Ice

"Okay, so today I'm giving you free reign. Here's ten dollars. Go buy some iced Milo for you and your nii-san, okay?" Shiro gave the money to Yukio, who was trembling slightly at the notion of being handed the responsibility for money.

"Can…can nii-san come too?" The five year old asked nervously. He wasn't used to going anywhere without his brother. "Please?"

Shiro smiled and ruffled Yukio's hair affectionately. "No. This time you need to do it on your own, okay? You can't always rely on your nii-san. One day, you might even be stronger than your nii-san. Who knows? Besides, knowing Rin, he would probably buy candy instead of iced Milo."

Yukio giggled at that last one. Rin had an unhealthy obsession with candy. There was one time Rin earned a hundred marks on his spelling test and was rewarded with a packet of candy. Rin earned those hundred marks because there was candy promised.

The darker side of the story was that when another group of boys harassed Rin for that candy, Rin beat them up.

Yukio took a deep breath and went.

"See, that wasn't so bad, wasn't it?" Rin grinned at his younger brother, holding up the iced Milo gingerly. "Gee, I never had iced drinks before, though dad always drinks it. Wanna try it now?"

Yukio gingerly took a sip. "Mmmm! It's nice! It's…de-li-cious." Yukio carefully pronounced the word.

Rin wrinkled his nose. "What does that mean?"

"It means that I like the taste of this drink." Yukio explained.

"Okay, if Yuki likes it, then I like it too!" Rin declared, taking a sip. "Yummy!" He pulled a face for exaggeration, sending Yukio into a fit of giggles. Happily, the brothers finished their drinks together and went to play.

That night Rin had a terrible stomachache.

Ice cream was okay with Rin. So was the Milo. Even the refrigerator-ed drinks. But if Rin ever tried to eat an ice block, he would fall sick that very day. Shiro banned Rin from eating anything remotely related to ice since that day. Rin would sometimes sneak in an ice cream or two without any ill effects, and even tried eating ice once or twice with the hope that he'd grown out of it, but the stomachaches escalated into full blown fevers, and gradually Rin just forgot about it and took not eating ice for a given.


"Oi, Okumura, so are you going with us for dinner or not?" Suguro nudged the dark-haired boy in his side. "We know you don't have that much money, so we're going cheap. I personally don't have that much money either, but we're only going to buy the ingredients if you're coming and you don't have to pay for the ingredients. How does that sound?"

"Great!" Rin leapt up, grinning. "Can I invite Yukio too? Please?"

Shima sauntered up. "As long as he doesn't act like a teacher and keep us all in line, why not?"

"Okay, what's the time again?"

"Six o'clock, you dream stealing idiot. Neko, Shima, and the two girls will all be there."

"Dream stealing idiot? Hey, I thought we'd made that clear, my dream is the original one, not yours!"

"Oh really? I recall that I announced that first! For all I know, you could have just copied it to make yourself sound cool!"

"How do I make myself sound cool with that after you got laughed at for that very same thing? Come on, I'm not that much of an idiot."

"Yes you are!"

Konekomaru groaned. "This is going to go on forever."

That night, Rin was already busy in the kitchen with Ukobach and Shiemi. Shiemi was very eager to learn, and her hands were gentle and deft from years of gardening, so the two of them made a good team. Ukobach was preparing his own secret sauce, the recipe of which he hadn't shared with anyone, not even Rin. The other boys and Izumo were in the dining room, having done their part in buying and preparing the ingredients.

"Dinner's ready!" Rin beamed as he put the plates onto the table. He could see their mouths' starting to water.

"Itadikamasu!" They chorused, and dug in.

"Geez, this is heavenly!" Konekomaru praised. "Scrumptious!"

Bon goggled. "Moriyama-san, are you sure that this was cooked by that blue haired monkey?"

Shiemi giggled. "It's kind of hard to believe, isn't it? Rin is normally so loud and brash."

"Hey!"

Yukio just ate normally, since he was already used to eating Rin's cooking, though he had to admit, nii-san's cooking was supreme.

Izumo was surprised, but she didn't let it show.

Shima didn't even stop to speak, he just gorged himself and held out his plate. "More."

Rin grinned and refilled Shima's plate with a little kare raisu (curry rice). "Try this. Ukobach made the sauce."

Shima took a bit and shoveled the whole plate down before they could blink, then said a second word. "Ice."

Then he started spewing fire.

Not literally, of course. His face went red and steam seemed to emit from his nostrils. He emitted another ear piercing scream. "Ice!"

