Man, I haven't written any fanfiction since three, four years ago. I hope that my writing's gotten a bit better at least. Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Ao no Exorcist.


I wish Father were here with me and Yukio right now. I'm sure he'd have loved to join us for dinner tonight. Today wasn't any special day, but I only wanted to spend time with my beloved brother and let him know how special he is to me, and I wanted to make a toast for Father's spirit. I only want the both of us to forget everything that's happened in the past couple of months. Even if Father's absence hinders the effectiveness of our post-traumatic suppression a little, tonight was a huge step for me and Yukio.

Ukobach helped me make boeuf bourguignon – which I refused to let digest without placing any rice on the dining table as well – and potato-egg salad. He also helped me set everything up in the dining room, which is only used by me and Yukio since we're the only ones who live in the old dormitory. The dining table was covered with a crimson silk tablecloth, followed by two Midnight Rose candles. I hoped that it wouldn't ruin our appetite; spoiler alert, it didn't. I set up the meal and dinnerware as decoratively and neatly as possible, emulating the five-star restaurant layout. I didn't have any other decorations, although I did hide a bouquet of flowers for Yukio in the kitchen and a surprise ice cream sundae dessert in the freezer. I double-checked everything to assure that I didn't forget anything. Nothing was out of place, and yet I still feared that I was going to discover that I had screwed up big time during our dinner.

So much for trying to impress your hardworking twin brother. I've never been so anxious and obsessively and compulsively disordered in my life, especially over wanting to please Yukio. I guess I really do care about seeing that beautiful smile on his face, but even if I have no problem being myself around him, even if he says that he'll still be proud of every good deed that I do, still. . .

Oh, and just throwing this out there, I lit up the candles using just my flame without burning anything else. All that training with Shura's hardassedness really did pay off.

And so, there I stood in front of the dining table, awaiting Yukio's arrival. I checked the clock, seeing that it would be a few minutes before he would get here. He had to grade midterms after school today, although I was pretty sure that he would've taken a break by this time if he hadn't already finished. I told him to get here at seven in the evening sharp. He's pretty punctual, something that came along with his ambitious character that I envied. It didn't matter how carefully Yukio would look out for me and made sure that I did everything, it had been concluded long ago that I am terminally late. Yukio really is the sweetest. And this was why tonight was happening; I want to thank him for everything, especially being my brother. I really don't know what I'd do without him.

The dining room entrance slide open, revealing a familiar, flickering silhouette. The only sources of light in the room were the candles on the dining table, which were bright enough to illuminate most of the room. Yukio had arrived.

"There you are!" I broke the silence in delight, stepping closer to Yukio. "Was it difficult grading the exams?"

Yukio, astonished, navigated slowly towards the table. "Um, not really. . ." His speech trailed off as he studied the scene behind me. I could see his face flushing, and then slowly showing his crow's feet as he smiled widely at what I had arranged. Damn, he's so adorable.

"Nii-san. . . what, what is this?" His eyes oscillated from the table to my face, back to the table, back to my face. And he was still smiling lavishly in amazement.

I grinned, letting all of the bliss of the moment run through me. "It's called dinner, baka! I just felt that I should make tonight a special night for just the two of us." I beamed even more now that that freaking Bill Withers song started suddenly playing in my head. I pulled out the chair behind me that I had been leaning on and looked into Yukio's glasses, which reflected the warm gleam emitting from the candles. "Have a seat."

Yukio obeyed, taking in the atmosphere of the room, the intimate lighting and scent of the candles, the meal that I had lovingly set on the table for us. Then he looked at me again.

"Seriously, you're making this look like you're going to propose to me or something. Did something outrageously fortunate occur today, Nii-san?" I saw the curiosity pique in his eyes as he waited for my answer.

I walked around to the other side of the table where I took my seat. "Well," I started as soon as I was seated, "tonight doesn't seem all that special, doesn't it?"

"No. I mean, it's not any holiday or anniversary, and I can't find anything worth celebrating."

