A/N: This story splits off from the canon between chapters thirteen and fourteen, where Mephisto breaks up Amaimon and Rin's fight in the woods. It takes a different approach to character's reactions over Okumura Rin being Satan's offspring and the events occurring afterwards.
DISCLAIMER: Ao No Exorcist belongs to Kazue Kato; I do not own Ao No Exorcist, only my own writing.
Loose leaf sheets pinned beneath several textbooks rippled at the corners under the motorized breeze pushing air through dense September heat. Although the large dual windows that took up a majority of the wall above the matching desks were open, the stagnant air and blazing sun only increased the uncomfortable atmosphere. Rin's fluff-tipped tail swayed lazily along the unkempt blue linen of his dorm room bed. The fur tuft of his tail was more akin to an ink-soaked paintbrush than a usable appendage due to the insufferable early autumn humidity. Slipshod red writing on a manga subscription calendar hung upon Rin's wall marked that classes had resumed for the fall a few weeks prior. On his day off, the cram school student attempted to escape the soggy conditions that plagued the True Cross area. Without anything to do outside in the unbearable mid-September mugginess, the adolescent had resigned to spending his free time relaxing on his bed. His head tilted towards the weak, half-meter floor fan pathetically buzzing between the two book covered desks in his shared bedroom. The titles of the texts he needed to read swirled together in his vision through the motorized blades from a heat-induced haze. It was too miserably sticky to do homework, Rin had convinced himself. With Yukio on a mission per usual, there was no one around to berate him into completing his tedious word-based school work, even Kuro had disappeared downstairs for the day in search of sufficient dryness for the early afternoon. As Rin ignored his studies, the off-guard student's idle mind drifted to the recent past.
Although he knew better than to get sucked into his memories, the young exorcist found himself contemplating the previous six months, despite his efforts to focus on the white noise humming of the fan instead. Rin thought about his life before moving to True Cross Town for school. His old home at the church; his old school. How everything had changed overnight. What he had lost and gained since seeing his first coal tar. He found it hard to reflect on the events surrounding his new school and living quarters for long without putting himself into a slump. When the messy-haired teenager considered what all had unfolded over the past several months, it only upset him further. Lost in thought, he felt recollection of the recent past overfill the edges of his mind where he had desired to shove them out of focus.
Since the early spring, his life had transformed into something unrecognizable to Rin's previous way of existence. At least he no longer retained bruises from childhood scuffles and constant confrontations with juvenile delinquents. Those were far from the blue-eyed adolescent's biggest stresses in life any longer, and they wouldn't be even without his renewed healing abilities. It worked out better, he thought, since Yukio was rarely around to attend to any wounds he may rush into these days.
His cowardly twin had found out that Rin was a true demon, no less than Satan's own offspring, and was training as an exorcist from a young age because of that fact. The spotty little brother had known Rin's heritage all along. Their adoptive father had died in the boy's biological parent's attempt to bring the blue flame wielding teenager back to Gehenna. Goosebumps rose over Rin's spine as he recalled fragments of Satan's words to him, "You bear the blood of the God of Gehenna. I'll release you from this irritating curse! Gehenna's waiting..."
Since Shiro's death, the previously inseparable twins' relationship had completely changed. Whereas his studious sibling was legitimately accepted into True Cross through his own merit, Rin joined as well upon threat of death by the supposed best friend of their late adoptive father. The young cram school student felt like Yukio had swapped his familial fondness for the duties of a prison warden at True Cross Academy, where Yukio was not only the older Okumura sibling's lone roommate, but also one of his professors as well. Rin's throat tightened at the memory of his brother's hate-filled expression when the older Okumura had confronted Yukio on the subject of his demonic condition.
True Cross Academy was a school with an exorcist class during the night run by a purple-haired madman who had answered the call to the only number in the phone Shiro had given him, and Rin felt as welcomed by the staff as a lit match in a rainstorm. The entire institution's campus made him ill in some way or another. If it wasn't the vile compounds burning his nose in demon pharmacology, it was the anti-demon wards all over the school constantly putting his nerves on edge. Rin wrinkled his nose at the memory of the smell of the numerous warding and paralyzing herbs that flowered the school with a choking bitter stink. In strong enough concentrates, some of them caused bizarre, abstract dreams during his class-time naps. He was only mildly bothered that he had forgotten his own collection of compounds needed for homework; it was a pain in the ass to get that stench aired out of the room whenever he forgot to open the window before studying and the rain would have only made it worse.
