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The Road Yet Traveled

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It hurt.

That’s all Allen could think as he lay, curled into a fetal position on the cold ground. He didn’t know why he was here. He couldn’t recall what had happened to him, outside, before all this. It was like he had shut it out, like he couldn’t make himself remember no matter how long he tried. The only consistency here was the pain he felt throughout his being, in his eyes, his chest, his head, everywhere.

Why did it hurt so much?

The small ten-year-old boy wasn’t aware of what was going on outside, in the world of the living. He wasn't aware of what the Earl of Millennium was doing with his body, nor was he away are the plan that were being formed around his existence. Instead, he was stuck in a prison of his own making, clutching his body in on itself, on the ground in a place he didn’t know, in a place which terrified him and he didn’t know why.

All he knew, was that it hurt.

The red moon from above shine down on the boy, illuminating him in the darkness, casting a crimson tint on the boys now white hair. He didn’t know it was white just yet, but he would soon. He would soon come to realize that there were many chances within him that he wasn't quite aware of yet. But the change in hair color wasn’t what was dominating his thoughts, nor his mind.

It hurt too much.

Allen  had caught glimpses of his surroundings from his position, not thinking much of them in his state of single minded misery. Stone grey buildings where in shambles, destroyed beyond prepare, crumbling to the ground around an almost blue tinted grassy area. Trees of black with no leaves littered the area he was curled up in, surrounding him from his small cobbled area in which he laid. A lake, filled with water so pitch black it reflected the world as if it was a mirror, was cast out in from of him. He didn’t think about any of it though. His mind was elsewhere.

It hurt.

What did hurt though? Why did he feel such pain is all of these areas? He didn’t know. It was like his body was in pain, yet it wasn’t. Like he was about to be torn apart, yet he was still whole. The sensation of being in pain, so much pain, was paired with the fact that he knew he shouldn't be in any pain at all. He couldn’t name it. He was just in pain, but it was different. There was no other way to describe it.

From the distance, a dark figure watched the boy writhe, watching him curl deeper into himself, unable to do much in the state it was in. It was a shadow of its former self. It knew that, it knew it was powerless to help the boy which held it together as its host. It would have hurt the being, made the shadow feel regret and misery for the boy, had it had the feelings that normal humans did.

But the thing wasn’t human. Not right now at least.

So it watched, and waited, silent in its gaze. 

It had been able to help the boy just a bit when the boy had pleaded. The kids will was strong, it knew that. It thought it was admirable that the boy had taken his transformation as well as he did. An arm turning into something you could not control would have made a lesser child die in fright, it knew that. Still, while it knew the child had taken it well, it also knew that the child wasn’t prepared for what he would find when he woke up. The boy was only experiencing the small bit of pain that his body was experiencing as he slept. The turmoil the boy felt could be explained by his head subconsciously trying to block out any of the pain the boys body was feeling, while the boy consciously fought with the knowledge that he was indeed in pain. It was a confusing and slippery slop to fall into, and it felt the boy was not fully prepared for it. The dark matter which felt like home to the shadow, had almost torn apart the boy when it had entered the child’s body. Thankfully, the shadow had been able to curb most of it, both helping the boy in which he resided in experience much less agony than he would have and making sure the energy assimilated within the boy so he wouldn’t die immediately when he would inevitably be woken.

The shadow was mostly powerless, but it could do that much.

It set its gaze onto the horizon, just past the boy. A large white mass had spread itself next to one of the dark trees, watching, waiting, trying to assess the boy. The white innocence had a mind of its own most days, wandering about without access, much like the shadow. The shadow and the light did not get along. The innocence fragment was volatile, harsh in its task and treatment of its host, and in turn, the shadows host. It had caused the boy so much pain before, thought the shadow knew he wasn’t guiltless in this either. The blinding light from across the way was trying to protect the boy with each action, yet it always fell short. It had a single track mind, it only thought about destruction of dark energy, not thinking about how the boy may feel about the matter at all. It made the White energy a rather vile parasite at times.

In its simple state, the shadow didn’t blame it though. Its lack of intelligence was mostly because of its lack of refining. It would grow, just like the boy would. The shadow had to protect the boy in the mean time though, because while the white matter was reliable enough for lesser Akuma's, it would not be able to handle the environment the boy was being thrown into.

So he watched, and waited, hoping the boy would be alright, because if he wasn’t, they were all doomed...

Allen  was still on the floor of course, not even noticing the shadow whose thoughts were dominated by him. He still clutched his head, not knowing why he was in pain. Not knowing where it originated from. Not knowing anything really.

The ten-year-old child was so young, so foolish, so naive, so desperate, so easy to hurt.  Allen  was an easy target. No matter how much he liked to protest that, the fact was that he was an easy target for a lot of things.

