[god of second chances]
Summary: After using a 'special' key, Rin is transported back in time to the moments before Shiro Fujimoto's death. He is given a chance to save his adopted father… but at what price? Rin-centric
Genre: Drama, Supernatural, Horror, Family, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Major divergence fic. Follows the first chapter of the manga. Rated T+ for gore, violence, and profanity. You have been warned.
Chapter 1- Metamorphoses
"My soul would sing of metamorphoses.
But since, o gods, you were the source of these
bodies becoming other bodies, breathe
your breath into my book of changes: may
the song I sing be seamless as its way
weaves from the world's beginning to our day."
It had been a long year.
Standing at the same plot of soil where he had made his life-altering vow, Rin Okumura gazed forlornly at the marble slab. It didn't stand out much in the uniform sea of ivory— it wasn't tipped with a granite angel, wings spread out to reach the corners of the blue-creased sky. It didn't speak of wealth or status, with a multitude of traced loops carved into its center denoting the deceased's importance. It was simple; the way the old man would have wanted it.
There was a wilting bouquet of asters (Yukio's doing, the half-demon figured), petals now yellowed with age and a packet of cigarettes (the same brand he had once seen when he snuck into the man's room as a child, tucked away in a reading desk) most likely left by Shura. Rin frowned. He had nothing to leave the reverend.
Nothing tangible, anyway.
"Hey, old man…" The dark-haired teen started, sweeping his cobalt gaze across the graveyard. He was totally and utterly alone.
"A lot has happened since you saved me. Kuro's my familiar now, but I don't think you'd mind too much. I made some friends at school. I've learned to control my flames— and temper. Kind of." Rin gave a small smile.
"I met Shura, your old protégé. She's loud and drunk all the time, but she's a good person. The Vatican's got me on parole. Four-eyes worries about it too much— I won't do anything to get myself killed. Not before I kick Satan's ass."
There was, of course, no answer. The half-demon sighed, crouching down until he was eyelevel with the words on the grave. At the bottom of the granite cross there were only three short lines:
May 10, 1960- April 7, 2009
A Loving Father and Friend
"Anyway, I've got to get going… dad. Yukio gives out so much freaking homework, you wouldn't believe it." The teen stood up, fingers tracing against the gravestone. He stopped suddenly at the feeling of cold metal against his hands. On one arm of the marble cross there was a single, antique key. The swirling patterns that looked somewhat familiar were engraved in iron, painted black.
Rin furrowed his brows, taking the key into his hands. Just what was this for? It looked like the special keys made for exorcist students to get to cram school, but the color was all wrong— cram school keys were bronze. His only guess was that it was left by the clown of a principal, Mephisto Pheles. The paladin and the demon were friends, after all.
"Ah, how annoying…" Rin grumbled, pocketing the key. After finishing his homework he'd visit the principal's office and return it. With that thought in mind, the dark-haired teen ambled away from the cemetery, hands stuffed pensively in his pockets.
By the time he made it back to the dorm, it was already evening. The sun had just slipped below the horizon, throwing the idyllic campus of lush greenery and marble fountains into shades of violet and blue, when Rin stepped into the run-down brick building. Climbing the flight of stairs to his and Yukio's shared room, he realized that the teen was not home— no light emanated from the crack in the door.
Throwing on the light switch, he saw Yukio's handwritten letter perched harmlessly on a stack of demonology textbooks.
"Out on an exorcist mission for the weekend. Behave." He read aloud, a frown settling onto his features. That damn four-eyes! He wasn't some dog; he'd be perfectly fine alone! He'd show Yukio. He'd do all his homework and feed Kuro and—
A pink envelope was hidden under the handwritten scrawl, Rin realized, as it fell from his hands. Retrieving the sticker-adorned parchment, he grimaced. It had to be that clown; no one else would send a letter with anime girl stickers and glitter. Ungodly amounts of glitter, he added in his head.
Tearing the letter open with little fanfare, the blue-eyed boy was surprised to see that the letter itself was in fact, quite longer than the one he had received before from the demon, when he invited him to his mansion. It was written in gaudy pink ink to match the envelope, a fancy M printed in cursive at the bottom. It read:
How is your demon etiquette going? I've noticed that you still walk around with your tail out— how disgraceful. Ah, excuse me for that momentary slip; I've just had a lot on my mind, you see. If you're reading this, I can safely assume you've found the key. It's a key to second chances, Okumura-kun. Opening any door with this key will send you back in time to before Shiro Fujimoto's death. Think of it as a… parting gift to an old friend. Nothing more. But, there is a catch, as all deals go. The key breaks after the first use; it renders you incapable of returning to this time. Think carefully, Rin. But not too hard; you might actually pass out~!"
