In his off time Allen liked to sit with the girls who did the washing. They were all young, brought in by the Church straight out of the charity hospital, slightly coarse around the edges but still very kind.
They liked to talk, too. The laundry room was always noisy because the girls gossiped about absolutely everyone, from the Finders to the science department to Leverrier, who would probably be less than pleased to know that there was an ex-prostitute at the bottom of tower who could do hilarious and terrifyingly accurate impersonations. Allen joined in sometimes but mostly he contented himself with treating it as white noise, a pleasant buzz in the background as he helped fold towels.
He did that now, shoulder to shoulder to a busty girl named Annabelle who liked gingerbread and making inappropriate comments about people. He was just getting into the rhythm of it when she perked up and shouted in response to something she'd heard,
"That's not true, everyone knows Kanda is a dead fuck!"
"What?" Allen squawked, loudly enough that everyone else shut up and looked at him. There was nothing but the sound of water running for an excruciating three seconds.
"A dead fuck. You know," Annabelle repeated. She made a hand gesture that somehow managed to be vague and horrifically obscene at the same time. "Bad at sex."
"It's a shame," someone else sighed and the volume of the chatter swelled again as the girls started discussing which Exorcist they would most like to bang—Noise Marie, by a surprisingly wide margin because Chaoji had weird hangups and Lavi tended to come off as a smarmy creep.
"It is," Annabelle agreed in a murmur, then caught sight of Allen's face. Her laughter was high and ear-splitting and Allen generously refrained from telling her that she sounded exactly like a demented hyena. He'd been to Africa; he knew.
It wasn't that Allen thought Kanda didn't have sex or something. Except, okay, on some level it kind of was. Allen found it hard to believe that anybody as consistently surly as Kanda was getting laid with any regularity. Maybe it had been a one-time thing. Allen searched his memory for any instance he could recall of Kanda being slightly less caustic than usual and came up blank. Kanda was just too much of a jackass, and also completely oblivious to everything that wasn't stabbing Akuma to death. Re-death.
Allen on the other hand thought about sex constantly, in that embarrassing way that seventeen-year-old boys did, complete with inappropriate erections at all hours and distressingly significant dreams about towers and trees. He'd thought about having sex with Lenalee, sweet and slow; with Lavi, who had expressive hands and kissable creases in the corners of his mouth; with Komui even, who was sharp and disconcerting and careful where it mattered.
It would be a lie to say Allen had never thought about what sex would be like with Kanda. Kanda was still ridiculously attractive even though he was the world's biggest asshole. Sex with Kanda, Allen had thought, would be really intense, because Kanda was an intense kind of guy, focused and dedicated and also he had very nice shoulders and hair that fell around him like a curtain when he let it down, cool and sleek-looking. When Allen had thought about sex with Kanda he had thought about all that focus trained on him, Kanda's eyes wide and dark, Kanda braced on the bed and moving into him while his hair hid them from the rest of the world.
But apparently sex with Kanda was not like that at all, which Allen conceded was kind of a shame. Not that he had any particular attachment to the idea of sex with Kanda. He didn't even think about it all that often. Kanda was a jerk and it would be better for everyone involved that he die alone and unloved, preferably without getting the chance to spawn any mini-Kandas who would run around listing everyone's inadequacies in their tiny hateful voices.
But Allen could see how a person might get the wrong impression, or suffer a raging lapse of judgment. Also a lot of girls tended to think that whole saving their lives thing was really hot.
Allen was pretty sure he was good at sex. Not that he'd had a whole lot to base this belief on, but he'd always been very considerate. At sex. Kanda was probably bad at sex because he wasn't considerate.
Allen asked and the gossip-mongers in the laundry room told him that Kanda wasn't currently fucking anyone, but they refused to tell him who it was that Kanda fucked to get his . . . reputation, even after Allen promised them the tapes from the bathhouse security feed during the times he knew Noise frequented it.
"That would be a breach of confidence," Josephine said primly.
"And it isn't a breach of confidence to tell the entire Order that Kanda is a lousy lay?" Allen asked incredulously.
"That is our early warning system," Annabelle said, and everyone nodded in agreement.
"We wouldn't expect you to understand," Christina added. "You're a man."
This time they all nodded in pity, the expressions on their faces indicating that they were very sorry that Allen had been forced to trade in a significant percentage of his brain cells for his testicles.