"Okay, okay, give me a sec." Rin toppled over a few chairs in his rush to get to the refrigerator for the required ice. Hurriedly dumping all of them into a cup, he bumped into Shima and thrust the cup into his hand. Shima gulped it down like it was nectar from the gods.

"Honestly, Okumura, what did you put in there?" Bon's reaction wasn't as big as Shima's, but nevertheless, the sight of the punk teen having steam coming out from his mouth was still a funny sight for all to behold.

Rin shrugged. "Not me. Ukobach. Do you want some ice too?"

"Actually, why don't you just get ice for everyone?" Izumo remarked. Her face was beet red, but to her credit she was holding it in.

"Gotcha." Rin headed back to the kitchen.

"Nii-san!" Yukio called out. "I want some too, but remember, you can't drink any."

"Stop worrying, moley four eyes! I know what I can and cannot eat perfectly well. What are you, my mom?" Rin joked, carrying the jug of refrigerator-ed orange juice, a tray of ice and balancing the glasses precariously on his head while reentering the room.

Yukio stood and swept the glasses off Rin's head. With practiced ease, Rin poured equal amounts of ice into all the glasses except one before pouring the orange juice into them.

Iced drinks are ready! Kuro mewed.

Rin laughed and ruffled Kuro's fur. Kuro rolled onto his back for some belly scratching.

Everyone randomly grabbed a glass of iced orange juice and downed them quickly.

Why can't Okumura drink ice? Maybe he just doesn't like them…oh well, I'll just play a prank on him. Suguro grinned a little evilly at the thought and grabbed the glass of un-iced orange juice. Nothing serious can come out of it anyway; the guy eats ice cream like a starved guy.

"Let's watch something. I can plug my laptop into the TV in the sitting room." Shima offered. "What do you guys wanna watch? Maybe some A-listed movies~" He grinned, but was cut off by Izumo's well thrown textbook.

"We'll watch Ring (午夜凶铃). And see who screams first." Bon decided, smirking.

Yukio pushed up his glasses, an idea forming. "Then after that we will review the various ways to exorcise the demons in the movie. I can ask questions and you need to classify the demons and name its fatal verse if available. If not, suggest ways you can use to defeat it."

Rin held up his hands. "Whoa, no way you're turning this into a lesson."

"Yeah, that would take all the fun out of it." Shima agreed.

"Are you okay with this, Shiemi? Konekomaru?" Izumo asked the two Exwires that hadn't said anything yet.

Shiemi looked a little scared, but determined to give it a try. Konekomaru was trembling, but he didn't disagree.

"Let's set it up then!" Rin declared cheerfully, bounding to the other room with Shima.

A few minutes were all it took to set everything up, and they brought their orange juices over with them too.

The atmosphere was tense as the ghostly house appeared on the screen. The narration started.

Four students died after watching a cursed tape. They would receive a mysterious phone call…

Rin sipped from his glass of orange juice. Shima had already finished his and was screaming at the appearance of the bugs instead of the ghost. Konekomaru had rushed away under the pretense of washing his empty glass. Izumo was following the developments on screen silently, with Shiemi clinging tightly to her. Yukio's glass was still half full, forgotten on the floor as he muttered verses under his breath. Rin snickered slightly, catching Bon's attention. Bon raised a brow in challenge, and Rin smirked in acceptance. Downing their glasses of orange juice, Rin and Bon turned their eyes on the screen.

The heroine of the movie let out an ear piercing scream, and Rin flinched. Bon did too, as the ghost finally made its appearance, covered in blood.

Help…me…

The curse the curse the curse…

Burn it burn it burn it…

The sounds seemed to echo from everywhere in the house. Konekomaru was back in the room in a flash. "Wow, sensei, you really have a good sound system, eh?" He asked, wringing his hands nervously.

"Superb PA system." Shima interjected shakily. "Now if you would kindly tune it down…"

Free me, Young Prince!

Rin snapped and used the remote control to shut off the TV.

"What, lost your nerve?" Bon teased, but let out a very manly shriek as the ghost from the TV set materialized in front of them.

Yukio had both guns out in an instant, firing them simultaneously. The silver bullets passed through the ghost and smashed into the TV. Glass splintered and cracked. The ghost paused for a moment, looking at its wispy stomach that seemed to be nailed to the spot for a moment.

Then it howled, tearing its stomach out. It glided towards the frightened Exwires at a speed greater than lightning.

Grant me leave to depart, Young Prince! I beg of you! Only the blue flames will have that power!

