Pairing: between Kanda Yu and Lavi the Bookman Junior. (Lavi/Kanda or Kanda/Lavi, it doesn't matter)
Spoilers: Up to manga chapter 196 (most recent at the moment) I guess.
Length: ~8000 words
Disclaimer: I do not own -Man, it belongs to Katsura Hoshino with all of the lovely characters. Also I make no translations; all the cool people who are capable of it are listed in the Special Thanks section.
Note: I decided not to display any examples from the anime, because commonly anime = filler. At best I'll mention it but that's it. All 'proof' and assumptions drawn from it are either from the manga or from the novels.
Special thanks to: Ship Manifesto crew who dealt with my procrastinating, Julye and Yuuka (and people on some site who had translated it too) for the scan and translation of the fanbook page with character relationships, DGrayCHARA FC on DeviantArt for translating Reverse 2, Kaybek community on LJ for translating character profiles, and all of my buddies (especially 'my Lavi' Tossino and Darklight, who dealt with my spazzing and whining about 'wasting my life away doing something I can't possibly handle due to enormous amount of awesome the pairing posesses that can't be expressed in words' during the whole process of manifesto spawning) who kept my spirits up.
~ T h e ~ U n i v e r s e ~
D.Gray-Man is a story about a battle between Black Order's Exorcists, people chosen by mysterious substance known as Innocence, and the Millenium Earl, his demons known as Akuma plus his Noah family. The series are generally rather dark and focus on the concept of 'love and tragedy', which are essential to the creation of an Akuma, as well as rather fitting to most of the characters. Both of the sides believe they are right and the judgment is more or less left for the readers; even if the main character Allen Walker is fighting on the side of the Black Order, he was later revealed to possess some Noah powers as well as being a potential host for the '14th Noah'. Almost none of the characters can be characterized as entirely 'good' or 'bad', and that is supposedly where the series' title comes from.
~ K a n d a ~ Y u ~
Kanda is 18-years-old at the beginning of the series, and he is an Exorcist, mostly characterized by his cold and sometimes violent behavior, stoic personality and paradoxally beautiful looks. He's quite stubborn, doesn't like being with close contact with other people and has a strong view on things. This might have to do with the fact he was strictly disciplined to be a soldier from early age. He only eats soba since he was 12, and dislikes 'too many things to list'. Despite of appearing completely indifferent to everything else than the mission he's on, he has shown a certain amount of respect or willing subordination at times, though it's mostly related to someone he knows well (Tiedoll, Komui, Marie, Lenalee, at points Lavi - it's surprising how 'informal' he sometimes acts around them), though exceptions are there as well (he helps both Goz and Allen despite of saying he wouldn't, and seems to be more or less touched during the Tapp death scene, what means he's also considerate of his random Black Order subordinates as well though he definitely thinks little of most of the Finders and the majority of the Order). He dislikes being called by his first name, however certain people (namely Tiedoll and Lavi) are commonly allowed to do that. He is also a childhood acquintance of Lenalee, and she can get away with quite a lot as well without much trouble, as well as to keep him in check. General Tiedoll acts as a sort of a father figure to him, and though Kanda has displayed a dislike of that, it was stated in the fanbook that he holds respect for the man.
Kanda was revealed to have been a part of the 'Artificial Apostles' project, and to be the only surviving and successful Second Exorcist, though many questions have yet to be answered. After his body being either artificially created or modified and connected to the memories of a dead Exorcist, he doesn't remember anything from before (except for more distant memories that appear as hallucinations and doesn't belong to him as he knows it). That might be part of the reason he often seems somewhat childish or emotionally underdevelopped. He already had the 'Om' symbol tattooed over his heart when he awakened from the pond, and it's supposedly connected to the 'regeneration talismans' due to which he heals a lot faster than an average human (it was said to be starting to become defunct, however it's still effective enough to regenerate crushed brain). He also apparently is immune to the Akuma blood virus. He sees illusions of lotus flowers everywhere (at first it was just one, with time it multiplied), and also there is a lotus flower in a hourglass in his room (novel), what is assumed to be connected to his lifespan. He insists he is looking for a certain person, who was lately impied to be a ghost-like woman (possibly the 'core's important other); however who exactly is she or if 'the person' even exists at all, is yet to be answered. His mental stability might also be questioned, as in addition to hallucinations genuine lack of social skills, in a recent chapter he was shown laughing in a true madman's manner back at the experiments' times.
His Innocence is Equipment type and shaped as a sword; its name is Mugen and he appears to be quite fond of it (a common joke is that it's the only thing he shows affection to). He uses it both against Akuma and his annoying allies, also sometimes threatening people without invoking it. He was shown to be very skilled in regular swordfighting, and also managed to hold his own against a level 4 Akuma with a simple no-Innocence sword. He takes the war seriously, however has displayed an understandable dislike towards Central and at some point stated that he doesn't care about the Order despite of being loyal to it; his real loyalty is might be directed at Komui (and his General). Kanda takes orders seriously and will do practically anything to carry it out, even if it means endangering others' or, even 'less importantly', his own life (that might be the reason he's commonly sent on solitary missions). He also has killed Alma, the other 'Second Exorcists' experiment subject whom he was 'friends' with upon being pitted against him, and doesn't seem to show any remorse about it, ready to do it again if needed.
