whatever this was, unless Kanda tried to kill Walker.
Link revised his previous train of thought as Kanda raised Mugen to Walker’s throat.
He would interfere if Kanda tried to kill Walker seriously
. Anything before that was inconsequential since Walker could probably hold his own if a fight did break out.
, Beansprout. You’re pissing me off.”
,” Walker shot back with a smile that was anything but
as he batted Mugen away. “Mutual level of regard at last. It’s good to know that my presence warms the cockles of your heart like yours does to mine.”
“What did you say, you idiot?!”
“Ah~ I see that I’m going to have to use simpler forms of expressing our esteem for one another. Sarcasm not your cup of tea, Kanda?”
“If you have something to say, say it to my face, Beansprout!” Kanda snarled as he stood and hauled Allen half out of his seat.
“It’s Allen, you pillock! And I would if I thought you could understand me—” Allen groused, then grimaced as Kanda’s grip tightened. “Let go
, you jerk!”
Link vaguely registered the muted sounds of the catering trolley, and their Finder’s barely audible “Sure, go ahead, they must be hungry by now” before several things happened at once.
The train gave a violent jerk as they mounted the crossing of a small creek at the exact same moment that Allen completely lost his temper and dealt a vicious kick to Kanda’s shin. Surprised, in pain, and thrown off his balance in more ways than one, Kanda staggered backwards, dragging the other exorcist down with him as he failed to relinquish his hold on Allen’s uniform. Clumsy to a fault when lives and akuma weren’t immediately involved, Allen tried wildly to purchase a grip on the nearby window ledge, only to miss by a mile and go sprawling heavily against Kanda.
Link could only stare wordlessly as the catering lady cheerfully slid open their compartment door to the sight of Kanda and Allen engaged in what looked to be a passionate lip lock.
Link knew that there would be little that Walker and Kanda could do to explain away the compromising position they were in regardless of the stiff set to Kanda’s entire body or Walker’s ashen face. Link politely overlooked exactly where on Walker’s body Kanda’s hands were, but he doubted that their audience would do the same.
Standing just outside the open door, their Finder choked conspicuously and flushed to the tips of his ears.
The sound might as well have been a memo being passed through Headquarters’ gossip network; as far as the Finder was concerned, Kanda and Walker had just as good as announced their secret love to the Black Order. And everyone knew that the Finders’ phones weren’t entirely restricted to official use. Judging by the horrified expressions coming from both exorcists, Link gathered that they had come to the same conclusion.
“Maybe I’ll come back later,” the catering lady said stiffly, looking absolutely scandalised and nothing like she had the intention of ever approaching their section of the train again.
Spurred into action by her words, Allen wrenched himself backwards, releasing Kanda’s lips with a slick sound that made everyone in the carriage flush. Or in Kanda’s case, turn as white as Walker.
“Wait!” Allen implored, recovering as he tried unsuccessfully to scramble after the catering lady who was sliding their compartment door close. “This isn’t what it looks like!”
Link didn’t think that Walker pleaded a very convincing case, seated as he was in Kanda’s lap.
The catering lady paused, leaving a fraction of their compartment door open.
“Of course, sir. I saw nothing.”
She shot a pointed look at Link, who refused to entertain its implications, before stalking away with her trolley.
Their Finder, who was still looking extremely embarrassed, partly on their behalf and partly just because
, peered through the gap of the door. “Err.” He paused and fidgeted awkwardly as his eyes darted nervously between all three men inside. “I saw nothing too,” he finally muttered, then promptly slid the door shut, leaving its occupants to stew in the beat of uncomfortable silence that followed.
Kanda was the first to move. Shoving Allen’s dead weight off his lap, he pushed himself off the carriage floor, expression livid and muttering a litany of expletives. Allen blinked as his back collided with the polished mahogany of the plush bench, the one that he had been sharing with Link before he had completely disgraced himself. After a moment, he winced and tilted his head up to regard Link wearily.