"Blue-blue flames? What is it talking about?" Izumo asked, tiny brows furrowing.

"And what's all this shit about a Prince?" Bon demanded.

Yukio fired again, this time nailing it in the head. The bullet passed through yet again, this time smashing the ceiling fan which dropped down onto the ghost. Shiemi screamed as the fan crashed down.

Everyone started coughing as the dust billowed.

A ghostly hand could be seen trying to crawl out from under the fan, reaching towards the Exwires. They all backed away, except for Rin, who stared at the hand, transfixed.

I beg only this of you…Young Prince. I am unworthy…they have told me so many times. The ghost started to rise from the dust. Rin stumbled back. I am undeserving of your mercy…but they have told me tales. Rumors have spread. They speak of a kind Prince. A Prince that does not think twice to offer mercy and salvation. An Angel Prince. They dream of the day the Young Prince will rise and claim his father's place.

The demon shuddered at the obscure mention of Satan. It fell down before Rin's feet, making Rin yelp and scramble back.

Bon grabbed his arms and yanked him back a few more feet. "Are you crazy?!" He hissed. "Do you know who that crazy ghost is talking about? She is a demon, and anyone she calls a prince can't be good either!"

Rin's heart fell a little but he kept his expression cool. "But I think she needs help." Rin pointed out.

My Lord…my Prince…please…

That please did the trick. Rin shrugged off Bon's hand and knelt by the demon. For the first time, its face showed hope.

"Keep your voice down. They don't know yet. How can I help you?" Rin murmured quietly, under his breath so that only the demon could hear him.

Young Prince…Kind Prince… The demon seemed to do a little weird dance. I am bonded to the service of Lord Satan for life. Only the blue flame can release me.

"What do I do? Burn you?" Rin asked.

The demon nodded vigorously. Clever Prince…Brilliant Prince…Gehenna will surely prosper when you assume your rightful place as the King of Gehenna!

"Okay, I hope this wouldn't hurt." Rin touched a finger to the demon's hand, concentrating with all his willpower to try to summon a small spark of blue flame, small enough that it won't attract notice but enough to break whatever curse his damned biological father had set upon this poor demon.

A sudden wave of dizziness overwhelmed him and Rin nearly fell over. Confused, he tried again only to promptly fall onto his butt, blinking stars out of his eyes.

My Prince? The demon asked, concerned, but let out an unearthly shriek as she was pulled back into Gehenna. Save me!

And she was gone.

"Whoa, Okumura, what did you do to her?" Bon came forward, a splash of color in Rin's blurry eyesight.

Rin weakly shook his head. "No-nothing…she just screamed and disappeared."

"Nii-san?" Rin saw the tell tale glint of Yukio's glasses. "Are you okay?"

"Are you hurt, Rin?" Shiemi asked in her soft, sweet tone.

Rin struggled to get up. "I'm fine-"

The next thing he knew was of his head thudding onto the floor and no more.

"…Rin!"


"No, really, it's okay. You don't have to stay the night." Yukio reassured Rin's worried friends after heaving Rin onto his bed and tending to him. The Exwires were still in shocked by their normally healthy and strong friend suddenly collapsing. Looking fondly at the silhouette on the bed, Yukio shook his head and sighed. "Oh, nii-san…I wish you would stop trying to prove yourself capable of consuming ice."

"Rin can't consume ice?" Shiemi exclaimed. "But the orange juices just now…"

Yukio shrugged. "He must have grabbed the wrong one. Nii-san's concern for his health is dangerously low."

"What happens when he drinks ice?" Bon asked, starting to feel uneasy.

"Well, it wasn't that bad when we were younger. Normally Rin just got a stomachache, but as he grew older it got worse. I remember last year we had to take him to the hospital because of a fever that threatened to burn his brain out. But don't worry." He added hastily, seeing the Exwires start to insist that they stay here for the night. He was a teacher, after all, and he couldn't have his students sleeping late and abandoning their homework on his watch. "Nii-san is going to be fine. I'll let him rest and take him to the hospital tomorrow for a checkup. But nii-san has always been strong. He will never let a mere illness to defeat him. Before you know it he will be annoying you like there's no tomorrow again."

"Rin doesn't annoy me." Shiemi stated.

"True, that stupid brat will be too stupid to die even if he dies anyway." Bon muttered.

Shima tilted his head. "You're making sense…by not making sense."

Konekomaru didn't want to go back to his dorm where only Suguro's snores would accompany him. He needed to stay in a place where there was assurance that there were trained professionals to keep away the demons from the ghost movie. He knew he was being silly, but cautiousness was in his nature. He couldn't help it.