~ L a v i ~
Lavi is a Bookman-in-training, who joined the Black Order as an Exorcist along with his teacher to record the battle between the apostles and the Akuma. "Lavi" is actually a fake name, and 49th at that; completed with a fake personality that presents him as a cheerful, rather clumsy and loud guy who would constantly express the need to get laid (however does nothing about it). He is 18-years-old in the beginning of the series (he's younger than Kanda by 64 days). Appearing as a child, he seems quite idealistic about the Bookman cause and is fascinated by the possibility to know things that other don't; however over the years he had grown quite disappointed by the humanity and the wars it is constantly fighting. Just prior to joining the Order, he appears as a rather skeptical, sly and considerably cold individual (his 'original' personality that appears on the Ark during the fight with Road claims to be 'nobody's comrade', however it is later implied that his real self has actually changed to resemble Lavi more and more, and that despite of the regulations, he did become somewhat attached to his friends), but seemingly is a little touched as he sees crying Lenalee between the war victims, and eventually grows fond of the Order and the bonds he attained there, first Doug (novel) and Kanda, then presumably most of the crew he'd have a chance to interact with (like the Science division), and later Allen as well. Even though he tries to express adoration to most women he runs into, he always one or another way fails in it (as for Lenalee, to her he's an invisible man), and ends up just making perverted jokes that make him seem bi.
It was shown that Bookman and Lavi actually care for each other despite of the 'no attachments' mantra they keep repeating, and despite of all the physical violence the old man pulls on "Lavi" (mostly as a part of the act), the boy seem to consider Bookman as a sort of 'family'. Even though his impartialness waver a bit throughout the series as he grows to actually care about his friends, his resolve to become the next Bookman appears to remain strong. His covered eye is said to be 'the reason he was chosen as the Bookman's heir' (novel), however its secret hasn't been uncovered yet. It is not known whether or not Lavi knows of Kanda's backstory as technically the files are reachable for Bookmen, but there was never any implication that would prove he knows - what might lead to more speculation.
His Innocence is a small metal hammer that changes size and length and can also call out a bunch of seals that control different elements, you know, magic and stuff. The hammer is officially called Tessei, however Lavi commonly refers to it as 'Odzuchi Kodzuchi' (big-small hammer) as he likes that better for whatever reasons. He can also fly on it. As a Bookman's pupil, he can't get too close to his Innocence, as that might prove to be troublesome; therefore despite of having a quite unique Innocence he isn't very strong of an Exorcist as he holds back on improving. However, as we could see on the Ark, his hand-to-hand combat abilities are rather impressive as he could break concrete with his bare fist; that would imply he's stronger (or at least could become so) than he lets to show.
~ L a v i Y u / Y u L a v i ~
Canon and its interpretations
First of all, Lavi and Kanda actually share some similarities. And I don't only mean that they're close in age and height (Kanda older by 64 days, Lavi taller by 2cms), though that is true as well; there is the metaphorical aspect of it. Despite of the fact that at the first glance they seem like fire and ice, there's more to it than that; after all we have seen Kanda display a certain amount of care to particular people (his team, Lenalee, Komui..), and we know that Lavi's personality is more or less a fake one (even though he grew attached to his friends for real eventually, as we see in Road's dream world). In fact, "Lavi" seems to resemble the characters of Daisya and Alma a little bit, both of which were Kanda's 'friends' (we get to see first resemblence of emotion on Kanda after one's death and another seems to be the first friend he ever made), so it's safe to bet that despite of what he says, Kanda actually gets along with this type of people (as well as surprisingly holding respect for the caring ones aka Lenalee, Tiedoll and Komui, so the fanbook says). However, Bookman Junior himself, despite of getting more and more like "Lavi", also bears some similarities to Kanda, including the apparent avoiding of actual human contact or attachments and a certain level of cold-heartedness, as Kanda's affinity was ranked 1 in the fanbook while Lavi isn't allowed to have attachments at all. (Let's also not forget Lavi attacking a little girl in the novel to find out if she's not an Akuma - that's a total Kanda move, when you look at it.)
Also, in fact they have both killed their best friend in the past under ungrateful circumstances; Yu killed Alma once he went mad and tried to kill everyone, and Lavi killed Doug once he turned into an Akuma. That's yet another one of the many parallels between them, and a big one at that.
They both seem to be somewhat hiding their true nature, while their supposed emotionlessness is slowly fading as they express more and more affinity throughout the series, ending up to be not quite as uncaring as they'd like to be. Both of their pasts are rather shady despite of the author's promises for it to be uncovered, and both apparently had some 'inhuman' training or modifying (Lavi - training to become a Bookman, Kanda - the Second Exorcist experiments). There were also signs that neither Kanda nor Lavi are (or consider themselves) completely 'human', at least metaphorically-wise. Kanda's little monologue after the Skin fight (as well as asking Edward where humans come from) and Lavi's statement about humans being stupid before joining the Order imply that they see 'humanity' as something they don't belong to, and possibly something lower (of course that might as well be a result of brainwashing) - and while every Exorcist might feel stronger than 'humans', these two take it to the whole new level at being expressionate about it. Also we've seen both of them laughing at death's face - the famous Kanda's psycho smile turns out to have visited Lavi's face at a similar moment as well (in the VIZ translation, both of theirs 'last' word was the same swearword, though of course that can't be taken for granted as those translations fuck a lot of stuff up). It appears they do share some similar features mentally.