While some of the subjects made him feel physically unwell, others frightened and disturbed him. His least favorite subject was learning fatal verses. One of his reoccurring nightmares frequently brought on by those damn pharmacology assignments, was that the class would get to a verse that worked on him, intentionally or not. When the group watched how different demons reacted to the spoken word attacks, Rin's skin crawled, tingling with fight or flight instinct as he unintentionally imagined their pain. He didn't mind learning about taming as much, but he hadn't tried his hand at it out of worry of what sort of being he might call for. Although not as profoundly disturbing as the death verses, the process in which the exorcists went about maintaining their familiars also troubled the adolescent. He noticed that whenever a familiar refused a direct order, they would wince. If a tamer didn't rip up the paper, but failed to maintain complete control of the demons they called, each order barked out would render the helpful demons erratic with pain and confusion until freed of their familiarity. The Esquires had been warned by Neuhaus that summoning a familiar too powerful for them to control could easily result in a tamer's death, which made Rin wonder in return what the death toll was for familiars who tried to free themselves from the agreement. The slip of paper from their first taming class was still poking out of the taming textbook on his desk bookmarking some passage he probably never finished reading. For a brief moment, he contemplated if it would be possible for a high-level exorcist to try to summon and tame him, but quickly rejected even considering the uncomfortable concept.
Rin had a unique asset or disadvantage to each of the subjects that made it nigh impossible for him to follow the same pace as his classmates. It was difficult for him to work fairly with others in gym, where the demons they faced would often obey instead of attack him. Early on in his first semester, the worry surrounding the curiosity of others noticing demons' strange actions around him was a far more cumbersome anxiety than any relief he felt over not having to fear being eaten if he made a poorly chosen move in the practice arena. Later, their docility was a source of embarrassment for Rin as the demons' actions ever confirmed the son of Satan's identity. He sighed wearily, leaning closer to the whining floor fan in attempt for some relief from the heat, or at least his bothersome thoughts. All in all, it could be said that he was delighted to return to the classroom instead of having been immediately executed by the Vatican, but the teenager still felt that he was attending a very fancy personal death trap of a school.
In his exorcist night class, Rin had met several students who found out about his demonic ancestry shortly after their Esquire exam. Although alleviated of his worries about his fellow exorcists noticing the unique nature of how demons acted when he was in their proximity, that relief alone was possibly the only positive outcome of his exposed Satanic heritage. Before the other students had known, he had been companions, and even a trusted friend to an extent, with nearly all of his classmates. It was hard adjusting to his new life, but for the first time in his memory, Rin had friends that would watch his back. Well, sometimes he did. He wasn't sure if they even really considered him much of a friend any longer since the young exorcists had found out about his lineage. Other times most of his classmates, besides the difficult to faze Izumo and Takara, feared the youth and his demonic power. The tailed student knew how he was regarded by his once trusting friends, even Yukio, like he was an evil monster. Deep in his heart, he couldn't entirely disagree with their judgment. Harsh calls for his blood from the Grigori trial rang in his ears.
"A demon has no business attending True Cross Academy!"
"That monster is dangerous!"
"He needs to be kept away from others for everyone's safety!"
"The son of Satan should be killed preemptively before he attacks!"
The hellish adolescent had heard hurtful proclamations from everyone, starting with so-called friends, all the way up to the top exorcists. Before demanding to become an exorcist himself, even his adoptive father's own best friend had threatened to kill him on principle because of his lineage. At first he felt completely betrayed; Rin had still considered himself purely human. That definite line of humanity in his mind, that he had tried to convince himself was there, was soon blurred though. Ever since he lost himself to his flames during his first serious fight with Amaimon at Mepphyland, he hadn't truly felt human, not really. Maybe even before then, if he thought about all his fits of incurable rage over the years. More often than not Rin felt that everyone would be better off without him; safer, less scared. He secretly also felt that maybe, just maybe, he could get to know and control himself better if he stopped pretending to himself that he was completely human. Although he had told Mephisto on the first day of their meeting that he knew he couldn't live as a normal person, the fact that he could never live like a regular exorcist either remained a painful wound over his summer break. His tail thumped behind him to Rin's frustration, as if it was deliberately mocking his fleeting sense of humanity.
