A/N: So, uh, greetings? This account was created years ago, when you had to have an account to comment and discuss stories
here. It was never intended for publishing anything; as so often happens, intentions have nothing to do with outcome. I have wanted
for a story exploring Shiro's and Mephisto's friendship for a long time. Not a one-shot, not a recap, but a story from the day they met
to the day Shiro died. Ambitious? A bit. Still, I will attempt it. Because nobody else has. I would love it if someone did, though. =3
Description: This is a prequel to Ao no Exorcist, basically. It follows a young Fujimoto Shiro on his journey through life, and in
particular his life as a friend of the notorious puppet-master Mephisto Pheles: a devil-in-disguise who will, like the Mephistopheles
he named himself after, whisk Shiro away on a trip from the highest highs to the lowest lows of human existence. As the fic
progresses it will gradually grow into the canon plot, and hopefully do it seamlessly enough that you find yourself sitting at the
first chapter in the manga with no real idea how you got there, but a feeling that what you've read actually did happen.
For this fic I pull building material from all over the AnE manga, the anime, works/mythology supported in AnE canon, and other
demon-related works. Expect to find anything from Faust and the Aeneid to Dogma and Devil May Cry hidden in between the lines, if
you know what to look for. I make deep dives into overlooked aspects of the manga from time to time, and knit together loose ends
to make this intricate story-weft feel solid, colourful, and interesting to read. I hope you will enjoy it. =)
Most common question: is this a yaoi fic? If you mean "is Mephisto and Shiro shipped as a couple?", then yes. If you mean "is
there loads of caring/cuteness/romance/sex?", then no. This is a complicated relationship, heh. ^_^' Have you seen BBC's Sherlock?
Have you seen the immense, maddening UST between Sherlock and John? This is a bit like that. So if you're interested in gay romance,
you can enjoy this fic: and if you're not interested in gay romance, you can still enjoy this fic. ;) I think one of my readers, the
tremendously eloquent A, summed it up well in a review:
"What I like best is how you've characterized their relationship. This isn't a happily ever after you're writing. This is a perpetual
game of high stakes chess, with sky-high stakes, and two very gifted players."
Also, I don't own or profit from any of what Kazue Kato has created.
Shuffling up the broad stairs of True Cross Academy, he noted that nothing had changed over summer holidays. Trees looked
the same, the grand hallway looked the same – hell, even the new students looked like slightly smaller copies of the ones that
had graduated last semester. The prohibition against smoking was also, to his dismay, the same.
"Fujimoto Shiro! How many times do I have to repeat this?" The senior prefect, whose name he always made sure to forget,
stormed at him as if the faint glow of the cigarette had been a lighthouse beacon. "No smoking on academy premises. First day
on this semester and you already have a warning."
"And at three warnings you take me down to the basement and punish me for being a naughty boy?" He just loved seeing her
flustered. Shiro had secretly been trying to find out where she lived, to go visit her during summer break and hopefully, hopefully
get the date she always refused to go on during semester.
"No, I will take you to the principal's office and get you suspended."
As if that was even a threat. There was never enough evidence to pin him down - besides, who would mind a few days extra
vacation? He gave her a winning grin, wet his fingers and snuffed the cigarette, but left it dangling from his lip.
"See you around, senpai-chan", he winked. No response. Not that it mattered. Maybe there was some cutie among the new arrivals…
"Yasuda-san! Don't you get uglier every time I see you…"
The teens met up, mock-fought and threw empty insults. Yasuda had outgrown Shiro by seven centimeters over summer and had the
makings of a scrawny moustache that he was immensely proud of. Shiro didn't have any facial hair, which was all good and well:
he'd have to dye that too if he wanted it to go with his bleached hair. He still wore his round nerd-glasses, which he explained was
because it was "like having a pair of perfectly shaped boobs right in front of your eyes all the time".
"Isn't Fuji-san here? I thought you'd gotten married by now."
Yasuda replied with an elbow to the ribs as they walked up the last flight of stairs.
"He'll be here. The ones living closest to school always arrive last. Fuji's law."
"Fuji's law", Shiro chuckled and juggled his shoulder bag to allow a swarm of freshmen to pass by. "Speaking of laws, I already
got a warning from that sexy senpai for smoking. I think she likes me."
"I think that's your glasses distorting reality for you. So how are we welcoming the freshmen this year? Clogging all the toilets
in the dorm?"
"And dunking their heads in them?"
"Do you want to get kicked out? I thought I heard you say you'd cool it a bit."
"That's what I say in front of the teachers." Shiro flicked out a lighter and re-lit his cigarette. "And if they don't catch me
they'll never know."
"So you will wear a mask while you dunk the freshmen, or what?"
"I will tell the freshmen that if they rat on me they'll be dunked in the wall next time."
Yasuda shook his head with a smile.
"Oh man, why do you even go to school? The yakuza don't ask for any merits beyond what you've already got."
For the record, Shiro had only dunked a kid's head in a toilet once. The kid in question had been making fun of his glasses,
until Shiro had threatened to, well, wash his hair in the toilet. That was back in his first year at True Cross, when people had
not yet understood that Shiro was a guy who stood by his word. And when the little blabbermouth didn't quit yapping about
his glasses, he did exactly as he had said. In retrospect it might have been a bit over the top, but there and then it had felt
like the only sensible thing to do.
"School is where the cute girls in school uniforms are, you jackass!" Shiro folded his fingers behind his head, looking up at the
ceiling with a wolfish grin. "I might even fall behind and stick around another year or two. What do you think of chòu dòufu*
in the air vents?"
"For the freshmen? I think it would rock. If you could sneak up there without anyone catching you."
"Yasuda-san~ In these three years, have I ever been caught?" Shiro grinned confidently.
"Yes, for beating up the guy who told you to stop hitting on his girlfriend."
"That doesn't count, it was in public. I never get caught for this kind of thing. Up the water drain, onto the roof and down
again. Child's play."
"For you." Yasuda looked down self-consciously at his far-from-athletic frame.
"Hey, your extra large uniform saved our asses that time we poured laxative in the water supply and had to hide the bottle."
He patted him on the back. "There's strength in difference, y'know."
Fuji's law held true, as the unkempt, long-haired boy weaselled in on History, last class before lunch break.
"Hirawara Fuji. In all these years I have never seen you attend class on time even once."
Shiro gave the thumbs-up from his tilting chair at the back of the classroom. More than anything, he admired Fuji's clueless
deadpan every time a teacher was about to tell him off. Every time. As if it had never happened before, as if he had no idea
why he was being yelled at. It was a piece of art, dammit. Right up there with Mona Lisa.
* Stinky dòufu, a food that certainly lives up to its name.