Work Header

Cave of Poppies

Chapter Text

Allen sat nervously, fiddling with the cuff of his sleeve. In the seat next to him, Link slowly flipped the page of a book, idly reading as he waited for the bell to ring. Allen wished he’d thought to bring something to do, and Link wouldn’t share his book until he was done with it. Sighing, Allen took to drumming his gloved fingers against the fake grain of the desk, staring blankly at the whiteboard.

“Stop fidgeting, Walker,” Link said tersely. “You’ve been doing it since this morning and it’s beyond annoying.” He flipped another page. Link’s blond hair stood out against the dark school uniform, and Allen mourned the likely fact that his hair probably stood out even more.

“Sorry Link,” Allen replied, not at all sorry. “I’m just nervous.”

At that, Link lowered his book, peering at Allen thoughtfully. “You are, aren’t you? That’s odd.”

The clock over the door said it was five minutes until class started. “It’s not odd at all. In fact, it’s downright normal! It’s the first day of school!”

“You’re slipping,” Link noted, and Allen scowled, going back over his words. He coughed lowly and continued.

“And anyways, why would it be odd at all?”

“Walker, you’re downright happy when you’re lost in a crowd. Since when are you nervous about meeting people?” Link demanded, gaze suddenly sharp as he tugged a notebook from his bag.

Allen watched as he also pulled a pen out. “It’s not the people I’m nervous about,” he muttered, darting a glance at his classmates.

“No?” Link encouraged, but the bell rang and the teacher stalked in. He was an older gentleman with short hair combed-back, but he had a sharp look to his eyes. He slapped some books and papers onto the podium of which he barely made the height for and cleared his throat.

The class quieted and faced forward, and he began.

“Good morning everyone, and welcome to your first day of school. I’m your homeroom teacher, Mr. Louis Fermi.” He turned around and wrote his name on the board, marker squeaking. “Call me Mr. Fermi.”

A kid said, “If you don’t want us to call you Louis, why mention it?”

Mr. Fermi seemingly ignored it. “I have your schedules here, come get it when I call you. If you don’t come when called, I’ll consider you absent.”

Their homeroom was rather small, a measly fifteen students, and Link dutifully noted the names Allen stiffened at. Just as Allen was going to raise his hand and helpfully inform the teacher that he and Link hadn’t been called, the student from earlier tentatively raised his.

“Uh, you didn’t call my name.” He wore a hooded shirt, and what little Allen could see of him, who sat several seats ahead of Allen, was the tail end of purple eyeliner.

“And you didn’t call mine,” Mr. Fermi retorted, the class erupting into titters.

The boy groaned dramatically, rolling into his seat. “Fine, Mr. Fermi, can I get my schedule?”

“Get up here Mr. Barry,” Fermi rolled his eyes, brandishing the pink schedule.

“Call me Daisya,” he insisted, grinning, and Fermi shooed him off. Before Allen could raise his hand, Fermi was already looking at him and Link.

“Yes, Mr. Walker and Mr. Link, I am aware I missed your names. Since you’re the only new students in this school, come up here and introduce yourselves, yes?”

“Yes sir,” Allen cheerfully replied, relieved. He nodded at Link, who obediently followed Allen to the front. The class chattered softly when they caught Allen’s white hair and red scar, and Link’s long blond braid. “You two are right trouble-makers, aren’t you?” Mr. Fermi said, aghast.

“Oh no, sir,” Allen laughed. “I rather think we’re quite the opposite.” He focused on the eclectic gaggle of students by the door with a grin.

Walker,” Link growled, and Allen huffed a little oops before smiling towards the class.

“Hello everyone. I’m Allen Walker and I just moved here. Call me Allen!” A boy’s gasp stood out from the students’ muted chatter, and Allen briefly shut his eyes, knowing it’d been beyond a hope to think they’d forgotten.

Link stepped forward, nodding his head to the students briefly and glancing towards the boy who’d gasped. “Hello. I am Howard Link. Please call me Link.”

Fermi looked like he had something to say, but shook his head and gestured towards the door. “The principal wants to see you two. Something about matching your classes to your previous school’s curriculum. Come see me afterwards when you’re done.”

Allen disappeared the summer they were ten.