Many of his human friends had become a burden on his psyche since he was exposed as Satan's son, knowing that they would run away from him the second he freed himself from being held back by Kurikara. He felt like he was treading on eggshells whenever he spoke or even simply walked near other people. When he had smiled at them in his released form they had been truly terrified, looking at him solely as the blue-flamed spawn of Satan. Konekomaru appeared as if he was about to wet himself every time Rin entered the room, let alone talked to him.
Bon was the worst of the lot of former friends, although it was hard for him to tell if the competitive aria had ever been his friend in the first place. He constantly tried to pick fights with Rin and generally made his life a living hell. The exorcist-in-training heavily sighed once more when he began to mull over the expectations he had once held of his stripe-haired classmate. It confused the demon exorcist that the student who shared his same ambition to kick Satan's ass hated him so devoutly. Sure he was Satan's son, but that didn't mean he was controlled by him or even liked him at all. Before he had been outed as the spawn of the God of Gehenna, the heavily pierced monk had already seemed to hate the older Okumura twin for his 'attitude'. Rin felt that he had been on the large honor roll student's shit list, even prior to when he asked for help from Bon's circle of friends on the definition of meisters, ignorant of most exorcist terminology. The sword-carrying boy was sorely disappointed that the guy who looked like a cool delinquent acted like a hot-headed bully with a single target hate streak outside of his studies. He had hoped that they would be similarly misjudged, only attracting bad people, but the naive navy-haired teenager was mistaken. Although he was a top student, Bon seemed to back down less and less at the threat of punishment for picking on his rival as the year progressed, even detention didn't put a stopper in the Kyoto native's boiling hatred. It was only when Izumo stopped Rin from nearly drinking from a bottle the angry monk had switched with holy water that Yukio reluctantly stepped in to protect his older brother from Suguro's aggression. The fatigued youth was almost certain that his hate-driven classmate would only find a means to get to him away from the eyes of True Cross Academy employees.
Not every friendship was lost with the sight of his flames though. The exposed exorcist had been moved that two of the people he least expected had any interest in friendship, though he wouldn't admit it to them out loud. Takara hadn't shown any surprise or interest in relation to Rin's demonic status, or even his Satanic ancestry. While he had never spent much time with the solitary puppeteer, the pointy eared teenager discovered a new found enjoyment in Takara's dark humor and quiet nature. A slight smile perked his dreary expression when Rin remembered an especially fond incident involving his strange companion. In response to one of Bon's more disparaging comments towards Rin, Takara's puppet had humiliated the large student by slapping the bottom of its fabric near Takara's wrist, where its backside would be, with its cloth hand. It taunted the burly aria like a child in a mocking tone, "Suguro has that skunk head up his own ass, no wonder it looks that way."
Shima Renzou was another unanticipated friend, especially since Renzou's two bosom buddies shot daggers with their eyes at the blue-eyed student's very presence. The easy-going monk often cheered up the shorter Esquire whenever the latter became uncharacteristically sullen in class. Rin's tail greatly interested the mischievous teen, which he regarded as a useful asset and made playful banter about the different ways the older Okumura twin could use the demonic appendage to peep under Izumo's skirt.
"I'm positive you could get away with it if you only make contact with her skirt and say it's out of your control," the pink haired pervert often enthused as one of many 'playboy tips' for his friend that Rin was certain would result in physical assault or worse from his dot-browed classmate instead of anything even remotely resembling a positive reaction. Though not as frightened as Konekomaru, Shima was still fearful of Rin's released form. Only where as Konekomaru was always afraid of Rin, the nice thing about the far more relaxed monk was that the next day Shima acted as if nothing ever happened. The blind simplicity of his friendliness and perverse jokes were a refreshing change from the overwhelming weight of the rest of the youngest son of Satan's life. Shima must have missed his two childhood friends, but he never let anything break his grinning simple-minded mask.