Of course, they also bear plenty of differences, including the already mentioned polar opposite of their chosen appearances - which, however, seems to be mostly fake. There are quite apparent differences too, however they seem to make up for each other most of the time. For example, their education level (Lavi - 5/5, Kanda - 2/5; also in the smart-dumb ranking of the main-4 Kanda got the honorable last place while Lavi was second), yet Lavi gets the short end of the stick at willpower department (3/5 against 5/5). While Kanda can be somewhat stupidly rash, Lavi is smart and calculating; at the same time, where Lavi relies mostly on knowledge, Kanda has some pretty impressive instincts for battle. Also, Lavi's attacks are easier to wield from a distance, while Kanda is more effective in close combat, resulting in them making quite a capable team covering all fields. All in all, they both could pretty well cancel out each other's faults or save each other's ass in different situations.
A nice example was set during the Level 4 Invasion, when they both go to protect Komui...without their weapons. (Bookmen normally don't seek danger, and I'm willing to bet that what actually made Lavi go there with a flagpole and do his duty was Kanda's example - also it's quite convenient that he, not being immune to the virus, survived that; maybe Kanda actually helped? - but let's drop the too-far interpretations for now.) Let's just mention that they seem quite contented of their performance (no surprise there!) after it's over, and the "Take that."/"You said it" mini-coversation happens, which just shows that in fact Kanda can say something in agreement and in a friendly manner, what is quite uncommon of him in no matter how grave of situations. Lavi being special, maybe? After all, in the fanbook relations page they are listed as "Friends?", what already says a lot.
(Also, they actually have some official art together, my favorite from half-official stuff is a page from 2010 DGM calendar. Look, Kanda's actually smiling!)
And there also is a less serious point, but a point nonetheless; Gemini and Leo are apparently considered the perfect matchup. And that's exactly who they are, since even technically both of their birthdays are questionable, it was stated as canon. Weird little sites talk about Kanda's aesthetic appeal and sharp tongue and Lavi's adaptability and complimenting and WAT?.. The stars approve!
With a bit more of analysis, we can get another example, which is, once again, their personalities. While Kanda is a definite routine man - eating the same food three times a day for six years, for the love of god! That really shows how much one loves known things. - and displays a typical soldier mentality, Lavi constantly travels around, changing himself as easily as the scenery and clothes he wears, but what he lacks is stability. Lavi's color scale is quite wide actually; you could compare him to a colorful but empty gypsy clothing, and Kanda to a worn-off, reliable one. When in a team, they can once again rely on each other for what they themselves don't possess. That's where complimenting comes in hand. To put it short, together they are the perfect combination of brains and brawns, and possibly unrivaled in that in the whole series. (Unless you count Bookman/Sokaro... and I hope not.)
3. Interaction in the series.
And now comes the best part, which proves further that Lavi and Kanda are in fact buddies in the canon universe. Not that it really needs much proof, given the fanbook and all, but yeah.
Point is, we don't really see them interacting onscreen all that much, but there are constant implications that they do in fact do it behind the scenes, not to mention that the rare occasions of them actually sharing panels display a certain level of intimacy that only a genuine bond can cause. They act a little differently around each other, especially when there's nobody to put up a fake scene for, and it reminds of the way they treat people who are officially considered close to them - Tiedoll, Lenalee and Komui for Kanda, Bookman and possibly Allen for Lavi. That means they actually feel comfortable around each other, and seems to even let down their fake facades, one of coldness and one of annoyingness, down. Of course, spending few years fighting together, being of the same age, etc, all of that adds to it. Let's now look more into it.
The first hint we get is actually with only one of them onscreen, and that is soon after Lavi gets first introduced. He's bonding with Allen and casually mentions what he's heard from "Yu" who is, as it turns out, the same Kanda that Allen hopes he'll never have to work with again. Now, Kanda and Lavi have clearly had an actual casual conversation about life between those two missions, and possibly on another one as it doesn't look like they've made it back to the HQ. Of course, one might try to argue that it was only a couple of sentences, but seeing the other cases, it appears it had to be in fact a normal talk, at least by Kanda standards, also Lavi seems to think of it as a completely normal thing too.
First time we see them in the same place, a huge battle is going on in Edo. Even though they manage to strike a small mutual conversation in the middle of the battle, it's not their primary concern at the moment. Kanda now actually displays quite a lot of trust towards Lavi as he hands Lenalee, the person he undoubtedly cares tons about, over for him to hold. (Shall I mention that Allen and Lenalee imply they'd use Innocence if Lavi ever got near her in a similar way Link accidentally did without knowing she's sleeping in his bed next to Walker? No, nobody else trusts the redhead that much.) Also, Kanda actually addresses him by name instead of some mockery and asks him about the enemy, what might hint to him being comfortable talking to the latter, not to mention showing a certain level of respect to his abilities (at least to notice things) unlike most of everyone else in the series (Bookman often sees him as a brat, Allen calls him a kid despite of being younger, and Lenalee doesn't even notice him as she wakes up in Edo). All in all, their friendship is like a hidden form of respect as well.