"Gnarrgh," Allen said and went back to his room.
Allen didn't think that was strictly fair, even if it was Kanda, who was probably the only person on the planet who deserved those kinds of rumors floating around about him. Allen had never liked gratuitous cruelty, especially if it was directed against someone he cared for. And he did care for Kanda, in the sense that Kanda was a teammate and it would be a real loss if he popped a blood vessel in rage and died or got disintegrated by the Akuma virus or got shoved off the cliff because the Finders finally got fed up with him. Allen thought that he would miss working with Kanda if one of those things happened, because whatever other failings Kanda had it was a real treat to watch him work, what with the way he was really good at killing things and that stroking the sword business and the way his muscles moved underneath his shirt and who was Allen kidding he had a huge thing for Kanda. Huge.
For about two days Allen tried to convince himself that he was just confused. At his age it was easy to mix up intense feelings of hatred for intense feelings of . . . another kind. Really all of Allen's problems with the assholes of the world could be traced back to Cross Marian and that thing where Cross was supposed to have been his father figure and mentor him and stuff and instead was just a gigantic fuckhead who had left the greasy trails of his horrible influence all over Allen's delicate young psyche. Except Allen knew that wasn't fair either, because Cross and Kanda were two entirely different breeds of asshole and Kanda would be absolutely disgusted by some of the things Cross had done. Because Kanda was like that. Decent. And brave. Also Cross was, you know, really good at sex.
"I hate you," Allen told Kanda later in the mess hall and meant it, so he felt very pleased with himself for the entire time that it took Kanda to roll his eyes and mutter "dipshit" just loudly enough for Allen to hear. But then Kanda said,
"Get out of my way,"
and grasped Allen's arm to shove him off to the side. Kanda's grip was warm and firm and all of the blood in Allen's body rushed south as his treacherous brain helpfully supplied him with images of other applications of a grip like that.
"Fine," Allen said, "fine!" but Kanda wasn't paying attention to him anymore and was walking toward the food line, strands of black hair clinging to his shoulders.
Allen decided that what he had to do was have sex with Kanda. It couldn't be too hard and since Kanda was really bad at sex, it would be awful and Allen would have a horrible time and then he would be totally over his thing. All in all Allen thought it was a pretty clever plan.
Allen spent a week and a half trailing furtively after Kanda, looking for an opportunity to broach the subject with him. Kanda turned out to be surprisingly elusive considering all the times in the past when Allen had been convinced Kanda was bumping into him on purpose to piss him off. Near the end Kanda started to wear an extremely hunted look, twitching imperceptibly every time a door slammed.
Allen didn't know how he was supposed to get Kanda to have sex with him if Kanda wouldn't even stay in the same room with him for more than five seconds. He also might have been beginning to lose his nerve a little bit. He spent an afternoon feeling sorry for himself and methodically demolishing the gingerbread men Jerry baked for him by crushing them into each other as a metaphor for sad state of all of his relationships, past and present, and then stuffing his face with the crumbs.
In the end he relented and sent a parcel of the gingerbread men, whole, down to the laundry room.
Three weeks after the inception of Allen's plan, Komui called him down to his office to be briefed for a mission. Which it turned out he was doing with Kanda. Kanda blanched as soon as Allen stepped into the room.
"Why are you stalking me?" Kanda hissed later as they were slogging through a forest, looking for the campsite of some Akuma-worshipers who had purportedly set up a base of operations there.
"I am not stalking you!" Allen said indignantly, picking a bit of tree-slime off his forehead. It had rained recently and the ground was a soggy mess.
"Yes, you are."
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are! Every time I go somewhere you're hovering just around the corner with that stupid constipated expression on your face."
"No I'm—shut up!" Allen said, flushing. Kanda looked triumphant for a moment before frowning.
"Are you trying to kill me?" he asked.
Allen opened his mouth to begin a diatribe about what exactly he thought of that idea, and how stupid and paranoid Kanda was, but then Kanda said, "Look out!" and tackled Allen to the ground just as a scythe embedded itself into a tree at approximately the level of Allen's neck.
The Akuma-worshipers ended up being four disgruntled farmhands huddled around a shrine to the Millennium Earl that appeared to be made entirely of cornbread, and they dispersed pretty quickly after Allen helped the first one spit himself on Kanda's sword. After, Allen sat mournfully on a log and lamented his jacket and his hair, streaked all up with mud on one side, while Kanda stomped the cornbread altar into the ground. It started to drizzle.