“Link, tell me that wasn’t as bad as I think it looked,” Allen groaned.
“My surveillance duties do not require me to lie to you, Allen Walker,” Link replied impassively. He allowed himself a rare moment of amusement at the picture of despair that his charge made a split second after.
“Exactly how else do you think that could have looked like, you clumsy
—” Kanda snapped before breaking off to drag a hand agitatedly through his hair and then over his face. He plucked Mugen up from where it had clattered to the floor during their scuffle. “Tsk
. Idiotic, troublesome beansprout.”
Walker shot him an acerbic glare, and threw himself back into his seat. “I was indulging in a bit of optimism.” Kanda sneered nastily at this. “Don’t look at me like that, you bastard! ... Actually—”
Link looked up from the report he had returned to a mere second ago. He didn’t like the considering lilt that Walker’s voice had slipped into. It often indicated that his charge had taken leave of self-preservation in favour of baiting someone else. He noted that Kanda had a similarly wary quality to his glare as he surveyed Walker from his seat.
“Actually, I had rather hoped to stall that woman long enough to convince her that your coat is really a dress,” Allen continued at last, his eyes dancing wickedly. “And that, poor dear
, you’ve always been something of a horse-woman, loved the outdoors, that sort of thing— See that sword? She’s wonderful
at fencing!— so please excuse the broad shoulders, but doesn’t she have lovely hair?” Allen smiled winsomely at Kanda, whom Link noted had the most interesting expression on his face, as though all his facial muscles had different ideas on how they wanted to be arranged. “Don’t scowl like that, darling. It’s very unbecoming, and it does mar your natural beauty so,” Allen said reproachfully, looking for all the world as though he were truly fond of Kanda (which everyone present knew was utter bollocks
). “Also, it’s perfectly acceptable for me to engage in relations with my fiancée in a private coach under the watchful eye of our chaperone.” Link tried not to grimace as Walker gestured to him with a flourish.
Perhaps Link had underestimated the extent of Walker’s optimism, since his charge seemed dead set on achieving a messy, painful end before they could reach their destination. Link wondered idly how much it would cost to compensate the train company if he was forced to face off with Kanda in order to avert Walker’s indirect suicide.
The sound of Mugen being unsheathed was something Link was beginning to resign himself to getting used to. He watched as Kanda levelled the blade towards Walker’s throat for the fifteenth time since they had boarded the train, and took comfort in the weight of the switchblades beneath his sleeves. Walker’s expression was defiantly bright even as Kanda crowded him into the bench and tilted his chin up with the flat side of Mugen’s blade. If Link had been someone concerned with unnecessary details, he would have taken the time to be offended at how he was being treated like so much wallpaper.
“There is no way,” Kanda said flatly. “She was ever going to buy that fucking story, Beansprout—”
“God help me, I will knock you out and tattoo my name onto your forehead, you bloody wanker—” Walker interrupted irritably.
“Oh?” Kanda looked mildly intrigued by the idea, so it must have been the first time that Walker had ever mentioned something like that in retaliation to the name-calling. “Never happening, Beansprout. You can’t reach that high. And fiancée? Keep dreaming.”
“Wanting to monopolise even my dreams now, Kanda? Never pegged you to be the clingy sort. Goes to show what you’d know about a man, huh? Ah, my apologies. I would never propose to think of you as anything but the gentlest lady I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet.”
Sliding a pocket watch out from his breast pocket, Link glanced at it and sighed. He’d wish for two hours of restful oblivion until they reached the French town, but he had a report to write. Link spent the rest of the journey tuning Walker and Kanda out, and trying not to descend to their catching levels of immaturity in the report he was mentally penning out for Lvellie.
“It’ll be a lifetime— a few lifetimes!— too soon if I ever see that arsehole’s face again!”
Trailing stiffly behind Walker into their shared quarters at the Black Order, Link privately agreed, but he rather thought that he would extend it to include his charge as well.
