Title: You and Him
Author: me, sadly
Rating: T for language.
Warnings: I feel as if I misapprehended Yukio's character. Ergh. Unbeta'd.
Length: 3977 words
Summary:A discussion with Mr. Noihaus leads Yukio to a revelation.
You're not a scaredy cat four eyes anymore. You know how to handle yourself. It's been a damn long time since your composure is as easy to break as an eggshell. It's been even longer since you've felt like you've been run over by truck. Physical pain – punches, kicks, stabs, and slashes – is nothing more than a dull ache; nothing more than a part of your brain protesting against your line of work.
The death of your father hurt. Hurt that stung your eyes until they were bloodshot and dry. It wasn't a feeling you'd experienced before. It was a betrayal that ripped at your heart and soul. If it had been a manifestation other than the chemicals in your brain – you would have died. If you had survived, you would be nothing more than a wretch: disfigured, unable to walk. As if your very limbs had been ripped from you. That's what it felt like, to learn that your father had been devoured by Satan. There had been no open casket funeral – why would there be, when half of him had been ash?
How lucky that you had a speech to prepare. There was luggage to be packed, official matters to attend to. You buried yourself in work, if only to forget for a while that your entire family was dead. In your selfishness you forgot about your brother – but oh, he was unbearable to think of. Wasn't Rin the stem of all of your emotions? He's always the cause of trouble, you catch yourself thinking one day. He's everything that went wrong in your life. Rin's the one that killed Father. And in one second you're ashamed of yourself, and decide to cast all bitter thoughts aside. Because he's your brother and you must find it in yourself to forgive him.
I'm an exorcist, you think to yourself, and that gives you all the resolve in the world.
You find that you're repeating that to yourself as you chase after Noihaus. Your guard is up and your guns a hands-width away. Noihaus is a dangerous man, after all. His intentions are unknown; his lumbering gait exudes strength and confidence; the tattoos on his arms speak of experience and little fear; Noihaus turns around as you call his name, and behind his hair shines the eye of a demon killer. If he is a traitor, you wonder, will he kill me too?
"Yesterday and today," you say, "your behavior clearly deviated from the limits of the examination." Anger bubbles in you, and a little escapes out into the air through your words. "What on Earth were you thinking?"
Noihaus is silent.
You continue, "Because no matter how many judges were there to provide backup... You still dramatically tried to place the students in great danger. The examinations would have also fallen apart!"
A critical glance is thrown in his direction. "Not just that. You were going to make Rin Okumura reveal his flames in front of all the other students. Only a few teachers were informed about my big brother's power. You should have been sworn by Sir Pheles as well -"
"I was acting on Sir Pheles' orders," he finally interrupts, and it's not at all what you were thinking he'd say. "You're saying that I tried to kill him?"
The surprise shows on your face, and you bring yourself to say, "Excuse me?" Your grasp of language is a little lost in this moment. Your mind processes this information at warp speed. Mephisto – why would he do this?Your knuckles turn white gripping your briefcase.
A tiny chuckle escapes from Noihaus, but it lacks any semblance of amusement. "You could say that if you were the brakes to his power," he says, "I'm his accelerator. This is all in order to better control Rin Okumura's... ability."
"What do you mean?" It comes out as a demand.
"I don't mean anything. I'm merely measuring whether in the future True Cross Academy will be able to use him as a weapon - since you, the 'Genius Exorcist', always looks so busy. The least I could do is to help you demon babysit."
The full breadth of his condescension hits you suddenly. You resent this – you resent him. A small part of you wants to snarl and say, "I am not my brother's babysitter", but you can't. You will yourself to show only a fraction of your boiling emotions.
"My older brother can control his power and his feelings just fine." It's a genetic trait, you bastard. "You should have seen him with your own eyes. And it would be wise to not underestimate my older brother's ability."
"What? It's not like I have a reason to kill him," Noihaus says calmly. You snap to attention, because every part of you screams, That's a lie.
He turns, dismissal in every line of his body. Noihaus takes a couple of steps forward, before he arches his head in your direction. A small, sad smirk is aimed at you. "You should feel relieved, Yukio." Noihaus says your name with false intimacy.
"If worse comes to worst, it won't be a stranger who kills your brother."
You give in to your anger, finally, and it feels good lashing out. "What the hell are you talking about?" You hate this feeling of being one-upped, of being clueless and in the dark. You've never liked it when you were a snot-nosed child, and you certainly don't like the reminder now.
A sigh. Suddenly Noihaus' shoulders no longer seem strong, but weary. He doesn't face you, but you know that his face is full of a fake sympathy.
"When the time comes," he drawls, "will you be able to kill Rin Okumura?"