"Yuki-chan…I'm worried about Rin and therefore I'm staying!" Shiemi surprised everyone by her sudden fierceness. Shiemi started to blush a little as everyone's attention was fixed on her, but she continued her rant. "Nii-chan can provide a constant supply of Mr. Sancho to lower Rin's fever and keep him cool, and if there's a sudden emergency that calls for herbs Nii-chan can supply those too! Right, Nii-chan?"

"Nii!"

"I will sleep outside if I have to, but I'm not leaving Rin like that!" Shiemi concluded.

Izumo stepped forward, looking bored. "It's too dangerous for a girl to sleep outside alone like that."

Shiemi looked like she was about to burst into tears. "But-"

"Therefore, I will spend the night with you in order to ensure your safety." Izumo calmly said.

"Hey, if the girls can stay, I want to stay too!" Shima tilted his head at Konekomaru, giving him a wink. "And Neko will come to make sure I don't give in to my impulses and assault these helpless girls."

"Who are you calling helpless?!"

"Ow…really, Kamiki-san…did you have to kick me?"

"It is necessary to knock sense into that brain of yours." Izumo cracked her knuckles. "Do you want another taste?"

Shima stood and patted away the dust on his clothes, grinning. "If it's from you, I would be honored."

Izumo 'hmmphed' and looked away.

"So, Bon, I guess you'll be staying with us too, huh?" Shima clapped Bon on the shoulder. "I fear that Neko might not be able to restrain me alone."

Bon was lost in thought. "Uh, yeah, I guess so."

Yukio sighed, pushing up his glasses. "If you're all staying, you'd better come inside."


Rin slowly regained consciousness. Something cool and wet was on his forehead, and he was in loose pijamas. He was covered up to the chin in his blanket and there was a weight on his left leg. Despite the comfortable clothes he was in, the cloth still rubbed against his fevered skin irritatingly.

His eyes felt like it had been sealed shut. His thoughts were sluggish, moving at the pace of a snail. Slowly, Rin managed to blearily crack his eyes open, and instantly winced at the moonlight streaming in from the window.

Soft snores emanated through the night. Yukio didn't snore.

It took three seconds for Rin to process that fact, and five more for him to realize that it meant that there was someone else in the room with him, and that wasn't Yukio.

Rin struggled up, taking deep breaths and trying to make as little noise as possible. His feet hit the cool floor and sent shudders through his body. Trying to preserve some warmth, Rin wrapped the blanket around himself before standing up and frowning up at the top bunk, trying to spot who it was.

Yellow black hair which reminded him of a rooster was shoved into his face. Startled, Rin stumbled backwards, unable to regain his balance as fast as he would normally have and fell right on top of Yukio's bed, essentially squashing Yukio too.

Yukio shot up in record time, screaming, and had pointed his pistols at his brother before he knew it. Rin sighed and grabbed one of the pistols, leaning his hot forehead against the cool barrel.

Naturally that woke everyone up.

And Rin's eyes widened as he took in just what everyone consisted of.

Izumo and Shiemi rushed in in their pijamas, Izumo starting to smear blood on the seals and Shiemi already prepared with some aloe. Bon shot up, and Shima started to stir on Yukio's top bunk. Konekomaru was on his mattress, already in a chanting stance.

A bout of dizziness overcame Rin.

No no no no no. He told his stomach firmly. This isn't the time.

His stomach didn't want to listen.

Just as Bon asked, "What's going on?" And flicked on the lights, the sudden stimulation was too much for Rin and he promptly spewed bile all over the floor before starting to have a coughing attack.

Yukio grabbed Rin before he could slump face first into the puddle of vomit. Rin coughed so hard that he almost bent double.

"Stupid…rooster…" Rin managed in between harsh breaths and coughs. He glared at Suguro with red eyes. "Snoring…hair…"

Konekomaru relaxed a little, though mildly annoyed. He'd finally managed to fall asleep a few seconds earlier, his waking thoughts plagued by demons and cursed telephone calls. Then his hard earned rest had been disturbed by Okumura's sensei's yells, which in turn had occurred because Okumura-kun had fallen on top of him. The brief flicker of annoyance quickly dissipated as Rin puked and started to cough.

"I'll clean up!" Shiemi bravely volunteered. "Nii-chan, Mr. Sancho!"

Yukio gratefully plucked the aloe from Shiemi's familiar as Shiemi ran off to get a mop and a bucket of water. Rin continued to cough, phlegm splattering onto the floor.