Charming and lovely, he, Kanda, and Alma had been inseparable friends since first grade. Despite their long years of friendship, Kanda and Alma, who lived on the same block, rarely visited Allen’s home, who lived on the other side of town. They only went a handful of times, and Kanda didn’t know why Allen was always so nervous to have them over.

His apartment was neat and clean, soft and open. The kind of home that always had sheer white curtains gently waving from open windows, flowers tilting towards the sun in window boxes and tables always set with sandwiches and snacks. Allen had his own room decorated in yellows and blues, and his father had a smile that reminded Kanda of warm chocolate chip cookies. A pleasant place, overall, and Kanda didn’t see what Allen was so ashamed of.

His uncle, on the other hand, was the embodiment of embarrassment, so that Kanda could get. But Allen’s uncle was always traveling, popping in a few odd times a year and gone within the week.

Alma said it was because he and Kanda lived in houses three levels high with maids, but Kanda didn’t see what difference that made. Still, he didn’t argue it, and hell. Allen did live on the other side of town, and no cookies or sandwiches or tea was worth the trek.

So it was a struggle for Alma and Kanda, both ten years old and looking even younger with their big Asian eyes, to find their way to Allen’s apartment. It took two bus transfers and a veiled threat from Kanda to reach the complex.

It was a wasted effort in the end.

They knocked on Allen’s red door, waited until Alma began to squirm, and then knocked again. On their fifth time knocking, a kindly neighbor opened their door and informed them primly that the Walkers were on vacation and wouldn’t be back for some time and could they please stop knocking?

Kanda cursed Allen six ways to sunday, spat at his door, and stomped back downstairs. Alma tugged a paper and pencil from his backpack, scribbled a hasty note and slipped it into their mailbox, and hastened after Kanda.

Morosely, the two sat on the short space of lawn in front of the apartment, and after they ate their packed snacks, Kanda announced, “I hope he doesn’t come back.”

Alma gasped. “Don’t say that,” he grouched, elbowing Kanda, who scowled. “Maybe they went in a rush! Maybe a cousin in...where’s he from? England? Maybe a cousin in England is dying and they had to go!”

Kanda scoffed. “Didn’t you hear that old lady? They went on vacation. And anyways, the only family they’ve got is that no good uncle, and God himself could try and kill ‘im and he’d fail!”

Alma considered that and agreed. Cross didn’t seem like the type to die before he was ready, but then that would mean Allen had left them without a word. Alma hunched over his backpack in his lap, wrapping his arms around his knees and crushing the purple plastic to his chest. Kanda huffed and bumped his shoulder almost gently.

“Don’t worry about it. He’ll be back in time for school with that stupid smile and with a whole story. Come on, let’s go catch the next bus.”

Allen didn’t come back.

Summer blew by in the way they tend to when you’re a kid, and school came all too soon. Like always, Kanda and Alma were in the same class, but unlike always, Allen wasn’t there.

They waited and waited, but that summer, Allen disappeared. No matter how many times they went back to his apartment, the neighbor always said they were out. In the end, the landlord came and kindly told them that while the apartment was still being paid for, they simply weren’t there.

Baffled, Alma, bless him, went to his parents with Kanda and demanded to know if Allen’s dad or uncle had left any word with them.

Confused, Alma’s mother, Twi Chan, whose name Kanda could never pronounce no matter how often Alma slowly said it, turned to her husband confused. They shared a look, and Twi looked at the children with something like sadness in her black eyes. “And they’re still paying the bills?” She asked incredulously.

Kanda nodded, biting back the initial remark of that’s what we said.

She hummed. “Then I don’t know what to tell you. Something must be holding them back...wherever they are. Don’t worry too much, it’ll be fine.”

In the safety of Alma’s room, Kanda threw Alma’s stuffed panda across the room, “Does she think we’re that stupid?”

“Of course not, especially when you act like this,” Alma replied sarcastically. No matter how often Twi and Edgar were affectionate towards Kanda, he always felt belittled.

“But I’m not?” Kanda said, confused and feeling insulted.

Alma waved it away. “Nevermind.” He didn’t feel like explaining to Kanda for the fiftieth time that Twi and Edgar’s teasing and jokes were a kind of endearment. He thought Kanda was rather cute for not understanding, anyways.

