The fear of forgetting or being forgotten— Rin-centric

i. ten years

It's when he accidentally spots an old high school (not cram school) classmate on a subway that he squeezes the rung too hard and leaves an imprint in the metal. They had never been close, sat through a few classes together, but the blue-eyed demon can't stop the forced smile that makes its way onto his face. The boy clasps him heartily on the back, grabbing the rung next to him.

"Damn, Okumura! You look exactly the same! Anyway, how's life treating ya?"

A bit stunned, Rin lets out a laugh, rubbing the back of his head as he searches for a half-truth. "It's been alright. Got a part-time job at this restaurant in True Cross town and—"

Before he can finish the metal giant gives one final lurch, coming to rest at the next stop. As the feminine voice chimes the name of the station the boy curses, letting go of the rung. "Shit, this is my stop. Maybe we'll catch up some other time, alright?"

Rin nods, but he's already long gone, lost in the throng of people who know nothing of demons or exorcists.

(He never sees him again.)

ii. twenty years

He's just wrapped up a mission in Kyoto when he decides to visit Bon. At the door he is greeted by the duel aria-dragoon meister's wife, who rubs her stomach warmly before ushering the dark-haired youth inside. It is a simple abode, furnished in deep burgundies and mahogany, each wall paneled with intricate chants. Rows upon rows of books take up any extra space and Rin has to carefully maneuver around a coffee table to find a seat on the leather sofa.

After being poured some tea, the same bull-headed exorcist stumbles in from the sliding back door, a brown-haired boy trailing happily behind. The kid is toting a stack of old demonology tomes, fumbling behind his father before dropping the books with a loud gasp.

"You're the demon papa's friends with!" He points to Rin excitedly, the books forgotten as he scrambles towards the dark-haired man. Rin chuckles, letting the boy crawl into his lap and poke at his ears and even unfurl his tail so the kid can touch it.

"Ryouta, stop it!" Ryuuji chastises, moving to grab the curious boy.

"Nah, it's fine, rooster-head. Let him do what he wants." His grin widens at the use of the old nickname, pleased to see that the taunt still works.

"Look who's talking. When was the last time you took a bath? You look filthy." Bon retorts, moving to sit in the opposite couch beside his wife. He holds her hand gently, giving her a quick smile before turning his attention back to the half-demon.

The pair talk the night away about old times, about their exwire days before everyone split apart, about the 'cross-dressing mission' and even hesitantly spoke on the subject of the imprisonment of Renzou Shima. The pink-haired boy had been a heavy shadow for the exwires, a being that followed them through time, voiceless but unforgettable. Izumo had been unable to fully move on even after his capture. Though, none of them really moved on either.

"Can you believe it's been five years since we've seen each other? It feels like only a month's gone by." Rin suddenly blurts out as a way to change the subject. He looks down at the child asleep on his lap and wraps his tail around Ryouta's shoulder, a sort of melancholy invading his heart.

Bon grunts accordingly. "For you maybe. A lot's happened. Honestly, I already feel old."

"Heh, don't be gettin' sentimental on me! Looks like marriage has really softened ya!"

Bon snorts, folding his arms. "As if. I'm just upset that you hadn't seen Ryouta till now. You're one of my…" the exorcist fumbles for the proper words, "closest friends. He's already five. But, I'm glad he likes you."

The half-demon nods, setting his third cup of tea on the table gingerly, not wanting to wake the child curled in his lap. "Me too."

It is around midnight when he finally decides to leave the house. He knows there is room for him there, but he doesn't want to disturb the idyllic family. Handing the sleeping child over to Ryuuji, he gives the pregnant woman a careful hug. He then turns to Bon, ruffles his hair and goes to leave.

"Wait a damn second Okumura!" The exorcist calls as Rin crosses the threshold. Giving Ryouta to his wife, Bon pulls the half-demon into a tight hug.

"…Don't be a stranger, alright?"

Rin smiles, giving a reassuring laugh and a warm pat on the back before disappearing into the night.

When he finally makes it back to his apartment in True Cross town it is almost morning. He shambles up the dusty steps to open his door, finding the small, bare room to be void of even Kuro. It is quiet. He falls asleep alone on the couch, hugging a pillow close to his chest.

(Loneliness… makes a home in his heart for the first time.)

iii. thirty years

Shiemi's hair had turned a sort of sliver that while pretty, is far from the brilliant gold he remembers. The lines on her face are apparent when she smiles, teeth still glossy and white.

"Rin!" She calls out across the True Cross Branch's headquarters. She's dressed in the issued teacher's uniform, long black coat nearly dwarfing her petite features. She waves him down just before his meeting with Samael, cheeks flushed and eyes wide.

"Shiemi!" He calls back, racing through the crowd of exorcists to give her a hug. He can't help it— he pulls her off her feet, spinning her around as she laughs, holding him tighter. When she complains of dizziness he brings her back to the ground, releasing his grip on the exorcist teacher.

Shiemi stares at his face, bringing a pale hand to his cheek. Rin stills, letting the woman do as she pleased. "You still look exactly the same… oh, sorry, that was rude!" She waves her hands around wildly, stopping only when the boy knocks her gently on the head.

"Don't worry bout it! Geeze, you're still the same as ever, too."

The middle-aged exorcist rubs her head sourly, pouting. "That hurt…" Her eyes dart to the scabbard at his side, features lighting up with interest.

