dedication: to E, S, and L. hey best friends, ily.
notes: guys. guys. these two. are so cute. that it hurts my soul to look at them.
chapter title: creed
summary: In a world where someone else found the twins that snowy night, Rin leads a demon army. — Rin/Shiemi.
The sky over the battlefield was bloodied red when she woke that evening. Shiemi sat up from her cot, aching all over. Another night of fighting. Another night of killing—and Shiemi didn't care what the Vatican said, that was what this was; they were killing things with lives and loves and families in cold blood. Another night. Of course, Shiemi mostly stayed to the back ranks and the healer's tents. It was safer there, and she was not a fighter.
Or at least, she used to be not a fighter.
That had been a long time ago.
Izumo staggered in, skirt shredded and a gash up her thigh that five inches long, three inches deep, and gushing blood. She dragged Shima behind her—he seemed to be out cold.
"Izumo-chan! What happened?" Shiemi exclaimed.
Her arms went around her friend; Izumo felt fragile and stretched thin, shaking very slightly, and Shiemi was suddenly worried. It was not in the other girl's nature to allow herself to be harmed to this degree.
"I—I'm okay," Izumo panted. "Get off, I'm fine. Renzou's the one who—he needs help. Fix it. I—I have to go back—Konekomaru and—and Bon are still—"
"Sit down, Izumo-chan," Shiemi ordered. "You're bleeding."
Izumo took deep breaths into her lungs. "What? No, I'm—"
Shiemi forced the dark-haired girl to sit on the cot. There was blood everywhere. "You are not fine. Sit there, and don't move. Nii-chan, where are you?"
The little green spirit appeared, giggling. Many things had changed since she'd first summoned Nii, Shiemi reflected quietly, but the sprite's consistent good mood was not one of them. "Sancho-san, please."
The plant appeared, thick with juice and healing properties. Shiemi stripped the spikes away, and pressed it to the gash. "This is going to hurt."
Izumo hissed in reply as the plant began to work its magic.
"What happened to—?"
"He's just knocked out," Izumo muttered. "The idiot hit his head when he was trying to stop Bon from—from—"
"Being Bon," Shiemi replied.
The two girls looked at each other for a moment, tired. The both exhaled a sigh at the same time.
It had been such a long war.
Shiemi carefully checked Shima's temperature. His heart rate was normal, and he seemed to be breathing alright. He was a little pale, but that was to be expected. "He seems… okay. If anything changes—"
"I know," said Izumo. "Take him to the healers. Idiot. He is such an idiot! Not that I care or anything, but, I mean, look at him, he's just so—"
Shiemi quietly slipped from the tent even as Izumo ranted at the still-unconscious Shima. She knew Izumo-chan, and she knew how worried the girl really was. Precious people were not to be left unattended. To Izumo, Shima was precious. Shiemi understood that.
The tent flap closed behind her, muffling the one-sided conversation from inside. Shiemi looked towards the horizon. The setting sun blazed red-gold, the last dying rays stretching through the sky, twisted golden roots of an ancient tree seeking sustenance. She stretched towards them; flower, root, weed, growing towards the sun.
There was a distant roar. Shiemi set her jaw.
The fighting had begun.
/ / /
Shiemi was running, dancing in and out of the lines of exorcists, Nii hiding under her hair. The ground was firm under her feet as she headed for the front lines.
She was a Tamer.
She could do this.
"GET DOWN!" someone screamed, and all in hearing distance obeyed. Shiemi hit the ground, pressed her face into the dirt and whispered please, Nii-chan, please, we need to save them.
Nii-chan chirped in her ear.
Shiemi felt the ground rumble.
She smiled a little sadly.
The earth burst into the sky. Trees grew and grew, knotting up a forest in the middle of the field. It wouldn't hold them back for long, Shiemi knew, but maybe—maybe long enough to deal with the injured—she needed a plan—
Hacking, wet coughs behind her. Shiemi whirled, and barely managed to catch the girl. There was a gaping hole in her stomach.
"Water," she whispered. "Water. Please…"
Shiemi pushed her hair out of her face. "Nii-chan!"
The Greenman went about doing what it could, but Shiemi already knew the girl was a lost cause. "Let her sleep, Nii-chan."
Nii looked at her with sad eyes. The pollen choked the air for a moment, lavender for sleep and chamomile for calm. Shiemi watched her lids flutter.
The girl slept.
Shiemi set her down. Her hands were soaked dark red and she fought not to vomit. Now was not the time to be weak. She thought of Izumo-chan and Shima, waiting in that little tent, both weak and bleeding and hoping that everyone came back alive.
What a miracle that would be.
The trees loomed over her, dark and safe. The sky was obscured, blocking out the dying sunlight and leaving her in darkness. The lack of light was unnerving, but it was better than nothing.