Eventually, when a summer turned into two, three, four, and on, Kanda pushed Allen away. Alma mentioned him every now and then, frowning when Kanda never replied, and then slowly stopped remembering the name at all.

The pictures in the Karma houses featuring the trio all were stored away in favor of ones of an older Alma and Kanda, and soon even Alma forgot there had been a best friend called Allen who had fought with Kanda every day.

As Fate is wont to do, Allen reappeared their sophomore year of highschool. 

Allen led the way for two minutes before Link snagged his wrist, turned the opposite direction, and stiffly announced that “The cafeteria is no where near the principal’s office, Walker!”

The academy, an escalator school that went from first to twelfth, was huge and sprawling and promised many misadventures with his unfortunate rivalry with a compass. Thank God he had Link with him. Link, at least, could read a map, and a school as large at theirs actually did warrant a map, which Allen thought was just a little ridiculous. But then again, this was a school for the filthy rich. Allen had never quite fallen under that category, but in Cross’ words:

“Like hell my filthy nephew will be in anything but the best.”

It was a kind of love Allen could not appreciate. But he had managed to sneak a peek into the cafeteria hall and it was love at first sight. Still, Link had determinedly lead them away from the looming mess hall and towards the administrative building.

Inside, a weary Mr. Reever waved the two into Komui’s office, and Allen raised a brow once they were in.

“Komui, is something wrong?” Allen asked, peering around the stacks of papers threatening to break the principal’s desk. “Actually, how do you have so much paperwork when school just started?”

Thin and haggard from stress. Komui sighed into his palm. “I don’t know Allen,” he said, staring morosely into his cold coffee cup. He glanced up at the two, feeling even more stressed. “There isn’t really a problem, I just wanted to have an excuse to talk to you two before the semester started and everything went to hell. Here,” he yanked two pink sheets from under a mountain that threatened to topple and bury them all in papers, and Allen took the paper while cautiously watching the wobbling tower.

He gave Link his schedule and looked at his. Frowning, Allen double-checked and even snagged Link’s paper to firmly compare the two, ignoring Link’s indignant shout. “Are they supposed to be identical?” Allen asked tersely.

“Of course Walker,” Link snorted, finally snatching his schedule back and folding it primly. He tucked it into his notebook and snapped the leather binding shut with a clasp. “I am here to watch you.”

“Of course. I must’ve forgotten,” Allen replied. Link’s lip began to curl, but Komui’s cough distracted them.

“Allen,” Komui began hesitantly, and a cold knot formed in Allen’s stomach. “I know… I know you can’t help what’s happening, but I’d like it to stay outside of the school. Can you do that?”

Allen felt bad that he was bothering the principal, and he smiled to reassure Komui. “Of course, Mr. Lee. I just want to finish high school. They promised to wait until then.”

“Good. Great.” Komui clapped his hands twice, smiling despite the awkward tension. “Alright, off you two are. I’ll see you around.”

“Yes, Mr. Lee,” Allen said, and Link nodded his head.

“He’s alive, Yuu!” Alma said excitedly, eyes bright and starry, shaking Kanda by the shoulders hurriedly.

“He never died!” Kanda snarled, slapping Alma’s hands away. “They still paid the dumbass bills!”

“He’s alive, Yuu! Alive!” Alma danced in circles around Kanda, laughing joyously. “Alive, alive, alive! Alive, alive, alive!”

“We fucking get it!” Kanda snapped, grabbing Alma by the arm and shoving him into a seat. “So shut up!”

“Testy much, Yuu?” Lavi teased, twisted in his chair to face the two behind him and laughing when Kanda snapped, “Don’t call me that!”

“Who’s alive?” Lenalee asked, also turned around and elbows propped on the back of her chair.

“Allen!” Alma cried, shooting up in his chair and being forced back down by Kanda, who stood by his desk. “Allen’s back! Oh, I could almost cry!”

“You’re already crying, dumbass,” Kanda sniped, and Alma huffed a laughed through the tears, wiping them away with the back of his hand.

“Woah, woah!” Lenalee half-stood in her seat, digging a handkerchief from her skirt pocket to hand to Alma, who laughed again.

“Who still keeps a napkin?” Kanda huffed, and Lenalee frowned as she sat back down.