Humiliation.

Manipulation.

Pain.

Like the pain he was feeling now. Why didn’t it ever stop? Why was it happening to him? Silent screams, confusion, aching, exhaustion, the feeling of losing yourself, yet not.  Allen   felt it all. He didn’t understand any of it. he was so confused, so lost, he had been for a while now.

All he knew, was that it hurt.

Allen  didn't know what he was supposed to do about the pain, other than to curl up within himself, hoping that with every passing moment, he got closer and closer to hit being over and done with. But  Allen  didn't hold out much hope for that. While he couldn't remember anything in this moment, he felt as if hope had gotten him nowhere good lately. So he stayed like that, and resolved himself to stay however long it took, ignorant to anything around him in his own created universe. 

A sharp spike of anguish hit  Allen , and he seized, screaming for a short started moment before he felt sweet and utter bliss. 

The pain stopped it stopped, being replaced with only relief. 

The pain was... gone? How... why... why was it just, gone?  Allen  didn’t understand. The more time past,  Allen  was beginning to think he would never understand anything at all. It was like his body was on fire, and suddenly someone had dumped him in snow. It was instant relief, instant gratification, like the pain which he wasn’t even sure he felt, had magically disappeared, even though he knew that wasn't the case. How...?

He felt a chill go down his spine. He didn’t like this. Pain didn’t just go away. It didn't just appear either. Both those seemed to be happening to him though, and that left him will a deep sense of unease. What was happening to him...?

Suddenly, it dawned on him. Where was he?

Allen  looked around, feeling the cool touch of cobblestone beneath him as he let go of his fetal position and pushed himself into a seated pose, his legs crossed in a comfortable fashion. This place... what... what was it. He recalled vague details before the pain had come and gone. A Red moon, black water like mirrors, dark bare trees.

He was scared.

His eyes darted around, his mind jumping from the aches in his body which were gone, to the dark and dangerous environment he found himself in. He was terrified, he didn’t know where he was. Everything was so dark, so... unnatural.

And he didn’t feel alone.

He felt like he needed to find a way out. This place wasn’t supposed to be here. Why was he here? Why did he end up here? His mind was reeling, how could he get out? He tried to remember the last thing he did, even if it hurt his head. He needed to remember where he was and what he was doing. What was it?

The last thing he remembered clearly was... Mana...

A choked cry escaped  Allen , his body once more folding up into itself, as tears he hadn’t realized he still had began to shed. It seemed only like mere days ago Mana and him were traveling the countryside, performing street shows for small coin, and making ends meet where they could. It had been good. A rough life for sure, but good nonetheless.

A good life he could never get back.

It was hard to believe that so much could change in so little time.

No longer would he wake up cuddled into his father’s coat, sitting by the campfire they had made for the night, listening to Mana’s ramblings and stories of his time in the circus and before. He would be able to look up at the stars with Mana anymore... he wouldn’t be able to count the clouds on a mildly sunny day, nor pass the time playing small games together while Mana dotted on him like a son. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as he remembered his foster father, grieving for his loss, and feeling so much regret and guilt the longer he thought...

Mana had given him everything  Allen  had lacked at his tender young age. He had given him love, acceptance, peace, stability.

He had given him a family.

“Mana...”

Mana... he had killed Mana...  Allen  felt so lost and broken, the aches in his body which were no longer there were replaced by aches of the heart, stuck in a place that made him terrified, surrounded by abnormal things, sitting on the cold ground, without his father, without his family, without his stability, or his peace, or his happiness, all alone-

No... he wasn’t alone though, was he...? It was in the corner of his eyes. Black and white. Darkness and light. What... what was it...

He was scared, and he wanted Mana.

Tears still flowed out of his eyes, although his hysterics had died down. Fear was a good motivator, and motivate it did.  Allen  looked up from his spot, turning to the figured he had only seen just barely out of the corner of his eyes, scooting himself away from them ever so slightly, as if the small distance made him safer.

A light, and a shadow...

They seemed to stare at  Allen Allen  was terrified. He didn’t know why they were here with him. He almost preferred being alone, with no one, to being with these two... things. They scared him so badly, his body shook. The tears never stopped streaming his face.

“Wh-who ‘re ya...”

No reply was given.

Just staring. How that was possible with no eyes was not something  Allen  wanted to dwell on right now. He had to get out.

He had to get out of this place. He had to get out of the place with the red moon, the shadow, the light, the dark trees which didn’t belong.

He needed to leave.

And as if by magic, fog rolled over the area, covering everything it could until there was nothing left but  Allen  and the cold floor. It blocked his vision, it didn’t let him see anything. What was it? What was it doing? It scared him. Everything in this place scared him. He just wanted to go. The fog thickened further, until there was only white... then gray...

And then, only darkness...