Chapter 1: Discovery and Accomplishments
"Suguro, Kamiki, Okumura, please stay after class."
Rin huffed. Was Yukio really going to chew him out for his poor grades again? He had been studying so hard since the Gehenna Gate fiasco.
'But wait' he thought, straightening up, 'If he's chewing me out for my grades, why are the two best students staying as well?'
After a moment of pondering, it hit him.
'Aw, no! Not tutoring!' He whined to himself.
At his desk at the front, Yukio glanced up at him, a confused look on his face. Their eyes locked.
Yukio snapped back to reality as Rin jumped, both a little startled. Rin's mind was in a panic.
'What was that?!' He yelled to himself. 'Was he in my head?! I could feel him, his emotions, his aura, just like with Kuro!'
Yukio gathered himself while dispelling Suguro's worries. Ryuuji didn't like the way his sensei had spaced out. It freaked him out.
"Sorry about that, but now that the classroom is empty, let's get started."
Three pairs of curious eyes waited patiently.
Well, at least two were patient.
"What was that, Yukio?!" Rin yelled, hands slammed against his desk for emphasis.
Yukio's face was impassive as he answered, "They aren't here to tutor you."
Rin stared at him in shock.
Yukio sighed, rubbing his temple before continuing.
"We'll figure out what that was later, okay?" Rin reluctantly nodded, so he continued. "You three are here because you are the top of the class."
Three pairs of eyes landed on Rin, who had let out a laugh.
"That's really funny, Yukio. Me? Top of the class?"
Suguro and Kamiki nodding in agreement before looking to Yukio, their expressions mirroring Rin's sentiment.
"I know what you're thinking, but his field scores are way above everyone else's."
Suguro turned red as he fumed.
"That's just because he's half-demon! How are we supposed to compete physically with that?! It's not like his other grades are any good!"
Yukio paused to readjust his glasses. Rin was pretty sure it was just for dramatic effect.
"Actually, his other scores are only slightly below yours."
Now everyone was really confused.
"WHAT?!?! How did that punk manage that?!?!" Suguro was in shock.
Yukio smiled before replying, "After the Gehenna Gate incident last month, Rin has drastically increased his study time, and he has put in more effort than I've ever seen him use to pull his grades up. If anything, figuring out he was dyslexic and adjusting his studying accordingly has made all the difference."
Rin just gaped as Yukio smiled at him. Rin remembered when he had mentioned moving letters and Yukio had an epiphany. The result was special books that were easier to read because of the font. After that, he had really gone all out studying.
'What is this? Is he ... proud of me?'
He could see the pride his brother felt as he smiled down at him from his desk, before Suguro clapped him on the back, breaking him from his thoughts.
"Well done, I guess." Suguro grumbled.
Rin was going to reply with some witty comment, but Yukio spoke before he had the chance.
"As it stands, all three of your grades are tied."
At this point, Kamiki spoke up.
"I thought Okumura was below Suguro?"
Yukio nodded. "Academically, yes. However, his field scores are much higher than yours or Suguro's. Compiling your scores in every subject, you are all tied." Kamiki huffed and Suguro frowned, but Rin just grinned. "You all have also reached the point that you will start accompanying licensed exorcists on real field work."
"YES!!" Rin and Suguro shouted in tandem. Kamiki just smirked, tossing her nose in the air.
Yukio smiled before explaining, "Your first mission will be with me. Be here at 4:00 tomorrow, and we will begin. Come prepared for a mission."
With that, Yukio grabbed his bag and headed out the door, motioning Rin to follow him. With a giddy skip in his step, Rin grabbed his own book bag before trotting after his brother. The walk to their dorm was full of Rin's chatter, but Yukio didn't mind. He knew his brother was super psyched.
When they got back to the dorm, Rin announced that they were celebrating before ducking into the kitchen. Yukio merely smiled as he picked his twin's bag up off the floor and carried it to their room, depositing Rin's bag as well as his own, before heading back downstairs. Even before he reached the cafeteria, he could smell the sweet aromas of Rin's cooking.
'It smells so good!'
Yukio jumped, turning to the source of the voice in his head to see Kuro. The cat blinked.
'Wait, did you hear me?'
Yukio could do nothing but nod. Kuro bounded through the kitchen door.
'Rin! Rin! Guess what! Guess what!'
Rin glanced down, the grin that had been on his face since Yukio's news grew.
"Hey Kuro! I've got news for you too!"
'Me first!' The demon begged. When the half-demon nodded his assent, the demon practically yelled, 'Yukio can hear me!'
While Kuro's smile grew, Rin's fell. His eyes met Yukio's and he felt a twinge of fear. The only thing was, he wasn't sure if it was his own fear, or if it was his brother's fear he was sensing.
A quiet, frantic whisper filled his mind.
'What's going on?! Why do I feel so sad? Or, guilty? How can I hear Kuro? What's happening to me? Why is nii-san looking at me like that?'
'Sorry' Rin thought.
Both of them froze.
'Rin?' Yukio hesitantly asked.
'Yukio?' Rin answered back.
Neither one using their voices, only their minds.
A veritable volcano of emotion erupted between the two, fear, shock, worry, anxiety. What Yukio didn't understand is why Rin seemed to be emitting feelings of guilt.
"Rin?" Yukio hesitantly asked. They locked eyes briefly before Rin dropped his gaze. "Rin, why do you feel guilty?"
Rin looked back up at him in surprise. "You can read all that?" Yukio nodded. "Darn! It took me forever to get that far!"
Yukio blinked in surprise. Now anger was mixed into the self-depreciation and guilt. The thing was, he was pretty sure Rin was mad at himself.
The half-demon sighed. "I just--" he ran his hands distractedly through his hair. "I didn't want this to happen to you." Yukio was taken aback. That wasn't what he expected. "This whole "half-demon" thing, it's ... It's not easy."
Rin looked up, finally meeting Yukio's gaze, before turning to look out the window.
"I was glad, you know? When dad told me you were human. I just didn't want you to end up dragged into all this demon stuff." He chuckled. "But then you walked into class, saying that you knew all about it. That it was already a part of your life. That I had failed in protecting not only dad, but you as well."
"Rin, you didn't--"
Rin held up a hand to stop him. Yukio quieted.
"Then you were named Paladin, and everything spiraled downward. I knew you were keeping things from me, and I didn't like the feeling that you were sacrificing yourself for me. And don't say you weren't." Rin looked him dead in the eyes. "You were sacrificing your beliefs, your innocence, your very being. I am not worth that."
Rin's hand once again stopped Yukio in his tracks.
"Let me finish!" He sighed, dragging a hand down his face as his gaze fell to the floor.
"You got possessed. Satan possessed you, and it was my fault, and don't even try telling me it wasn't my fault, because it was. It was my fault you got hurt and it was my fault that your demon half awakened. After about a week of waiting and watching though, you didn't seem to have changed at all. You didn't even grow a tail! The only change was your ears and teeth. I had hoped that was all it was."
During his little speech, Rin had turned back to the window, facing away from his brother. Yukio could feel the self-depreciation, guilt, disappointment, and anger rolling off Rin in waves. He strode up behind his twin and grabbed him by the shoulder, spinning him around.
"Are you done?!"
Rin would never admit it, but he let out a tiny squeal when he heard the anger in Yukio's voice.
"You idiot!" Yukio accentuated his point with a punch to the shoulder. "Who told you that I couldn't take care of myself! I am perfectly capable of making my own decisions and living my own life. Just because you're older, doesn't mean you're responsible for me. I can handle myself; I'm independent. Don't take that away from me." Rin just stared at him, mouth ajar, stunned. Yukio scowled. "And you can't protect me from what I am. Satan is my father just as much as yours."
"But ... But I ... " Rin floundered, not sure how to respond.