"Nii-chan, let me up there. I need to—"
Nii chirped again. A thick rope of bark shot out of the ground and surged upwards, growing faster than Shiemi could keep track of. She caught an outshoot, and let it drag her skywards, fingers locked around thick, dark bark.
They broke through the canopy, into a dazzling display of colours. Fuchsia and crimson, magenta and indigo, deep violet and brilliant gold painted the sky a masterpiece that would have taken Shiemi's breath away had she had the time to concentrate on it. As it was, she looked out across the battlefield, strewn with broken trees and bodies.
She wouldn't be able to keep holding the forest up for much longer. She could feel the drain on her stamina like an itch behind her eyelids. It wasn't too bad, yet. She still had some time.
Shiemi stood on the branch of her tree and watched the sun sink below the horizon.
And the world was plunged into darkness.
There was a unanimous roar from the other side. The sound was followed by a surge in violence on the ground. The clang of claws against metal rang loud in Shiemi's ears, and she winced. Somewhere deep inside, her quiet, sweet self still resided. In that deep, gentle place, the Shiemi she used to be—healer, naïve, good; fifteen and innocent—still existed.
And that Shiemi didn't like violence.
Eighteen-year-old Shiemi liked violence little more than fifteen-year-old Shiemi had.
The difference was, eighteen-year-old Shiemi wasn't afraid to end a demon's life if she needed to. Eighteen-year-old Shiemi wasn't scared of the dark. Eighteen-year-old Shiemi could build herself a forest without even thinking about.
Eighteen-year-old Shiemi wasn't afraid.
"Yow," said a voice. "So this is you, huh?"
Shiemi whipped her head around, searching for the sound of the voice.
"Up here," it—he?—said again.
She looked up into open air.
A man in a brown uniform slouched there, floating. His hair was black and he was almost grinning, a darkly tufted tail furling and unfurling around him. His ears were long ad pierced through with silver.
But it was his eyes that terrified Shiemi.
Electric blue. Demon blue.
Shiemi looked at him through her bangs. Her hair was so pale in the last remnants of the daylight. "Who are you?"
He chuckled. It was like ice down her back and Shiemi shuddered.
"Just a guy," he said. "And I know who you are, Miss Exorcist. They call you witch, don't they? The forest witch."
Shiemi's stared at him impassively. The words called up a long-festering wound. She was ten, and the children screamed. Witch! Burn the witch! She was thirteen, her grandmother smiling and the world splintering. Witch! Burn the witch! She was fifteen, roots growing up her legs. Witch! Burn the witch!
"Does it matter what they call me?" Shiemi asked.
"Nah," he said. He studied her. "You're too cute to be a witch."
Shiemi coloured high in her cheeks. It was an uncontrollable reaction, left over from a time when any compliment she had ever received was stashed away and cherished. But the blush soured into a concerned look.
"I feel like I should be trying to kill you," Shiemi murmured.
"You probably should be," he agreed. "But, y'see, the thing is that I don't die so easy."
He flickered out of existence for a moment, and Shiemi held the piece of paper that kept Nii-chan alive tight in her fist. There were other papers, too, tucked into her pockets and her breast-band that she might grab at in the case of an emergency—and this seemed to be qualifying. But just as she was reaching—
"Oi, quit that. You might actually hurt me. That wouldn't be nice."
There was a flare of heat. The paper in her grip turned to ash, burned to nothing with blue flames. Nii disappeared in a puff of smoke. The forest withered.
And Shiemi was falling.
"Got'cha," he grinned.
She looked up into blue eyes with red pupils. His skin was warm against hers and she struggled not to squirm; she wanted to crawl out of her skin because this felt wrong. "Who are you?"
"Just a guy. I told you that," he murmured in her ear.
"It would be nice to know the name of my killer," Shiemi murmured in reply.
He actually laughed. There was something about it that sent chills down Shiemi's spine, and, tucked up in his arms and floating high above the rest of the world as they were, all she wanted to do was fall.
"Not going to kill you, little witch. You're far too interesting for that."
Shiemi took a deep breath in, preparing herself to argue. She didn't know his name, she didn't want to know his name, because there was still something wild and terrifying in him. It was something uncontrollable and strong and beautiful.
It chilled her to the very bone.
He pulled her closer, brushed his mouth along her throat.
Shiemi thought of Izumo-chan and Shima in the little tent and realized that she was probably never going to see them again. She was so sorry that she hadn't said goodbye. She was so sorry. So sorry.
The demon's mouth pressed to her ear. "Hush," he said.
"My name," he murmured, "is Rin."
Shiemi closed her eyes, and tried not to think.
notes2: derpy fic is derpy.
notes3: please do not favourite without leaving a review! :)