symbolism_egg: (Inspector)
[personal profile] symbolism_egg
Summary: Allen and Link, an optimist and a pessimist, while away a free hour in front of a fireplace.
Warnings: PG-13 for mentions of violence?
Disclaimer: The D. Gray-man series and characters do not belong to me.
Note: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] personaru for beta-reading.


The flames’ heat and light played over Allen, who sat before a grand fireplace in a disused room of the new Order. Link sat beside him.

They’d found this room the other day. In a corner of the building, and labeled simply “Filing” on the floor plan Link had gotten somewhere, it had been empty of cabinets, and anything else. The only thing of interest was an enormous fireplace, which had interested Link once he’d finished complaining about the mislabeling. “It can easily be cleaned,” he’d said. And so he had, insisting that moving one’s body never hurt anyone, even if the Matron had told him within Allen’s hearing to use his left arm as little as possible for the next two weeks. In the meantime Allen had sat on the floor and finished several of those damned forms, trying to write in ways that made his chest twinge as little as possible.

Tonight the air had descended into a wicked coldness that irritated his wounds. The scar across his chest ached from end to end. Sitting on his bed and holding a blanket tight around his shoulders, Allen had brought up the fireplace, and how nice it might be. Link would not object to relaxation once they’d finished the day’s work.

It was almost like a vacation, and, considering he spent most of his time away from headquarters, having a vacation inside his home had a pleasant logic. It was a vacation from paperwork, at least. By necessity it couldn’t be a vacation from Link, but since the worst of his suspicion had worn away as they became more familiar with each other, he wasn’t so bad when he wasn’t forcing Allen to do paperwork or eat salads.

They had kindled a large fire using firewood at hand, and sat watching the heart of the flames, bright enough to pain Allen’s eyes. Timcanpy flew from Allen’s shoulder to curl in front of the fire, his tail blowing to one side.

There was a downside to their vacation: the large room was as drafty as an abandoned church.

“It’s freezing in here,” said Allen.

“You shouldn’t have drunk your hot cocoa so quickly,” said Link, who was sipping at his own black tea at patient intervals.

“But it was delicious.”

“And warm, I suppose. I should think you’d be more accustomed to the cold.”

Allen scooted closer to the flames. His hands and knees were scorching hot, but his back and neck were freezing. Most of the fire’s heat was rising up the chimney. Maybe he should’ve worn his coat, but that would defeat the purpose of the fire. Link probably hadn’t meant his words to refer to Allen’s past as a homeless orphan—no, he’d probably meant, You’re an Exorcist, and, as such, you ought to be used to enduring hardships for the sake of the Order, et cetera. “Well, I’d rather be warm if I can.”

Link took another small sip of his tea. His eyes were narrowed as he stared ahead into the fireplace. He was acting almost subdued today.

Allen absently reached out to pet Tim, who was not brooding, but drowsing peacefully. Then he snatched his hand back, because the golem was burning hot even through his glove. A stark contrast with the frigid air.

If only there were a couch or something to shelter them from the wind. Allen looked around the room, but saw only aqua-blue afterimages over deep shadows. He couldn’t help thinking of the heaps of blankets in his closet and the cozy light of kerosene lamps filling his room. But since he was the one to suggest they make use of the grand fireplace, he figured he shouldn’t suggest leaving again until the fire had died down of its own accord.

Link blocked the drafts slipping through the windows on one side, at least. Yes, this was the man Allen had called furniture, as beyond notice as the air. That couldn’t be the reason he was so down—although Allen could have sworn he was sulking for a few hours after he’d made the proclamation.

He picked up his empty cup and licked at the remains of the cocoa, smiling to himself.

-----
Looking into the fire had ruined Link’s night vision, but, picking up on slight movements of Walker’s, he looked over and caught him smiling in the reflected light. Only God knew what about. He had underdressed for the unexpectedly crisp evening hours, and was shivering in the drafty room. Link was not too cold. He had worn a sweater.