"Suguro-kun, can you hold Rin still?" Yukio asked, putting on his glasses and grabbing his medical kit. "Miwa-kun, please help Shiemi with the water and get more wet clothes. Shima-kun, can you phone the Exorcist doctors? Kamiki-san, kindly assist Suguro-kun."

Rin finally stopped coughing, gripping the edges of the bed, breathing hoarsely. "Don't make a fuss." He rolled his eyes as his arms turned to jelly and he fell backwards onto Yukio's bed. The stiff mattress didn't do anything for his sore back either. Honestly, the bed was as stiff as its master.

Bon jumped off the top bunk and lifted the shorter boy up in his arms bridal style. Rin grumbled half-heartedly, but was too tired to try to fight it off.

"Geez, Okumura, you're worse than before." Bon noticed as he lifted Rin onto his softer and more lumpy mattress. "Okumura sensei, can you take his temperature again?"

Yukio handed the thermometer over to Izumo, who told Rin to open his mouth. Rin sighed and made a few groans in protest, but complied anyway. Izumo stuck the thermometer under his tongue and waited, Rin's harsh breaths grating at their hearts. The only other sounds was the sound of the sloshing of water on the floor as Shiemi mopped up the mess.

The electric thermometer pinged.

"Forty three degrees. Not good." Izumo read. Rin moaned and buried his head in the pillow. When the shivers started to rack his body only did he notice that Bon forgot the blanket.

Rin huffed a sigh. Of course that chicken headed idiot would forget to bring over the blanket when he was freezing. Feeling far too proud to ask someone to get the blanket for him, Rin surprised everyone by standing abruptly and stumbling over to Yukio's bed, with two inviting blankets. Rin couldn't see for a moment as black overwhelmed his vision and he panicked, missing Yukio's bed by a few inches as his legs gave way and he crumpled to the floor for the second time that day.

"...you just wanted the blankets, didn't you, nii-san?" Yukio sighed as the ambulance roared up in front of the dorm.


When school started again on Monday, almost every girl in school was waiting outside Okumura Yukio's classroom, with chocolates and get well cards ready.

"Are you sure he's going to come?" One girl asked her companion dubiously. "I mean, if he got sick enough to have an ambulance take him to the hospital…"

The other girl shook her head, brown curls bouncing about. "Okumura-kun is so studious that he will come even when he is sick! No matter rain or shine-"

"-HE COMES!" The other girls shrieked.

Yukio was immediately buried under the hugs and gifts and cards before he'd even managed to take a step into the classroom. "Uh, ladies?" He yelped a little, startled.

"Stand back! You're overwhelming him! A sick person shouldn't be jostled and hugged like that! Leave him in peace!" Bon yelled over the clamor. The girls turned back to glare at whoever dared to tell them off for simply greeting Yukio.

"I need to talk to you, Okumura." Bon grabbed Yukio and dragged him into the class. "I've got a confession to make, sensei. Rin's sickness-"

Yukio remembered Rin in the hospital bed, pumped up with drugs and an oxygen mask on his face. "He'd always had that. It's like a strange little allergy, a weakness in nii-san's invincible armor." Yukio smiled bitterly, the beeping of the heart machine fresh in his mind. He'd been to the hospital before coming to school this morning. Rin's condition hadn't worsened, but it wasn't any better though. They couldn't get more expert help either because of Rin's demonic condition. Only a few select Exorcists knew, and even fewer could be trusted to take care of Rin without strangling him in his sleep.

Bon growled. The guilt had been weighing on his chest for the whole weekend. If only he hadn't been that playful…

"Sensei. I was the one who took Rin's glass of orange juice. Rin didn't notice that I had switched our cups. I-I am responsible for this!" He unwittingly raised his voice at the end of the sentence. "Rin…Rin is sick because of me. Tell me the truth. Is it really a little allergy as you make it out to be, or something even bigger? It might kill him, for all I know!"

Yukio looked startled but unfazed. "Suguro-kun. What happened to Rin wasn't your fault. There are a dozen what-ifs in there. What if Ukobach didn't make that sauce? What if someone knocked Rin's glass over? What if I'd thought to check? It's done, and you should apologize to Rin for playing a nasty trick on him, but only for that. You only apologize for what you meant to do."

Bon lowered his head, biting his lip. "Moriyama-san is worried too. As far as I know, she's still at the hospital watching over Rin. Shima and Koneko…what would they think of me?"