The briefcase and the books you were clutching clatter to the ground. It sounds like gunshots. You draw your gun and point it resolutely at Noihaus' head. It doesn't occur to you until later – when it's almost too late and your brother is almost dead – that your hands are shaking.
"Of course," you ground out, too lost in the moment. It seems like Noihaus is questioning your ability to be an exorcist, like he is questioning your strength. The early moments of your childhood flash before your eyes – of being pummeled until you cried, defenseless – and your hands tighten around the grip of your handgun.
"Really," Noihaus demurs, before disappearing into the shadows. The word hangs in the air like a reprimand.
You're left alone, pointing a gun at empty space. And then – and then, you holster your gun, shakily. Suddenly, thoughts of Brother, Brother, and The first time seeing him again, I couldn't shoot him flood your mind. Full of quiet fury, you say, "Goddamnit!" You drop to your knees to pick up your belongings, and walk stiffly in the opposite direction.
You've never hated your weakness more than now.
The weeks after, you're deeply unsettled. In that moment of the confrontation with Noihaus, you realized that on some level you equated being strong with being able to kill your big brother. You equated your existence as an exorcist with the execution of your brother. In that moment you realized that you were a monster, the non-demon twin or not.
In that moment you realized that while you had cut away every connection that tied you down, your brother was the only one left that could reduce you to pieces. Broken pieces of a Yukio that sought redemption, acceptance – love. And now... You can't bear the thought of wringing the life of that one person. Someone so rare and precious that allows you to feel something other than the dull ache of pain again. You look at Rin, and you see yourself, except born strong – unlike you, the unnatural, synthetic exorcist. You crave it – you crave Rin.
And you thought you had destroyed that part of you.
That night after the incident on the roof, you're in your room. The room you share with your brother. You stare at the bed across from yours. The bed is unmade, as it is everyday. The pillows are misplaced and unnaturally shaped. The sheets are rumpled, the bed dipping in the center; it's clear where Rin has slept. A doll, some character from one of the SQ manga that Rin reads, is squashed in a corner. Its girly doe eyes stare back at you.
A chair whose leg that your brother had bent on his first day at the academy is folded flat underneath his desk. He often uses in as a footrest. Sometimes, absently, you notice Rin curl his toes against the smooth plastic of the seat. That is, when you're sitting on the floor, cleaning your guns or inventorying your holy water grenades, and Rin is at his desk. Not studying at all, of course, but fiddling with his fringe or his tail or his mechanical pencil. Sometimes he finds a mysterious lump of clay and begins fashioning a girl with large breasts or a car or an "art piece" of Blacky.
"I let myself observe too often," you say aloud, and wonder if it's not just a part of your fascination with all things Rin. You find a little resolution in those words.
"Observe what now?"
Your brother barges into the room. It's a little comical to see him, bloodstained, hair flying every which way, and sword hanging onto his shoulder for dear life. He slams the door behind him, and in a practiced move kicks the flip flops off his feet. They hit the underside of his desk and drop into his so-called shoe box.
Rin does a small fist pump, mutters, "Success yet again!" and collapses into his bed. "Aaaaaagh," he says, all drawn out. Your brother rubs his eyes with the back of his hand and turns on his side. His eyes meet yours before saying, "Yukio, you look like shit."
Your mouth quirks upward for a second. "And I still get more girls than you do."
Rin groans, and says, "Low blow, low blow. But hey, whatever girl I marry gets to have my cooking everyday."
This type of joking is relaxing to you. Whatever tenseness you had alone is gone with Rin's forceful and cheerful presence. You laugh, and stretch out on your bed. You don't take your eyes off your twin brother.
"True," you agree, "but I think that's the only reason a girl would marry an oaf like you. You fart during your sleep, you know? It stinks up the whole room. Sometimes it triggers the smoke alarm and I have to take the batteries out. And yet you still sleep on."
You easily block a pillow that's flung your way.
"My tail tickles my butt! That's the only reason!" he shouts. His cheeks are apple red, eyes wide. Rin's mortified, and you love it. "And a smoke alarm – can't – sense – farts! Four eyed monkey face!"
Ah, the well used ugly face taunt. You smirk, and so does your brother. You both expect the same thing, and of course you'll never disappoint. "We have the same face though, dearest big brother," you reply smoothly. "Although I am sad to report that behind this pretty face is a brain. Perhaps next reincarnation you'll get one."
Rin cracks up laughing, clutching his sides. He holds up one finger, as if to say, "One moment please," and then continues to convulse in his bed. Once he's finished, he wipes away nonexistent tears and says, "Good one. I lose this time."
You playfully rejoin, "When have you ever not lost?"
With a Very Serious Face, your twin brother says, "Never never never never never never. Figure that one out, Yukio."
