Notes: Look at me, rocking the comm's boat. Girl!Alma/First!Kanda. Most of the fic takes place in current!Kanda's memories. Contains copious amounts of headcanon.
It was just another mission. Except for her.
The flirtatious young woman had all but draped herself over his shoulders from the moment they arrived, at least from his perspective. He wasn't here to find a lover, especially one with a rich family, who supposedly was suffering grief from losing her fiancé. He was just here to do a job.
He'd left the room to the balcony overlooking the garden to get some fresh air, as much to get away from ---- as the besotted girl. His partner was acting strangely, that was for sure, and he just needed a break. Or at least, that was what he kept telling himself.
"What are you doing out here, all alone?" Damn, the girl had found him already? He ignored her, keeping his eyes on the treeline at the edge of the estate. Had he seen movement? It had been an unusually quiet mission, with few Akuma appearing, but neither he nor ---- was foolish enough to take that as a good thing. "It's so cold out."
"If you're cold, then you should go back inside." And leave him alone, already. He looked down. ---- was scoping out the courtyard, her bow slung across her back. Had she seen the same motion that he had? The abnormally dark sky made things difficult to see, but that was why they had been sent here, to investigate the town constantly draped in night.
"You should, too. You've been working so hard..." The girl had come close to him, wrapping her hand around his. "Don't you think you deserve... a break?" Her other hand reached for his face, cupping his chin and pulling his gaze towards her. Just enough to break his gaze from the treetops, even though out of the corner of his eye, he saw the faintest movement, the smoke trail of a bullet rushing towards them—
Pulling the stupid girl down with him out of instinct, he dropped to the floor, behind the meager protection of the railing. The Akuma wasn't shooting for the two of them, however, but for the columns under the balcony, which shattered under the force of the impacting bullets. There was a loud cracking noise as the stone balcony gave way, causing him to slide into the railing painfully as the floor tipped. The girl slammed into his chest, and he tried to keep her weight off the balcony. He was supposed to keep civilians from getting injured, whatever that was supposed to mean.
Too late, as the balcony flipped into a nearly vertical position, did he see the evil glint in her eyes, the twisted grin making a mockery of her human face. The Akuma girl's arm twisted, forming into a blade that hovered over his chest as they fell, ready to strike through his chest when they landed. Stupid, he was so stupid, to not consider that possibility... He glanced at ---- desperately, saw her pulling back on her bow...
The Akuma's body slammed into the "floor," pinned by a white arrow of energy from ----'s Innocence. At the same time, the falling stone crashed to the ground, several chunks falling painfully on his body. For a moment, he just lay there, breathing deeply and trying to ignore the thudding in his chest. That was the closest to death he'd come in a long time. He looked over at ----, sitting up to thank her, but she didn't give him the chance.
"You idiot!" Her voice was rising in pitch at the end of her sentences again, making everything she said sound like a question. "I can't even believe you! She was – You – IDIOT!" Frustrated and apparently at a loss for further words, she slung her bow back over her back and turned to stalk off.
"----! Wait!" He tried to get up to follow her, but one of the stone blocks on his arm was too heavy, and he couldn't push it off. "It wasn't—" Wasn't what? She couldn't possibly be mad at him for almost dying. Death was a day to day possibility in their line of work, she had to know this. Confused, he leaned back against the crumbled railing, helplessly watching her walk away.
He sought her out later, once his arm had been bandaged and put in a cast (thank goodness he could use his sword with either hand). He found her standing at the edge of the ruined balcony, overlooking the destruction below. The Akuma's body had been removed by the same group of Finders that pulled him free from the wreckage, but there was still evidence of the thing's blood.
"----, I..." He walked up behind her, but she didn't look at him.
"Don't talk to me." Her voice had assumed a more normal tone, but there was still an edge of anger to it. "I thought you were better than that, --."
"Better than...?" Realization hit him—how must the scene on the balcony have looked, from ----'s position on the ground? In spite of his usual calm demeanor, he flushed furiously, glad that ---- was facing away from him. "Don't be stupid. I was never interested in her."
"Of course you weren't." He couldn't tell if her voice was supposed to be sarcastic or not. ---- wrapped her arms around herself, still not looking in his direction. "It's always about duty with you, isn't it?" Her words came out in a little choked sob, and she buried her face in her hands.
"----... Why are you crying?" He reached out to put his good hand on her shoulder, but she backed away, going dangerously close to the edge of the balcony.
"Because I love you, you idiot!"
The exclamation was unexpected for both of them, apparently, as ---- clapped her hands over her mouth and his eyes grew wide in shock. So she... Was that why she had been sending so many hateful glares in the direction of the Akuma girl? Because she was in love with him and... jealous. Of course.
Still not sure what to say, he reached out and pulled her away from the edge of the balcony. Rather than pulling away from him, ---- followed through on the motion, leaning into his chest and wiping her eyes on his jacket. He kept his arm around her, which she seemed to appreciate a little.
"Don't you dare get snot all over my uniform." That made her giggle a little, which caused him to smile faintly in return. She reached up to brush a lock of his hair over his shoulder.
"Only as long as you promise to not get blood on mine."
"Whatever." He could try, at least. Knowing that he really shouldn't, he leaned down to kiss her cheek lightly. ---- flushed and wrapped her arms lightly around his waist. Love, huh? The both of them were really soldiers, sworn to fulfill their duties as Exorcists, but... As long as it didn't get in the way of that, what was the harm in it? He had long since accepted that he could die any day. Having a partner to watch his back would be useful. And holding ---- here, against his chest, was nice. He didn't dare let himself think beyond that, to how he knew things would eventually end.
"Come on, we should go inside," he said, dropping his hand to hers and pulling her towards the doors inside. "It's cold out."
It was just like any other mission, except for her.
Kanda woke up rubbing his head, sitting up like he always did after the memories appeared in his dreams. It didn't really hurt, not anymore, but it was still a strange sensation. Behind him, Alma mumbled groggily, waking up from the jostling of the bed. "Yu?"
"The balcony thing." Kanda didn't offer any other explanation – they were both used to the memories striking at random times. "You were right. It was really stupid."
Alma—his Alma, the boy who had obnoxiously followed him around since the day they met, who was too damn stubborn to die and still got pissed if anyone mentioned his past life being female—laughed, reaching up to pull Kanda back onto the bed. Kanda let himself be pulled into Alma's embrace, but wound up staring at the ceiling for a long time afterwards, one arm around Alma's shoulders.