"Now that I've said that I'm independent and don't need your protection, how do you turn this telepathy off?" Yukio asked, rather sheepish.
"You don't. You can block it though, at least a little. You're able to pick up on emotion already; I didn't start doing that until about three or four months after my awakening. I got control of the emotions thing when I got control of my flames."
Yukio frowned. "You went that long feeling what everyone else was feeling?"
Now Rin frowned. "No, I could just read it. It wasn't that I felt the way they did. It's like reading a facial expression. Wait, you feel it? My emotion?" His brother nodded in agreement. He was suddenly struck by an idea. Grabbing a spice off a shelf, he ran to the other side of the room. "Okay, Yukio. What spice is this?"
Yukio sighed. "Nii-san, what do spices have to do with--"
"What is it?!" Rin interrupted.
Yukio couldn't understand why the spice was important. "I don't know, Rin."
Rin's brow furrowed. "You can't smell it?"
Yukio's brow raised. "Smell it?" Surely he misheard.
"Yeah, you can't?" Yukio shook his head no. "Maybe that's why. Are my emotions the only ones you can feel?"
He shrugged. "Other than my own, yes."
"Huh. I guess you were just tapping into my emotions telepathically."
Yukio frowned. "Wait, then how were you 'reading' emotions?"
Rin grinned sheepishly. "Uh, I smelled it?" Yukio's response was a raised eyebrow. "Okay, so I actually did do some research, don't laugh. Have you ever heard of hormones?" Yukio's other eyebrow joined its fellow above his hairline. "Okay, so when someone feels a really strong emotion, they send out the corresponding hormones. I can smell them. It took a while to figure out which smell was what, though."
Yukio nodded. "That makes sense. Demons tend to have heightened senses."
Rin nodded. "Yeah, I guess you just didn't get a heightened sense of smell. What about hearing?"
Yukio grinned. "I can hear the bird rustling outside our bedroom window."
It was Rin's turn to grin. "Yukio, that is a squirrel." He laughed at Yukio's hurt expression. He knew his brother was faking it.
"How do you know?" Yukio challenged.
Rin calmed down his laughter to answer. "The heartbeat and breathing. Birds and squirrels have different rates for each."
"Wow." Was all Yukio could say. He had no idea that his big brother was this incredible.
Their conversation was cut off by the sound of plates being set on the table. Ukobach had finished the food that Rin had started. With a cry that could wake the dead, Rin charged at the table to dig in. With a mouth full of food, he said, "We'll figure you out later. For now, let's celebrate!"
Yukio sighed, chuckling to himself. His brother really was something else.
Chapter 2: Mission Gone Wrong
Chapter by SilvaeSong
Yukio takes his students on their first field mission. Will his newfound abilities cause problems? Or will there be problems from the get-go?
Blue flames everywhere, while manic laughter filled the air.
Yukio glanced around confused. Who was laughing?
Oh. It was himself.
Yukio woke with a start, sitting up so quickly, he bonked heads with Rin, who had been leaning over him in bed, worrying. Both boys clutched their foreheads in pain, eyes screwed shut.
'Why does this always happen to me?!'
Yukio peeked an eye open to glance at his twin.
'What do you mean?'
Rin peeked an eye open as well. Straightening up, he chuckled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment.
'Well, I had been lying on the roof once, and Shiemi had surprised me. I sat up too fast like you just did and we knocked heads.'
Yukio chuckled as well.
Rin glanced up at him when he broke off. Yukio was staring at Rin in horror.
'What? Is there something wrong with my face?'
"Nii-san, we weren't speaking at all."
Rin blinked, surprised.
"Huh. I guess you're right. I called out your name while you were dreaming, but you didn't seem to hear me. I figured you'd hear me if I was in your head."
Rin was suddenly struck by a thought. He sucked in a breath, trying to find the courage to broach the subject.
"Hey Yukio, what are you going to do for the mission tonight?"
Yukio blinked. Where did that come from? He knew his brother was excited for the approved mission, but didn't they have bigger problems right now?
"Nii-san, you'll hear about it with the other two students."
Rin cocked his head, confused. Yukio was going to tell the students about his condition? Oh, wait. He thought he was asking what the mission was.
"No, Yukio, what are you going to do about ..." he gestured vaguely in Yukio's direction, "... that?"
Yukio finally caught on to what Rin was saying.
"Oh... I really don't know, nii-san. I guess I should tell all my students. Maybe I can wait until after. Yeah, I'll wait until after. If I can complete classes without it causing a problem ..." He paused. "... then we won't tell anyone who isn't involved with the mission and even then, only telling the necessary basics." He finished with a nod.
Rin nodded his consent. "Sounds good. Now, let's get going or we'll miss breakfast."
Yukio walked calmly up to the group. Suguro and his brother were butting heads again, as per their usual, and Kamiki was huffing at their antics, her nose in the air, as per her usual. He was fine. Their was no reason to be worried. He had made it through classes without incident, so he could make it through an easy mission like this one no sweat.
As Yukio approached, Rin perked up, attitude doing a one eighty, switching from mad as a hornet to concernEd older brother in an instant. Whoops. Yukio forgot Rin could smell his emotions. He was pretty sure Rin would recognize the scent of anxiety (they live at a high school, the place spread anxiety like a plague), and he was pretty sure he wouldn't like the results. Sure enough, Rin asked if he was okay, in front of other students.
Gritting his teeth, he replied, "I'm fine, nii-san. No need to worry." He forced out a smile as he continued telepathically. 'And if you ever belittle me in front of my students again, I will personally shave your tail.'
Rin let out a tiny, indignant squawk at that last part, before scowling at his shoes.
'I wasn't trying to embarrass you. You reek of nerves. I was just doing my duty as an older brother, making sure you were okay. If you got embarrassed in the process,' he turned and grinned. 'Then that's just a bonus.'
Rin thought Yukio's face was priceless.
Their mission turned out to be ridding a nearby village of a plague of lower class demons. A couple hobgoblins, a few coal tars, and about a half dozen other weak demons had overridden a local village, causing all sorts of problems and mischief. Their job was to exorcise them all.
It should have been easy.
When they arrived, Yukio decided that they had too much area to cover with few enough demons, so he announced that Suguro and Rin would form a team, while he and Kamiki would be a team, and they could spread out, communicating via his and Rin's telepathy. After a brief explanation, they all agreed, setting off to perform their tasks.
For the first ten minutes, it was relatively calm. At the ten minute mark, Rin and Suguro decided to check in with Yukio. That was their downfall.
The demons hiding around them must have sensed Rin's power when he mentally reached out to his brother, because before Yukio had even responded, hordes of hobgoblins and coal tars and even a few incubus and rokurokubi swarmed the two.
The desperate scream of his brother's name was enough to make Yukio's heart stop. He and Kamiki tore through the abandoned village before reaching what seemed to serve as the town square.
Yukio's blood ran cold as his brother's name ripped itself from his throat. He knew his brother wouldn't draw Kurikara. He had specifically told him not to draw the sword for anything, as this outing was actually going to determine whether Rin passed or failed the exorcist exam. Yukio had been sure to drill it into his head that he was not to use his flames.
He wished he had never said that.
He and Kamiki blasted their way through the mob of demons to reach them. They made it to Suguro first. He had managed to keep them at bay, most likely only because they were all focused on a helpless Rin.
He knew something was wrong the instant he tried to reach Yukio. He couldn't see them, but he could sense them. Once he concentrated, he could smell all the demons behind the ones he was fighting off at the moment. When he called out to Yukio, he could feel their shift. They had been acting relatively lax, until he activated his telepathy, but then he could feel the connection between himself and the whopping hundreds of demons around them.
'Why?! Why are they focused on me? Why now? Why are there so many? Why did I promise Yukio I wouldn't use Kurikara?!'
