The younger Okumura twin blinked, and looked up from the book on demon pharmacology hidden behind the cover of a storybook. He had received the book as a present from Shiro over Christmas and he really wanted to finish the first chapter before school started again…
But as a very flustered and excited Rin grabbed him by the shoulders and dragged him off the bed and out of the room, he knew that he wasn't going to get to do any more for the day.
"Ow-what's happening? Wh-my slipper!"
But Rin ignored him. Eventually, he stopped and pushed Yukio in front of him, pointing triumphantly. "It's missing!"
Rubbing his arm, and glaring at his brother, Yukio stepped back. "What's missing?"
Whatever indifference Yukio had felt a moment earlier disappeared. Because what Rin really meant by "our" mangas was really his mangas. He'd bought all of them with either his pocket money or the money that he got from choir or chores. They were his manga.
The shelf where they had all been neatly organized – alphabetically by series to be precise – was empty. His panic threatened to make him faint when he realized that the inconspicuous box of a children's series, which he said he kept for sentimental reasons, was also gone. Because the content of the box set was definitely not for children. Not even a little bit. Rin was still intent on being 'cool' and refused to associate himself with such childish things, so it has been perfect. But if they were gone…
Rin held him up as he suddenly slumped, surprised and somewhat amused.
"They're just books, you nerd."
"Shut up." Yukio manages weakly, righting himself. "We have to find them."
His older brother almost cheered, but stopped himself. Not that Yukio noticed. "Absolutely!" Rin ran out of the library for a moment then reappeared. He shoved something on Yukio's head before the bespectacled boy could argue. "Perfect! Now you're Sherry Home!"
Yukio pulled the hat off and forced himself not to smile a little when he realized it was a deerstalker. "You mean Sherlock Holmes?"
"That's what I said." Rin sniffed, putting on his own deerstalker.
"Where did you even get the hats?" Yukio asked with a resigned sigh as Rin firmly shoved the hat back onto his head.
"It isn't important." His brother replied with an air of regal distain. "So. Where do we start?"
Yukio stood for a moment, absently holding his chin.
Well. They could have just moved them somewhere else… No. They would ask me to do that. Unless… The charity sale!"
"Come on!" Yukio ran out of the library, Rin at his heels.
"Where are we going?"
"The charity sale is being held at the Southern Hall." It was a long shot, but it was the only thing he could think of at the moment. Plus, of all the possible options, that one was the worst. Mostly because Father Fujimoto has to approve all the items that the Church offered. It took the boys a little over half an hour by bus to get to the hall.
It was bustling with people going about their Sunday shopping. The hall was full of booths. The smell of food – sweet and salty lingered in the air. There would be one of the boys from the church… somewhere.
"We need to find a registry."
Rin, who looked strangely pleased with the turn of events, grinned. "Leave it to me!" He disappeared off into the crowd.
Yukio pushed down the twinge of worry. It was unlikely that Rin would even remember what he was supposed to be doing by the time he passed the first sukiyaki stall… Sighing, he moved into the opposite direction. There was no sign of a registry.
Maybe there isn't one? The hall isn't that big. I'll just do a walk around. Maybe find Rin too… He realized he's left his phone at home and cursed under his breath. Being flustered was not good for him. He peered at every stall as he made his way through the lines of booths. There were soaps and creams and candies and knives and everything under the sun. Finally, he found the church's stall – it was between Fishy Flakes and Mr. Zhao's Lean Laundry.
"Yukio! What are you doing here?" Rukoji came over, letting one of the little old ladies that was volunteering to deal with a customer.
"Can I see the item registry?" He asked desperately.
The Exorcist looked surprised, but ducked under the table and brought out a clipboard. "There you go."
Yukio absently nodded his thanks as he desperately scanned the pages for the manga volumes. Nothing on page one… three… ten… nineteen. There were an awful lot of items, but none of them were his missing manga collection. He sighed as he handed the clipboard back.
"What are you looking for?"
"N-nothing." He managed a tight smile and waved as he moved off into the crowd again.
If they aren't here, then where arethey? No one would have moved them without asking me, and unless Rin-
Rin was sitting at a table on a raised platform. Eating pie.
It took a minute to realize that he was watching a pie-eating competition, because for almost an entire minute all he could do was watch his brother eat. It was… disgusting.
Pinching the bridge of his nose, he closed his eyes and growled quietly. "I'm going to kill him."
He was forced to sit through the next four minutes and watch as his brother out-ate the competition. Rin would probably have kept going had the announcer not come over and tapped him on the shoulder. Rin was handed a cheque and a gift certificate. He caught Yukio's eye and waved madly down at his brother, a bit of pie falling from his face. The formalities over, a pie-ecrusted Rin hopped over and threw his winnings into Yukio's arms.
"Did you find them?"
"No." Yukio glared at him.
"Oh well. Let me go and wash my face. Then we can go back to the scene of the crime."
It took Rin a long time to get the pie of his hair, and by the time he was done, the sun was starting to set. Yukio checked his watch impatiently as he waited outside. It was getting cold, and he was suddenly glad for the ridiculous hat. His day couldn't possibly have gone any worse.
"Any new theories?" Rin asked cheerfully as he came out.
"No." Yukio sighed as they started the walk to the bus stop.
They walked in silence together for a while. Yukio couldn't help the dread and gloom, even as he chided himself for it. They were just books after all. Even if he has waited for weeks to have enough saved up sometimes. And there were some first print editions. Even a few signed copies. And that box set…
"Hang on." Rin grabbed his shoulder and disappeared into a convenience store that they had just passed by. He reemerged a minute later with a plastic bag. Beaming, he pulled out a volume of Shonen Jump.
Yukio looked up from it at his brother and smiled. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Rin skipped ahead, looking pleased with himself.
Yukio was suddenly envious. All he does is… enjoy himself. It wouldn't even occur to him to do anything else. So why am I so… different?
The church was very quiet when they got back. Too quiet.
For one horrible moment, Yukio felt like he was in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. A
real one. Where they would walk into the house and there would be a body…
He blinked. Rin's voice came from inside. He shook off the thought with a shiver and stepped inside, following his brother into the kitchen.
He was suddenly blinded by an explosion of light and deafened by the sound of a dozen party poppers exploding. There was confetti everywhere, and the Exorcists of the church all stood on front of an enormous cake. Shiro stepped forward and crushed him in a bear hug.
"TRUE CROSS ADADEMY!" He yelled, and Yukio winced.
In hindsight, they had all be too calm about the news. He should have expected something like this.
"Did you have Rin drag me out?" He asked his father accusingly after everyone had squashed the life out of him and had moved onto setting the table for dinner.
"Actually, it was his idea. Good one, too." There was a pause. "I would probably keep those other ones locked up though." He grinned wickedly down at Yukio.
The boy suddenly turned beet red and looked pointedly away from his father.
"No wonder you don't like anyone going through them without your permission- OW!" Yukio had just stepped on his foot. Hard.
"Hey! Nerdy guy! We're starving! Come on!" Rin called, waving them over.
Shiro watched as Rin gave him a hug, then ladled soup into his bowl. Yukio rolled his eyes, but let his brother recount his embarrassing concern for his precious collection. As he sat at the head of the table, Shiro wondered if the boys realized that they were still wearing the ridiculous hats Rin had swiped from the donation bin.
At least Yukio did something for himself today. Shiro smiled faintly to himself. I wonder if he'll like the additions to his collection…