Yukio laid a hand on the cocktailed haired teen's shoulder. "I cannot anticipate their reactions, but I trust that they will understand that you didn't mean nii-san any harm." He looked at the front of the classroom only to notice that everyone was settling down and the teacher was already entering the class. "Rin will forgive you, Suguro-kun. You don't have to worry about that. I know nii-san well enough to assure you that he treasures his friends like nothing else. Go back to your seat. Classes are starting."

Bon sat through the rest of the classes with his mind wandering, something that he would've normally avoided and reprimanded Rin for. The teachers sometimes noticed, but since this was so out of behavior for him, they decided to let him off the hook for a day.

When the bell finally rang for break time, Bon grabbed his bag and stood. No one gave him a second glance, everyone assuming that he was just going back to his dorm to get other books.

Bon wasn't planning to do that, though.

He walked back to the dorm that he shared with Konekomaru, bag slung over his shoulder. Konekomaru was probably hanging out with Shima at the school canteen. He opened the door and flung his bag in. He quickly changed out of his school uniform and opted for a more casual T-shirt and jeans. He grabbed some money and put them into his bag. On second thought, he took the package of fruits that his mom had sent him a few days ago with him too.

Head down, he took the back door out from his dorm. It led into a forest, where provided a shortcut to the Okumura brothers' dorm. The front door was locked, but the back wasn't in Yukio's haste to get out of the dorm for a hurried visit to Rin before going to school. Bon quietly slipped inside.

The tables had been cleared, presumably by Ukobach. Something furry rubbed against his leg, and he saw a dejected Kuro staring up at him.

"Hey, Kuro." He squatted down. "Did Yukio leave food for you?"

Kuro shook his head. He mewled again.

"You want Rin, don't you?" Bon sighed. Kuro nodded enthusiastically. Is he okay?

"I'm sorry, but Rin isn't going to come home for a while. I'm not a freaking good cook like he is, but I can cook some simple things that actually taste decent. Do you just eat cat food, or something else?"

Kuro bounded over to the cookbook and nearly tore the pages with his claws. In the end, Kuro had to use his nose to flip over the pages, finally pausing on the one labeled 'Sukiyaki'.

Bon raised an eyebrow. Apparently familiars love the same things as their owners. "Right. That takes quite a while to whip up, but I'm pretty confident I can do it. It won't compare with Rin's though." Bon found an apron laid out cleanly on the table and put it on. The apron was a tad bit too short for him, and by that he guessed that it was Rin's.

"Okay, first you prepare the ingredients…"

When Bon put the meat onto the stove to stew for a while, the bell for resuming classes rang. Kuro butted his legs, almost as if it was saying, Go to class! You'll get into trouble!

"Just one day won't hurt." Bon told Kuro mischievously. "Come on, let's go get some things for Rin. I bet you can help me with that."

Kuro led the way, leaping up the stairs energetically as Bon followed at a slower pace. They entered the room that Rin and Yukio shared and Kuro immediately began pouncing on things that it would like Bon to bring for Rin.

"Manga, eh?" Bon raised his eyes at the voluminous stacks. "I'm not going to be able to bring that much, but I'll take a few volumes."

Kuro climbed onto Rin's desk and sniffed at the stacks of papers and textbooks. With amusement Bon noted that Rin was halfway through 'The Beginners Guide for Demons' and another untouched book on the table was 'Demons for Children'. "Good. You have a sense of responsibility too. Make sure Rin does his work when he gets back, okay?" Bon stuffed the homework and textbooks into the bag too. It was starting to feel heavy.

After picking up other necessary utensils (Bon couldn't believe that Yukio was so frazzled that he forgot to bring a towel for Rin) Bon bade goodbye to the content and fed familiar as he went back into the forest.

At the edge of the forest there were fences to keep students in and intruders out. Taking care not to disturb the seals disguised as graffiti, Bon climbed out of True Cross Academy school grounds.

He walked towards the bus stop, whistling a nameless tune to make himself look like he belonged. He took a bus from there to the bus stop closest to the hospital Rin was staying in. It was a small, unknown Exorcist hospital. Bon couldn't help but wonder why Yukio had Rin sent here of all places. There were bigger and better hospitals, and from what Yukio said, this wasn't a sickness caused by a demon, so there was no reason to send him to an Exorcist one.

Well, in any case, the young prodigy had obviously only wanted the best for his brother, so Bon didn't question it any further. Instead he entered the hospital and made a beeline for Rin's room. No one stopped him, seeing as he wasn't the only one. Worried family members formed a line at the counter, enquiring about the victim's sickness, mashou or injuries.