The fire’s warmth was pleasant on his healing arm. He clasped his mug of tea between his hands.

Passing time like this was not unwelcome, provided they had no further responsibilities for the day. However, Link was accustomed to focusing his mind on reading, baking, or memorizing chess moves, should he happen to have off hours. Not simply sitting around with a companion.

Of course, his current job had no off hours.

Link’s thoughts wandered when he had nothing on which to focus. Tonight, that was a problem.

A profound uneasiness threatened him. Ever since Madarao had arrived and—face it—absorbed an Akuma into his hand, Link had felt an encroaching shadow. Whatever Madarao’s powers were, they were not those of Innocence. Walker had mused aloud the next morning, “I wonder when we’ll get introduced to that new Exorcist,” and Link had taken it at face value, remaining silent and bent over his papers as if Walker’s words were not, in truth, a question.

The crackling flames seemed a threat. Link closed his eyes and averted them from the blaze to regain his sight.

Let Walker think that he didn’t wish to discuss Madarao because of his condescension; it didn’t matter. True, Link had been seconds from death, and it was humiliating to have such a severe mistake revealed before a former colleague, but recalling the change in Madarao was worse. Although at the time he’d been in a poor state and fully expecting his life to end, Link could not lie to himself, could not tell himself he was mistaken in what he’d seen.

Thus far Walker had not brought it up again. And Link repeated to himself that speculation was useless. They would wait for everything to be…explained.

He could not bring himself to imagine that an explanation would improve matters.

“Hey, Link, don’t fall asleep.”

“I’m not asleep.”

“You’ll drop your tea,” Walker said pleasantly, “and then you’ll freeze to death.” The sound of breathing warmth onto freezing hands.

“I will not. Although I confess I did not expect this room to be so poorly insulated. We ought to go back to our room.”

“There’s not need to hurry, I’m f-fine. If it t-turns out I’m not I guess you’ll have to explain why the heretic turned into an ice cube, huh?” Walker laughed.

That was in poor taste. Link raised his head and looked at the Exorcist. The Exorcist so recently scarred by his own sword. “You shouldn’t joke about such things.” Besides, you are only a suspected heretic, despite the scar, he corrected in his mind, otherwise you would be dead already.

As he was sitting next to a fire, his thoughts turned to burning at the stake. Not that Walker would be burnt at the stake; if the Black Order gave him an official execution at all, he would probably be hanged or shot, and considering his size Link hoped for the sake of mercy that it was the latter. He would not have a say in it at that point—

--and besides, if the Noah in Walker demonstrated himself as a direct threat to the Order, he would fall to the assassin’s blade before the matter of a formulaic execution ever arose.

The body would probably be burnt. One couldn’t take chances with Noahs, about whom too little was known, and besides, where would one bury a heretic? In Walker’s case, certainly not in a place where he could be remembered. Or venerated.

Link sipped his tea, not tasting it. It was half gone.

Beside him, Walker yawned. The night was only growing more chill. Best that they put out the fire and go to bed soon.

Link found that he was staring into the flames again.

-----

Link fell into another moody silence. Allen stifled a series of yawns as Link took up the poker and prodded at the logs so that the flames shrank down. Allen moved with the heat.

Or tried to.

“Be careful of sparks,” snapped Link.

“Maybe I’ll t-tell the Matron you let me freeze to death,” said Allen, “and were moving your arm around all day, too.”

“That’s unfair, Walker. You’re the one who suggested this in the first place.” For an instant Link looked taken aback by the threat. Aha. Allen had known he wasn’t immune to a healthy fear of the head nurse.

Placing his hands beneath his armpits, he turned to warm his back at the fire. The icy air bit at his face. He sighed out a puff of white.

“I didn’t make you use your injured arm. You were carrying stacks and stacks of papers.” Um. A diversion. “Are you quite used to the cold, Link?”

“No.”