Afterwards, we see actually the only case in the whole series where Kanda does get irritated about Lavi calling him "Yu" (yet the name is used quite a LOT of times), and it looks like he does it only because he doesn't have what else to say. Generally, Lavi seems to be on the level of General Tiedoll in being tolerated, and we actually see him not reacting in any bad way as Lavi calls him "Yu-chan", what would imply he doesn't really mind at all. Nor did he really mind Alma doing that either, so apparently he doesn't have that much of a problem with familiar idiots who pester him wanting to be friends.
In Road's dream world, we actually see Kanda between Lavi's most important people as he is one of the three that "kill" him there, and that is already something given Kanda isn't someone easy to be friends with, not to mention his homicidal tendencies. Yet, given the dream's setting, it is implied that Kanda actually hurting him - along with Lenalee and Krory who aren't quite as murderous and easily annoyed, to say the least - is like, the most shocking thing possible for Lavi. And what does it say? That Kanda, despite of his usual threats, doesn't carry them out on the redhead, unlike on other people as we have witnessed in the manga. What, in return, means that Lavi isn't actually as suicidal as it might seem to others, given he's commonly pestering the homicidal swordsman for fun. In fact, that points that they are both aware they wouldn't hurt nor fight each other seriously and know the boundaries they can push.
Later on, as the Ark is recreated, Lavi's first thought about their other comrades that might have survived as well includes Yu. He actually tries calling out for him (first) while chanting a nickname, only to be greeted in the same (including nickname) way by Kanda. And, of course, upon that, Lavi looks practically ready to hug him, and receives a secretly-good-to-see-you-too "che" before, once again, engaging in a completely normal conversation with no additional insults. Afterwards we get a bit of crack, unofficially known in the fandom as "Look, Kanda is undressing Lavi...and not letting go!", however this far unique in that we actually get to see a bit of Lavi's torso. This here of course is pure instinctive-in-danger coincidence, although we could insist that Kanda purposely made a grab for the redhead because he trusts him, what we already elaborated on, just for the hell of it.
The next time we see them more or less properly interacting, is the battle against the level 4, in which they both engage without their weapons. As already mentioned above, it's not very common of Lavi to do something this rash, so it might be Kanda's contagious example, what leaves a nice possibility of him actually adoring the latter's dedication to the war, something he himself is not allowed to have. They instinctively stand back to back to protect Komui, depending on each other in the battle, and Kanda offers Lavi to bail out while he still can but the latter declines, obviously wanting to do this. Surprisingly enough, they both seem fine afterwards, what probably points towards very nice teamwork skills. Lavi is a little more messed up though, and hearing Kanda's declaration about just doing his job, in his daze he insists that "Yu is so manly". Yes, that definitely sounds like adoration or at the very least acknowledgment, so here, given the before mentioned Kanda's acknowledgement of Lavi, we can with no hesitation state that it is positively and completely mutual. And, of course, then we have them having a tiny piece of conversation, and if it happened in a fic, Kanda saying "You said it" would probably be pointed out as OOC, yet it is exactly what he says in the manga. They can both be serious or talkative around each other, possibly not needing to pretend as much as around others, as with their views being similar at certain important points (being not naive about war, putting down humanity, etc), they very likely can understand each other better than other people around. So yes, these two are definitely on their own plane of communication, compared to the others.
In the half-crack-half-drama Zombie arc, we once again see the onscreen proof of their beyond-the-screen bonding, as they are both affected by the same chibification potion so obviously were in the same place at the same time when it happened. The Order was being moved, so that would mean they actually chose to work nearby each other - once again an obvious buddy radar catch, as they either enjoy conversations with each other or simply being in one another's company. We see them both fuming at the scientists, then later - carrying boxes once again with no bickering, and even teaming up to fight the zombies, reading each other's actions without a word apparently. And yet another cracky moment of what just might be "jealous physical violence" is when Kanda smacks Lavi for calling meowing Lenalee cute. Sure, everyone in the series has the hots for her, but that's rather extreme in that case. Go figure.
Finally, there are the Reverse novels, that are also considered as a part of canon, and yes, Lavi and Kanda do have some interaction there too, namely in the second novel's third chapter, "Black Order's Reunion Party". Here we actually get to see drunk Kanda in canon, and despite of his body's abilities, he obviously doesn't have much tolerance at all and appears to be the whiny type of drunk (back to the childhood?). What is even more interesting though, is his reaction to Lavi. While he listens to Lenalee just like when he's sober and gets pissed off by Allen alike, what means he's perfectly genuine with both of these attitudes, he is strangely more tolerant of Lavi's antics, such as patting him, calling him by his first name, basically telling him to cool the fuck off and even spiking his food, all to which he doesn't even show any actual anger and just.. continues complaining about things to him. What would mean he publicly acts like more of a jerk to the latter than he actually is, what once again points the threats addressed to the redhead being fake and them (secretly?) being friends. Also, apparently Kanda sits next to Lavi at the table by himself - another unexpected treat, and finally, when Kanda finally blacks out, Lavi is the first one to check on him, and it seems it's not the first time he sees the other in such a situation. So? They CLEARLY get along. Very well. Especially knowing that it is, in fact, Kanda. There, you have it.