As Rin internally panicked, he grabbed his sword, intending to use it while sheathed, refusing to draw it.
'I can't let them get to Suguro!'
He didn't realize yet that it was hopeless.
For every coal tar he batted away, four more demons took its place. Lesser demons generally pose little to no threat, but with this many, Rin was in trouble. At any rate, he was glad he had the foresight to tuck his tail away. He did not want a repeat of his battle with Amaimon. He'll keep his tail intact, thank you very much.
He grunted in pain when the first coal tar bit him. He smacked it away, but the small, black teeth marks remained. He couldn't get bitten too many times. Even the son of Satan had a limit to how many temptaints he could receive before he--
Three at once! He heard Suguro desperately scream his name behind him. He was pretty sure the demons were focused on him, so Suguro should be okay as long as he doesn't try to help.
'He's going to get himself killed.' He thought with a groan. 'I've got no choice. I'll have to use a sutra. It's the only way to dispel them all without drawing Kurikara.'
He hated sutras. From day one, they gave him trouble. First, he had difficulty reading them. His dyslexia made reading difficult, but they gave him a headache. Reading them aloud was even worse. He figured it had something to do with his demon side. Second, he was never very good with memorization. He couldn't remember anything he was supposed to for tests.
That is, until he figured out the tricks to solve those problems. Dyslexia hasn't a problem with those special books Yukio got him, and if he read it backwards, the headaches were minimal. He had no problem working hard to memorize as many sutras as possible when Suguro was constantly belittling him for his lack of memorization. It was amazing what a little competition could do.
They still gave him a splitting headache when he recited one, considerably weakening him, but in emergencies, he could use them.
When he heard Yukio scream his name, he knew it was an emergency. He knew that his telepathy was what drew them to him, and he wasn't sure that Yukio knew that. If Yukio tried using his ... No. Rin wasn't going to let that happen.
Before he had even finished the first verse, the demons surrounding him renewed their attacks with a passion. His arms and legs were riddled with bite marks, and he was getting lightheaded. He hoped he would hold out until the last verse.
Meanwhile, Kamiki's familiars were tearing apart as many demons as they could, while Yukio and Suguro's firearms never quieted. The thing that scared Yukio the most was the fact that he couldn't hear Rin. He had been trying to call out to him, to read him, to reach him, but he was getting silence in return. He was pretty sure the half-demon had tried contacting him earlier, but he had felt the connection break. It scared him more than anything. He could see the bite marks all over Rin, but he felt powerless. No matter how many hobgoblins and rokurokubi he blasted, more just kept coming. If he didn't know any better, he'd think there was--
His two students next to him jumped at his exclamation.
"There has to be a rift near here! Not a Gehenna gate, that would let in bigger demons, just a small tear in the dimensions. We have to find it and seal it or else this will never end."
Suguro and Kamiki's eyes locked. They nodded and took off, following the trail of demons, trying to find the source. Yukio grit his teeth.
'Hold on, Rin! Hold on!'
Chapter 3: Screams and Silence
Chapter by SilvaeSong
What happens next? Will they all make it home?
"I've never seen a demon like that before! What was it?!" Suguro bellowed.
They had located the rift, and found a small, sickly green, humanoid demon keeping it open. After baring its teeth and hissing, it had scuttled off towards the twins. They quickly sealed the rift, which had begun closing on its own once the small demon let it go. Rifts between the worlds couldn't stay open on their own for long.
"I don't know! I've never seen one before either!" Kamiki shot back.
Suguro was about to fire off a retort when her familiars spoke up.
"It is a kappa. They were thought to be extinct. We must hurry."
Suguro and Kamiki pushed forward, doubling their pace back to Rin and Yukio.
Rin only had one more verse to go, but he was fading fast. About a verse and a half ago he had lost the energy to fight back, demon teeth sinking into his flesh. He heard his brother call out his name, begging him to answer, but he couldn't. He had to focus on the sutra.
Out of the corner of his narrowing field of vision, he sees a green blur flying towards him. With no way to dodge or block, he braces for impact, the last word of the sutra stuttering off his limp tongue.
Yukio saw the kappa as it emerged from an alley way. He fired a bullet at it, but it dodged and kept coming. Before Yukio could react, three events happened in rapid succession. The kappa sunk its teeth into his brother's shoulder, who flung his head back as an ungodly scream tore from his throat, as the demons around him vanished in sparks and black smoke.
As Yukio ran up to him, he fired at the demon still attached to his shoulder. Rin's thrashing in pain dislodged it and Yukio managed to unload a whole clip in its chest.
He wasn't moving.
"Rin! Nonononono! Stay with me! Stay awake!"
Yukio pulled his limp body into his lap, panicked hands fluttering over the many lacerations covering his skin.
'This can't me happening! It's my fault! I can't lose him too!'
As he panicked, he lifted his brother's wrist, begging the gods that be that he would find a pulse.
As they neared the open square in the village, Kamiki and Suguro heard a scream that made there blood run cold. They could just barely make out Yukio's shouting as the sound of gunshots filled the air.
By the time they made it back, it was deathly silent.
Yukio was sitting on the ground cradling Rin's head and torso in his lap. Neither twin was moving. Cautiously, Suguro approached them. Neither twin moved an inch.
"Yukio? Is he okay?"
Finally, one of them moved. Yukio slumped, seeming to come back from his shock. He turned to Suguro, tears flowing freely down his face. As he watched, little blue flames began dancing across his skin, before flickering towards Rin.
"... I-it's my ... f-fault. ... It's all ... m-my ... f-fault. ..."
Hesitantly, Kamiki placed a hand on Yukio's shoulder. He response was to flinch away from her, pulling Rin closer.
"I can't-... I can't hear him. ... No thoughts, no emotions, just ... just silence. ... There's nothing. ... He's gone and it's MY FAULT!!"
As his outburst grew in fury and self-loathing, his flames grew in size and strength. They spread to cover both him and Rin. He collapsed onto his twin's lifeless body in trembling tears, whimpering.
"You're all the f-family I h-have, Rin. I al-already failed D-Dad. I didn't want to- ... I w-won't- ... I can't lose you too, Rin."
Suguro and Kamiki watched the exorcist fall apart, his brother in his arms, as tears fell silently down their faces.
'Please, Rin. ... Don't leave me.'
Chapter 4: Healing Flames?
Chapter by SilvaeSong
GAAAHH!!! What happens to Rin?!?! Find out!
'Please, Rin. ... Don't leave me.'
The half-demon in his lap groaned.
Suguro was practically dancing in his excitement, while Kamiki simply wiped her eyes, attempting to appear nonchalant and failing. They were both so relieved.
Yukio fell apart all over again.
"Rin! Praise the Lord! What would I do if ... Rin?"
Still unconscious, Rin grimaced in pain, tiny moans and whimpers leaving him.
"Sensei, your flames."
Yukio looked down and to his astonishment, his blue flames dancing over a bite mark on Rin's forearm appeared to be closing the wound. His flames were healing his brother's wounds, staunching the bleeding. He noticed, however, the black venom from the coal tars as well as the green slime from the greenmen and hobgoblins was disappearing at a much slower rate than the wounds were closing up. After concentrating, he was able to focus his flames on certain bites, drawing out the venom before closing the wound. He was able to heal eleven bites this way before the exhaustion set in. Before he could process what was happening, Suguro had scooped him up and set off. Glancing to his right, he saw Kamiki's familiars were carrying Rin.
"We're getting you two help."
Yukio was confused. Rin was the one who needed help, not him. He was just tired from healing Rin. He didn't even know he could do that. Did his flames save Rin's life? If he wasn't so exhausted, he could probably heal him completely!
"Sensei, stop squirming! You're heavy enough as it is."
