When Yukio and Rin celebrate their fourth birthday, Yukio is thrilled to get a book. His father promises to help him learn to read better. Yukio is so excited that he doesn’t even mind when Rin, in one of his states of frenzied excitement, spills a glass of milk all over his present.
A week after their birthday celebration, Yukio finds himself and Rin accompanying their father and his fellow clergymen to the graveyard. Fujimoto gives both Yukio and Rin flowers to place on a grave, which Yukio does obediently. However, he doesn’t know who is buried underneath the headstone he puts the flowers next to.
The day that Yukio and Rin celebrate their sixth birthday, Yukio gets his first lego set. It’s of a hospital. Happily, he figures out how all of the pieces fit together. He’s proud of the fact that he doesn’t need any help. Fujimoto applauds Yukio when he’s finished and takes a picture. Yukio is so proud of his accomplishment, he doesn’t even care when Rin accidentally rams his new toy car into the side of Yukio’s finished product.
Exactly a week layer, Yukio and his twin, along with their father and his friends from the church, visit the graveyard again. At this point, Yukio remembers that he has visited the graveyard a week after his birthday for the past two years. When Fujimoto hands Yukio flowers this year, murmuring something about paying his respects to an important woman, Yukio realizes with a start that it must be his mother’s grave he is visiting.
During the Okumura twin’s seventh birthday celebration, Yukio unwraps a book about plants and herbs. Although he’s initially confused, he is mollified when Fujimoto says he will explain everything soon. Rin takes a look at Yukio’s gift briefly, turning it over in his hands. Scratching his head, Rin shrugs and tosses the book aside. Yukio is simply happy that his gift manages to escape Rin’s destruction.
This year, Yukio keeps a tally of the number of days that have passed since his and Rin’s birthday. As expected, exactly seven days later, he and Rin accompany their father and his fellow clergymen on a trip to the graveyard. While Fujimoto and his peers are off placing flowers on other headstones, Yukio shares with Rin his belief that it is their mother’s grave that they are visiting. His twin gives him a confused look, as if he has never once thought about why they’ve been visiting the graveyard every year at exactly the same time. After a pause, Rin shrugs and turns his attention to the snow lying on the ground, choosing to hurl a handful of the cold, white substance at Yukio with a playful smile.
Yukio suspects that Rin’s actions are an attempt to lighten the mood, since he is well aware of his twin’s inability to deal with serious situations. However, Rin’s insensitivity upsets Yukio, and he runs off by himself, paying special attention not to trip over any of the shorter grave markers. He is vaguely aware of the sound of approaching footsteps and is sure that Rin is following him. In order to throw his brother off of his trail, Yukio dodges behind a cluster of taller headstones and tries to calm his breathing. He soon finds himself face-to-face with a monster, one with scary eyes and even scarier teeth. Although it’s not the first time he’s seen monsters, they still frighten him every time, especially when he is alone. Terrified, he cowers and uses his arms to shield his face. Sniffling involuntarily, Yukio’s lower lip begins to tremble, and he can feel the tears spilling out of his eyes. Just as he starts to sob, his father finds him. After getting rid of the monster, Fujimoto explains to Yukio how he can learn to be strong, to fight against these monsters, and to protect his brother. Yukio is stunned by the concept. Due to his cautious and fearful nature, he has never considered the fact that the monsters could be vanquished, or that his brother, who seems so strong and capable, would need his protecting. For the first time, Yukio imagines himself having the strength to defeat the monsters and to protect Rin, too. The idea makes him smile. Although he’s not sure if he is capable of becoming as tough as he needs to be, he has faith in his father’s assessment of his abilities.
The day Yukio and Rin celebrate their tenth birthday, Fujimoto approaches Yukio privately. Yukio receives his first pair of guns and a promise of lessons to teach him how to shoot with both hands simultaneously. Although Yukio has long been able to use both hands to shoot separately, he has yet to fire a gun with both hands at the same time. When Yukio complained about this fact in the past, Fujimoto explained that the recoil would have been too much force for him to handle at that point and asked for his patience. Secretly, Yukio hopes that if he learns to shoot both ambidextrously and simultaneously that he can finally beat Shura in one of her challenges that always leave him feeling frustrated, ineffective, and helpless. In the presence of Rin’s company, Yukio hears his twin wonder aloud as to why it appears that Yukio is not receiving a gift this year. However, the thought doesn’t occupy Rin for long, as he bounces off to the kitchen, determined to make a better cake than the one their father had bought with the help of one of his new cookbooks.