Kanda looked really good, Allen thought, with his righteous anger and his hair plastered to his cheeks. Very nice. Strong. Wet. Allen realized that his situation was getting desperate. And Kanda had just saved his life, so Allen figured this was as good a time as any.
"Can we have sex?"
Allen repeated himself, because he understood that sometimes the adrenaline rush could make things hard to hear.
"Please?" Allen tried.
"No! What—no! What the hell is wrong with you?"
"There is nothing wrong with me!" Allen shouted. "I just thought it would be, you know. God, you're such a prick."
"No, we can't have sex," Kanda said, red climbing up his neck. "You—" He snapped his mouth shut and silence fell, broken only by the crescendoing patter of rain. Jaw working, he turned abruptly on his heel and stalked away.
Kanda had left Allen in the middle of the forest to find his way back alone, which of course meant Allen got lost trying to, because he hadn't been the one who was supposed to be paying attention to where they were going. By the time Allen reached the village he was fuming and soaked through. What right did Kanda have to reject him, anyway? He was lucky to be getting any offers at all with the way people talked about him!
As soon as that thought crossed Allen's mind he felt immensely guilty, because that really wasn't fair. The whole thing had probably been a huge shock for Kanda, and Allen hadn't exactly been sparkling with sex appeal, either. At least the rain had washed the mud out of his hair. He should give Kanda a couple of hours to get used to the idea and try again.
Except when Allen reached their room Kanda's bags were gone, and when he asked the innkeeper about it the innkeeper said that Kanda had checked out already.
The first time Allen saw Kanda again was two days later, back at the Order. He'd had some time to think about what had happened and realized he'd gone about it the wrong way. He definitely shouldn't have asked Kanda directly after the battle with the cornbread still soggy on the ground, right after Kanda had saved his life. Kanda had probably gotten the wrong impression, so Allen was going to have to rework his approach a little. He finally cornered Kanda in one of the gyms.
"Kanda. I'm really sorry about the thing in the forest," he said. Kanda's eyes stopped darting toward the exit. "It was inappropriate."
"Okay," Kanda said warily.
"So can we have sex now?" Allen asked brightly. "I took a shower."
"No!" Kanda said. He backed up into the corner like Allen was some kind of strange and terrifying beast, looking like he didn't know whether to punch Allen or try to make a run for it.
In the end, when Allen stepped forward, he did both.
Allen was waiting in the infirmary for the nurse to come back with a packet of ice when Kanda showed up, hovering around the door before steeling his features and stepping inside. He sat down in the chair next to the bed Allen was sitting on.
"Why would you ask me that?" Kanda said in a low voice.
"Shh!" Kanda hissed, and the nurse handed off Allen's ice pack with a sideways glance. As soon as she was gone, Kanda caught Allen's eyes again and scowled, making a jerky movement with one of his hands.
"I want to have sex with you," Allen said, and that was true, as far as it went. It was getting to the point where sex with Kanda was all he could think about. All he had been thinking about. He was worried that soon it wouldn't matter how bad the sex was because he wanted Kanda so much.
"No," Kanda said, and Allen thought despairingly that the way Kanda's ears were flushing was very fetching. "You're a freak."
Kanda pushed out of the chair and stepped toward the door again. "Kanda," Allen said, and Kanda turned around, but then Allen found he couldn't say anything more, not to Kanda's face, uncertain and angry and ridiculously beautiful.
After a long moment of silence Kanda turned back around and walked out the door.
"Too late," Allen whispered to his ice pack, and pressed his cheek against it.
After two more days of moping and watching his eye turn a fantastic purple color, Allen got a note in his sheets that pictured a drunk Leverrier trying to woo a donkey, which he figured was Josephine's way of telling him to quit being a pussy and go do something. So that was how he found himself standing outside of Kanda's door, one hand raised to knock and trying to hold a bottle of lube as inconspicuously as possible in the other.
"Oh holy God," Kanda said when he opened the door, eyes going straight to the lube. He tried to close it but Allen was ready for him and stuck his foot in the gap.
"Wait!" Allen said. "I know you're really bad at sex."
"What?" Kanda choked.
"I said," Allen said louder, "that I know you're—"
"Oh my God shut up," Kanda said, pulling Allen through the door and slamming it shut behind him. He shoved Allen up against the wall. "What do you want from me?"
