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Avoidance

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“Let’s go.”

“Ahh, but I want to know who that was, Yukio-chan. Shirou told me you had a--”

“He is merely another human orphan living at that church, Mephisto. They will continue to shelter him there.”

“He’s probably a good influence on you. Now you’re going to be work, work, work all the time, aren’t you?”

“That is why I’m moving to the school.”

“Honestly, I’m going to have to be a good big brother and make sure you eat.” The demon tipped back his hat.

Yukio didn’t react at all and secured his sword over his back, ignoring the boy by the grave being restrained by priests of the church from following them.

* * *

Weekly obligatory phone calls home had become more and less of an ordeal as time went on. Rin progressively had stopped asking questions he wouldn’t answer about what had happened to Dad as the normality of daily life resumed.

“And then he fired me. Can you believe that bastard? Just because some other guys were making trouble ‘round there. Always blaming me for everything.”

“Yeah.”

“Like that ever happens to you. I bet you’re the popular guy now at your smart-people school, four-eyes.”

“Yes, I’m leading an idealistic life of having people hang off my every word, getting the best chores, and whacky hijinks of ending up in compromising positions with scantily clad women.”

Of course, his students flinched or glared if he looked at any one of them for too long, the other teachers wouldn’t talk to him beyond the most professional exchanges of information, and Shura was still in the hospital, though he’d pulled her down fast enough that the javelin had missed anything vital.

“Man, that almost makes me wish I’d gone to high school. But school’s boring and I’m sure the teachers would decided to have it out for me.”

“You really need to improve at making friends.”

“So do you. You never tell me about anyone except your girlfriend.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” he said dutifully. “She’s just staying next door because the dorm’s being renovated.” He’d be happy when Shura recovered enough to resume her regular duties as bodyguard/potential executioner. His temporary guards had been simple but annoying to lose before calling Rin from a payphone.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Big brother is…” Yukio caught himself. Rin was ‘big brother’ and Rin alone, even if Mephisto was becoming his mentor in all the lessons of a demon exorcist tolerated in the service of the Vatican: being mistrusted, despised, spat on, threatened, turned on and not caring. A demon could not be trusted. “Big brother is never going to get a girlfriend at this rate. Maybe you’re thinking of the priesthood?”

That got Rin back to the indignant squawking that was so much easier to deal with. Was it really so different, though? He couldn’t confide in Rin either because it wasn’t safe to do so, he couldn’t trust him with knowing what he was really thinking or feeling.

No, it was completely different. Rin he loved.

He suppressed the flicker of blue flame at the passions that rose in that thought. He didn’t tell Rin things because they would burden him and get in the way of his ordinary, human life. How had Father even managed it, the double life of Paladin and parent?

Rin would never have to have anything more to do with demons, so of course the best thing Satan’s youngest son could do was stay away.