I might also briefly mention a couple of anime-only moments, such as the Leaf of Revival arc that also had some nice teamwork and physical closeness, and sneaking around the Order to see how the Ark gate looks like, ending up being taken care by Matron. These episodes might have been conducted in order to compensate the lack of novels animation - it gives out a similar friendshippy feel, though maybe not quite the same. But even without paying any attention to anime, we see more than plenty of evidence, and all of it, undoubtedly, points one way: Lavi and Kanda are in fact (best) buddies in the canon universe.
(aka my interpretation of the canon subtext)
First of all, a little rant. I hate how people try to separate this pairing into 'strictly Lavi/Kanda' or 'strictly Kanda/Lavi'. It is THE SAME damn pairing. Lovers in a normal, healthy relationship (of which LaviYu is a most perfect example in these series) switch, depending on their mood, what they decide or simply how it turns out on its own, and people definitely don't say things like 'ok I'll be top/bottom' during sex, either. All of the seme/uke stereotypes are silly and unnecessary, especially when people try to bend actual characters' personalities to fit it. That is a big no-no. I commonly see this in other fandoms, however I have witnessed some cases in LaviYu as well, and it annoyed me a bit. Neither of them is some snivelling girly thing, not by far. Fiction like that hurts to read. Both Lavi and Kanda know what they want, both won't let anyone to step on them, and they are both perfectly capable to work another in the way they please. The level of possible equality is one of the things I like about this pairing, and therefore this manifesto is for a relationship of two people, without any annoying labelling.
Now then, as we just saw in the previous part of the manifesto, Lavi and Kanda are friends in canon setting, and that is exactly what makes this ship appealing - at least to me, that is. Since gay couples are very rarely canon in manga (actually, even some straight couples remain as a product of fanbase forever, though those still have base most often), the fandom commonly has to emphasize some things; the main thing is - some fandoms do that more than the others, and those who do less, are generally more plausible and doesn't badly affect the characters. That is also why I came to this ship in particular. LaviYu (or YuLavi) is not a forced pairing; they do share a certain level of intimacy, be it friendship or more, and so even if they have to be pushed together a bit closer by the fandom, it can be done with no harm to their actual personalities, and that is the main sign to tell if a pairing works in my opinion.
1. Matching and equality.
As already mentioned in the 'Alikeness' and 'Complimenting' parts, Lavi and Kanda share some similarities and some differences that never get in the way of them getting along. Now, why is it so important for a pairing? Naturally, so that it can display a nice, equal relationship. Kanda is stubborn, Lavi is tricky - either of them can find a way to work the other the way he wants. That is exactly why this pairing provides realistic equality and, if we talk about sex, real possibility for switching whenever. (This is also supported by their physical features and age similarity - hello, their porn is totally legal. Back to the actual relationship, such similarities also provide similar points of view, what once again serves as a plus to the relationship.)
With them both supposedly not being (completely) human, they in fact can share an even deeper understanding. They can treat each other realistically and without pretending to be someone else, since while they try to hide their true nature from others, they don't have to do so with each other as they share the same secret. Lavi can be Lavi (or, more particularly, Bookman Junior), and Kanda can be Kanda, and they both are fine with that and don't have to ask any questions. Also, it was implied that a new lotus flower appears in Kanda's vision every time he gets killed; in a sense, the flowers symbolize his lives. While we might also say that the 49 different names Lavi bears memories of symbolizes his lives as well, even if those aren't marked apart by death. That's yet another possible parallel between their worlds.
Both Lavi and Kanda are rather blunt, therefore, in addition to everything said before, they shouldn't have much trouble sorting out trouble in the relationship. Lavi likes to joke around and tends to express his of-the-moment opinion even when it might endanger his health; Kanda doesn't bother to smooth out his words and will say what he thinks as well - and that also fits Lavi when he doesn't have his cheery mask on. Strangely, this doesn't seem to result in many verbal battles between them in the canon what once again would imply they agree on most things, and if it did, they would no doubt sort it out pretty quickly as neither is likely to beat around the bush for too long.
Of course, we might also point out that both Lavi and Kanda are messed up. We've seen mindraped Lavi attacking his comrades, right now we're seeing rageblinded Kanda about to do the same. Psycho, yes, maybe to different extents, but still. Let's see more: Lavi can't get attached nor fall in love, yet he seems to be doing that. He's a watcher who doesn't stay in the same place nor keep the same name, easily betraying what needs to be. Kanda is focused on finding someone who might not even exist (anymore) and yet fights recklessly bringing death closer to himself. He worships routine and loyalty to the extreme. They both display surprising maturity and unexpected childishness at points, all being the result of what they had gone through. And here comes the pretty of the fandom; they find what they need in each other. Lavi sees the stability he can not achieve due to his role in Kanda, and Kanda sees colors, the ability to connect joy and seriousness in Lavi. Lavi can learn that not everything in life is a lie; Kanda can learn that optimism pays off even for guys just as indifferent to the world as him, and that what's left of his life could give him happiness, instead of simply being wasted. They are both unfortunate in rather similar ways, it's almost certain they could help each other - in fact, we more or less see them opening to each other despite of supposedly being distant towards everyone. All in all, with this, LaviKanda would be one of the most sweet pairings if it happened, let it be offscreen, whatever. Well, 'sweet' being the word to describe how both characters would find what they need and lack in it, even if they wouldn't be exactly nice to each other as that's just not who they are. But even with them both being of rather rough nature, they still respect each other and balance each other out perfectly.
