kanda doesn't shy from the truth, even if he doesn't want to understand it.
note: for mogmo. prompts: trees, paint, soft, and milk. i was only supposed to use one but i think i used them all instead. first d. gray-man fic i've ever worked up the courage to post, so critiques are definitely welcome.
kanda likes to walk among rows of trees. they remind him of something stronger than he, something bigger, something that will be around long after he is gone. when he rests his head against their bark and closes his eyes, he can almost feel the world slowing to a halt around him, as though his boots have grown roots. he wishes the feeling would last forever--so he could forget he's alive, forget his purpose and just live, where he can just be, and time will hold no weight.
but his eyes always open to the rough bark, his skin will never be the harsh and riddled with pieces of wood. kanda will always be soft on the outside, easy to penetrate. he can imitate and pretend, but he will always be brought back to humanity in one way or another.
there are times, when he grips the wooden hilt of mugen before battle, feeling the smoothed out wood beneath his hands. clean, smooth, direct, he's like this sword of his. quick and fast and lethal. his sword, made of metal and wood, is his direct link to the natural world--his only link.
his head is clear when he enters battle. he's not a fool like moyashi, who looks at him at times as though he's figured him out completely and yet is always getting into the worst sort of trouble. but he's just a boy, he never will know him, not completely. that condescending look in that cursed eye has no right to be there when allen will never understand anything.
allen is cursed, and yet he makes friends, and yet he fills the world with a warmth kanda can't understand and that too, irks him more than it ought. allen has never thought of trees as more than trees. he's never put his head against the trunk of a tree and strained to hear a heartbeat that sounds so similar to his own.
but allen is different, because he's strong, inside and out. perhaps he's too much like the purest form of a tree that kanda turns to, when he needs something he can't explain. but he wouldn't expect allen to understand him like he feels the trees do, and he prefers it that way. so when allen stares at him like that, kanda can't help the rage because of a feeling that fills him somewhere inside the confines of his ribcage and hidden in his heart.
lavi is another one that kanda can't stand. lavi sees everything, and records inside of his mind like a mental logbook. though he has only one eye, no detail is too fine for him, and he sees every move kanda makes and draws out the correct conclusions from things that don't even matter. he was the one who first took note of kanda's habit of running his hands along the hilt of his sword when he was tired, or how he gripped it when he was frustrated.
he was the first one to notice that when they came to a grove of trees, he was more relaxed than he was anywhere else. lavi isn't soft, like kanda, nor is he harsh and raw, like allen. lavi is made of layers as thick as paint and impossible to scratch away from a wall. and yet, for all that lavi paints himself--distances himself--he's too weak to be a bookman.
kanda waits for the day where an akuma will kill him, or bookman will beat him for being so careless in the heat of battle. for forgetting who he is, what he is, for forgetting small, infinite details of his own life in favor of the rush of life. absent-minded. caring. a fool. kanda used to think it was all an act, because you can not trust a bookman no matter how friendly they are. but he's starting to believe that lavi means it, even if he doesn't know it himself.
but kanda hates it, and hates him for it, because kanda never asked him to call him by his first name. kanda never wanted to peel back the paint that hid lavi's true face. all kanda wanted was for lavi to disappear, to stop recording his whole life inside blank of his eyepatch. for all that kanda can't figure lavi out, the truth is that he really doesn't know when that started to matter to him in the first place.
lavi is a thorn in his side that considers himself his friend. kanda doesn't make friends he can't trust, and yet he has started to find that he doesn't mind this bookman who has slowly discovered a persona. it scares him, all the wet paint of lavi's fresh face. wet paint can be wiped away, altered, changed. wet paint disappears one day and never returns.
lenalee knows, and kanda doesn't know if he minds. lenalee has always held sway over him with her sweet smiles. why, he's never known. perhaps it started because she was the first to smile at him when he became part of the order, or the first to accept him. but lenalee can read hearts, and she knows who's inside of his.
it makes him nervous that she'll speak her mind, even if he knows she wont. there are many quiet times in the order where he'll be in the library, seeking silence. eventually his eyes will slip closed and he wont open them until he hears the door quietly open. by his head he'll hear the rustling of pages, and he'll turn to see lavi reading beside him, a stack of books at his feet.
he'll open his mouth to snap at him, but linalee will round the corner with a tray, and his mouth will snap closed. she'll quietly give them both drinks--lavi drinks black coffee, and kanda usually drinks straight tea. but on some occasions, such as this, kanda will drink warm milk. it soothes him to the core and only lenalee knows, and now lavi does, too, he takes note of with an irritated sigh that breaks the token of golden silence before lavi starts talking a thousand miles a minute.
eventually, allen joins them. kanda will purse his lips and look away, while lenalee will sigh and say something about how rare an occasion it is for them all to be home. kanda will look out the window at the wind rustling through the branches outside. an instant later, lavi will sling an arm around his shoulders and he'll bristle at the touch, shoulders tense.
but he'll sip the cup in his fingers and the feelings will bury themselves once more. he'll shrug lavi's shoulders off and look allen in the eye, if only to insult him. he doesn't want to admit it, but he likes the fighting, he likes to bring their relationships to a level he can understand. he even finds that he likes lavi laughing in his ear.
he doesn't pretend to understand everything in the world. he'd rather keep things simple. he knows what he sees in front of his eyes, what he reads about, what he hears about. but what he wont ever understand is his own self, and the feelings a little bit of camaraderie do for him to make him feel warm and sleepy all over.
he wants to blame the milk, but he's not delusional. lenalee knows what he knows--why his heart feels like it's growing too large for his chest to contain it. but even if she knows, she wont tell. even if he knows, he wont, either. that's the way it needs to be--he's not here for a family after all, he's here to work. his heart may be growing soft but his mind never will be, there's no stopping a fact, like there's no stopping time.