Bon slipped into the room and quietly shut the door. Shiemi was reading an Exorcist book titled, 'Doctoring as an Exorcist'. Her mouth was curved downwards in a frown as her left hand supported the book and her right rested lightly on Rin's forehead. Rin looked flushed and tired, one hand resting on his abdomen and the other lying limply by his side. His legs were straight, and the blankets were abnormally tidy. Bon remembered when he'd stayed over for the night that fateful night, Rin had somehow managed to wrap the blanket around himself like a cocoon and mess up the bed sheets during the process.

The heart monitor was the only sound in the room, companioned by the harsh sound Rin made when he inhaled and exhaled. The oxygen mask fogged up and then the mist dissipated. To Bon's dismay, he noticed that they'd added an IV drip to Rin's collection of hospital equipment.

"Moriyama-san?" Bon asked softly, so that he wouldn't disturb Rin. Not that Rin might wake up anyway. Bon suspected that even if the Eight Demon Kings of Hell dropped in and fought, Rin could still sleep through it.

Shiemi jumped, snatching her hand back from Rin's forehead and dropped the book. She blushed at her clumsiness. "Ah, sorry! Suguro-kun! Why aren't you in school? Are you here to see Rin? Well, of course you are. Please take a seat!"

Bon smiled and set his bag down beside the bed and unzipped it. "Nah, you can take the chair. I brought some things for Rin. How is he?"

Shiemi's embarrassed smile turned down at the mention of Rin's condition. "He woke up once…just after Yuki-chan left this morning. He was screaming…something about fire and…" Shiemi shuddered. "He said, 'Just let me die.'. He didn't even recognize me. He was flailing around and screaming for help. 'Don't die on me,' was what he said before he started to cry and the others had to sedate him."

Bon's heart almost stopped as he listened to Shiemi's account of what had happened. Looking at the pale youth on the bed, he bit his lip as he wondered what could have happened. Was the fever creating illusions? If that was the case, that would mean that the fever was already starting to dangerously affect Rin's brain. However, if those were fevered memories brought back to the surface by the illness, it would mean that Rin's brain was safe from the fever-for now. Bon wasn't sure what he'd prefer for his friend. A danger of his brain being burnt, or for him to have actually experienced what sounded really horrifying?

Absent-mindedly, he took out the last of the items he'd packed for Rin.

"Oh, fruits! Well…Suguro-kun…I'm sure Rin would appreciate your kindness! But how should we get it into him?" Shiemi picked up the items and started to pack them away in the small drawer and closet provided in the hospital room. As the girl reached up to put the magazines on the top shelf of the closet, the sleeve of her kimono slid down to reveal a bruise.

Bon jumped up and grabbed her arm.

"Eh? Suguro-kun…?! What's the matter?" Shiemi squeaked.

"What's that bruise?" Bon's eyes narrowed. "Was it Rin?"

"Er, no! Yes! I mean, no!" Shiemi stammered, jerking her arm out of Bon's grasp. She recovered her defiance at once. "And it's impolite to grab my arm just like that!"

"Go-gomen. But was it Rin?" Bon pressed.

Shiemi looked at the dark-haired teen on the bed. "Well, as I said, he was flailing about pretty badly…Rin was panicking and he didn't know what he was doing!"

Bon sighed. After all, it was partly his fault that Rin ended up like this. He took a few steps back from Shiemi and sat cross-legged on the floor by Rin's bed. He took a look at the chart at the edge of Rin's bed. Apparently the liquid in the IV was fever medicine to try to keep the temperature down, while there was also another dose of morphine due in another two hours, given that one had been administered just four hours prior. The reports also showed that even though the temperature was now manageable, and wasn't dangerously high for the moment, there was still a risk of it spiking suddenly. That explained why Shiemi had her hand on Rin's forehead. How to fight off the illness itself was still a mystery, so for now they had to rely on Rin's body and immune system being strong enough to fight off whatever bug it was. They would add a nutrition solution to the IV soon too.

The easy rhythm of the sound of the oxygen mask fogging up was suddenly broken as there was a sharp hiss and the next thing he knew, Rin was tugging on his hair.

"Oi, you damn monkey-" Bon slapped away Rin's wandering fingers. Shiemi gave a little shriek and hurried to peel the fruits.

"Rooster?" Rin breathed and let his arm dangle. Bon shoved it back onto the bed. "Just saw something bright and yellow…didn't think it would be your hair."

Bon 'tched' and then took a deep breath. He had an apology to make. "Well…Rin…I'm sorry."

