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Disclaimer: I do not own Ao No Exorcist/Blue Exorcist.


Wondering

At first, Rin was confused.

Why did they all avoid him? Why didn't they talk to him? Were they afraid of him?

Every time he entered the classroom, they'd all become tense. They'd try not to show it, but he could tell. He could see their muscles contract in fear, hear their voices become softer, and sense the tension grow with each step he took, so thick you could cut it with a knife.

A few weeks later, Rin finally understood.

They hated him because of who his father was. They avoided him out of pure fear and hate. Hate for the blue flames be brandished because of that night many years ago.

The Blue Night.

It didn't take long for him to put two and two together. He'd become more aware of things. Like when Konekomaru used "Rin" and "the Blue Night" in the same sentence. It hurt, but he understood.

Not really.

Two months later, and it still hurt.

He didn't understand why they kept such a large distance from him. He didn't understand how they could just abandon him after all they'd been through. He'd laughed, argued, and feared with them for over a year, but they just left him there to rot.

He was lonely.

So.

Damn.

Lonely.

Every time he saw anybody from the cram school, his heart would ache, longing to talk to them. He forced himself not to, because he knew damn well that they would just run away. And that would bring more pain and even more loneliness.

The word "friends" rolled awkwardly on his tongue. The word "alone" was something he was slowly getting used to.

Six months later, and he'd changed.

He was studying the books Yukio gave him out of pure boredom. There wasn't anything to do, no one to talk to other than Yukio, who only talked with him about things he didn't understand in the text books. Yukio was worried, but happy that his test grades were going up.

He didn't shout out in class or even doze off. He paid attention. All of the teachers were surprised when Yukio proudly showed them Rin's highest test score, a 95. Yukio had hugged his brother when they'd come back from cram school, and told him that he was so proud of him.

Rin was happy, too. Happy that he'd been able to make his brother happy. That's all that ever mattered, right, Rin? Keep Yukio happy. That's all he'd ever wanted to do in life when he was little. He spent hours studying, anything to keep that proud smile of Yukio's face. Anything to keep those guys out of his head.

A year passed, and Rin had the third highest GPA in his cram school class.

He didn't gloat, celebrate, or do anything crazy when he got the award. All he cared about was Yukio's smiling face when he walked up onto the stage, tail and ears exposed, and was handed the stiff paper. Oh, the stiff paper meant nothing to him, but it meant a lot to Yukio.

But he was still lonely. His social life didn't even fucking exist. He wished that he could study with someone other than Yukio, but he was the only company he had. Sometimes, if he needed to clear his head, he'd study at the fountain, granted that the other kids weren't there first. If they were, he'd turn around casually and find some other place.

A year and a half passed since the incident, and Rin was just sad.

He was sad. Happy that he could please Yukio with his grades, but sad that nobody but Yukio and the exorcists at the monastery seemed to give a fuck about him.

As much as he denied it, he wanted attention. Nothing else. Attention was the only thing he craved so badly. Whether it was praising or scorning, he wanted it.

So he was surprised as fuck when he walked into cram school one day, and Shiemi gave him a hug.

His eyes grew, his body tensed, and he almost dropped his books he was going to read before class started.

He looked down at Shiemi's head, buried in his chest. He felt something warm pour down from her eyes, wetting his shirt. His voice was cracked and low from disuse over the year when he asked her why she was crying. And she said that she was sorry.

She was sorry for not talking to him, not being with him, not congratulating him, and for not being his friend when he needed it the most. She pulled her tear-streaked face away from his chest and apologized with the most beautiful flower he'd ever seen. It had been bloomed to perfection and picked at the right time. Not a single patch of brown could be seen anywhere on the soft, blue petals.

He took one long look at the flower in her hand and another long look at her pained, teary face and accepted her apology. Accepted her friendship.

So he hugged her as she cried even more. She hysterically asked him how he could accept the apology so easily, but he didn't give her an answer. He just shushed her, calmed her, and wiped away her tears and snot on her face and his shirt.

The Kyoto trio plus Izumo walked in on a smiling Rin reading next to a sniffling, hiccupping Shiemi. They were surprised. They hadn't seen Rin smile since the camping trip so long ago. It was evident that Rin had noticed them. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat at the front row desk.

That's when they felt guilty.

Guilty since they'd promised Shiemi that they'd make up with Rin ages ago. Guilty that they never had the courage to talk to him when they passed him on campus. Guilty that they'd never even thought about it until now.

Shima was the first to go.

He ran over to Rin and squeezed the life out of him, telling him that he was so sorry with Konekomaru following suit. Suguro and Izumo awkwardly hugged Rin; it was hard with two people already bear hugging him.

Rin, of course, was surprised, but was immediately annoyed that Shima and Konekomaru were screaming apologies. He pushed through the tangle of arms to get some fresh air and scolded the two for apologizing. He'd had enough of the apologies, even though he really needed it. He squirmed until they all let go, panting from the fight they'd put up.

Shima sat on the floor near his desk, clinging onto his leg. The pink haired boy felt something weird before pulling a flower out of his pocket. It was the same type of flower as the one Shiemi had given him, but it was a bright pink. Konekomaru gave him a dark red flower; Suguro, a pastel yellow flower; and Izumo, a dark purple flower.

A voice from the front of the classroom startled the group.

"The flowers of forgiveness, ah, what beauteous flowers they are, if I do say so myself."

The students stared at their pointy-haired principal, who was sitting on the teacher's desk, smiling and dramatically wiping tears from his eyes.

"When one is ready to forgive, and when one is ready to make friends again, the flower of friendship blooms once more! These flowers last forever, and will never die, unless your friendship comes to an end. Only the forgiver may have possession of these flowers, or else they wither and die, to remind the forgiver that their friendship stands strong, growing every day, and that they are never alone, no matter what."