With a sudden burst of enthusiasm, Rin pulled the key from his pocket. If the demon was telling the truth then he could... he could save his old man! He just needed to put the key in the lock and—
Flashes of his friends, of the trips they had been on played like a movie reel in his head. The mission to the amusement park where he promised to take Shiemi again for fun. The camping trip when he got to sit around with everyone and eat and talk and… where they learned of his true nature. Of his bloodline relating to the god of Gehenna himself. The black key weighed heavy in his hands as he thought.
If he went back in time he could stop himself from getting the flames. He could be like Yukio— normal. He wouldn't have to bear any more looks of fear and disgust; the faces of his friends as they backed away in terror from him would no longer plague his dreams. He could start over— be the cool guy he always wanted to be, the guy his old man wanted him to be.
The choice was easy, once he slid the key into the lock. He owed it to the old man— his father, to save him. If there was a chance that the priest could live again, to ruffle his hair and prattle on about him being 'immature,' Rin would take it in a heartbeat.
"Sorry, Yukio…" The half-demon mumbled, clicking the key into place. Holding his breath, he pulled at the doorknob, not realizing that the key had disintegrated to ash the moment the door swung open.
Standing in the hallway was the pensive face of Shiro Fujimoto, the light from the church windows creating harsh, angular shadows on his face.
"Well, are you packed?" The man questioned, looking confusedly at the boy's attire. Where had he gotten a True Cross Academy uniform? Any further brooding came to a stop as the boy hugged him tightly, tears spilling from his eyes.
"Rin? Are you okay? I know that this wasn't the best way for you to find out your heritage but—"
The dark-haired teen shook his head, smiling through the tears. "Nah, I-I just got something in my eye, is all. I'll be ready in a bit."
"Alright…" The priest trailed off, wondering if the shock had been too much for the boy. Rin hadn't hugged him like that since the time he picked him up at the police station a year ago. The kid had gotten into a fight with a couple of gang members and broke his arm, nose, and three of the leader's ribs. One almost punctured the guy's lung. It was then that the teen decided to quit school altogether.
The door closed softly behind him as Rin changed out of the uniform (to which he glanced at for a few moments but quickly threw the unnecessary thought from his mind) and into a hoodie and jeans. Zipping up his bag with a few family mementos and a couple change of clothes, the teen leapt out of the room, searching for the priest. It was like the man was a ghost; Rin felt that if he had Shiro out of his sights for even a second he'd disappear again, become only a phantom of a memory.
Shiro was sitting on one of the pews, cellphone in hand. Without thinking, Rin snatched the silver phone away, startling the priest.
He frowned. "What are you doing? You need to stay with my friend. He can keep you safe—"
"I don't want safety!" He started, but lowered his tone when he remembered how the argument ended before. "I want to stay with you. Why can't we go somewhere together? I don't want to leave—"
"No, Rin. You don't understand. Demons will be after you. There are some demons that I can't protect you from." Shiro responded sternly, crimson eyes focused on the youth in front of him. There was something different about the teen— something that occurred the moment he stepped out of the boy's room to let him pack.
Just what is going on?
Rin shook his head petulantly. "I don't want to be raised by Mephisto. I won't leave you— not again.
"You're not making sense!" Shiro started, faltering at the sound of the demon's name. How did Rin know his name?
"How do you know that name, Rin?" He pressed, forgoing his plans momentarily. The teen looked away, unable to look the white-haired man in the eye.
"…I'll tell you if you don't take me to him. Please, dad." He murmured, pulling the priest into another nearly bone-crushing hug.
With a sigh, the paladin hugged back. There was still time. As long as Rin didn't unsheathe the sword, they could stay hidden. The priest pulled away with a frown, bopping the teen on the head lightly with his fist.
"Oww!" He started, looking up at the priest accusingly.
"I know a few places or two we could hide out. In the meantime you need to explain everything— and stop acting like a brat." Shiro teased, ruffling the boy's hair.
The cobalt-eyed teen stiffened, but didn't stop the old man. Shiro was alive and breathing in front of him— and that was all that mattered. He shoved away all the nagging thoughts in his head and picked up his duffle bag, grinning widely.
"What are we waiting for, then? Let's get going, old man!"
"Are you telling the truth, Mephisto Pheles?" The three voices that made up the Grigori pressed.
A serpentine chuckle escaped his lips as he glanced around the room. His eyes lingered on Arthur Augustus Angel who looked the most riled up of the exorcists after being given the information. "Oh, yes. The son of Satan was raised by none other than Shiro Fujimoto. They are most likely on the run right now~"
"I see… we will deal with your punishment for withholding this information later. For the time being, all exorcists of the Japanese branch are to be given a new mission: find the ex-paladin Shiro Fujimoto and the Son of Satan, alive."
A/N: I hope this chapter was enjoyable ^^ Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to sit down and write this! You guys are great :P