The mission had gone smoothly, the exorcists’ intolerance towards one another notwithstanding. In retrospect, Link could understand why Komui chose to pair Walker and Kanda up on missions despite their track record for high bystander casualties, since bystander casualties meant that the akuma suffered as well. By the time their party of four had located the Innocence, Walker and Kanda had both been hanging onto their respective bloodlusts by a thread. The swarm of Level Twos that had surged out to meet them hadn’t stood a chance.
Link had stayed at the sidelines with their terrified Finder, occasionally dodging machine debris as he watched the exorcists lay waste to everything in sight. Kanda was surlier than ever after they had retrieved the Innocence and were making their way back to the inn in town, but at least Mugen had stopped being in perpetual activation while pressed against Walker’s jugular. Similarly, Walker’s arm stayed docile all the way through dinner.
It was a pity that the trains only passed through the town once a day in the afternoon, and a complete joke, that incidentally no one found funny, that the Order had only reserved a single room for all four of them. Link had been sorely tempted to access his own personal finances to get a separate room for himself and Walker after the fifth shouting match that occurred within the span of an hour. The fights escalated following the unhelpful advice Komui had given them over the phone about ‘learning to get along’, together with the smugly issued reminder not to squander the Order’s current meagre finances.
When Link had sickened of wrenching both of them bodily away from each other with the help of their Finder, he had sought out a psychological approach instead.“Gentlemen. If you are so inclined to repeat your previous indiscretions on the train, may I suggest doing so at another time and place?”
That had made a blanket of awkwardness settle in the room, and Link had gotten his short moment of peace. Until Walker made a snide comment about Kanda having initiated their contact in the first place, which quickly degenerated into a heated argument about mouth-to-mouth experience and technique that Link didn’t want to recall.
Sufficient to say, no one had gotten much rest that night. Their trip back to the Order had only transpired without event because Walker had been out cold on Link’s shoulder most of the way, and Kanda had been pretending to meditate.
Now, back at Headquarters, Link took a small measure of relief in being able to exist in a space without Kanda’s low voice threatening dismemberment every other minute that would subsequently have been accompanied by Walker sweetly spitting out something very suggestive (and insulting) in a very polite voice.
Walker was now eyeing the ceiling tiredly, and would likely be impossible to wake within the next five minutes.
“Sleep,” Link found himself suggesting. “I will wake you for dinner.”
As their extremely unendearing fate would have it, Link was distracted from his report a scant two hours later by the odd discordant knocking against the door to their quarters.
“It’s open,” Walker called out, woken by the noise, as he sat up slowly in bed. When a brief moment passed and no response came, nor did the door swing open, he shared a look of confusion with Link before grumbling quietly under his breath and stalking out of bed. Link stood from his desk and moved to stand beside his charge, more out of curiosity than a sense of caution. Tousle-headed and looking fairly unhappy, Walker swung open the door, only to crumple against the door frame when a communicator hurtled against his solar plexus.
“FINALLY. RISE AND SHINE, ALLEN!” Komui’s screech was muffled into Walker’s abdomen. Link gingerly extracted the communicator, and held it out of reach from Walker who looked inches away from destroying the device. “COME UP TO MY OFFICE, WON’T YOU? THERE ARE SOME DETAILS ABOUT THE MISSION REPORT I NEED TO CLARIFY WITH YOU. IT IS EVER SO INTERESTING AND I AM EVER SO CURIOUS, YOU UNDERSTAND.”
“Mission report?” Allen asked, bewildered. “Komui, I’m not done with it yet.”
“NEVER MIND THAT. JUST GET UP HERE.”
The message was punctuated by the communicator smacking itself viciously against Walker’s forehead before it flounced away.
“One day, I will have to apologise to Lenalee for killing that man. It will be an accident, of course.”
Allen’s face was a picture of calm, but despite having spent the past few years as a paper-pusher (mostly), Link still retained the intuition and senses honed from Crow training. And those senses were now picking up all sorts of disturbing things from Walker’s body language.