Finally, there's growth. Like already mentioned before, it's very possible that it was Kanda who inspired Lavi to hold out against the level 4, and that points to them already looking up to each other. Bookmen aren't courageous and firstly save their own skin, yet Lavi is becoming more and more trustworthy than one should be. And, apparently, Kanda has contributed to that. In the meantime, Kanda himself seems to be forming new good memories considering the name "Yu" as he doesn't seem to mind it most of the time and that opens the possibility of them progressing further than trusting each other's Innocence-less backs in the middle of a battle and talking about mostly anything at all. And that, of course, is good for both of them.
Another plausible fact is that their interactions can be both serious and really hilarious - they do have actual friendly interaction in canon that is the ultimate breeding ground for all sorts of cracky situations. Ultimately, neither of them is much of a main main character (Kanda should be, but disappears from plot for ages; Lavi just isn't) despite of being in the main four; they can actually be fitted in the stereotypical 'sidekicks' section given the sum of their screentime and importance to the story, and while the main hero gets the girl, this amusing duo is just left on its own - while it perfectly makes sense for the fandom, too. They're the two that fall in like two pieces of a puzzle, and that's not an uncommon thing at all.
In fandom, Lavi is commonly portrayed as having some sort of knowledge about sexual intercourse; whether it's from only books or, like some people believe, actual practice (though I personally do think that if he has any, it's from the books. Everyone in D.Gray-Man is a virgin, except Cross and Suman. And maybe Earl or Bookman, OH DEAR GOD.). Kanda doesn't strike most as someone who'd have any idea about it; considering The Talk that got interrupted might have been his only one and he doesn't remember too much from the memories put in him, that's not too surprising. At the same time, Kanda has what it takes to be a vicious despot and run things just the way HE wants it. In the end it's more or less force against knowledge, and that can really go either way, so once again we see equal chances of dominance and just general leading, and that is what makes this pairing so intriguing.
To put it short, Lavi seems to have the highest chances next to Lenalee to actually survive continuously living with Kanda, and, of course, the credit for the fact goes to both of them. All in all, they seem to match just perfectly and the canon sets it up for the excellent display of an equal relationship.
2. Friends with benefits.
That is another fandom aspect, and it makes perfect sense where Lavi and Kanda are concerned.
While full-out romantic relationship is something all fans love the most, there are also other forms of said thing that are just as good. And one of them is what I''m going to talk about right now; being "friends with benefits", or, like one fan put it some time, "fuckbuddies". Now, even though it's not as mushy and adorable as one might prefer, it is actually perfect for the setting. In D.Gray-Man times and universe, especially in the middle of a religious organization, you can get tortured if not killed simply if it comes out that you're homosexual, I'm not even talking about anything more obvious - but that doesn't mean there weren't any. Simply, they had to keep their profile as low as possible. Friends with benefits is probably the most realistic approach for a yaoi pairing in a setting like this, and guess what? Once again, Lavi and Kanda fit with it perfectly.
They're friends, and rather good friends at that - at least, that's what others would be allowed to see. If they were in a relationship, they would automatically have to hide it - both because Lavi's work prohibits him from forming bonds (though just satisfying needs should be fine), and because I doubt Kanda would ever allow anyone to demonstrate that kind of familiarity on him in public - and, of course, there's also the place and the setting they're in, which isn't exactly gay-friendly. And... I think they both might be completely fine with that.
Neither of them seems too conservative or sentimental, nor would they probably want to boast about whatever they have going on. They're friends, and friends help each other out, don't they? Even if it's a sexual matter. It's just sex, after all, it doesn't have to change anything else. Such approach would definitely help Lavi not get his ass banished from the Order by Bookman, and Kanda would most likely like the fact that being in a relationship doesn't make him be sweet or in any other way different from what he is. Aside from bed, they would treat each other as if nothing's between them - and in fact, such behavior is very likely from them even if they don't have to hide and are in perfectly deep and full love with each other, because the policy of being genuine seems to be running between them.
So yes, for this particular duo, it makes perfect sense to be sometimes-arguing best friends and at the same time have yet another shared secret among the others they have the possibility of having. They once again wouldn't need to pretend and just be themselves, and the other would surely appreciate that because neither of them seems too over-the-head romantic and definitely not the type to tell anyone who doesn't ask, even in a different setting. Differently from the other match-ups, I can see them getting to the sex stage considerably soon just because they just don't think it's a big deal, and then possibly breaking up and getting together again numerous times, or just seeing the fuck-buddyness as something rather normal and not worth mentioning. Of course, that aside, they both have tempers, I can definitely see Kanda tossing chairs and dishes and Lavi dodging it and then later them making up in bed. Point is, they don't really argue much, so if they did have one more shared secret, it would be practically unnoticeable and therefore, well, just possible.
