Title: Five Times Yukio Jumped and One Time He Didn't
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date Started: October 5, 2015 Date Finished: October 29, 2015
Warnings: Spoilers for chapter 72.
Disclaimer: "Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist" belongs to Kazue Katou, Shueisha, A-1 Pictures, Aniplex, and various other parties.
Author's Note: Hopefully, this isn't too rushed as I was trying to get it out before chapter 73 comes along and inevitably debunks all my theories.
Five Times Yukio Jumped...
The metal railing was cold against his fingers. The alley below was shrouded in darkness.
Between them, they were Okumura Yukio's only reality.
This was his last chance. He had only this final, desperate plan or to abandon himself to the mercy of whatever force was stirring within him.
And, that was not an option.
Because even though it had ignored his desperate attempts to summon it at will, it would come again. And, next time… Next time, it might claim him altogether. Next time, his secret might be out.
He wasn't sure which possibility scared him more.
But, not knowing, not having control that was the worst.
Afraid to jump but more afraid not to, Okumura Yukio stepped off the edge.
Gravity claimed him with a sickening finality, and he had a sudden moment of clarity.
'No! I'm scared! I'm scared! I'm so scared! I don't want to die!'
1. The Net
There was no time to act, to save himself. The alleyway filled his vision.
And, suddenly, it was alive, writhing with pale, thin bodies.
Impact. A much gentler one than he had expected and somehow not quite solid. There was a give in whatever had caught him, a springiness. Like a net.
Smooth scales slid along his palms, against his face.
A net of snakes.
"Oi, Scaredy Four-Eyes!"
Through the twisting snakes, he saw a flash of red below. Shura.
"You'd better tell me you were pushed, or I'm going to make you wish I let you fall!"
2. The Bargain
The darkness of the alleyway was rushing to meet him. The wind was a frigid blast against his face.
And then, everything stopped, and the world went strangely gray.
"Really, Professor Okumura, I expected better."
Frozen, Yukio stared as Mephisto Pheles appeared before him in an overstuffed armchair.
Mephisto held up a hand. "No time for explanations. This is costing me quite enough already." He leaned forward, curling his hand against his cheek. "So, what shall I do? Let this little drama play out? Or would you like to offer me something more entertaining?"
Yukio felt cold. Offer. What would he have to give the demon?
Nothing was the proper answer. But, he wasn't ready to die.
Instead, he thought quickly.
"My death would ruin Lucifer's plans for my power. But, wouldn't it be more 'fun' to see me do it personally?"
Mephisto's eyes gleamed. "I'm listening."
3. The Tormentor
His fall ended with a jolt. But, not the one he had been expecting.
For a second, his coat constricted around him. Then, he was hauled upward and unceremoniously tossed back onto the rooftop.
Yukio forced himself up and into a crouch to watch as Toudo Saburota gently touched down on the rooftop.
"Such a desperate gamble, Mr. Okumura." He smiled. "You know, perhaps I could help you unlock those powers of yours."
"Funny," the Colt 1911 fit easily into Yukio's hand as he brought it level with Toudo's face, "I was thinking the same thing."
4. The Flames
No sooner had that desperate realization flashed through his mind than Yukio felt it. A surge of something alien waking inside.
But, the ground was closing, and, Yukio realized too late, a spark in his eyes couldn't save him.
'There has to be more or I'll—'
Blue exploded around him, engulfed him. And, cushioned in it, Yukio landed in a crouch.
For a minute, he did nothing but breathe. Slowly, terror bled away into euphoria.
"I did it."
His voice was strange in his ears, rough and almost lost in a persistent roar.
Yukio looked down at his splayed hands. Blue flames limned each finger, flickered along his arms. There was an unfamiliar weight at his lower back. A sensation of movement from a limb he had never had.
And, Yukio realized, this time, none of it was fading away.
He wasn't sure if he was relieved or not.
5. The Challenge
He had barely begun to fall when there was a sharp tug at his right wrist. Before Yukio could process what was happening, he was on the roof again, tumbling over the railing to land on his back.
For a minute, he stared up at the night sky. Then, his brother's face filled his vision, looking down at him with an unreadable expression.
"I can't believe you did that," said Rin. "I was almost too slow because I thought you were smart." His lips twisted. "I guess I should have known after everything else."
Yukio stared at him blankly as he slowly processed the words.
Rin idly picked at his nose. "For the last week."
Yukio's surprise faded into self-disgust. He had been sloppy. Carefully, he pulled himself up.
"It's nothing you need to worry about."
Rin treated him to a long, flat stare.
"I had it under control," Yukio insisted.
"Yeah. I saw that."
Yukio growled in the back of his throat. "It was necessary. Only if I were about to die..."
He let the words trail away. Rin could be unusually perceptive sometimes, but, even if he had been watching for a week, he might not know why Yukio was testing himself.
"Yeah?" Rin looked skeptical. "You sure it was because you were about to die or because you were about to lose?" Suddenly, Kurikara was free of its scabbard, and Rin was ablaze. "Let's try this instead." He pointed the sword at Yukio. "Fight me."
...and One Time He Didn't
Afraid to jump but more afraid not to, Okumura Yukio held one foot out over the yawning abyss.
'What if this doesn't work?'
What if it did, and whatever power lurked inside him wasn't enough to save him?
The thought made him quickly withdraw his foot and grip the railing tighter. It was a very real possibility.
But, the alternative...
For long minutes, he warred with himself.
He was out of ideas. But, if he lost this gamble, he lost everything.
Slowly, Yukio blew out a breath and climbed back over the railing. He would find another way.
Random Additional Notes: Of course, that last is pure wishful thinking since Yukio already jumped in Chapter 72. But, the theme required a "one time he didn't".