“My brother insists on it,” Lenalee explained. “For my ‘delicate sensibilities,’ or whatever that means.” Lavi snorted in amusement, and Alma folded the handkerchief, promising Lenalee to return it once he’d washed it.

“So, Allen’s been here before?” Lavi asked curiously, and Alma nodded, eyes bright.

“Yep! He, me, and Kanda used to be best friends back in elementary school!”

“We aren’t friends,” Kanda growled, and Lenalee and Lavi looked at him strange, before realizing he meant Allen and not Alma.

“You totally were,” Alma laughed. “Anyways, we were really close, and then one summer he and his dad just up and left. No explanation, nothing. And now they’re back!”

Kanda hummed beneath his breath, and Alma tilted his head. “I wonder if they’re still in that apartment. It’s been awhile since we’ve checked, hm Yuu?”

“Mm,” Kanda agreed, staring distractedly elsewhere.

“Oh,” Lenalee said. “Well, introduce us, then!”

“I hope we have classes together,” Alma cheerfully said. Most of them had classes together, though it was only homeroom and English that all four had together. Lavi had chosen German for his foreign language class, Alma and Kanda Spanish 2, and Lenalee had also decided to continue her French. Lavi proclaimed that one year of French was all he could take.

“Walker. Stop complaining,” someone said forcefully, catching the group’s attention. They turned to the doorway, where Link and Allen were walking in clutching sheets a hotter pink than theirs.

“Link you already know German! What does it matter?” Walker replied irritably, almost crumpling his paper in his hand.

“Because it’ll be absolutely aggravating to have to sit and learn something you already know! Nein. Anyways, we’ve already changed it.”

They watched as Walker sighed, smiling slightly. “I hope you know that I also know French.”

Link looked annoyed. “I am also passable for Level 2.”

“Wonderful,” Allen said sarcastically, and then stopped when he realized they were staring at him. Homeroom wasn’t over yet, but Mr. Fermi had gone through his instructions rapidly, and so the rest of the time was left for everyone to reacquaint themselves and brag about their summer.

It was only Alma and his group, though a few odd students were also watching Allen and Link. Alma grinned big enough for the Sun to be jealous of, and stood in his seat to greet them, but Kanda was already striding to the two.

Link stiffened as Kanda stopped but a three feet away from Allen, face stormy. Allen sighed as if Kanda already tired him.

“Hello, Kanda,” Allen said politely, and something in Kanda snapped, who surged forward and fisted the collar of Allen’s shirt in his hand, eyes dark with anger.

Hello my ass! Where the fuck were you?” Kanda looked two seconds away from punching Allen, who grinned. Link hovered nearby, tense.

“Aw, I didn’t realize you were that worried!”

“Didn’t rea- what the fuck! You were gone! You disappeared without a damn word!” Kanda was shouting at this point, and the whole class had gone silent, watching them. Alma stopped behind Kanda’s elbow, sunny disposition gone as what had occurred to Kanda earlier finally occurred to him.

“I didn’t have a choice,” Allen sniffed.

Kanda stared at Allen, then turned dismissively. “I don’t have time to waste on someone like you. You’re just a damn curse.” He stalked out of the classroom, and Allen remember Mr. Fermi. He glanced up at the man who sat at his desk in the back of the room.

Fermi, sensing the gaze, glanced up from his book and asked, “Are you two done?”

“Yes, Mr. Fermi. I’m sorry for the disruption.” Allen bowed his head, and Fermi shrugged.

“Don’t let it happen again.” The man simply said, turning back to his book and dismissing the case.

“Walker,” Link growled, and Allen turned nervously back. Link looked ready to burst. “You didn’t tell me you had history here.”

“It didn’t come up?” Allen replied hesitantly, and Link ground his teeth.

“I’ll want the story. In detail.”

“Sure, Link,” Allen agreed, and finally looked at Alma.

Alma had grown taller than Allen, but was still shorter than Kanda. The scar across his nose and hair had grown longer, too, but the hairstyle was still the same even if it was dyed an interesting purple-blue mix, with his ear lobes pierced, ruby red small studs glinting. Allen distractedly thought it looked rather similar to Kanda's red hair tie.