"Did you just get back from a mission?"

Rin nods, grinning widely. For a moment, the two are sixteen again, tongues tied and faces flushed. He is only brought out of the haze by a white dog that scampers past him. It barks at the pair, eyeing the dark-haired exorcist with what could only be described as a smirk before it disappears in the crowd of people shifting through different doors to exorcist branch headquarters.

"Damnit, Mephisto! Sorry Shiemi, but I've gotta go catch him." He gives the pharmacology teacher one more hug before darting through the atrium. The silver-haired woman reaches out to him, voiceless. The words she wants to say, needs to say won't come out and they choke her for the rest of her life.

"Rin, I love you."

(He loves her too…)

iv. fourty years

It's at Konekomaru's bedside that the once group of exwires finally meet again. The white-washed room feels infinitely small, infinitely suffocating as they crowd the frail aria. Bon is the closest, with his hands wrapped around the dying man's wrist, face contorted in grief. Yukio stands to the side, the glare from his glasses hiding the sadness in his aquamarine eyes. Shiemi is crying loudly and is moved away from the bed by Izumo, whose silent tears do not go unnoticed. Takara is perched on a plastic chair and opens the door beside him to let the two girls out of the hospital room. He closes it softly behind them, his usual slew of profanities and coarse language gone, replaced by an almost foreboding silence. The pink rabbit doll lies in the chair beside him, though his eyes remain closed.

Miwa had always been tiny, but other the layers of heavy bed sheets he seems inhumanly gaunt, too pale, too weak to be the same somewhat timid and brilliant boy that Rin remembers. And it hurts. It hurts that the aria's killer isn't anything physical, not a demon or a human Rin can burn away. No, it's a disease. And no amount of flames or wishes or prayers is going to save him. Looking down at the comatose man, the dark-haired exorcist can only clench his fists, bite his lip, and cry.

Konekomaru Miwa dies two hours after their visit, when Ryuji is the only one in the hospital room to cradle his dead body in his arms.

(He is the first of his friends to die—and he's not the last.)

v. sixty years

Yukio is dying. He is dying. He is dying. He is—

It should have been his final mission. A simple trip to an icy land to look for any signs of an overpopulation of demons. He's seventy-six years old and he wanted to end his career peacefully with his demon brother at his side. There were supposed to be no risks in this mission.

But there's snow and blood and the wound won't close and damnit, why won't the fucking monsters just leave them alone?! Rin roars into the tundra, a deep, guttural scream that rocks the earth and drives the horde of demons away. He cries, cradles his brother in his lap, fingers drenched in blood. It spills onto the snow despite his best attempts at keeping his younger brother alive and Rin howls again, flames lighting his body. The blue burns away the powder white around them, leaving only singed earth to witness the exorcist's death. A dome of fire blocks away any remnants of falling snow, melting the snowflakes on the twins into water.

It looks like Yukio is crying.

The silver-haired twin stares back blankly, glasses cracked beyond repair. Reaching with a frail hand, Yukio places his fingers on the demon's heart before his strength dissipates. Even in the blistering cold Rin still felt incredibly warm.

"Thank you, Rin." He closes his eyes, muscles relaxing for the final time. He sleeps with a smile on his face.

("Happy birthday, nii-san.")

vi. eighty years

It's funny, he thinks, how Shima is the last to go. The traitor who spent the entirety of his life locked away in the Vatican's underground was finally dying. Rin does not visit him, not even at his request.

He has nothing to say to the betrayer, the Judas of their group. He thinks it's fitting that he dies alone in a cell and suddenly Rin doesn't know if it's him or the bitterness of age or the demon inside of him that's talking. Regardless, the man dies a few days later, leaving only a note in his wake.

With nothing more to lose, the demon opens the envelope. Inside, he finds two hastily scribbled lines.

(I'm sorry, Okumura-kun. I'm sorry that now you'll be all alone.)

vii. two-hundred years

He feels it in his bones. This loneliness, this solitude is eating him alive. He doesn't want to live. He doesn't want to remember. He relives every memory and it burns him, burns his soul so much that he wakes up every night to his own sobs. Every step he takes, every breath rattles hollowly in his chest. His body refuses to stop. It shuffles through the motions, killing demon after demon as the Vatican demands. Eventually, Rin is unable to feel the blood on his skin. He's lost the ability to feel anything. He becomes a machine, not a monster.

Before the Vatican notices his behavior, Rin disappears. He isn't their hunting dog any longer. But he's not alive, either. Not really, anyway.

The deceivingly youthful boy shuffles from place to place like a ghost with no purpose. Never in one place for too long, he's sure he's lapped the entire world at least once. No one, not even the demon kings stop him. It is after an innumerable amount of sunrises that a light flickers in his cobalt orbs.

(He finally understands: demons reanimate corpses— they pluck out the soul and fill the void. He is no different.)

viii. eight thousand years

He's sure he had a name once… but he can't remember.

(Satan sees this— and smiles.)

A/N: My heart hurts D: anyway, I'm not the best at writing angst, but I tried u.u I do apologize to those who are looking for my fics to be updated; they should be soon since summer started ^^

P.S. I've got a tumblr now, if any of you guys want to follow me for derpy AnE stuff. It's under the same username (isis-lied).