dedication: to you, if you're reading this. thank you for sticking around. thank you for reviewing and stalking and all that nonsense, because even though I complain, you guys really do mean the world to me. I can never thank you enough. KISSES.
notes: oh my god this is the end what am I doing I actually stuck to an outline.
chapter title: My STAR
summary: In a world where someone else found the twins that snowy night, Rin leads a demon army. — Rin/Shiemi.
It was very quiet.
The outside world was closed away with a tangle of thick tree trunks, and Shiemi didn't know where in the world they'd disappeared to. She was exhausted, sapped from having Nii-chan spirit them away. She sat in tattered clothes, knees drawn to her chest, and fought not to rock back and forth.
She'd spent hours trying to close the hole in his chest.
His lungs still didn't seem to be quite right, either.
Shiemi wasn't a Doctor. She didn't really know what she was doing.
But Nii-chan did, apparently, so maybe things would be okay. It was a mad world, but Rin's ragged breathing was still sucking and wet like his lungs weren't working properly. It made her think of drowning, kimono clinging to her skin and weighing her down when she'd fallen into the ocean; all she could remember was the sun through water, reaching down as she sunk, and her vision started to go black around the edges—
The memory cut off there in a rush of bubbles and shining light as Izumo-chan dragged her from the water.
It had cemented their friendship and nearly killed her in the process.
(Stupid, really. Maybe she just should have drowned then, and saved everyone the trouble. It would have made a lot more sense, in the long run.)
They were deadly little things that bloomed into something that was quiet and special and precious. And it was ironic that though Izumo had saved her so many times from so many things, the one time she had needed help, Shiemi had been unable to pull through for her.
It was something she was going to regret for the rest of her life.
(Though however long that would be was circumspect.)
She was so tired.
The exhaustion bit at the back of her eyelids, and settled there, itching. Sleep would have been so very easy.
But she needed to know that he was going to wake up.
"Please wake up, Rin. You have to wake up," Shiemi mumbled into his shoulder.
He didn't move at all.
Shiemi finally closed her eyes, too tired to keep stay awake any longer. It had been such a long day, and the wound in Rin's chest was still white with that strange, holy glow. She was so tired that slipping down next to him seemed like a perfectly logical thing to do. She was so tired, she couldn't even think.
At least he was still breathing.
/ / /
Shiemi woke with a start.
And her first thought:
Something sparked up Shiemi's spine, and she shot up to look down at him. He coughed, rolled over, and spat up blood. It was mottled red and black, sickly colours that made her think of death.
Shiemi's heart clenched.
He coughed again. The sound was low and grating. It scraped across her ears and sunk into her bones; left her fingers cold and shaking, but then, since when had she not been shaking?
"Rin?!" she asked again, a little more panicked.
Because he looked like he was dying, and she couldn't help him. Something inside her clicked into place. It was a quiet click, but it was there all the same because this—this was something that had to be. He had to live. He had to.
The branches of their leafy prison seemed to tremble with the waiting and her fear.
Neither of them moved, and they listened to each other breathe.
"Yeah," he said at last. "Shit. I'm alive."
Shiemi drew in a shaky breath. "Yeah. Yeah, you are."
Rin grinned up at her. He didn't say anything—he didn't really need to. They'd been through this all before, but now things were different, because he'd almost just died and she sort of just saved his life.
Shiemi touched his shoulder. "Are you—?"
"M'fine," he said, eyes crinkling up. "Been through worse."
Her heart hurt.
Shiemi breathed out, and lay back down with her head against his chest. The steady thump of his heartbeat was reassuring in that it was so much stronger than when she'd last listened to it. It didn't sound sticky, anymore.
His arms came up and around her, and for a minute, everything was muted to just them.
No more war, for a little while.
She wasn't choking or crying, even though she probably should have been. There was a burning inside her somewhere deep down, and in that quietly burning place, she had no tears left to cry. Her spine had melted from glass to a pale softness, gone slick like warm oil across pavement, and all she wanted was for the world to be normal again. All she wanted was for this to be okay.
And he touched her then, slow and soft and dangerously sweet. Shiemi lowered her lashes as Rin tipped her chin up. His claws brushed across her skin.
The shivers took them both as he kissed her.
Blood and ash on his lips.
She should have been used to it, by then. And somewhere in the mess of their relationship, Shiemi's sanity lay. But it wasn't important, and she could look for it later.
They curled together on that mossy-green floor, Rin's tail twined around them both. Shiemi's world was blue eyes, blue fire; blue forever. And pressed close nose to nose, they simply stared at each other.
"You can breathe better now? It was… you sounded really bad," Shiemi whispered.
The quiet of this sanctuary was not to be disturbed.
"Yeah. Honestly, I've been through worse. This ain't shit," Rin chuckled. His lips parted over his teeth, fangs a sharp glint in the recesses of his mouth, and Shiemi shivered. Losing herself was so easy, here in this house that fear built, and she tipped her head back because her throat belonged to him.
Just like the rest of her, but that wasn't really a question.
"I thought you were going to die," she murmured. The words tumbled from her lips before she could stop them.
"Wouldn't that be a good thing?" Rin asked. "You could go back."
"No," and she knew that it was the truth. She could never go back, never. Too many things had changed, and in the end, she'd probably picked the wrong side.
But that was the thing about hunting monsters.
It changed you.
They lay there together for a long time.
"Nii-chan, could we… go out?"
Her little spirit trilled tiredly.
The thick trunks bent and stretched, and sudden light spilled in. Shiemi had no idea where they were, but she tugged at Rin's wrist and together they crawled out to fresh air and a pink skyline.
Shiemi drew breath in.
She turned to look at Rin.
And he was still beautiful; as beautiful as he had been the moment he'd stolen her away from the top of a tree and called her witch. He was still dark and electric, and he stood in stark contrast to the lightening sky. The dichotomy of it almost made her smile.
But he did belong here.
And she needed him to understand that. Golden light spilled over them both, turning the world to a dazzling white.
"Look," she said simply. "The sun's rising."
Rin reached for her hand.
"Yeah," he replied, almost breathless. "It is."
Shiemi felt the dazzle of the morning sun on her face, and she smiled.
notes2:thank you guys all so much for sticking around so long. You don't even know what this means to me.
notes3: but special thanks to Chloe, who has somehow wormed her way into my heart and has stuck with me through this entire process, that unapologetic bitch. I love you, darling, so much. you'll never know how important your friendship is to me. I still want those French Fancies, btw.
notes4: I'm going to cry for a little while now. please leave a review, I'd really love to hear what you thought, because this is the last time, ladies and gents. take a bow, you're gorgeous. ;)