Alma’s earlier smile was gone, and he looked almost angry. “You know,” Alma began before Allen could. “I was actually really happy you were back. So happy I cried. But Yuu reminded me, now. And…” Alma looked down to his sneaker-clad feet. “Well, now I’m really mad, and… don’t really want to look at you. But, well, I still want to talk to you.”

Allen looked down as the guilt coiled in his stomach. “I understand, Alma. Don’t feel bad. I’ll explain later, when we don’t have an audience.” Alma laughed at the remark, and Allen felt some of the pressure ease, and he returned the smile.

“Okay, come over. Let me introduce you to my friends. And introduce yours to me, too.”

Link frowned and said, “We’re not fr-” but Allen cut him off with a look that silenced him. The teen turned back to Alma with a sunny smile.

“Sure, Alma.”

Link followed Allen and Alma to the window seats, where Lavi and Lenalee were still sitting.

“Introductions!” Alma announced, and Lenalee smiled. “This here is Lenalee Lee! She’s totally cool and has a really strong kick. Don’t mess with her.” Alma teased, and Lenalee laughed lightly. “This is Lavi! He’s got a really good memory, so watch what you say cuz it’ll come back to haunt you in an awful way later!”

“Hey,” Lavi said. “I’m not so bad.”

Allen grinned. “I’m Allen Walker, and this is my friend, Howard Link, though call him Link.”

Before an awkward silence could fall - what with Alma being pissed and Allen being sorry-not-sorry and Link burning holes into the back of Allen’s head - the bell rang cheerily, a strange actual tune different from the usual thrill Alen was used to hearing.

Lenalee laughed at the look on Allen’s face, and Lavi cheerfully explained as he swung his messenger bag over his head. “Komui is Lenalee’s older brother, and once she complained that the bell was giving her a headache he actually went and changed it. Now they change it once a month or something.”

As Link trailed back to their desks to grab their bags, Allen smiled as Lenalee blushed. “Don’t say it like that!” She insisted, shouldering her backpack and standing beside Alma, who had Kanda’s bag. “Lots of people were complaining. Parents were complaining that their kids were complaining.”

Lavi shrugged, unrepentant. “He only changed it after you said something.”

Lenalee groaned and turned to Allen. “What class do you have now?”

Allen took his bag as Link came up, stumbling with the effort as he also tried to grab his schedule from his pocket. Link answered impatiently. “Math. Algebra 2.”

“You have it together?” Lenalee asked over Lavi’s “Sweet! Me too!”

Link nodded, but before he could say anything Allen broke in, finally unearthing his schedule and dragging his keychain with it. He smiled a thanks when Link stuffed his keys back into his pocket. “It’s with a Ms...Nine?”

“Ms. Nyne,” Lavi confirmed. “She’s also an assistant principal, so don’t pull shit in her class or your ass is grass. No, really. Don’t mess with her, that lady is brutal.”

Allen quirked an eyebrow, following Lenalee as she led the group from the class. “Sounds interesting.”

“Not as interesting as you,” Lavi countered, wagging his eyebrows and snorting when Allen frowned, confused. “Oh come on, you can’t come in here with white hair, a red-ass tattoo right on your face - which is just asking to get into a fight, by the way - AND a blond bulldog and not be considered ‘interesting’.”

It took Link three seconds for him to realize who the bulldog comment was aimed at, and scowled fiercely. “Yes, it will be very interesting to tell Bookman about the crude carving you made in your school desk.” When Lavi choked and whipped his head towards Link fast enough to give him whiplash, Link bared his teeth in something one might generously call a smile.

“Oh, look at the time! Gotta go!” Allen said. He grabbed Link by the arm and hauled ass towards the stairs, ignoring Lavi’s shout and Lenalee’s laughter.

As he and Link ascended, with Link gruffly yanking his arm back from Allen’s grasp and taking the fore, Link grumbled, “And what was that, Walker?”

“What was what?” Allen asked innocently, half a mind wondering why on earth a school needed three floors. He was going to get so lost.

“You know what, but don’t worry. I have a list in my head that I will put to paper immediately,” Link remarked, and Allen groaned good naturedly.

“I know, I know. Come on, let’s get to Ms. Nyne’s class before we have to take another trip to the principal’s.”

Link scowled at the thought of trouble and hastened his pace, Allen laughing at his predictability.

