summary: Put on your mask and smile. Smile, because it's the only thing you can do. Let the whole world be your stage.
angst-ish? (Yukio has problems)
notes: companion piece/sequel-ish to The Spaces Between. Yukio POV, 2nd person, choppy flow style.
still don't own Ao no Exorcist. (I realize that I have been spelling the fandom wrong for the longest time. Just ignore me.)

The world is your stage

When you don't know what to do, you smile.
(-When you smile, you have no idea what you're doing.)
You have your brother to blame for this unconscious habit.
Or maybe you should thank him.

It started when you were just six, when you first started school.

On the first day, you returned home with a black eye and bruised knees.

On the second day, you learned that the boys who had beat you up were admitted to the hospital the night before with broken bones. Rin was suspended. You always knew your brother would do anything for you, but this was the first time (-that you remember) seeing the lengths your twin would go to protect you. When you confronted your twin, he told you that to love someone was to do anything, sacrifice anything, no matter the consequences, to see them happy. He told you to laugh in the face of adversity, and like the obedient, awe-struck, little brother you were, you followed his advice.

On the third day, when the older boys at your school had made fun of you, you smiled.
When they snapped your glasses, you smiled.
When they tackled you to the ground and punched you in the gut, you smiled.

The bullies never bothered you again after that day.

It's fitting, really, that a smile could be such a weapon.
It can turn the tides of battles, of wars, before they even begin.
It can melt the icy cold hearts of misguided souls who deserve a second chance.
It can convince someone that nothing's wrong.
But then you'll be pointing the gun at yourself, no?

You can't claim to be the master at smiles. No, the title would be held by your brother. The twin that craves attention, but doesn't know how to deal with it.

He thinks that no one notices him, but really, he's the only thing everyone ever talks about.

"Where's Rin-san today, Yuki-chan?"
"Sensei, that stupid dumbass doesn't deserve to be here!"
"Okumura-kun, you know best. Will that demon pose a risk to the mission?"

He comes back to your shared room, not five hours after being admitted to the hospital, covered with blood. (What a surprise. He ignored your advice. Again.) You look up from correcting assignments and stare.
And stare.
"Not all of it's mine," he assures you.
You are not assured.

"You know, nii-san, there's a reason why I had to learn how to handle a gun when I was eight," you say calmly, putting down your pen. "Satan has a lot of enemies, and they won't hesitate to kill people like us."
Devil spawn like us.
"Maybe you should be more careful next time."
Next time, you might end up dead.

He visibly stiffens, then stalks over to your seat by the desk and slams his sword on your papers. "I've gone through this with you," he growls, invading your personal space. "I'm fixing my mistakes, and I'm fixing them my way! I'm not going to die just because you're not there to save my ass! I don't need you babying me!"

Sometimes, you can't help think that he is a spoiled brat.
After all, he's not Satan's only son.

"Please don't take this the wrong way, nii-san, but I love you."
He looks confused. "What? I love you too, but what does this have to do with-"

You reach into the holsters strapped to your waist and pull out a gun. You imagine that the barrel feels frigid on his forehead.
He freezes.
It must be cold, then.
"W-What do you think you're doing," he stutters, eyes darting futilely to his sword on the table behind you.

You smile.

a/n: whatisthisidon'teven-
so i lied. hope you're happy. this style is fun to write, but receives harsh critiques from my real-life reader and it makes me feel like an idiot. probably the last of this type of thing.
was listening to 浮誇 by Eason Chan when i wrote this. if you understand cantonese (or just look up the english translation to the chinese lyrics), go listen to it. really deep stuff.