Pairing: OT5 (Alma/Kanda/Lenalee/Lavi/Allen)
Summary: The war is over, but they can't give up on each other, and they can never forget. [Implied sex]
He wanted to just walk onward, get back to what he was supposed to be doing. His "friends" were just blots on the page of history, heroes of a war no one knew about, names no one would remember. but they weren't just names to him; he would remember that war, he had lived through it, "Lavi" was a hero too, and he couldn't leave them behind. Except for Lenalee, those four had no family, no homeland; hell, Alma couldn't even walk down the street without some unfortunate bumping a little too close, just on the edge of setting him off, and it takes one of them to pull him back to the semblance of humanity he wears each day. And Lenalee could never leave them, even with all the horrors she's seen, because like them, she has no idea how to live a normal life, and she loves the rest of them too much to try. The four of them were bred for a war that ended so suddenly that it destroyed them, left him to try and piece them back together.
Never before has a Bookman had more than one companion; a master and sometimes an apprentice, that's all that's needed to record history. And he's the Bookman now, the impartial recorder, but it breaks "Lavi's" heart to see them that way, so he takes them under his wing and gives them something to live for, something that can salve the pain. He tells himself that he's just wearing the mask for their sakes, that the Bookman he shows by day to the world is his real self.
At night, with other bodies curled around his and someone murmuring "Lavi" in his ear, he's not sure which self is the mask at all.
Alma's come to hate the daylight.
He loved it at first, when he had finally broken free of that dark world that left him trapped within his own body, when the sunlight broke through cracks in the hold the Dark Matter had on his mind. But now it was painful, having to hide what he was in order to just survive, in a world where all the monsters were gone and there was no place left for the ones like him, who had once been human but couldn't go back.
Nighttime is freedom, now, when he doesn't have to hide his true form beneath a human skin, because the people he wraps his arms around already know what he is, and they don't care. Nighttime is freedom, because it's only then that he can press an ear to Yu's chest, hear his pounding heartbeat, and it doesn't set off the need to draw blood, to leave the people he loves in a single pool of beautiful red that tastes so sweetly of all of them.
It's the time when he can press in between their shivering bodies and repeat quietly, "I love you, I love you, I love you," and see those words repeated in the eyes of people who never see the monster in him at all.
At first, Lenalee wasn't sure if she was going to go at all. There were so many other places she needed to be, with her brother, with Miranda and the other Exorcists who had no idea what to do with themselves now. She couldn't just run away like she had as a child. The war was over, it was time to move on.
In a way it was the same as it had always been, because she could never choose between them, either, couldn't just pick one to love, knowing that it would make the others unhappy. For years she had fluttered around the Order, trying to deny her feelings; they were in a war, there wasn't any time for love, and even if you did love someone, they could die at any moment, like Krory had done to give them a path through to that last stand, that final decisive battle. But now the war was over.
That night, she went after them in the rain, throwing herself into Allen's arms and crying, because she didn't have to be strong anymore, she could just be Lenalee together with them. And she never looked back.
Kanda only went along because Alma did, because Alma insisted on dragging him everywhere, and why can't you come with us, Yu? You're not doing anything here.
He'd thought it would hurt, seeing Alma get close to the others, even that stupid beansprout, but Alma just pulled him along like always, pulled him down into bed that night with the rest of them, with that infectious grin that hadn't changed a hair even when the rest of his body had lost its humanity. That grin that knew that Kanda couldn't deny him anything, now that they were finally free to live their lives.
Alma loved everyone, and Kanda followed after him, half out of duty and half out of love, and sometimes, when he thought no one else could see, Kanda gave back a tiny fragment of that constant smile. And then it would go back to the way it always was, little fights with everyone until Lenalee managed to get them all calmed down again so that they could continue on their journey to everywhere and nowhere.
No one would ever get him to admit it, how glad he was when Alma first took his hand and pulled him off for a new adventure.
Sometimes, Allen still saw them. In his nightmares, and sometimes in reality, the stray Akuma who hadn't been destroyed in that final battle, their souls still plaguing his cursed eye. He'd thought that was how he would spend the rest of his life; hunting them down and destroying them, freeing their souls with the Innocence still embedded in his arm.
It wasn't until Lavi appeared, and the others after him, that Allen realized he wouldn't be able to just disappear into the world alone. For the first time, he had a family, and that family wasn't willing to let go of him. He tried to be a gentleman, tried to leave that first night, until there was a hand grabbing his hair and Kanda yelling in his ear, something like "If I have to go through this, then so do you!" and Lenalee's awkward laugh behind him and where, where were his pants? And the next morning, they were all red and smiling (well, not Kanda), and just like that first day when they woke up and there was peace, there was no going back.
He would keep walking. But he no longer walked alone.