"And that's where you're wrong, Yukio. Tonight, I'm celebrating you, and we're celebrating Father's spirit. I want to start with you.

"For fifteen, almost sixteen years, you've been by my side through every joy and sorrow that I and we have ever encountered in our lives. As a brother, as a friend, as a protector. Whenever you needed my help as a child, I was there for you. I retrieved your ball from the top of a tree, I ran to you when I heard you crying from fear of being alone, I cheered you on at school, even if I did envy and sometimes resent how hardworking you were becoming. But today, I could never be more proud and grateful. Now you're taking care of me and making sure I'm doing well in school and not going apeshit with my demon powers, you're a fucking professor at University as a fucking freshman, and you're Paladin. That's completely beyond belief, and that proves how incomprehensibly phenomenal you are at so many things. I knew you would go far in life, and I know you'll continue to stretch the horizon. Even if Father's not here to praise you, or rather the both of us, we know that he's proud of how far we've come." I lifted my hands over the table and reached out to grab Yukio's hands, intertwining my fingers with his and resting them between the plates of food that was luckily still hot. "Everything that's happened in the past two months: the devil, the gates of Gehenna, the clusterfuck of conflicts we've gotten into, we need to try our best to forget them all and move on with our lives. It's all over; we're back to peace and tranquillity… for now."

Yukio's fingers broke away from mine as Yukio reached for his glasses to swipe them off of his face. The bright candlelight allowed me to see his face clearly, and when I did, my heart wrenched in a shocked sympathy, sort of like a gasp followed by an obnoxious "Aww~!"

He was crying, but not as a poor response; his face was contorted into joy.

"Nii-san…" Yukio's voice broke in between hics, wiping the modest tears away from his eyes, "I… I don't know… what to say…" A moment passed before he regained himself. "Just, thank you. Thank you so much. This means a whole lot to me." Yukio intertwined his fingers back with mine, and he looked at me again with a silently spirited chuckle. "Seriously, I love this."

I smiled back at him, deeply touched by the positive response I had received. "I was hoping you would."

"But most of all, Nii-san, I love you." I love you. It didn't matter in which manner he meant it, just the realisation that Yukio said this to me during our most intimate engagement threw my heart into palpitations. For some reason, I didn't feel like it was immoral for me to feel this way about my twin brother. He's become the person that I'm closest to, I know everything about him and he knows everything about me. We share a bond that nobody can meddle with, a bond that we've been unable to establish with anybody else since childhood. It's beyond my comprehension, but when it all comes down to how I feel, I love it. Even more so, I love him. And that's exactly what I told him. I tightened my grip on Yukio's hands and looked him straight in his eyes.

"I love you, too, Yukio, more than anything in the world." I leaned over the table, and he quickly mirrored my action. And in a heartbeat, our lips met, time stopped, and our souls bound themselves into one. It seemed as if minutes had gone by before we broke apart. Suddenly, my mind was filled with fog and cognitive disorientation. It took me a minute to realise that I wasn't dreaming, that this was actually happening. I looked at the food that still waited to be devoured. My mouth watered, my excess saliva mixing Yukio's saliva – which really isn't different from my own at all – into itself. "So, how about we start this lovely meal here? I'm starving!"

Yukio chuckled. "Definitely." For the first time, Yukio examined what I had made for dinner. "Uha, this looks delectable! What are these dishes?"

"Boeuf bourguignon and potato-egg salad. Fancy, eh? But wait, there's more! I have an ice cream sundae sitting in the freezer until dessert!"

"Oh man, you're the best."

"D'aw, stop it! You're making me fluster!"

And so, we enjoyed our dinner and dessert. Yukio absolutely loved it, and the ice cream sundae was an added delight. We spent the rest of the night talking in the dining hall about anything and everything, and then we went back to our dorm room to watch some dramas, to which Yukio fell asleep on my chest. Sooner or later, I drifted off into dreamland as well, hugging Yukio close to me, his breath on my neck ensuring that I have a good night's rest.