"Big brother, you just said you never didn't lose."
"Well, damn," he says, sighing dramatically.
The conversation wanes into that companionable silence that you and your brother used to have when you were younger. The crickets chirp outside, counting out the temperature, the last time before summer draws to a close. You shade your eyes against the lamplight, and the sound of Rin's heavy breathing almost lulls you to sleep.
"Rin, promise me you'll never lose yourself to the flames -"
"I missed this, lil' brother -"
Like the twins you actually are, you and your brother blurt out your words at the same time. Wide-eyed, he stares at you, and you can feel your eyebrows shoot up. All sense of sleepiness is gone, because the shock scared the sheep away.
"Big brother -"
"Yukio, hey -"
You shake your head and motion for him to go first. Hesitantly Rin starts, looking at you. "I was about to say that – well..." He rubs the back of his neck embarrassedly. "I – just. I missed this. Us." He points at himself, then at you, and flaps at the air between them. "I've gotten a little tired of the teacher-student thing, you know? Because no offense, but you're kind of uptight."
"Excuse me?" you find yourself saying incredulously for the second time tonight.
Rin continues blathering on, oblivious. "It's just that you're my little brother. I know a lot has changed. The old man's gone now and you're this hotshot exorcist or whatever... I honestly thought the cute old Yukio was gone forever, replaced by Emperor Asshole Yukio -"
"Excuse me!" Really, this is getting tiring.
Your brother shoots you a glare. "Hey, I'm getting sentimental here. You know that saying, 'Don't stop my flow, don't steal my thunder, don't break my mojo'? It's officially in full effect right now -"
"No such thing exists, Rin -"
"- Ahem. Anyways. You're my blood. You're supposed to be closer to me than God. I was afraid that you'd abandoned me, when you went off and became Mr. Genius – but hey. It turns out you were in this room all this time. Habituating that little vessel that's supposed to be my little twin brother. So your soul didn't go to High and Mighty Land after all."
He smiles at you, softly, like a muted sun. It strikes you that it's the first time he's looked so... content. Carefully, he clambers out of his bed and approaches you as if you're a skittish animal. You draw yourself up, slowly. He kneels down in front of you, hands hovering over the cliff that the edge of your bed has suddenly become. Caught between the sharp shadow of the ceiling of your bed and the illumination of the lamp – Rin's blue eyes... glitter in the darkness.
"Can I have a totally manly hug?" he asks. There's no trepidation in his voice, because he knows what you'll do. He believes in you.
You envelope him in a hug worthy of a bear, because you would be too embarrassed if it was too tender. He hugs you back equally as roughly, and for a moment it's a struggle between brawn, muscles straining to give a harder squeeze. Even his tail comes into play, wrapping around the side of your waist.
It's like you passed a test, because suddenly Rin becomes jelly (but as heavy as a ton of lead) in your arms, and you collapse backwards onto your bed. Your older brother is on top of you, and your legs are tangled with his – and your breath stutters in your chest. His teeth shine in the darkness and his eyes glow. You had never realized how completely wild he was – absolutely, stunningly feral. The world drops from beneath your back, and it seems like you've reached terminal velocity already, because you're floating, and judging from Rin's expression, he feels the same.
It stays like that for a few seconds – holding each other's gaze, his arms pinning yours to your side. Something is communicated between the two of you, before Rin looks away, before something catches in your lungs, and the moment is broken.
As if burned, Rin snatches his hands back from yours, and rolls to the side. He lands with a whumph in the space next to you, back against the wall, body pressed against yours. He doesn't speak, but his eyes are half-lidded and mouth open as if he's expecting to talk. Or to do something else entirely, but your pulse is racing too fast to think beyond the limits of here, now, what's happening.
You remember faintly that you had something to tell him, something along the lines of Noihaus and flames and exorcism, but it's lost in the small spaces of Rin's form. He's devouring your words, incinerating them in the warmth of his body, and you pray, Oh God.
And then he plucks off your glasses, folds them and tucks it safely underneath his pillow – your pillow. An innocent, wordless gesture that carries somehow books and books worth of meanings. That's when you find yourself the courage to say, to command, to at least hoarsely whisper, "Look at me."
You're reflected in his brazen eyes. You, together, crouched and squished – because you've both grown too large to both fit into a twin sized bed anymore, because while you're still twins, neither of you will deny that you're no longer boys. You're men. It's the fact of life, but this is second time for both of you that you are confronted with it. The first had been near death, inflicted by demons, and the second is -
"I know what you wanted to talk about. Before I stole yourthunder," he says.
