I FELT LIKE WRITING so I made faces at Plurk to give me short ideas. D.Gray-Man, Pandora Hearts, 07-Ghost, beware all spoilers up to the most current.


Two days before Allen Walker's birthday, the central heating breaks.

It was an accident of maintenance, Komui says, with his voice muffled by his doubled-up scarves, his body swaddled up in so many coats that his general outline is lost. With the way things have been since the Noah's attack, ordinary things like heating and water have been overlooked--and with the coming of winter and its snows, pipes have frozen and the centuries-old system has simply given up.

"We'll have it fixed as soon as possible," Komui says apologetically, then waddles with great dignity back into his office.

By nightfall, though, the heating still isn't fixed and it has begun to snow, soft and heavy. Link sleeps, or pretends to, on his side and facing the wall. The blanket he has is Order-issued and thin and soft and does very little. He is beginning to consider simply getting up to work when something crawls onto his bed. His first instinct is to lash out, but in the split second before the old spells form on his tongue, Walker whines, "Liiiiiiiiink," and attaches himself like a limpet to Link's back.

His second instinct is to lash out again, but what he does instead is go very still and very stiff and say, "Walker. Unhand me."

"It's cold," Walker protests, and most decidedly does not let go; if anything, it's as if the boy has sprouted more limbs, which he uses to wrap around Link and not let go. "It's cold and I can't sleep."

"So are you going to make it two of us?" Link demands, exasperated. "Walker, return to your bed at once--"

"You weren't sleeping," Walker says. "I could tell." He continues to squirm, not unlike some small puppy seeking warmth, tugging and pulling until Link finds himself on his back with a lump tucked up against his side. Walker's head is on Link's shoulder, and the fine strands of white hair tickle his chin. An arm rests heavily over his ribs, and Walker's breathing is warm and steady on his throat.

Link grits his teeth. "Walker," he says sternly.

"They'll have the heat fixed in the morning," Walker mumbles, his voice already slurring towards sleep. "An' tomorrow I'll move. But it's cold, Link."

He says the last in the sort of plaintive whining tone that is normally reserved for sad children and dogs, the sort that reminds Link of a long-ago alleyway and a huddled pile of children, watching their breaths rise and the snow fall.

Link takes a deep breath and holds it until his lungs ache, then lets it out in a long sigh. "Fine," he says. "Fine."



He had a dream full of light, so bright that nothing at all casts shadows. He has to shield his eyes with both hands, blinking hard into that artificial dimness, but before they have time to adjust, he feels something brush past him. Instinctively he looks up to watch that person walk away. Something lodges in his throat with his next breath.

"Wait," he whispers. "Wait--"

The other person never looks back. He walks with his back straight and his head high; his feet do not falter. A long black sword hangs at his side, swinging gently with the rhythm of his stride.

"Wait!" He throws out a hand and takes a step to follow, then flinches away as the light grows still stronger. He has to shield his face with one arm, squinting against the glare, eyes squinted and watering. "Wait, El--"

Oz wakes on the day of his second coming-of-age ceremony with his face wet and sore. He sits up and doubles over, both hands pressed to his mouth. The dream is already fading, but it takes a long, long time for him to uncurl, to wash and dress and turn to the day. Something in his chest aches and won't leave him, and all he is not a praying man, but he still thinks: Please, please, let today go well. Let it end well.



There is a space of time during which he sleeps.

Or at least he thinks he sleeps, because he dreams in a tangled jumble: his master's dying face--a flurry of feathers--cold stone walls--Link's face, twisted and blinded and screaming something--

A cool little hand touches his face and he wakes (or he thinks he wakes), and there are tears on his face. For a moment he feels lost and adrift and terrified, but that hand strokes his face again and a voice tells him: It's all right. It's all right.

He wakes more and is vaguely aware they are moving--or perhaps the world is simply rushing by, so fast that they are simply standing still. His head is resting on someone's shoulder and there is a warm hand on his back, large and square-fingered, and when he leans into it, then it pushes back against him. He can still hear the voice talking to him, a little-girl whisper. It's all right. It's all right.

"Wh," he says. His voice is ugly and cracked. "Whhh--"

"Hush, boy," he feels more than hears, rumbling up from under him. "Go back to sleep."

He does.


Castor and Razette

Jio looks at the boy who has come to present himself, and the creature that hides itself behind him. He's known about Fest's death for weeks, and this is the first time he's laid eyes upon the successor. It concerns him, though, the stillness he can read in the boy's heart, which is mirrored in the coldness of his eyes. To be a Ghost--to be Fest--is to be moved by the whims and needs of the world beyond simply standing against the Kor. Jio is an old man, and he has learned to give credence to intervention both divine and diabolic.

Then the creature--the little girl-thing that clings to a human form--moves and chirps something like a question. Her voice is nothing more than a scattering of notes that slide up and down the scales, but the boy turns to her at once, and in his blank eyes and silent heart there is a second of something that is warm and alive and moving.

Jio sighs. "All right," he says. "She may stay."


Sharon and her mother

There are things that she keeps as close as treasures, even when they pain her: the smell of rose perfume (a very particular blend, created for only one person in the whole of the country), long slim fingers upon the keys of a piano, and a voice that is soft and measured and warm with love: When you grow up, my darling, you will be lovely, and there will a thousand knights for you alone.

She tells her grandmother that she wishes to learn the piano, but even when she plays the exact song from her memories, it is not the same.

She tells her grandmother she will follow her mother's servant (her lover, if the whispers of the other servants are any indication, but she is of the great House of Lainsworth and she knows better than to put stock in rumor) into Pandora. The old woman smiles behind her fan and grants her blessing, and that is all the matters.

In the dark pathway where the real world blurs into the Abyss with no clear delineation, she meets a creature with red eyes and a wary stare and she holds out her hands (small and white and awkwardly childish, not the long graceful hands of a woman) and it bows its head to her.

Mother, Sharon Lainsworth thinks, as she lays her hand upon the chain Equus' muzzle, am I any closer to you yet?
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