Title: Night Terrors
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: August 23, 2015 Edited: August 25, 2015
Continuity: Any – Early series.
Disclaimer: "Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist" belongs to Kazue Katou, Shueisha, A-1 Pictures, Aniplex, and various other parties.
Author's Note: This takes place the night immediately after that first exorcist class where Rin and Yukio have it out while battling hobgoblins.
Sharing a room with his brother for fifteen years had taught Yukio how to deal with many things. Especially when it came to Rin's sleeping habits. Which included snoring, muttering, and all the fumbling racket of failed attempts at sneaking in late. But, none of that had taught him how to deal with the restless sleep of a panicked pyrokinetic.
And, on the first night after Rin's admittance into True Cross Academy, Yukio was too tired to consider the dangers. From his new student representative speech to teaching his first exorcist class to that explosive argument with his brother, it had been a long, exhausting day. When Yukio finally crawled into his bed - after laying out supplementary lesson plans for Rin on top of everything else - he wanted nothing so much as to forget it all for a few hours.
Only an hour later, he woke to a room lit in hellish blue.
His first and only warning was a soft cry. A sound so faint only years of training brought him out of his exhausted sleep. But, not fast enough. By the time he opened his eyes, the room was already awash in blue flames.
Yukio was out of bed and halfway across the distance between them with his glasses in one hand and a gun in the other before his mind caught up with reality.
Rin was still in bed, thrashing in the tangled sheets. His teeth were clenched; a shine that might be tears was streaking his face. And, blue flames were flickering around his balled fists.
"...away," Rin whispered. "Get away..."
"A nightmare?" Yukio breathed, slipping on his glasses and sliding the gun into his waistband. Then, more loudly, "Brother, wake up!"
His only answer was smoke beginning to rise from the sheets.
Reaching for a holy water canister, Yukio realized that he had never planned for the true reality of Rin's emotion-driven powers. He should have thought of this, made preparations.
"Besides, you're dangerous. Someone needs to keep an eye on you."
He had said that, hadn't he? Did he not believe his own words?
In that instant of indecision, Rin screamed. "GET AWAY FROM ME!"
The world burned. And, Yukio froze.
The response was instantaneous. With a roar, the flames were suddenly billowing around him as Rin jerked upright in bed.
It wouldn't help. By the time his brother was awake enough to realize what was happening, it would be too late.
But, the canister of holy water was in his hand, and Yukio only needed to press the release at the top.
Desperately, Yukio clawed at the cap.
The flames were all around him. He was—
He was warm. Like being wrapped in an over-sized blanket.
A blanket that whispered promises of protection even as it reached out to attack whatever had hurt or scared him.
The flames vanished. In their wake, the room was suddenly dark, lit only in squares of pale moonlight from the windows.
Blinking to adjust to the change, Yukio found himself looking into Rin's wide, wet eyes.
"Are you okay?" Rin grabbed his arm and began looking him up and down frantically. "I didn't mean to— He was there. Laughing, and— I didn't know!"
Yukio quickly cut through the babble. "I'm fine, Brother."
And, he was.
Because the flames hadn't burned him. Instead, they had only felt like Rin. As though they were a manifestation of his brother's heart and soul.
How could Satan's flames…?
"You nearly burned down our dorm over a dream of someone laughing at you?" Yukio hoped he'd recovered enough to inject the proper acid into his tone.
Though it was strange. Rin hadn't been angry like he usually was at laughter and taunts. He had been terrified.
"No! Not someone! It was Sa—" Rin suddenly released him and took a step back. "It was bad, okay?"
In his mind, Yukio finished the half-spoken word. It brought memories of the morning their lives had changed forever rushing back. Their home damaged. His brother changed. Their father broken, bleeding, and burned.
Rin's nightmare-driven words echoed in his head.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!"
"I see," he answered. He turned away to let Rin compose himself, moving to set down the holy water and re-holster his gun. "If this is going to become a habit, I'll have to make preparations."
Functioning holy water canisters for a start.
Behind him, Rin was uncharacteristically quiet.
Yukio quickly but carefully unloaded the handgun before turning back. Rin was looking at the floor.
"What?" Yukio made himself smile. "It's only part of my job as warden, after all."
"Heh." There was something bitter in Rin's voice. "Guess I do need one, huh?"
"Well, since you're a demon, I thought you were dangerous."
There had been so many truths and lies in that statement. In the past day. In his life.
"You've always needed me, Brother." A wry twist and his smile was something faint but real. "I'm not sure you'd have made it into middle school without me."
Rin's smile was a shadow of itself, but just as real. "That's right. Can't make it without my super-smart little brother."
"Yes, yes," said Yukio.
Flames that whispered protection. A bloodied little face burning with righteous fury as Rin tackled bullies twice his size for his little brother's sake.
"We are brothers, aren't we?" he added.
Hearing that deliberate echo of his own words, Rin's smile spread across his face.
Yukio couldn't quite hide his own smile. "Of course, seeing as I'm also your teacher, I should probably remind you that you'll need to be up for class in just a couple of hours." Rin was staring at him in horror now. "After all, the exorcist classes have to take advantage of this time before regular class starts."
With a moan of, "Demon!" Rin stumbled back to his bed to flop down face first.
Smirking, Yukio turned to his own bed. And, stopped. Right. Now was the time for those preparations he should have made earlier.
But, he was so tired. He glanced back at Rin, who was grumbling softly as he rolled himself into the sheets, and remembered again that feeling of warmth.
Carefully, Yukio pried the jammed holy water canister open and settled it by his bed as he laid down. Somehow, he doubted he would need even that. At least not tonight.