"I know you're really bad at sex," Allen said, "and I want to have sex with you anyway. Please. You—I know you're a massive asshole, and I want to have sex with you anyway. Kanda." Kanda's grip had relaxed enough that Allen could step forward and slide his fingers over Kanda's temples. "I sort of have this thing for you."
"You're such a freak," Kanda said, trying to pull away. Allen wound his arms around Kanda's neck and pressed his face into it, nose against Kanda's pulse point, which was beating hard and fast. "What makes you think that—"
"I have a thing," Allen said. "And it's not going to go away. I'm pretty sure it won't go away even if the sex with you is really awful."
"I hate you," Kanda said.
Allen listened Kanda breathe, slow and steady. Kanda smelled good, he thought, like sleep and steel.
"Fine," Kanda said.
"Fine I will have sex with you," Kanda mumbled.
Allen's head jerked up. "Really?" Kanda made an incomprehensible noise and glared. "Okay, okay."
Allen knew the smile on his face had to be really dumb-looking, but he couldn't bring himself to care. Kanda's hands settled tentatively on his waist.
"Wait," Allen said. "You mean now, right?"
"Yes I mean now!" Kanda shouted, already starting to look mutinous.
"Okay," Allen said quickly and pulled Kanda down for a kiss. He missed the first time and landed one on Kanda's jaw, but that was okay too, and then Kanda turned his head and tightened his grip and slid his tongue against Allen's and it was great. It was amazing.
Allen broke away and shrugged his own shirt off, and started pulling at Kanda's until Kanda bent over and let it be tugged off over his head. Allen fished the lube off the floor and they sort of shuffled awkwardly toward the bed, not because of any lack of grace on Kanda's part but rather because of Allen's reluctance to remove his mouth from Kanda's, which was wet and warm and very, very nice. Sacrifices had to be made, though, so when they reached the bed Allen shoved Kanda over on top of it and did a funny hopping dance to remove his boots and pants while Kanda inched back against the headboard.
"Okay!" Allen said and straddled Kanda's lap as Kanda clearly tried not to panic. "It's okay," he murmured and leaned forward to lick back into Kanda's mouth and pull out Kanda's hair tie. Except Kanda wasn't kissing him back anymore; in fact, Kanda wasn't doing anything, stiff and still underneath him, hands squeezing Allen's thighs uncomfortably. "Oh my God," Allen realized, "you really are a dead fuck."
"I am not!" Kanda hissed.
"You totally are," Allen said automatically and watched a flush stain Kanda's cheeks and thought, oh crap. Oh crap. He tangled his fingers through Kanda's hair and pressed their lips together, closed, and said, "Like before. That was good. Please kiss me."
Kanda did, slowly, and one by one his muscles untensed as they kissed, his hands releasing Allen's thighs and sliding up Allen's back. His hips twitched up when Allen ground down on them, all the while murmuring to relax, relax, God you're so fucking hot.
Allen was still murmuring when he worked Kanda's pants off and started working his fingers in Kanda's ass, mumbled reassurances, one by one and slick with lube. By the third Kanda's eyes were screwed shut and his thighs were trembling with the effort not to shove back on Allen's hand or fuck up into Allen's face. "Okay," Allen mumbled, sliding off and pressing his nose back into the coarse hair on Kanda's belly, breathing deep to get himself back together, "okay, okay, come on. Kanda!" He wriggled up and flopped over on his back next to Kanda, pulling Kanda on top of him and arranging him there, a solid weight on top of Allen's hips. Kanda stared at him, eyes wide with surprise, breath coming fast and shallow. "Come on," Allen said, "fuck me, please, Kanda."
Kanda's breath hitched and he straightened up, moving with Allen's hands until he'd guided himself back onto Allen's cock, tight and hot and Jesus. Allen moaned and so did Kanda, settling back even further. After a second Allen wrapped his still-slick hand around Kanda's cock and Kanda fucked up into it, then back down on Allen's cock, setting a rhythm that Allen found himself caught up in just as surely as he was caught up in Kanda's eyes, which were dark and hard and never left Allen's, even as the sweat dripped down Kanda's face and Kanda's hair stuck to his neck. It was pretty much nothing like Allen thought it would be and everything he didn't know he wanted.
"So how was it?" Allen asked later. Kanda grumbled something and turned on his side.
"It was okay," he said.