So, I guess, this sums up the not very romantic but rather realistic for the setting approach.
3. Love and tragedy.
But of course, there are also wide fields for potential romance in this pairing. Mostly it circles around everything already mentioned - how they respect and can depend on each other, how they can understand each other without speaking, how they can balance out and help each other, and laugh or angst at the same things. It's rather sweet, isn't it? And if there is some real love added to the mix, it's even more beautiful. Even romantic.
And-- there's a load of different possibilities. For example, let's take the fact that Kanda loves gardening (so supposedly flowers as well), their nicknames for each other, Lavi's cheerful nonsense and Kanda's nearly soft expressions, and stuff it all into a summer picnic in the forest? Lovely? Definitely. Almost tooth-achingly so. At the same time, you may choose to pick at their coldness and explore the possibilities of, well, insanity - and you will get a completely different picture, that's passionate and violent yet just as capturing. And there's quite a great of different scenarios - you get the picture.
Now, both Lavi and Kanda have a lot of potential for the love aspect - sacrifice of things important to them, a certain level of heroism, caring despite of swearing not to, displaying feelings through actions rather than words because words just can't say it sometimes - especially fitting for Kanda, that is - all of that also falls in with this pairing quite perfectly. Here it has the potential to be a true, deep, meaningful feeling, that doesn't have to be expressed but still exists, stronger than anything - reaching the point of obsession has also been displayed in some works of fiction, I believe, and it seemed just as right as the generally sweet thing. They are both capable of protecting whatever is important to him, as well as forgiving each other's faults - after all, they share so many of them.
And they can definitely find what they lack in such love. Lavi is a traveler, never staying in the same place, never keeping the same name, he'd definitely could use some sense of stability that he could find in Kanda, who, despite of having issues, is very fond of routine and order. At the same time, Kanda would benefit from both Lavi's happy personality (because he's still too young to be all-work and no-play!) and Junior's calm mind (I don't have to explain this one right? Kanda seems to have something childish in his character (no wonder), and he definitely needs to learn to value his life more.). They already get along and they show some kind of respect towards each other; they fight well together what points to a conclusion that they can understand each other without words, what is really important.
This pairing is capable of displaying very natural, real and genuine love despite of both guys being absolutely messed up, so it seems.
And finally there's the other side of this aspect, one that, for some reason, many fans seem to especially enjoy; the potential of angst and tragedy. In fact, it might, though not necessarily, come from the possibility of deep and unconditional love presented above.
Once again, the plains are all open for this one: Bookman has Lavi on a short leash and is in charge of making them leave whenever he chooses - possibly when he sees his student is forming too strong of an attachment, or simply "when the time comes". Being a Bookman is Lavi's life dream; it's very unlikely he'd consider giving it up for any love interest - yet he'd possibly feel torn while leaving anyway, as it was already displayed he's starting to actually form bonds despite of the restrictions. At the same time, Kanda's life is draining away fast, and - if we don't take into account the possibility of the series saving him with some sort of plot due to him being one of the main characters - he's the one most likely to die rather soon, nobody knows when. Fighting Akuma seems to be all he's ever known, so if he can't do that anymore for whatever reason, it would also be a hit probably as bad as death to him. And of course, both of those possibilities can also be combined, creating the ultimate "oh sadness" monster, possibly even scarier than the other popular angst plots, most of which include unrequited love from one or another side, a single or double death, abuse, estrangement and other evil things.
Yet another quite famous depressing plot actually represents the series' ending; Kanda being the one who dies (though really, would Hoshino do that?), and Lavi having taken over his old man, narrating the closure of the story from a distance, no longer entwined with the fates of the people who were once his friends (and possibly a lover, but that's another take on it). And these are only a few - the potential is once again endless, and there can be so many things drawn from it.
To sum this up, LaviYu has a shocking potential for both happy and tragedy-like love, what connects them quite ideally to the series of D.Gray-Man itself. It focuses strongly on these two aspects, exploring all sorts of love (including siblings, friends, ...), not having any clear black or white in it - almost all of the characters in it seem "gray", not excluding Lavi and Kanda, either. The pairing fits in with the story very well and is perfectly capable of carrying through the same mood - love, tragedy, horror and hilarious moments, apparently - and that is just one of the uncountable reasons that make it pleasing and definitely worth looking into.
My favorite things about the pairing and how I got into it.
Favorite things? Mostly everything I already said, really. Their both canon and fanon interactions, their characters, all of the parallels and possibilities. The fact they seem to understand each other without words and don't have to be any different from canon to be hiding anything else. Their messed-up-ness. Even the aesthetic appeal, if you may. Generally, I just love everything about them to bits!
First, they are both my favorite characters. They're almost of the same age, what is VERY important to me in a pairing. They do seem to respect each other - even Kanda seems to have consideration for Lavi, what is strange - and more or less treat each other at least as friends, what is also very important to me. I normally don't go for a pairing that doesn't have a weeny little bit of canon basis at all.