Yukio threw the best glare he could at him, but he was so tired, it was more of a fluttery-eyed frown.
'I'm not heavy. I'll bet Rin weighs more ...'
Before he knew it, he fell into unconsciousness like his brother before him.
When Yukio awoke, he was lying in a bed in the infirmary. Glancing to his left, he saw the IV stand leaking fluid down the tube to the needle in his arm, held in place by a strip of tape. He frowned. Why was he in the hospital? Looking to his right, he remembered.
Rin lay in the bed next to him, covered in bandages, an IV in his arm as well, with a heart monitor beeping behind him. From the looks of things, Rin still had not woken up.
Apparently summoned by his becoming conscious, Suguro and Kamiki entered the room.
"What happened? Is Nii-san going to be alright?!"
"Calm down, Sensei!" Suguro put up his hands in a placating gesture. Yukio reluctantly laid back against his pillows. "The doc isn't sure what's going on, and frankly, we wanted to know as well. What did you do?"
Yukio blinked, his gaze shifting to his hands in his lap. "Honestly? I have absolutely no idea. This is all coming from nowhere."
"Well, it's not nowhere, per se." Yukio's head jerked upward at that annoying voice he'd recognize anywhere. Mephisto grinned from his spot at the door. "It's your demon heritage. It just took you a bit longer to realize it than little Rin over here."
Yukio scowled at him before turning a concerned gaze toward Rin. "How is he?" He asked, dreading the answer.
Mephisto opened his mouth, raising his hand in his theatrics, intending to spin a dramatic tale, but he was interrupted by the doctor.
"Excuse me, Pheles-sama, but I believe this is my job."
Yukio couldn't help the chuckle at Mephisto's emotion. He wasn't sure how much righteous indignation he could take from him before he flat out guffawed. His laughter scrambled to the back of his throat to die alone, however when he caught sight of the doctor who had spoken.
She was beautiful. Not just beautiful, she was beauty incarnate.
Yukio snapped back to reality when Suguro's hand waving in his face obstructed his view. When he dared look at her again, she seemed perfectly normal. Pretty, yes, but not the Aphrodite he had seen before. Her short purple hair was cut at a cute angle, and her purple eyes seemed like the kind that would dance when she smiled. He couldn't say for sure, because she didn't seem the type to smile. She had a small nose stud and her ears were pierced in a number of places. 'If she were in leather,' he thought, 'She'd be right at home in a rock band.' Instead of leather, she wore the typical scrubs of those working in the infirmary and she was holding a clipboard, acting as though she belonged, so he assumed she was the doctor who was assigned to him and Rin.
Without even glancing at him, focused solely on the chart on her clipboard, she answered his unasked question first.
"You aren't imagining it. My mother was a succubus. Now, until I'm positive what it was that bit him on the tail and shoulder, I can't treat the wound. So far, no treatment has had any effect."
Trying to keep up in his tired, drugged state, Yukio eloquently replied, "What?"
Kamiki took the opportunity to answer her implied question. "It was a Kappa, sensei."
"Hanamura Sakino, but you can call me Hana-sensei. Thank you for the information." Hana was curt and to the point. No emotion whatsoever.
Mephisto on the other hand ...
"That's ridiculous!! Kappas have been extinct for centuries!! It couldn't possibly be!!"
Suguro practically growled. "Even if you think that's not it, it's at least something she can test, right? It's a step in the right direction, right?" He turned to her. "You can fix him, right?"
The doctor sighed. "I will do my best, but it looks like someone else tried to do my job." She looked pointedly at Yukio.
He was asleep again.
She sighed again, then shooed them all out so she could work.
'Kappa, huh? What even is that?'
Chapter 5: Research and Oopsies
Chapter by SilvaeSong
Hanamura does some research and makes a few mistakes with long-lasting effects.
'Kappa, huh? What even is that?'
As she checked their IVs, she pondered.
'Kappa. I've heard it before, somewhere, I'm sure, but where? And what even is it?'
She moved to Rin and began redressing the wound. After rewrapping his shoulder, she moved to his tail. Gently, she lifted it off the pillow it lay on. In his sleep, Rin squirmed, whining under his breath.
Hanamura tried to be gentle, as she knew firsthand how sensitive demon tails were, she had one of her own, but Rin was still in pain. The kappa's teeth had sunk in deep.
Once she had finished with his tail and laid it back on the bed next to him, he quieted.
She checked their vitals again and left, heading to her office. She was sure she had heard the term "kappa" before. Once she returned to her office, she pulled an old, dusty tome off her bookshelf and began flipping through the pages.
"Kappa, kappa ... Nope, that's not it. ... Where is it? I was sure it was this book."
Suddenly she stopped, her fingers trailing down the page.
Kappas were believed to be nocturnal, as their eyes were abnormally large and their skin was a pale green. They were most likely carnivores, as their teeth were sharp for the tearing of flesh. Little more is known of these now extinct demons, however, there are many legends and folklore about the creatures. (See Tails Best Left in the Past, by M.P.)
She frowned. That wasn't really helpful.
Sighing, she closed the book, replacing it on the shelf.
'I can probably just use the "unusual temptaint" remedy. I've used it on myself and the side effects weren't too bad, so even if he's half demon, he should be fine. The other one just needs to complete the usual treatment. Whatever he did to remove the demon poison from his brother merely shifted it from the older twin to himself. He should really avoid using that tactic as much as possible.'
Having finished her inner monologue, she nodded determinedly at the books in front of her. Now that she had a plan, she could get started.
After preparing both the unconventional as well as the typical anti-temptaint drug, she took them back to the twins' room and was surprised to find Yukio awake again. He sure was stubborn. Didn't he know that you should rest when you have demon venom in your system? If they were stronger demons that bit them, treatment would be more urgent, but as it were, with his own demon blood in his veins, he would probably have been back to normal in a week or two without any treatment.
She stoically ignored his questions about his brother, as she had no answers yet. After setting up the IV with the drug she had concocted, he settled down and started nodding off again, trailing off at the end of his sentences. She assumed that the pain he was in from the demon venom was what had been keeping him awake.
Turning to Rin, she saw that he was still asleep. After checking his vitals for the millionth time that day, ('I am merely doing my job.'), she glanced back at Yukio who had quieted. He was asleep again.
'The poor guy.' She thought as she hooked up Rin's IV. 'He tried so hard, endangering himself in the process, and his brother is still--'
Her train of thought was cut off when Rin started thrashing and screaming.
The drug had made it through the IV and to his arm by this point and she could see the burning skin where the needle was injected.
Yukio was awake and by her side in an instant, helping her hold Rin down so she could pull the needle out. She at least had the presence of mind to stop the IV. Rin's cries of pain made her heart clench.
The whole ordeal only lasted a few seconds, but they were all breathless when it was over. Yukio fell back to his bed exhausted, grimacing as he slid his IV back in where it was ripped out from his mad dash. The tape had pulled out a few hairs and the needle surely bruised, but he wasn't bleeding at least.
Hanamura hovered over Rin, assessing the damage. It appeared that the concentration of holy water was too high, although she herself had used the drug with little to no side effect. Why was Rin different? She tried calling his name, but although he was awake, he was unresponsive, his jaw clenched and eyes squeezed shut in pain.
Then she hit upon an idea to ease his pain. Using her demon capabilities to manipulate males, or what she liked to call her "charm-speak", she spoke softly, soothing him.
"Shh, there, there. It's alright. There's no pain. You should sleep now. Just nod off. Won't you please sleep for me?"
She watched with bated breath as his breathing evened out, and his jaw unclenched, eyes relaxing. His unearthly blue orbs slowly pried themselves open.
"... You ... look like ... an angel. ..."
With that, he fell asleep.