Ushering Walker out of their room, Link tried not to fixate on it.
Link felt an immediate sense of apprehension upon entering Komui’s office.
Most of the Science Division was crowded around Komui, and Komui had the most suspicious expression of delight plastered onto his face. Lenalee Lee was also present, holding her tea tray to her chest and pinning Walker with a shrewd gaze. Bookman Jr. waved to them from the couch he was lounging on, looking far too amused for the whole situation to bode well for Walker.
“Err,” Allen said tentatively, looking ready to bolt. “You called?”
“Allen! Wonderful, now we’ll get to hear the full story!” Komui said brightly, swinging around his desk and dragging Walker towards the crowd. “About the mission report—”
no mission report!” Allen protested, regarding the manila envelope that had been shoved into his hands. “I just got back, and I was asleep until you decided to sock me in the gut with one of your stupid communicators!”
“Don’t worry about that, Allen,” Lavi quipped from the couch. “Yu did the report for both of you. He just left, actually. Said he needed to get something from his room. Nice of him, huh?” Even though Bookman Jr. flirted with anything that stood still long enough, Link found the wink he shot Walker disarmingly suspect.
Walker’s face clouded with confusion.
“What do you mean he did the report
? Kanda never
does the reports unless I—” Walker stopped mid-sentence, a look of horrified comprehension dawning on his face. “Wait. What did he—?” Allen garbled, then abandoned speech as he proceeded to tear the envelope in his haste to extract Kanda’s handwritten report.
Link looked on in interest as Walker’s face turned increasingly red as he scanned through sections of the report. Meanwhile, Komui and company had taken to quoting for the benefit of all those present. It was unfortunate for Walker that Bookman Jr. appeared to have an eidetic memory.
“What I want to know is what Yu meant by ‘Beansprout will prove useless for subterfuge in the future; it is advised that he never be sent undercover, especially if it requires the seduction of a target, he lacks the physical techniques necessary’
and so on,” Lavi recited, tucking his arms behind his head, a mock thoughtful expression crossing his features. “And then we have ‘Request for a restraining order because Beansprout failed to keep his hands and various other appendages to himself throughout the mission’
“I am never issuing that, by the way,” Komui interrupted gleefully. Link stood by passively, surveying Walker’s descent into complete humiliation, and having every intent of reporting the general unruliness of the Black Order to Lvellie.
“—‘which resulted in the lack of sleep. Beansprout also makes far too much noise when engaged in physical altercations.’
Really, Allen, we never knew you had it in you, you minx.”
Walker rounded on Bookman Jr. with an incoherent cry that promised bodily harm just as Kanda stepped into the room, something Walker only noticed because Bookman Jr. pointed it out generously in a bid to save his own skin. Kanda took one look at Allen’s flushed face, incandescent with rage, and curled his lips into an obnoxious, self-satisfied smirk.
Everything went to hell from there.
If Link had been under the impression that the massive reconstruction of Komui’s office had been warning enough for the Supervisor to avoid sending both Walker and Kanda on paired missions ever again, he had been sorely mistaken.
Link stifled a sigh as he and Walker stepped out of Komui’s temporary office a few days later with Kanda scowling at their heels. At the very least, this new mission was going to be in London – something about a deranged chessboard and disembodied hand – which would spare him the dynamics of Walker’s and Kanda’s very special relationship in an enclosed space for too long a period of time.
“If you kiss me again, I’ll let you meet your fucking maker, Beansprout.”
“IT’S ALLEN! And you only wish I did, pretty boy.”
There would be no respite from the bickering though; Link had resigned himself to that much.- Fin -A/N:
Link love! \o/ Hopefully, this wasn't too incoherent for a first DGM fic attempt. OTL
This fic was done for an exchange with a_mbry0
, whom I am sharing a set of prompts with (and which I utterly failed to adhere to in this fic, omg D:). She has put up lovely fanart
based on the same prompt (Awkward
). And I love her dearly for it. ♥