I love the few interactions we've seen of them; it is pretty clear that they talk to each other - oh look, Kanda actually talks to someone, and pretty normally! - both out of the missions and during it; Kanda seems to even go slightly OOC in these times and we also know Lavi does find him one of his closest people what could be ununderstandable to some. There isn't a lot of people Kanda respects, nor there's a lot of people that Lavi actually connects to. And yet here they are, with a mutual bond of trust. They compliment each other nicely, being different and yet getting along. And hey, they look hot together too.
Not to mention the nicknames... Just what kind of friends would call each other a -chan or a rabbit? Just very, very, very close ones. The fact that they are close make the pairing all more sensible - and I love that. Who knows, maybe there is a good reason we haven't seen the two of them on a mission - when it's clear they had some? :D
As for my history of shipping LaviYu.. it isn't too much of a story, really. Although the interesting thing that could be mentioned is, I actually got presented to it before I ever got into D.Gray-Man. There was Lavi, Kanda and Allen in some multi-fandom roleplay, and there was continuous subtext going between the two; I got intrigued since they reminded me of Ren and Horohoro, my then-most pairing obsession, so I decided I should check the series out. Well, after doing so, I realized there wasn't as much resemblance as I originally thought, but I was already in love with the series - and, (not) strangely enough, it only strengthened my love of Lavi and Kanda, and by the time I was up to date with the manga (like always, I started with the anime), it grew into a full-fledged ship and, apparently, remained so until now. :)
Why should the reader follow this pairing.
Well, of course, it's up for everyone to decide whether they like a pairing or not, and what pairing is that. But, also of course, I'd really like to recommend LaviYu if you're new to D.Gray-Man or just looking for a new fandom, and for a number of reasons; most notably, for the tiny but existent support in the series and the variety of the pairing itself - almost everyone can find something to their taste in it, whether it's romance, tragedy, violence, madness, caring, fluff, crack, subtext, muffins, porn, quarreling, respect, understanding, angst or just about anything else. Even if you just want two hot guys together, there's still no reason to look any further~ So, if it doesn't go against your liking from the core, I genuinely say - go for it!
~ F a n d o m ~ G u i d e ~
1. Communities and such. There's a few of those so I'll only name the most recently active ones here.
Air and Deep Forests: RabiYuu Fanlisting
RabiYuu community on LiveJournal
LaviYu/KandaLavi group and subforum on D.Gray-Divinity.net
I-LavYu fanclub on DA
LabuYou-LaviYu group on DA
Lavi x Kanda group on DA
Lotus and Apples: LaviYu forum on FFnet
2. Fanfiction. We've got a lovely bunch of great writers, if I do say so myself, and the number of good fics is all the greater. I'm only going to mention a few that I can recall at the moment (but there sure are more); if you find yourself growing fond of the pairing, just look around and you'll find something.
Recommendations (that basically have everything I would have liked to list below):
Fanfiction recommendation list by fantasia0829
Kinkmeme recommendation list by fantasia0829
FFnet fiction communities:
Eternal Lotus of Heaven and Earth
The Rabbit and the Samurai
"Environmentally Friendly", "On High", "Night's Out", ... by mugen_edamame / hearmelaugh
"Forbidden Doors", "Mea Culpa", ... by saxon_jesus
"Inside Out", "Caught Up", ... by Kuro
"Le Monde Noir" by Momosportif
"Illusion of Truth" and "Curse of a Blessing" by Miko no da
"Control" by Dhampir72
"Vertigo on Holiday Road", "Capslock", "The Art of a Novel", ... by smokingace
"Have and Hold", "Out of Order", "It's the last thing..." by tami3
"You Can't Fool Me", "You Have Yourself To Blame" by Tossino
"Subliminal Sentiments" by ShallowShadows
"Schadenfreude Slip" by Swagga'
"Winter Rabbit" by Esprit de L'eau
"Butterfly Kisses" by Annette Aoi
"Wanderlust" (friendship) by Pup_Ashbless
"Any Colour You Like", "Crystal Ship", "Grind" by me /full of myself
...AND MANY, MANY MORE.
3. Fanart. Ah, there might not be a whole bunch of great art, but once you find some you know it's worth it! Here is some of my favorite pieces and sites; I definitely missed some so I hope you stumble upon them eventually:
LaviYu on Tegaki
Gallery ? - Index
Plum Tea Maniac
some LaviYu from Pixiv
Kiss? by Creature13
Rabi x Kanda by exwhy
The Call, Make A Wish and Lavender by IrbisN
Good Morning and Flying High by Sesshomarus4never
Rabi x Kanda by twinklee
Kanda:Lavi by c93dj06
Parallels by Daniel de Chaos
i46.tinypic.com/29o4j78.png, i47.tinypic.com/zkpgk1.png and i185.photobucket.com/albums/x75/ShadowOf
And um um um I'm sorry IDK for sure the authors of these, if you know, please tell me and I'll add it. ;__;
AND MANY, MANY MORE.
There is really too many awesome stuff out there for me to be able to present at least a small part of it. You'll have to trust me on saying it's definitely worth looking for! <3
I hope this manifesto was of some enjoyment or help for you, and that it will help to increase your love or at least grow your tolerance for the pairing. :) I tried my best and to put in as much as I could - of course, this is all my opinion, so if some fans can't agree with something I've said, I apologize and hope it doesn't ruin the tiny feel of accomplishment for having this done.