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Through the Looking Glass

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“-5.25” stood out against the white piece of paper it was scrawled on, the numbers beginning to fade from the many years they had seen. The numbers were sloppily written, as if the writer was in a haste to jot them down before they forgot, only to realize, once they were staring at these numbers, that they would never forget them. 

That piece of paper currently sat inside of Allen Walker’s wallet.

The habit of carrying the paper around developed when he was young, after he nearly lost it in one of the many moves he and his master went through. Then, when he got older, after a particularly bad, heart-stopping moment when his master spilt wine on it and Allen thought it was ruined, he decided to get the small set of numbers tattooed on the inside of his wrist. So, that is were they sat, waiting for the day when someone asked what the numbers meant, waiting for someone to ask him why he had their eye prescription forever imprinted on the inside of his wrist. 

Allen heaved a sigh. See, when a person turned ten, they would have a dream containing a vital piece of information about their soulmate. Most people got their soulmate’s favourite food, or colour, but no, Allen had the spectacular luck of getting their eye prescription.

Walking through the front doors of the casino, he adjusted his gloves, skirting around a waitress with a smile as he dodged the plate piled high with drinks. He made a beeline for a certain booth once he saw the familiar head of curly, dark hair sitting in it. 

Sliding into the empty seat with a grin, he greeted the dark-haired man. 

“Hey Tyki, on your break?” He said, pausing when he got a good look at Tyki’s face. He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion, almost missing Tyki’s negative head shake. 

“Since when do you wear glasses?” 

A small laugh sounded from the other man, a cloud of smoke blowing out. Tyki was lounging in the leather booth, still in his dealer outfit, a half-filled glass of whisky in front of him. 

“I’m off now boy, just wanted a drink before I got changed.” A smirk was thrown Allen’s way, “Is it really so odd to see me in them?” 

At Allen’s deadpan look Tyki snorted out a laugh, adjusting the large, circular, wire-rimmed glasses so that they sat more firmly on his nose. 

“I usually wear contacts, but I think I might’ve thrown out my last pair by accident. I’m waiting for my new ones to come in, so in the meantime, I’m stuck wearing these. I don’t like wearing them though, but I was forced to. I can’t see anything without them on.” 

As Tyki was talking, one of the waitresses placed a drink on the table in front of Allen. He accepted it with a smile, knowing the woman would put it on Tyki’s tab. He was in often enough that the wait staff knew him and his drink orders. The ones that had been here longer knew to put anything he ordered under Tyki’s name, much to the older man’s dismay.

“Really?” Allen questioned. “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your prescription?” He had to ask, he had to know, just like he did with every person he talked to that wore glasses. 

Tyki gave a rueful grin. “-5.25. I’m really quite blind.” A laugh followed his statement. He adjusted them again, this time looking a tad bit self-conscious about having them perched on his nose. 

Allen nearly choked on his drink at Tyki’s answer, the tattoo on his wrist seeming to burn and itch. He gulped and forced a smile on his face, trying to ignore the urge to claw at his wrist.

“You’re right, you are blind.” 

A low chuckle came rumbling out of Tyki’s chest, a smile forming on his lips that were wrapped around the end of his cigarette. 

“Why do you ask, boy?”

Allen froze at those words.

Should he tell Tyki the truth? Or just tell him that he was curious? He had known Tyki for years, ever since he had first started coming to this casino and had seen the man sitting at the bar, deciding to strike up a conversation with him. Ever since he had challenged the man to a game of poker, only to find out he was the dealer for the poker table. Ever since he had gleefully beaten the man at his own game over and over again. Ever since Tyki would stay late after his shift, talking with Allen at the bar, bantering with him, making it so damn easy for Allen to spill his guts to the other man. 

Allen took a deep breath. His stomach was rolling, the few sips of his drink feeling like they would come back up. He clenched his hands together on top of the table, trying to hide the minute shaking. He didn’t want to lose this. This comfortable, easy friendship the two of them had. But that number, what if Tyki was....

“It’s all I know of my soulmate.” Allen kept his eyes on the table, tracing the faint cuts and markings in the lacquered surface with his eyes. “Their eye prescription, that is.” 

“Oh really?” Tyki said, his tone careful, measured. A couple heartbeats passed before Tyki spoke again.  