Possibly in reaction to losing his comedy tag team with his Kyoto friends, Shima had taken a liking to making various attempts at befriending the solitary Takara. The two had become an amusing pair since Renzou was mostly snubbed by Bon and Konekomaru for continuing to be friends with Okumura Rin. Renzou repeatedly attempted to set up a manzai comedy duo with the insensitive puppeteer playing the part of tsukkomi, but the ventriloquist was just too fast with his quips for his laid-back partner to keep up, or otherwise ignored the fun-loving Buddhist entirely. To Rin, Shima looked like even more of a goofball than he had before the whole mess split the class-wide friendship apart. Given the sudden divisive animosity plaguing their class, Takara and Shima's antics were a great break from the dispirited situation between the students who had previously considered themselves close allies.
Shockingly, the person who took his revealed heritage the best out of all of his classmates was the often aggressive twin-tailed tamer, Kamiki Izumo. To others it may have appeared that the feisty student disliked Rin, and especially Shima, but she had her own approach when it came to trying to show friendship and consolation. She was the only person to tell the fire-wielding exorcist the very day he returned from the Grigori trials that it didn't matter if Rin was a demon without batting an eye. He watched a page of the notes Izumo had let him copy from her wrestle it's way free from the stack of class materials and get sucked onto the front of the fan. The motor didn't even have enough power to shred the sheet, as its corners flapped wildly yet without danger of being torn through the blades. Although she wasn't outwardly cordial in a typical manner, he couldn't question her loyalty in their friendship. She fumbled with words when it came to verbal comforting, but her occasional nearby presence alone helped him more than she probably knew. Lately she had even taken to greeting him each morning which, for Izumo, meant a lot. He appreciated that his only other female friend in his class never looked at him with pity the way Shiemi had.
While Shiemi at one time tried to treat Rin sweetly, he couldn't ignore the mutual feelings between her and his brother, not to mention her poorly stifled fear of him. She was a loving girl by nature, but he believed she deserved someone that would be a shield for her sensitive temperament, or at least someone she didn't have to fake bravery for. Given that Yukio had already lost so much due to him, he wasn't willing to take Shiemi's affection from his sibling as well. On top of his concern for his brother's happiness, the blue-eyed student worried that his friendship caused the meek gardener more harm than good. Although he knew she was an honest friend, being around her had the ability to make him feel guilty. She had already thrown herself in front of one of his fights before; Rin never wanted to risk that happening again. Despite her genuine kindness, he wasn't able to handle the pity and fear in her eyes whenever she looked at him, or her blind willingness to sacrifice herself uselessly in his flames. The friendlier Shiemi was to him, the more it hurt Rin when he noticed her trembling in his presence and the more he feared that she would wind up seriously injured, or worse.
Whatever the high temperature and humidity had done to his mind was fully under his skin, as the overheated student tried to run his fingers through his sweat-matted hair with little success. It was a wonder he didn't dwell on these topics more often, but he usually busied himself to avoid such thoughts. It was too hot to do anything to escape his mind though, even reading the latest Jump Square wasn't an option since the damp air made the ink rub off on his fingers. He doubled over in front of the wooden desk chair near his bed and separated his shirt collar from sticking to his skin, enjoying the breeze of the fan blowing down the back of his shirt. A small ring of dried flowers poked out from between the pages of a book on medical herbs on his desk that Shiemi had insisted on giving to him after he failed their first written exam; a token of friendship.
It was lucky for the demon exorcist that his sensitive classmate hadn't been present at school much lately. In contrast to the sadness Rin felt from hearing that Shiemi's mother had fallen ill, forcing the young girl to take care of the shop, not having her there at school with him was bizarrely cheering him up in some fashion, instead of the lone additional misery he expected from her absence. Even though he respected her decision to become an exorcist as well, he often worried about how killing demons affected the caring student. She nearly cried when she had to separate from her familiar; Rin didn't want to think too long on the way she probably felt after exorcisms. These worries for Shiemi's well-being helped drive the teenager when he dwelt on her absences the first week she was gone. He dearly missed sitting next to the cheery green thumbed girl in class, and her innocent attempts at befriending everyone she met, but he was glad that she was at home, safe in her garden.