She nearly laughed aloud. She was part demon! She was no angel. She had just caused him intense pain, and he complimented her beauty, of all things. She supposed it had something to do with her heritage, and it probably didn't help that she had been using her charm-speak at the time, but it was still a ridiculous statement in her opinion.
After about five minutes of a cold cloth and aloe, his burn was nearly gone. She grimaced when she realized there would be a slight scar, as the burn was under the skin. She would probably end up getting in trouble for that. She had just started her career, too! The youngest woman to ever achieve Doctor status. She had relocated to Academy Town in order to avoid the prejudice in her hometown, but it appeared that she was going to have to relocate again before even a month had passed.
Although she had only chosen Academy Town because of the shortage after the Gehenna Gate incident, she had grown to love the place.
Her train of thought ended when Rin blinked his eyes open, staring at her like she was life itself. She was used to the reaction men had seeing her for the first time, but why was he awake mere minutes after she charm-spoke him to sleep?
'You really do look like an angel.'
She blushed. Was this guy a flirt? He seemed perfectly genuine, though. Wait, did he just speak to her WITH HIS MIND?!
She bolted up, knocking her chair over in the process. She had seen some crazy things, but this was new. Could he read her mind?!
'Woah, are you okay?'
Her only response was widening eyes. He seemed to suddenly realize he hadn't been speaking aloud.
"Oops, sorry." He scratched at the back of his neck with his good arm. "Sometimes I forget and end up doing that."
She got ahold of her emotions and managed to ask, "So, were you reading my mind?" Her gaze fell to the floor. With the idea that he was in her head, she suddenly felt nervous and self-conscious.
He laughed. "No, no. I can only hear what you project to me, and so far, Yukio is the only human that I can talk like that with." His smile fell to a puzzled frown. "So then I wonder, how did you hear me? You did, didn't you? That's why you freaked out, isn't it?"
Now that she knew her mind was safe, her fear was morphing to anger. "I didn't 'freak out' you merely startled me. I've never had anyone invade my mind like that."
She hid a smirk as he looked sheepish. He apologized, lifting his hand again to rub the back of his neck, and the IV needle shifted. He winced, inspecting it closer. His eyes widened when they soaked in the thin, light scar on his forearm. When he looked at her questioningly, she panicked.
"I-I made a possible cure for your kappa bite, but it ... it seemed to hurt more than it helped." She stared at her shoes as if they were the reason cancer existed. At least she did until he laughed. It wasn't a mocking laugh, but a joyous one, one she wasn't expecting. This boy just kept surprising her.
"That's awesome! I have an actual scar! So far, everything has just healed. No battle scars at all. So boring. Now I've had a brush with death and the mark to prove it!" He held it up triumphantly. "Thanks!" He grinned at her.
She was afraid a nurse would have to come and scrape her jaw off the floor if it fell any lower.
"So, what exactly happened? I don't really remember." He seemed not to notice her shock, but twisted to see where exactly he was. It was then that he noticed Yukio, asleep in the bed next to his. "YUKIO!!" He tried to spring out of bed, but was stopped by Hanamura, who had broken out of her shock.
"He's fine! He's resting. You're hurt way worse than he is. He'll be back to normal in a day or two."
Rin grit his teeth, staring at his hands in his lap like they had just strangled a puppy.
"But he was hurt, wasn't he?"
She nodded. He seemed to know her answer without even looking. His eyes squeezed shut and he grit his teeth. If it wasn't for her demonic hearing, she wouldn't have caught the last thing he whispered, barely above a breath.
"It's all my fault."
'I'm a terrible big brother.'
'I'm a terrible big brother.'
Hanamura wasn't sure how to respond. She didn't know the details of the fight, nor did she know those involved. The boy sitting in front of her was honestly a complete mystery to her. So she did what she always did in instances where she didn't know what to do.
She used her charm-speak.
"It's okay. It wasn't your fault. You did your best. There was nothing more you could have done. It was beyond your power to--"
"What's up with your voice?"
She blinked, confused. "What do you mean?"
"Huh. It's normal again. Your voice just sounded weird again."
She was so confused. "What do you mean 'again'?"
Now he was confused. Did she not know? "Earlier, when you were trying to calm me down when my arm hurt, your voice sounded weird." His eyes grew wide. "Wait, was that when I got the scar?" She nodded. "Cool! What happened?"
She sighed. He had the attention span of a squirrel. "Do you know what happened to you during your mission?"
The brief image of a pale, green blur flashed through his mind. He groaned, rubbing his temple that had suddenly throbbed. His throat was soar too, and now that he thought about it, he was starving.
"Not really. How long ago was it?"
Her gaze rolled over him. She didn't like that look. "About sixteen hours ago."
His mouth dropped open. "No. Way."
Now she was worried. "What's wrong?"
He stared at her in horror. "We missed dinner and breakfast. Ukobach is gonna kill me. I'm going to die of starvation before he's happy again." His gloom was palpable.
Now her mouth dropped open. "You're incredible, you know that?" She clapped a hand over her mouth as he looked up. "Sorry, that slipped out. I didn't mean to be rude, it's just ... you don't let anything worry you for long, do you?"
He grinned. "Nope!" He turned to Yukio and his smile faded. "Not much at least. I wanna know what happened."
He turned to her and got a peculiar look on his face. She wasn't sure what that meant.
"What's your name? I just realized, I don't know your name. I don't think we've met yet." The corners of his mouth pulled down in a puzzled frown, as if he was trying to remember if he had ever seen her before.
She sighed yet again, assuming that she would have to get used to his antics.
He grinned again.
"So, Hana-chan, tell me what happened."
She frowned. She was probably stuck with that nickname.
"As far as I know, you were on a mission with your brother here and two others when you were attacked. In an effort to save your life, your brother somehow transferred the demon venom from your veins into his. That bite on your shoulder and tail? That was a kappa. Not quite sure what that is though. It was with a remedy of mine that you ended up with that burn. I'm still not sure how that happened though. I have used that treatment on myself and I have never had injuries like that one because of it."
She frowned thoughtfully. He did as well until his face lit up with an idea.
"Wait, then, are you half demon too?" She nodded. "No way! That's so cool! Do you have a tail too?" Frowning, she again nodded. Why was he asking all these questions? "Is yours furry? Mine is, but this one guy has more of a scaley, serpentiney one. He was like, a rotting king, or something. I think he's actually our half-brother, but I'm not sure. Who were your parents?"
"My father was human. Mother was a succubus." She paused, studying him. "You couldn't tell? Who are your parents?"
Rin grinned sheepishly again. "Sorry, no. My mom was human and my father was Satan. I'm one of the Okumura twins." His face fell as he became serious again. He heard her suck in a breath as she analyzed this information.
"... That might explain it. ..."
He looked up quizzically. "Explain what?"
"Oh, the reason why such a low concentration of holy water had such an effect on you. That would also explain a few other things that you've said...." She paused, unsure how to phrase her next thought. "It may also explain why you aren't affected by my succubus side."
"Or maybe you two aren't in the middle of your mating seasons."
They both jumped and turned to see the scum of the earth at the door: Mephisto.
Rin scowled. "As if. What do you want?"
Mephisto tutted. "Tsk tsk, Otōto. That's no way to speak to your nii-san!" His grin was downright evil.
"Excuse my manners, oh great lord!" Rin exclaimed, sarcasm dripping from his voice.
"Mephi's here?" Yukio mumbled, rubbing his eyes open. While Hanamura walked over to check him over now he was awake again, Rin berated Mephisto for waking Yukio.
"Tut tut, my dear Rin-kun. It's bad manners to correct your elders."
Yukio groaned, rubbing his temples. "Just shut up, Mephi. Your voice is annoying."