I don’t complain about it like you do, so act like a proper Exorcist, et cetera, or at least try to be prepared, like me. Allen filled in the implication he guessed was there, which might be unfair of him. He almost wished Link were lecturing. But no, he was starting to brood again. Allen could point out that, right now, Link would be more useful if he were a sofa, but that might cause more trouble than it was worth.

Even though the floor was quite hard.

Allen shivered violently, unable to suppress his body’s reaction to the cold. Link was making quick work of the fire, which had died down to a smolder. Considering his luck, Allen wouldn’t be surprised if he froze to death on his vacation down the hall, along with Link, who’d lately been attracting misfortune himself. He smiled ruefully, picturing it.

Link handed Allen his tea.

“Oh, thank you, Link.” It was still half full, and even lukewarm tea held some warmth. Allen took a drink and banished the image of death by unseasonal cold.

“You should have worn your coat.”

“I shouldn’t have t-to wear my coat indoors, by a fire.”

The fire reduced to embers, Link stood, rubbing at his back with his good arm. “You’ll die,” he said.

There was snap as a spark burned out.

“Of hypothermia, I mean,” said Link.

Really, Link was in a dark mood tonight. True, Allen had been joking about freezing to death this entire time, but that was joking. Something Link did not do.

Allen rose and stretched his stiff legs, then patted Link on the shoulder, which made Link frown at him. “No, I think we’ll survive after all. I’ve been through a lot, and I’m pretty tough, you know.”

Link sighed, a barely audible sound. Complete darkness had filled the room, so Allen couldn’t see his expression, or notice Timcanpy’s approach until the golem had landed on his shoulder, tiny feet clinging to the cloth of his vest. Allen felt around for his cocoa cup with his foot.

“We’d best hurry back to our room,” said Link from next to the doorway. Sometimes he moved too quietly.

“Yes, we’d better get back to our room.” Allen drained the tea from Link’s cup, snagged his cocoa cup, and made his way to the hallway, which was also drafty, but at least they were moving now.

He wasn’t certain when Link had started calling it our room. It might have been when they moved away from the first headquarters and were assigned a larger room with two beds, but Allen thought he’d heard Link use that phrasing once or twice in the old Order, too. And he may have called their new room your room for awhile, too—Allen wouldn’t notice him phrasing it that way, while he now caught any mention of our room. He wondered when he would have his own quarters again. Probably not soon, more’s the shame. Still, it was better to have our room than a room that happened to have an Inspector sleeping on his floor.

“I’m sorry?” said Link.

“Nothing—nothing.”

--
What is on you mind? by roygbivgyor

[livejournal.com profile] roygbivibgyor drew this lovely fanart. THANK YOU &hearts

The original is here and was reposted with the artist's permission.


Date: 2009-09-24 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harmony283.livejournal.com
I particularly liked this line: "Still, it was better to have our room than a room that happened to have an Inspector sleeping on his floor."

and as a whole this painted a very nice image in my head *nod* For it just being a scene by a fire place, and all. Very fitting.

and now I really should be writing two essays. joy joy fuuuuun. not so much *cough*

Date: 2009-09-24 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symbolism-egg.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the image.

It's a character introspection piece where, unfortunately, the plot is more or less "Nothing happens," but after numerous attempts to write Link and Crow-fics, this has been the only one worth posting.

So much writing in your life! You can do it. <3

Date: 2009-09-24 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harmony283.livejournal.com
You're welcome ^^ (seriously though. it's a very suiting image. If I could paint/draw worth heck *which she can't seem to, at the moment* I would probably draw it)

Well as they say 'the moments most remembered are the ones in which you do nothing'. Or something. I'm pretty sure someone says that at some point *blinks* if not then I just did. or at least, well, short moments like that are the most fun to write for me XD

aha...yeah...almost finished with the rough draft *which is technically what we're turning in tomorrow* but then I have to work on the OTHER essay which I haven't even started on...ghhh x.x thank you though, I think I'll need it *sigh*

Date: 2009-09-24 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symbolism-egg.livejournal.com
It would be a fun image to draw.