Thinking about Yukio and Shiemi triggered a compressed sensation in Rin's chest. No, Bon wasn't the person who had truly grown to treat him worst of all, that title belonged to his brother Yukio. Although he had said he would help his fiery sibling, the younger twin had quickly given in to his bitterness about their adopted father's death. Rin assumed that the younger Okumura sibling had long perceived his destroyed future as a civilian doctor as Rin's fault, for Yukio having to play watchdog over his wild twin for as long as he could remember. Now he didn't even know if his sibling had ever wanted to be a doctor, or how many brotherly moments had just all been an act to keep up appearances for Father Fujimoto. He wasn't sure what rekindled his brother's resentment first, or if the stern Okumura had ever actually been without it. The older twin thought the issues that separated them had been worked out in the past, but his spotty sibling was ever increasingly short tempered since Shiro's death. In the past few weeks, Yukio hadn't even bothered to come home at night, always out working on an ever-increasing amount of exorcist duties. Devastated, Rin didn't know when he realized Yukio's frustration had evaporated the younger sibling's palpable brotherly love for him, but it became startling clear that his twin viewed his demonic brother as more of a burden and curse than dear family.
It hadn't been a bright idea to dwell on how his life had changed since he first found out about his identity as Satan's child, and the already downcast exorcist had worked himself into an even worse mood. He swallowed dryly, feeling as if there was a bayron rock demon in his stomach sinking the sharp-toothed boy into the coils deep in his dormitory room bed.
"Who would truly trust a son of Satan like me anyway?" Rin wondered grimly, his eyes closed tight and jaw clenched. The cool evening breeze blew gently through the open window behind the student's desk. It calmed the boy when a light wind passed over his face and the exposed skin of his arms, rustling the sheet beneath where he sat at the very edge of his bed. He blinked in surprise at the unexpected briskness in with the evening air in contrast to the disgusting humidity of midday he had been experiencing, what felt to him, like only minutes prior. Just as Shiro had scolded him for so many times in the past, the bored boy had accidentally daydreamed the entire afternoon away.
As his thoughts meandered to his recently deceased adoptive father, Rin sighed. He had always pushed the man's affections away and tried to make his priest's life a living hell. Shiro had suffered hardship on Rin's behalf, some of which the old man had passed on to Yukio like an infectious disease. The priest had already died because of the demonic twin, even their mother had perished due to him. Rin couldn't bear to think of his younger brother facing the same fate. He slid down the side off his bed, thumping directly onto the aged wooden floor as the weight in his core became overwhelming. Mental exhaustion had gotten the best of the elder Okumura sibling in his weakened state. Maybe he hadn't properly cleaned up after his last pharmacology experiment; he thought as the wood grain below him seemed to ebb and flow underneath like a red maple stream.
The unkempt teenager felt sometimes that anyone who cared or showed compassion to him was doomed to be brutally murdered or otherwise undergo grievous experiences just by being associated with him. He bit his lip while wiping his face harshly with the back of his hand to hold tears at bay. It was unlike him to get so worked up, but he had spent so long trying to appear on top of things that fatigue had sneaked up on him. That, or the fumes of the herbs he half believed were assigned specifically to spite him, Rin assured himself. He refused to submit to his fears. A strong gust startled the woozy teenager. He leaned forward to peel the notes from Izumo off of his fan and placed it on the edge of his desk with all the schoolwork he was so sick of. A bit less melancholy and far more awake, Rin shook his head and brushed his bangs out of his face with his fingers, "I can't waste time crying over burnt bridges when I need to be focused on kicking Satan's ass."
A/N: Thank you for reading the first chapter of "A Loyal Son"! It's my first public fan fiction piece and has been in the works for quite a while, so I greatly appreciate any feedback via reviews!