Mephisto frowned. Ever since the Vatican had discovered the twins, he was getting less and less respect from Yukio. He didn’t even use an honorific anymore! The real drop was when his demon half awakened. Not everyone could tell, but Yukio had changed, albeit subtly.
"How rude, Yuki-kun. I simply wanted to see that you and Rinny-chan were all right."
Rin's eyebrow twitched in annoyance. “Rinny-chan is just fine, thank you very much, now get the hell out of our room!” He threw a pillow that had been supporting him at the intruder at the door. It hit him square in the face, falling to reveal a very irritated demon king. Without the support from the pillow and with his energy spent on his anger, Rin fell back in exhaustion. “Just let us sleep…” He begged as his eyes closed.
Mephisto’s countenance softened at that, as he excused himself and left. As yet, Rin had shown no adverse effects from the kappa bite, but he would have to keep an eye on him just the same.
‘There’s no telling what will happen when the moon rises.’
Chapter 7: Food and Alarms
Chapter by SilvaeSong
The boys continue their recovery, but there is a surprise in the night.
'There's no telling what will happen when the moon rises.'
"I hate infirmary food!" Suguro yelled, "It's disgusting! Yukio could do better than this!"
Rin growled, "Then stop eating it! It was supposed to be mine!"
"You weren't eating, so somebody had to finish it off!" Suguro huffed.
Shima chuckled. "You two never change."
"STAY OUT OF THIS!" The two spitfires yelled in unison.
Konekomaru tried hushing them, reminding them of Yukio sleeping a few feet away. They both seemed to calm down at that.
"I just wasn't hungry right now is all." Rin defended himself with a huff.
"Dude, how are you not starving?! Granted, he wouldn't eat last night, but Bon here ate like a pig after he heard you two were okay." Shima exclaimed.
Rin's trademark evil grin split his face as Suguro looked ready to pummel the two.
"Were you worried about little old me?" Rin asked, fake innocence coating his voice.
"No!" Suguro answered, acting indignant. "I was worried about sensei! He's the one who nearly killed himself!"
"And what is Rin-kun?! Chopped liver?!" Shima squawked.
"Keep your voice down! Sensei is trying to rest, you guys." Miwa pleaded.
Shima and Bon glared at each other before "hurrumph" -ing and turning away. Konekomaru wasn't worried, though. He knew those two made up faster than a hobgoblin could steal your socks. What he was worried about was Rin. He had barely touched his food, and he had hardly drank anything, either.
'Maybe he's just worried about sensei. He probably blames himself, poor guy.'
"Alright, you guys, we should get going. Let them rest." he suggested.
The two exwires nodded in agreement, but when Suguro put the plate of curry and rice back on the tray in Rin's lap, the half-demon sprang from the bed and bolted for the bathroom. Three concerned friends followed as Rin retched into the toilet. Konekomaru ran back out. He wasn't the type to help in those kinds of situations, as he was liable to lose his own lunch if he did. Predictably, Shima followed shortly after. They both knew Bon was the only one of them with the iron stomach to handle the situation. Konekomaru at least had the sense to page the nurse for assistance.
In the privacy of the bathroom, Suguro rubbed Rin's back as he emptied his meager lunch into the toilet.
"Sorry for bugging you about eating. You should have just said your stomach was bothering you." Suguro offered.
Between heaves, Rin chuckled. "That's a pretty weak attempt at-" He paused to dry heave again, "-comforting me." he managed to choke out.
Ryuuji scowled. "At least I'm in here and didn't turn tail and run like those cowards!"
Rin chuckled as his heaving slowly ceased. "I guess." he agreed, settling down on the cold, tile floor.
Hanamura poked her head in at this point. "Anything I can do? Your friends told me what happened."
"You just missed it." Suguro grunted, while Rin shook his head.
"Okay, well, let's get you back to bed."
She and Suguro half carried, half led Rin back to the bed. After getting him comfortable, she hooked him back to the monitor he had ripped off in his haste. She also decided to hook him up to an IV, since he wasn't eating or drinking. When she finished, she shooed their visitors out the door, insisting the brothers get their rest.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Hanamura bolted from her bed. "ROOM 117" flashed from the screen at her desk. She tore open her door and dashed down the hall, practically flying down the stairs.
"What are you doing?"
Hanamura glanced over at Yukio. It seemed like when one was awake, the other was asleep. As soon as Rin had fallen asleep after his excitement, Yukio had awoken. It was as if they were subconsciously avoiding talking to each other.
"I'm connecting your monitors here to my computer in my room. If anything goes wrong, it alerts my computer and tells me which room. It worked better at my last station because my room was actually in the infirmary there. Here, I have to run from my dorm building to the infirmary, but it's better than not knowing I'm needed."
Yukio nodded. "That makes sense, but wouldn't that get annoying?"
Hanamura smiled. "It would if the alarm ever went off, but luckily that hasn't happened yet."
'It's happening now!' She thought bitterly as she ran the short distance to the infirmary. Charging down the hall, she skidded to a stop in front of their door and wrenched it open. Due to her demon abilities, her mad dash was fast enough that it had only been ten seconds since the alarm went off when she flew into the room. Yukio was still sleeping off the sedatives she gave the boys, but Rin's monitor was flashing an alert.
Rin's bed was empty.
She glanced at the tiny bathroom attached to the room. The door was open and the light was on. As she peeked inside the empty room, she heard the door creak shut. There was an ominous silence as the latch clicked. She shuddered visibly when she heard the lock slide into place. She exited the bathroom, but the half-demon was nowhere to be found.
"Rin-san?" she called out, "Rin-san, this isn't funny! Where are you?"
Her breath hitched as she heard a low growl from above her head. Nervously, she tilted her head back to see a humanoid demon clinging to the ceiling, staring her down. Its eyes and hair were a vibrant green, and its skin had a green tinge. Before she could scream or defend herself, the creature jumped, slamming into her and knocking them both to the floor. She cried out as its long fangs scratched at her shoulder, but before it could sink them in deep, it was flung off of her. She scrambled to her feet to see Mephisto pinning it to the floor with manacles he had magicked into being.
"Wha-?! What is that thing?!" she gasped, breathless, hand clutching her injured shoulder. She stared at the creature in horror, as it thrashed about, trying to escape.
Mephisto sighed. "It's Rin."
"Wha-what do you mean that's Rin?! What happened to him?! That's no possession I've even seen! He's green! How-!"
Mephisto cut off her tirade with a finger to her lips.
"Calm yourself, young doctor, and do not fear. It is reversible, of course."
She sighed a breath of relief, but her respite didn't last long. As soon as he thrashed again, her worries reappeared.
"Is he in any pain? What happened to him?"
Mephisto sighed dramatically. "Of course he is in pain! He will be in great pain until he fulfills his desire!" He threw in a few dramatic poses for good measure.
"What?! What desire? What are you talking about?" She didn't want theatrics, she wanted answers.
Mephisto's smile was definitely the type that made kids cry. "Well, my dear, he was bitten by a kappa, and on both his demon and human side, no less. Had the creature only bitten his shoulder, Rin's demonic antibodies would have prevented a physical change, and had only his demon tail been bitten, he would have been unaffected, as demons are only affected mentally, but his mind is more human than demon. Somehow, we ended up dealing with the more difficult problem to fix." He glanced down at her and nearly panicked at her expression. She looked simultaneously ready to cry and bash his head in. "But don't worry! It can be remedied! I don't remember the specifics, but I can find ou-!" He was cut off when she decided that bashing his head in was the way to go.
"Then stop standing here babbling and fix him!" She huffed.
He frowned. He didn't particularly like this girl. "It will take a few days to fix. The main goal of tonight is to make sure he survives."
Her bravado vanished. "You mean he ... he could die?"