And that breaks the dam, because suddenly you have everything to say and there's no time, because it's like there's no goddamn tomorrow. "Don't you ever lose yourself, you hear me? You – big brother – you must not fall to Satan. You depend so much on the flames and so little on your head. I know you have this stupid little voice in your head that tells you to save people and whip out your sword first chance you get, but Rin – to me, it seems as if you have a death wish." Your brother's bloody shirt twists underneath your hands. Your voice is rough, as if it's about to break.
"Don't ever die on me. You're all I have left."
If Rin was upright, he would have cocked his head to the side, coyly. He cups the side of your cheek, and you remember all those times he did it before, like he's suddenly reprising the role of big brother seriously. The impression is shattered when he bends his head until his lips are practically on your ear, and hotly, almost salaciously, he says, "We're fucking immortal."
He laughs, turns away, and the contact between you and him is broken. Whatever was about to happen is gone, and your breath is forcefully expelled as you join him. For a while, the room is filled with your laughter and his laughter. The intensity of the tangled emotions between the two of you wanes, because pure, unadulterated happiness takes center stage. You're curled together, tired but content.
Rin says, "If we're sleeping together tonight, I'm going to have to tell you a secret. Someone, I forget who -" he winks; it charmingly looks like a spasm - "told me that I have the annoying habit of farting in my sleep. If it's strong from across a room, then it's gonna be ten times as strong right next to me."
You sniff deeply, wrinkle your nose, and reply, "Older brother, you stink right now. Of copper. Go take a bath before I kick you out."
"You would never!" Rin exclaims, aghast.
Nonetheless, he climbs over you and rolls right off the bed. Grabbing a fresh wife beater and some boxer shorts, he starts to head out the door. Just before he leaves, he casually remarks, "Aren't you going to say anything? Like, along the lines of, 'Hate to see you leave, love to see you go'?"
"No," you deadpan.
"Oh, you. I always knew that you loved me, but not this much! Need I wag my ass for your perverted pleasure?"
"NO," and surely your cheeks are red.
"Okay, okay," Rin concedes. "Love you, little broth – no, Yukio."
"Shut up and drown."
With a dramatic royal wave, a flourish of an imaginary cape, your brother announces, "I'll be back" in an imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and disappears around the corner. You can still hear him whistling down the corridor, a pretentious little song that he learned in elementary school. After a few seconds, he's gone.
Left alone, you undress. Your coat has already been hung in the closet, and soon your slacks and dress shirt join it. You're sweaty, and you think about joining Rin in the bath. You flush, entertaining thoughts of washing your brother's back and him reciprocating, like you used to do in the past. But now, you pause and stare at yourself in the mirror. You're both too old for that kind of thing, and as you finger the waistband of your boxers, a part of you whispers, It's different now, isn't it.
You can't even look at yourself anymore. Your eyes flicker away from your reflection, and you busy yourself with going through the motions: turning off the lamp, shuffling through the darkness to your bed, shaking out your blanket, closing your eyes. You try to steady your breathing, counting out the seconds until you fall asleep. Eventually, you do.
In the middle of the night, the door slides open. Your brother enters, unusually quiet. He's trying not to disturb you, but you've been trained to wake with the drop of a pin. You can hear him pad around the room, tossing his dirty laundry in the basket, opening and closing a few drawers.
You're surprised when he comes toward you, when he carefully feels where you are, when he falls and occupies the space between you and the wall. He shuffles around to find the edge of the blanket. When he finds it, he lets loose a breath, covers his body, and stills.
You say into the darkness, because you're sleeping on your side and you're facing out, "Rin, you're actually sleeping with me?"
He yawns. "Yeah."
And because you can sense something, because you're twins for God's sake, you ask, "What are you afraid of?"
You hope it doesn't sound provoking. You've only asked him this question once, in a situation just like this. You'd been under the covers with him when you were six, during a stormy Halloween. At the time, Rin had shouted, "Nothing!" and refused to talk to you for the rest of the night.
This time, though, there's a hitch in Rin's breathing. And he says painfully, candidly, "You." He shifts to his side, throws an arm around you – and suddenly you're spooning. You can feel your brother's unnaturally fast pulse, his breath on the back of your neck, his fingers splayed on your stomach.
He's nervous, but you don't ask why.
Instead, you will yourself not to shake. You tangle your hands together, guide his hand to rest over your heart. It beats so painfully hard.
"I love you," you whisper, and it's the first truth you've told all night.
You can feel him smiling.
Notes: This fic takes many of my firsts: first completed story since I was eight, excluding school stuff; first twincest fic (I tried and failed with Canada/America); first romantic fic; first AOEX fic/anything; first story longer than a thousand words; first posted fic; first story written on Ubuntu and Openoffice. I feel as if I have a long way to go before I'm actually good at writing. Thanks! ^^'