"What for?" Rin's eyes were half-closed. Shiemi force fed a small piece of apple into his mouth. Bon could see Rin's eyes try to focus on Shiemi and failing epically. "Shi…e…mi? What are you doing here? Mmmph…" He got a mouthful of apple.

"Rin! Keep quiet and listen to what Suguro-kun has to say! And eat your fruit!" She scolded as Rin attempted to spit it out.

Rin grumbled a bit non distinctly and managed to prop himself up.

Confession time, then.

"Well, Rin, the thing is…I took your orange juice." There. There was it. The truth. Out in the open for Rin and Shiemi to judge him.

"Wha?" Rin mumbled around the orange in his mouth.

"…I TOOK YOUR ORANGE JUICE. THE ONE WITHOUT ICE."

Rin's brain, already slowed by the fever and even more by the morphine, finally caught up. "Oh. Okay. You owe me a meal."

Bon stared, dumbfounded as Rin started to cough, splattering orange drops everywhere on the white sheets. Shiemi supported him, thinking aloud that maybe Rin had enough solid food for today.

"What? That's it? I'm the reason you ended up in this state, you moron!"

Rin finally stopped coughing and leaned back against the headboard of the bed, spent. What with all the jostling, the IV ripped itself out of Rin's arm and just dangled there as blood dripped. Shiemi quickly used a nearby hair clip to clip the IV tube so that the liquid won't continue to flow out and be wasted. Quickly and expertly, she bandaged Rin's wrist, which had a chunk of flesh torn out of it. When that was done, she smiled at him and ran for a doctor while leaving Rin and Bon to talk.

"I'm…not a moron." Rin grinned in Bon's general direction. Bon sighed.

"Don't sigh. Told ja. Treat me to a meal as penance." Rin smiled, carefully lowering himself back down. Bon rushed forward to help. "You didn't know."

"But-" Bon tried to protest, but Rin held up one shaking finger and hushed him. "Nah. I should have noticed too. That old geezer…told me to be more careful. I forgot."

Just like that, plain and simple, Bon was forgiven.

Bon mumbled a goodbye, rushed into the nearest restroom he could find and let the tears flow.

(Later, he would have been almost taken to the police station for entering the ladies' restroom, but thankfully Shiemi was willing to vouch for him, and so did Yukio who arrived later and was somehow unsurprised to find Bon having skipped class and ran out of True Cross Academy school grounds)

(On a much later note, Rin survived and is now back to his normal self.)

(After that disastrous camping trip, Rin gulped down handfuls of ice. He didn't know what he was thinking at that point either.)

(He was absent from classes for two weeks, but he made sure the other Exwires never knew. Only Shiemi had come knocking by the first week, but he made Yukio lie to her and send her away)

(Strangely, this strange ice allergy disappeared on the day his friends accepted him as a Son of Satan)


In my opinion, ice reacts to Rin's body because of his flames. His flames have been hidden and suppressed, and even the smallest stimulus by ice (the opposite of fire) sets them off. They think that Rin is being frozen and lashes out at the ice to protect Rin. Ice cream is different because of the cream. When the flames react with the ice, Rin's subconscious works to push the flames back down so that they won't appear. Hence the fever. It gets worse with age because his flames are growing too. However, when his friends accepted his flames, Rin's subconscious relaxes and accepts that letting the flames out won't hurt. And by that time Rin's flames have already started to learn that the ice won't threaten their master and settled down. A crazy theory, really. :D

Prompt: Ice.

Hey guys, welcome to my longest one shot ever.

Will I continue it? Probably not, though I might write an alternate ending if I feel up to it.

Do you want another one shot of your own? You'd be doing me a favor if you requested. I found a strange quirk of mine-you give me a topic, I can let my imagination play with it so much that I will have a dozen different scenarios in my head before I even get down to writing. Just tell me to write a story…my imagination explodes and I just can't decide between the hundreds of scenes I can use. Then I confuse the plots. Then ka-boom, the worst story in the universe.

Thanks for reading!

Hugs and love,

Crystal di Angelo

You may be a murderer. Or someone contemplating suicide. Or just someone reading this for fun. But no that for you...

Angels mourn.

They mourn for every drop of blood,

Every single miserable mood;

Faeries cry.

They cry for every hurting soul,

Who long for nothing more than to be not used as a tool;

God hurts.

He hurts for every and each one of you who just refuse to accept that you are beautiful just the way you are, that beauty is nothing more than something which pleases the heart of men. You are better than that. The very sight of you pleases the heart of God.

And He loves you.