Surprisingly, he dropped the theatrics, becoming serious. "Yes. If he doesn't drink any blood before the sun rises, he'll die of starvation." He continued the explanation at her quizzical look. "You see, kappas are the origin of the vampire legend. Normal humans would be transformed into kappas, requiring at least a drop of blood every night to survive, unable to eat or drink anything else, but still retaining their humanity during the day. Demons, on the other hand, are not so lucky. Kappas have a nasty habit of using and controlling lower demons, but their bite would destroy them. However, higher demons, though impervious to the kappas' control and unaffected physically, are powerless against a kappa's bite. We become this," he gestured to Rin, writhing on the floor, "mindless, blood-sucking beasts."
She stared at the creature on the floor in horror. Her progressively depressing thoughts were interrupted by a sting on her shoulder.
"Ow!" She slapped away Mephisto's hand, covering the scratch he had tried to mess with, and glared at him accusingly.
"I'm sorry, my dear," he explained, "but I need to see that wound. I need to know how much, if any, blood he took. If he drinks too much in one night, returning him to normal will be nigh impossible."
Her eyes widened as she suddenly remembered that they weren't the only ones in the room. She dashed over to Yukio's bedside across the room.
'I was so worried about Rin, I forgot about Yukio!'
What she found made her blood run cold.
Rin had attacked Yukio. That much was obvious. He had bruises in the shape of fingerprints on his wrists, his face looked like someone sharped their claws on it, and his neck was covered in blood. Panicking, Hanamura scrambled to check his vitals and his wounds, before she remembered his monitors. She sighed in relief when she read the screen. Everything was normal. It looked as though Rin didn’t take too much blood. She hesitatingly turned to look at him.
Struggling against his magical bonds, he thrashed on the ground, teeth gnashing, an occasional grunt or whine wriggling past his lips. On closer inspection, she could tell it was Rin. Something about the eyes and face shape gave him away.
Seeing him like this terrified her.
Shaking herself from her thoughts, she set about to clean up the bloody mess that was Yukio.
“I’m going to make sure Yukio survives, you focus on getting Rin back to normal.” She instructed.
Mephisto huffed. He didn’t like this brat that told him what to do. She could cause him problems later with that take-charge attitude. She was like a mix of the Okumura twins, passionate and straightforward like Rin, but smart and calculating like Yukio. He grimaced. He’ll have to watch his back to keep an eye on this one.
“Alright, I’ll keep this annoying brat with me.” He wasn’t sure how much blood he drank, but he hoped that the demon blood in Yukio’s veins was enough to curb the damage his human blood would do to Rin’s recovery. Mephisto calmly smashed his fist into Rin’s face hard enough for the back of the demon’s skull to crack against the tile floor. Nonchalantly tossing the now unconscious boy over his shoulder, he whistled as he left the room, Hanamura staring in shock.
“It’s official. My boss is nuts.” She admitted, turning back to Yukio. His wounds weren’t actually as bad as they first looked. The blood on his neck stemmed from two, tiny pinpricks in his skin that had already scabbed over. “Thank goodness for that,” she muttered to herself, “Although if it was worse, his vitals wouldn’t be normal.” She continued mumbling to herself as she began cleaning his wounds. “These scratches aren’t deep, but I’ll need to disinfect them nevertheless.” She glanced askance at Yukio as she pulled supplies out of a cabinet. “The poor guy,” she turned back to her task of preparing cotton balls with disinfectant, “How can a mission go so wrong?” she wondered aloud, “First Rin-san gets attacked, then we find out this. Yukio isn’t going to like this.”
“I won’t like what?”
Hanamura spun around, accidentally knocking over the container of cotton balls, which Yukio deftly caught. Without so much as a noise, he had come up behind her. She was more than a little frightened.
“Don’t scare me like that!” she spat, angry that she hadn’t heard his movements, even with her abilities.
Yukio continued to frown, “Something is wrong with Rin. Majorly wrong. His demonic side has been taken over. He attacked me, but it wasn’t like normal, he’s not in his right mind.”
Hanamura could practically feel the worry dripping off the exorcist. “It’s okay,” she tried to reassure him as she began cleaning his wounds with the disinfectant, “Pheles-sama is working to fix him.”
Yukio stiffened. “Mephi!? This isn’t good.” With those ominous words, he darted from the room, Hanamura following behind him.
In his office, Mephisto had trapped Rin within a demon trap circle, one of his favorites to be precise. The odds of Rin escaping this one were pretty slim, even if he had already broken two of his previous incantations. Third time’s the charm, right? He hoped so. He couldn’t afford to let the demon run amok. He smirked when he heard pounding footsteps heading towards his office. “Poor little Yuki-kun must be worried sick.” He mused.
Yukio threw the door open, eyes scanning the room. His scowl deepened when his eyes landed on Rin. The demon was curled in on himself, whimpering, inside a demon trap circle.
“What, exactly, did you do to him?” The tone in Yukio’s voice made Antarctica look like a tropical paradise in comparison.
Mephisto decided now was not the time to mess with him.
“Don’t worry, he’s fine. The fact that he can’t escape this barrier means that he didn’t drink too much blood from either of you. The kappa part of him didn’t care too much for the demon taste of your blood, which is probably why he scratched you even though you had been under the sedatives. Good thing you heal quickly. He didn’t have enough of an opportunity to get too much from Hana-chan.”
Hanamura huffed from behind Yukio at the nickname while simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief. She had been so worried.
“I know that he got enough, though,” Mephisto turned to Yukio, a grim expression on his face, “Because this is the third barrier I had to put up. He broke through the first two.”
Yukio’s mind was reeling. So far, he knew that Rin had attacked him in his sleep, he had been mildly aware of it while it was happening, and apparently, he had attacked Hana-sensei as well. In order to preserve his composure and sanity, him mind clung to that bit of information. Hanamura had been hurt.
“Are you alright, Sakino-sensei?” he asked, turning to her. He could see the scratch on her shoulder where Rin had tried to bite her. He gently pulled her closer, inspecting her wound closely. It took his brain longer than it should have to register that she was only wearing a tank top and shorts, having come straight from bed. Hindsight 20/20, he should have realized when he woke up and saw the bite mark on her shoulder while she muttered to herself. His face slowly grew hotter as the inevitable blush bloomed, when it registered that he was touching her bare skin and holing her very close. He froze in embarrassment.
Hanamura giggled, her relief leaving her a little giddy after all the adrenaline. “I’m fine, Okumura-sensei. I’ll disinfect and bandage it later.”
He swiftly released her, her voice doing a lot to calm his nerves, since the adrenaline rush had triggered her charm-speak. Mephisto watched, mildly perplexed. If Rin was unaffected by Hanamura’s abilities, why was Yukio responding to her incubus charms? He tucked that information away to ponder later. Right now, he had bigger problems, for example, the whimpering half-brother on the floor. He pondered, quietly observing the boy. The circle was obviously doing its job, but he didn’t like the fact that Rin seemed to be in pain. Despite his flamboyant actions and heartless attitude, he really did care for the boys, but being who and what he was, he couldn’t allow himself to get too attached. His reasoning didn’t help much while he watched him suffer.
After recovering from his embarrassment, Yukio realized that Rin was not simply immobile, but actually in pain. “Is there anything we can do?” he asked, ”I can’t just leave him like this!”
Mephisto glanced up, looking out the window. Dawn was about twenty minutes away, by his estimate. Rin would more than likely be fine, but keeping his brother from interfering could prove difficult, as he knew how protective the twins were of each other, despite their obvious rivalry. He put on his best fake smile as he turned, nonchalantly pushing the both of them towards the open door. “Don’t you worry about it, Yuki-kun. I’ll keep watch over him. Once the sun rises, he’ll be back to the trouble-making imp we all know and love.” With a final push, he shoved them out of the room, shutting and locking the door, paying no mind to Yukio’s protests. He sat at his desk, glancing at the half-blood on the floor occasionally, as he worked on a little paperwork that had been piling up in his office. He knew the darn stuff was just busy work the Vatican made up to try to keep him occupied, but he had to chuckle at their pathetic efforts. Didn’t they know who they were dealing with?