In class, they picked seats close to the door and next to each other, and Lavi huffed playfully as he trailed them into a seat in front of them. “You know, we could have walked together.”

“We could’ve,” Allen agreed.

Ms. Nyne stalked in on heels Allen swore could be lethal weapons, slapping a clipboard down on a podium at the front and coming to stop beside it with a clack that silenced the classroom. There was a large scar across her face that had Allen dying with curiosity, but she was still very beautiful.

She pursued her lips as her eyes came to a rest first on Allen, then Link, on Lavi, and finally on the class as a whole. “Hello everyone, I am your Algebra 2 teacher. If I have to backtrack and teach you any geometry, you will wish you’d failed the last grade in the first place, am I understood?”

The class nodded hurriedly, and she smiled thinly and dangerously. It was the smile of someone used to getting their way and if not, then forcing their way, and Allen was pleased that math, while not his best, wasn’t his worst subject (that would be art).

“Good. Now, this is the upper level class, so if you already feel like you can’t handle it, then I suggest you leave now and acquaint yourself with the advisor’s office, because we will be beginning our first subject in ten minutes, after I give a brief overview of our outline for the year and then a more in-depth look on what we will be covering this semester. Anyone? No? Then don’t bother me with it later. You,” she snapped, lips popping together loudly enough to mimic the snap of bubblegum, and Allen followed her pointed finger to a kid in a hood and face mask, who clearly looked like he’d rather die than be at the end of her finger. “Come up here and hand out these papers.”

“Yes ma'am,” he said meekly, and set to the task. Lavi whistled lowly.

“Poor Toma. He’s stuck being her yes-man now,” he whispered back to Allen.

“Junior over there. I have sharp ears, and there is never enough helpers. Get up here and distribute these textbooks,” Ms. Nyne snapped, finger moving to point at the stack of rather thick texts with a clipboard on top, an obscenely bright yellow paper on it.

Lavi jumped to the job, grinning widely. “Anything for a beautiful babe,” he remarked, sobering quickly when Ms. Nyne turned her glower on him. Allen looked down to avoid Nyne’s roving gaze, flicking through the syllabus Toma handed he and Link. While Allen felt rather prepared for an upper level class, the sheer amount that Nyne expected to get them through in one semester was appalling and a little worrying, and Allen suppressed a groan at the thought of all the homework the curriculum was promising.

The class moved along quickly enough, and they detoured to store their textbooks in their assigned locker on the first floor (freshman didn’t get lockers, which Allen thought was hilarious) and gamely went through their second class of history, which included no one Allen knew. In their third class they found Alma.

It was science, and Allen didn’t bother to check which science since he’d be ruddy at it either way. So he led Link towards the black lab table Alma sat at, perching on a stool with Link sitting beside him, both across Alma.

Alma smiled briefly when they sat, but it obviously was a forced polite gesture and not so sincere, so Allen returned it. It remained the three of them, until their teacher announced that all tables must have four members. The class rearranged itself, and they ended up with a fourth member no one knew, which preemptively ended any possible conversation.

Unfortunately - for the moment, Allen told himself, it’d get better, he promised himself - lunch was separated by grade, and so after finding a table - because Link swore up and down he’d never touch the cafeteria food - they eventually were surrounded once more by Lenalee, Lavi, Alma, and Kanda.

Allen began his first of two packed lunches courtesy of Link. “How has everyone’s day gone?” Allen asked mid-chew. He gazed curiously at the second graders squished into one corner and the sixth graders taking over the other half.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Link snapped, primly beginning his own lunch which was smaller than half of one of Walker’s.

“Don’t be such a mom,” Allen snipped back and Link sniffed, offended.

Lavi regarded them with amusement. “My day has been pretty great, except for the whole, you know, becoming Nyne’s dog.”

“I’d wager that’s your fault,” Allen pointed out, reaching for his second sandwich, half a mind on trying to figure out why there were second and sixth graders.

“We have science together,” Alma piped up from beside Kanda, eyeing Allen’s lunch with something like awe and disgust mixed together. Or maybe it was jealousy? Allen couldn’t tell these things apart very well. Either way, he wasn’t sharing.