“Do you want to see what I know of mine?”

Allen’s eyes shot up, a protest already forming on his lips, but Tyki was already rolling up his sleeve. He angled his arm so that Allen could see the elegant, cursive writing that was scrawled across his forearm. 

Allen’s eyes widened, his breath stilling. Tyki said something to him, but Allen couldn’t hear him, the sound of his heart in his ears the only thing he could hear. His throat felt dry as he struggled to swallow, his eyes glued to the tattoo on Tyki’s arm. 

Don’t stop, keep walking.” 

“Allen!” 

Allen jumped at the sound of his name, looking up at Tyki’s worried expression. One of Tyki’s hands was resting on top of Allen’s shoulder.

“Are you okay? You weren’t answering me, and you’re really pale,” a slight pause, “well, paler than usual.” 

Allen’s eyes drifted back to the tattoo, his fingers reaching out slightly to lightly trace the words. 

“Don’t stop, keep walking,” Allen mumbled to himself. He felt Tyki’s eyes watching him, a questioning look in them. 

“My tattoo? Is that what surprised you?” 

Allen said nothing, still in shock. Tyki continued regardless, his tone carefully neutral.  

“It’s the one thing I know about my soulmate. I don’t even know the reason behind the saying, all I know is that it must mean a lot to them.” 

Allen swallowed, retracting his hand from were it sat on Tyki’s arm. 

“Mana always said it,” Allen whispered, avoiding Tyki’s eyes. “That’s all I have left of him.” 

His silent mantra, the thing that kept him going through Mana’s death, through dealing with Cross, through all the hardships he had come across in his life. He had never said it out loud, afraid that if someone else heard, it would disappear, lose its meaning. Instead, he would choose to whisper it to himself from underneath his blankets, eyes squeezed tight as he imagined Mana saying it along with him.

A soft ‘oh’ left Tyki, his arm coming to curl around Allen and bring him closer. Allen looked up confused, only to see a soft smile on Tyki’s face. 

“Let me see it,” Tyki almost whispered, as if he didn’t want to disturb this moment between them. Allen’s heart sped up, a trickle of anxiety going through him. There was nothing to be afraid of, he knew that, but there was still that nagging doubt in the back of Allen’s mind. Tyki knew, he knew everything, but still....

Allen rolled up his right sleeve, baring the delicate skin of the inside of his wrist to Tyki. Tyki smoothed his thumb over the numbers, causing shivers to run up Allen’s spine. A small chuckle left Tyki, Allen’s eyes shooting up to meet Tyki’s from where they had been watching the man trace the numbers on his wrist. 

“My, Boy, did you ever get the shitty end of that deal.” 

Allen’s eyes widened, before a small giggle left him. The anxiety left Allen’s body, his tense shoulders relaxing as he leaned into Tyki’s embrace. His giggle soon turned into full blown laughter, Tyki soon joining in. 

“Do you know what it’s been like?! Having to show that to people? Having people ask what it means, and I have to look them in the eye and tell them it’s my soulmate’s eye prescription? Don’t laugh at me!” Allen said, laughing in spite of himself. He gave Tyki a light shove with his shoulder, grabbing at Tyki’s free hand and interlocking their fingers. Allen harrumphed, pouting at Tyki. 

“Do you know what you should do, to compensate me?” Allen asked, scooting closer to Tyki on the bench. Tyki looked down at Allen, one of his eyebrows raised, a small smile on his face. 

“Oh really? What now?” Tyki questioned, shifting so he was leaning comfortably against Allen, pulling the shorter man closer. 

“Buy me another drink.” Allen said with a sly smile, his eyes shooting to his empty glass and back.

“Of course, my soulmate,” an easy grin slipping on to Tyki’s lips at the last word. A giddy giggle left Allen’s lips, his stomach fluttering at the word. He rested his head on Tyki’s shoulder, inhaling the delicious smell of Tyki’s cologne, and the more subtle, intimate smell of Tyki’s natural scent as he leaned up to place a gentle kiss on Tyki’s jaw line. Tyki gave a slight noise of surprise, tensing up slightly before relaxing against Allen, squeezing his shoulder as he threw a loving grin in Allen’s direction.