Chapter 9: Epiphany
A little rewind to the events that helped Rin boost his grades.
Yes, this happened because I have THE WORST case of writer's block.
‘Why is this so hard?!’
Rin was sitting at his desk, dutifully trying to study, but nothing was working. He tried math first, but the numbers never came out right. He tried doing Yukio’s assignment from his class next, but all the plants in the pictures looked the same, so he couldn't tell which was which. He tried memorizing some mantras next, but he kept getting words switched around.
Rin’s roar of frustration was enough to make Yukio jump. The exorcist had been working on his lesson plans while his brother studied.
“What's wrong, nii-san?”
Rin huffed in annoyance. “School just doesn't work for me!” He stood from his chair angrily, nearly knocking over the poor, abused seat. “I'm gonna take a walk.”
“Rin!” Yukio called after his twin, hoping to find out what was wrong with the boy, but no dice. The half-demon ignored him. “I wonder what’s eating him?” Yukio glanced at Rin’s desk to see what he was working on.
‘Wait a minute.’
Yukio’s eyes widened. Rin’s math was jumbled, his spelling was all wrong, and the Aria: Book of Mantras was upside down.
‘What was Rin doing?’
‘What am I doing?’
Rin stomped across campus, gloomy and brooding.
‘Bon does it just fine! Why can't I read? Why are they all jumbled? Why does it make my head hurt? Why is it so hard?!’
Kuro, who had been following Rin, meowed to get his attention. When Rin glanced down at his familiar, he was met with the most unimpressed look to ever be seen on a cat’s face, and that's saying a lot.
‘Rin, you know you should talk to Yukio. He'd be willing to help you, I'm sure! Stop complaining and do something.’
Rin flopped unceremoniously to the grass, laying on his back.
Great. Now he's being given life lessons by an eons old cat. He has reached new levels of lame.
Rin lay there, eyes closed, ignoring the mewling demon at his side.
He didn't feel like talking.
Yukio did more research right then than he had ever done in his life. If his suspicions were correct, he could save his brother a lot of grief.
“Ah ha!” The exorcist cheered, enthused. He had found what he had been looking for!
Rin was going to be so surprised.
Rin cracked his eyes open, yawning.
And promptly flipped out.
Bon had been standing, staring down at Rin while he napped on the lawn.
Yeah, that'll wake you up fast.
“What are you doing out here, Ash-for-brains?” Bon asked, clearly unimpressed.
Rin scoffed at the new nickname. If only Bon knew how fitting it was. “I was sleeping. Keyword: was.” Rin shot a halfhearted glare at his classmate, but the unnatural blonde could tell there was no bite in it. Something was clearly bugging Rin, and Ryuuji was going to find out what. He flopped down on the grass next to Rin.
Rin’s glare morphed into a look you might give to a nun that said, “Fo’ shizzle, dawg.” Yeah, that one. To him, the two scenarios weren't too different.
He blinked, then mentally shuffled through his options. Talk about his issues with the last person he thought would care, or say nothing? He decided the situation required poise and delicacy. He didn't want to ruin whatever spell was put on Bon to put him in a caring and generous mood.
“What do you care? ‘S got nuthin ta do with you.” Rin mumbled, wanting to just curl up and be left alone.
His attitude didn't get any better, but at least he looked the aria-in-training in the eyes when the aforementioned exwire punched him in the arm, hard.
“Ow! Dude, what gives?” Rin growled, rubbing his abused arm.
“I care. Now spill. Is it your brother? Is he giving you a hard time, again?” Rin was impressed with how nonchalantly Bon just said that.
The half-demon shrugged. “Not really. I just needed a break from homework, is all.”
Another cry of pain escaped the boy when his new therapist whacked him upside the head. “Get your butt up and get back to work then. Your grades suck, because you laze around like this all day.”
Now, Rin has never considered himself a patient person, but that remark would set anyone off.
“They do not! I work twice as hard as you do! I've never even heard of half this stuff before, I can't read any of these crazy names, and I'm sure words and numbers don't get mixed up in your head at all! It's all perfectly easy for a guy who grew up with this stuff! But does anyone help the newbie?! No! You just complain about how much I suck! Well guess what?! I know already!”
With that blindsiding bombshell, Rin turned on his heel, (When did he even stand up?) and made to stomp off, but stomped right into Yukio instead.
“Sorry, Yukio.” He mumbled, sliding past his brother.
Yukio could only stare dumbly at Bon. Had Rin been keeping this all bottled up since classes started? Yukio could feel the guilt gnawing at his insides.
“Wh-what are those?” Yukio shook himself out of his dumbfounded state, ignoring the hesitation in Suguro’s voice, to stare down at the books in his arms.
“Oh, the library in the Vatican has our textbooks in a special font for people with dyslexia, so I thought I'd see if they helped . . . “ Yukio glanced back up to the other side of the lawn where Rin could still be seen, sulking back to the dorms.
For a genius, Yukio could be pretty dumb sometimes.
Mind made up, the twin took off after his brother, leaving poor Bon to wonder just what the tea-tickling-tarnation was going on.
Yukio finally caught up with Rin in front of their dorms. “Nii-san!” Rin turned in the direction of the voice, Kuro perched on his shoulder.
One could call his tone of voice a growl, if one were feeling generous, but to Yukio, he sounded stressed and tired. Not “I need sleep” tired, but “Life is wearing me down, I'm too old for this” tired.
“I think I figured out why studying is so hard for you.” Yukio started, hoping to bump up Rin’s attitude.
Rin's face fell, his shoulders hunching down a bit, the half-demon slightly curling in on himself. “I know, you're the smart one. I'm not. Whoopdee doo.” Rin turned back to walk into the dorm, but he was stopped by Kuro growing to his full size.
While still on Rin's shoulder.
‘You need to wake up, Rin!’
Rin chuckled sardonically, self-loathing rolling off the half-demon in waves, pinned under the cat sidhe.
“Yes sir, Dr. Phil.”
Kuro growled. ‘Shiro would be ashamed of your attitude.’
Yukio winced. That had to hurt. Rin didn't move.
‘You meant the world to him, and you're not even trying anymore?’
Rin jumped to his feet, throwing Kuro off balance. “WHO KEEPS TELLING PEOPLE I DON’T TRY?!” He yelled at no one in particular. Yukio chose that moment to step in.
“If you're going to try, try with these. The font is different in these books than it is in yours. It should stop the words and numbers from moving. If you need glasses, you can try my drawer. I've got a few reading glasses in there.” Yukio handed over the books, sweeping passed his twin into the dorm. “Ukobach! Could you make lunch? I'll bring it upstairs so nii-san can study.”
Rin stared after his brother, slowly walking into the dorm, a much smaller Kuro following him, smiling.
What did Rin ever do to deserve such an amazing brother?
“ . . .but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
The whole class was silent. Rin had come in wearing glasses, his hair pinned back in a barrette, and the class was raising a ruckus over it, so Professor Pompous-Head had asked Rin to recite Proverbs 1, expecting him not to know it. Instead, the boy recited the whole thing, verbatim, before collapsing in his seat, drained and panting.
After class, Bon asked if the new books had helped. “They helped a ton! I still can't read verses aloud, they give me such a headache, so I memorize them backwards. I can see the difference between plants now too, when I'm wearing my glasses. They're not just blobs anymore.”
The demon child nearly skipped out of the classroom.
“If I got glasses, would I get smarter?” Shima asked. Bon just rolled his eyes.