Action and drama are great too, but I really enjoy quiet moments between characters, too, such as intense conversations, or subdued conversations with intense emotion behind them....

Rough draft done? *thumbs-up*

Date: 2009-09-24 11:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harmony283.livejournal.com
it would definitely......I might try it, actually *blinks* I'll link it to you when I'm done (though I'm at University, so I lack a scanner, but I'm going home tomorrow so hopefully you'll see it sometime this weekend?) *the fireplace might epically fail though* aha...ha...*cough*

Yeah I totally agree there. For me a conversation can be just as powerful as actions *nod nod* and often times harder. I mean, it's easy to punch or slap someone when you're angry, but if you're not that kind of person then you're only left with words...

Date: 2009-09-25 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symbolism-egg.livejournal.com
Ooh, I would love to see it! If you draw it, do you mind if I link to it from the fic? :) (Also, most universities should have a library with scanners if you every need one fast.)

Good point. Besides, in manga/anime fandoms punching or slapping someone is a legitimate reaction depending on characters and circumstance, but most people wouldn't do that in real life--and if they did, it would probably count as abusive. So if you're trying for realism, writing out the conversation could work best.

But if you're NOT...well, now I can't help picturing Allen slapping Link halfway through this fic, even though it would be ooc and they're not even angry. XD

Date: 2009-09-25 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harmony283.livejournal.com
Yeah sure that's fine ^^ (and...here yeah they have 'em but they cost money XP)

Exactly. I mean...take Kanda for example, he brandishes his sword at people, and punches people and yadda ya...but if you want anything with him in it to be realistic, then you already know the basics that...like...he wouldn't really kill anyone with his sword. Or...well yeah...*trying to make things connect/might not be working*

...dangit...now I see it too XD (maybe not in THIS fic but...in something else?) *wishes she was a better drawer...

...and that she wasn't procrastinating on a paper that's due in like 2 hours*

Date: 2009-09-25 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symbolism-egg.livejournal.com
You have to pay to use yours? Ugh.

Yeah, having Kanda attack an ally in a serious fic wouldn't quite work. In a humorous fic, yes. I'm more likely to write the kind of story where the characters are trying to stab others with candles or kick each other in the head, actually...Allen wouldn't do any of that, of course.

I hope you've finished by the time of this comment. XD

Date: 2009-09-25 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harmony283.livejournal.com
we have to pay forrr...EEEVERYYYYTHINNNNNG *cough* oh...and now since I have time actually because no one cared to tell me our group meeting was canceled I'll try to draw it now *has an hour or so of free time before mom gets here*

mhm, and like he really IS friends with Lavi...and again, he wouldn't really kill Allen, no matter how annoying he is. He really does care about Tiedoll, Marie, and everyone else, just has an odd way of saying it...and...mhm...stuff like that.

Annnd I was just getting started on it again. But y'know what's annoying? When the teacher says they change the time it's due from 1:50PM to one minute before midnight *today* *sigh* at least I got it finished in time XP

Date: 2009-09-26 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] symbolism-egg.livejournal.com
That sucks. :/

No, he wouldn't kill Allen or any of his allies. Having Kanda KILL someone in a "humorous" fic is another matter altogether. XD And then my brain takes that concept and tries to find a way to make it funny anyway....


Last-minuted deadline changes are annoying. As long as you can submit it on time, though, it's not so bad.

Date: 2009-09-28 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harmony283.livejournal.com
*and of course she didn't get a chance to* and this is like my first time on LJ all weekend (well...not really. But I couldn't really comment on anything XP *internet connection went haywire*) grr...silly thing...it's like when I have time to update, I CAN'T and when I don't, I do *sigh*

shyeah because he would in that one because everything would be lighthearted already, therefore he could (theoretically speaking) 'get away with it'

Mhm yeah that's true. The only time when it's seriously annoying is when they drop it from say 1PM to noon (of the same day) *which thankfully hasn't happened to her yet*

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