“That’s right! Let’s compare schedules,” Lenalee said, tugging hers out and grabbing Allen’s when he handed it over. “Ooh, we have French together. And we all have English together.” She frowned at the paper and glanced over at Kanda. “You also have study hall with Kanda.” The question obviously hanging there was, why didn’t you two come together?

“He still has that stick up his ass and couldn’t walk fast enough,” Allen commented, swallowing the last of his third sandwich and opening his second lunch. When a sixth grader looked over at his comment, Allen belated realized he probably shouldn’t have said something like that.

Kanda, who had peaceably been enjoying a simple and small lunch, almost audibly clacked his teeth together. “The fuck?” He demanded, slapping his chopsticks down across his lunch. “Where the hell do you get off saying a damn thing about me?”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Allen sang, biting viciously into his apple and ignoring Link’s muttered curses. He was writing numbers in three lines in his notebook, and Allen couldn’t tell if it was their math homework or something else.

“The fuck you weren’t!” Kanda slammed his fist into his table, forcing all their dishes and trays to clatter dangerously. Alma scowled.

“Don’t start this shit again,” the teenager demanded tersely, setting his own fork down. “Don’t ruin our lunch. Please.”

And it was only because Alma said ‘please’ that Kanda grumbled and picked his chopsticks up again, and Allen finished his apple in three bites of silence.

“Oh-kay,” Lavi said slowly, finally reaching to start his own lunch. “I’ve never seen anyone piss Yuu off that fast and I was there when that senior pushed Alma into the lockers.”

“Don’t call me that,” Kanda threatened, pointing his chopsticks at Lavi, and only picking at his food once more when Alma shot up another scowl, knowing how rude the gesture was.

Lavi laughed nervously and continued. “So, who are you? Like, really. You come back and turn Kanda’s world upside down, and that takes talent. Please, tell me your secrets.”

Allen laughed around his drink. “Don’t worry, I think you’re doing a good enough job on your own.” He side-eyed Link, who had his finished his lunch and had his journal fully out, entirely focused and noting something else down. Whether it was that aforementioned list or his argument with Kanda, Allen didn’t know, but he didn’t let his smile drop.

Alma spoke up then. “Like I said, we knew each other in elementary. There really was no one better than Allen at getting Kanda riled up, which was really cute, honestly.” He laughed when Kanda growled at the statement, and Allen looked proud.

Allen finally finished his second lunch, and turned to Link with a grin. “Thanks Link, it was great,” he said earnestly, grin growing when Link turned the slightest of pinks at the tips of his ears.

Lavi blinked, and Lenalee looked at them with big eyes that reminded Allen of the innocence of cow eyes. “Uh, are you two-?”

“No, no,” Allen laughed. “We have a deal, see. Link makes my lunch.”

“Which isn’t nearly worth the effort,” Link coughed.

“It’s damn sickening, is what it is. I don’t even have an appetite anymore,” and as if to prove his point, Kanda slid his plate away from him. “Shit, at this rate, I’ll never eat lunch. What the fuck happened to you?”

Allen scowled. “Your face almost ruins my appetite, but you’re certainly not worth the damage.”

Kanda glared, and almost brightened when he noticed. “I see you need to eat all that, beansprout. You clearly still got lots left to grow into.”

Allen snapped back, “My name is Allen.”


“It’s Allen, Ba-kanda, or should I just call you dumbass?”

Kanda sneered. “Maybe I should just call you something different, hm? Ne-”

Allen stood and slammed his hands onto the table, jolting his food hard enough to fall off. Link swiped the closed lunch bags midair without effort, blinking up at Allen.

Allen paid him no mind, glaring thunderously at Kanda, who suddenly looked guilty.

“You’re a fucking asshole,” Allen said calmly, and even Lenalee could hear the real anger behind it. “Come on Link.” Allen turned without another a comment, and Link followed just the same, throwing a murderous glare at Kanda as he passed by.

The cafeteria remained silent until the doors closed behind the two, and then erupted into a cacophony of murmurs.

Their table remained just as silent for a few moments longer, before Alma, who was frowning and grumbling something that sounded a lot like cursing beneath his breath, said, “That was a dick move, Yuu, and you know it.” He, too, stood and left with his tray, leaving a sullen Kanda with a confused Lenalee and Lavi.

No matter how they asked, Kanda refused to explain, and lunch ended as awkwardly as it started.