Like clockwork, exactly a week later, Yukio finds himself at the graveyard with his brother, his father, and the rest of the clergymen working at his father’s monastery. While standing in front of his mother’s headstone, he thinks back to the previous year, when his father revealed to him who his biological father was. He also remembers some of the information about the Blue Night that he has read in textbooks over the past three years. He always suspected that the Blue Night had something to do with Rin and himself, but he hasn’t quite been able to figure out what. Chewing his lower lip thoughtfully, he focuses on dates. The anniversary doesn’t coincide with their birthday. In fact, the event takes place substantially before their birth. However, he counts in his head and comes to the conclusion that the Blue Night falls approximately nine months before their birth. So, Yukio focuses on a nine month period of time.
‘Nine months, nine months,’ he repeats over and over to himself. Suddenly, he remembers the general health class that they were forced to take in school earlier that year and has an epiphany. The Blue Night coincides with his and Rin’s conception. At that moment, Yukio is overwhelmed with such emotion that he feels faint and has to put a hand on his mother’s headstone to steady his balance.
‘I’m going to be sick,’ he thinks, as he forces himself to take several deep breaths in the hopes of ridding himself of the bout of dizziness that the shock brings. Even as Rin, protective as always, rushes to Yukio’s side with a concerned look on his face, Yukio cannot help but feel that the world would be a better place if he and his twin never existed at all, since their very existence only serves as a daily reminder to their loved ones at the church of an ugly day filled with tragedy and loss. He is astonished that his father and those who helped raise him and Rin can even bear to look at them, let alone celebrate their existence year after year. Tendrils of guilt curl in his stomach before rooting themselves in place, and he is unsure if he will ever be able to look at his father, his father’s fellow clergymen, or his exorcism-studying peers, all of whom lost loved ones during the Blue Night, without feeling overcome with shame. In the back of his head, he wonders when, or if, his father will tell him the truth about what happened that night.
When Yukio and Rin celebrate their twelfth birthday, Yukio receives a fancy herbalist set from his father. He’s excited to use his new marble mortar and pestle (so much sturdier than his ceramic set) and to experiment with how different mixtures will affect various demon inflicted wounds. Rin pays him no attention, and Yukio decides that it’s probably for the best, as he really doesn’t want to explain to his twin why his birthday gifts get stranger and stranger each year.
A week later, while at the graveyard, Fujimoto pulls Yukio aside and says that they need to talk about something. The uncharacteristically serious look on his father’s face fills Yukio with dread, as his imagination conjures up all sorts of horrible things his father might want to tell him. Glancing back at Rin to make sure that his brother’s attention is occupied, he follows his father. When they are alone, Yukio musters up his courage and asks, “So, what is it that you want to talk about?”
Forcing his gaze to meet his father’s, Yukio is surprised by the expression on his father’s face. There’s something so warm, loving, and nurturing in the smile his father is giving him that it immediately dispels Yukio’s nerves and puts him at ease.
“I want to talk to you about the Blue Night, your birth, and your mother. I’m sure you’ve been curious.”
“Not really,” Yukio replies, the lie leaving his mouth before he has a chance to stop it. It’s not like he wants to deceive his father, but his given answer just feels more appropriate than the truth.
Fujimoto cocks his head to one side and narrows his eyes. Although he says nothing, Yukio understands the message in his father’s body language. ‘Don’t you dare lie to a man of God,’ is what is being projected in a good-humored, slightly mocking fashion.
Yukio instantly feels ashamed and in his haste blurts out the first thing that enters his head. “How does Satan even impregnate a human?”
Both of Fujimoto’s eyebrows shoot up. “That’s what you want to know, huh?” he asks, looking greatly amused.
Yukio flushes at the implication of his question. Instead of allowing himself to get further flustered, he pushes forward and attempts to bring the topic back to more academic grounds. “Well, if I recall my studies correctly, I thought that Satan couldn’t stay in Assiah without a host. None of the known hosts have ever lasted for any decent length of time. My very existence is an unnatural abomination.”
The laughter fades from his father’s eyes. “I suppose that’s one way to look at it. But look at all the good you’ve done, Yukio. You’re making the best out of your life.”
Cringing, Yukio cannot help but detect the disappointment in his father’s voice at his assessment of his life. Unable to hold Fujimoto’s gaze any longer, he finds himself staring at his shoes. Quietly, he comments, “I’ve done the math in my head. The timing of the Blue Night lines up with when Rin and I were conceived, assuming the pregnancy term for a human-demon hybrid is the same as that of a normal human. I feel like this is a reasonable assumption to make, as I turned out to be human.” Curiosity getting the best of him, he glances up at his father in order to gauge his reaction to this deduction.
Fujimoto lets out a low whistle. “Wow, my smart, observant Yukio…” He pauses momentarily to scratch the side of his face as if deep in thought about how to start explaining the Blue Night. “Well, I guess everything you know about the Blue Night comes from text books. However, there’s nothing definitive in your text books as to why it happened. What I’m recounting to you now is merely speculation.”
“Please,” Yukio requests, his voice thick with emotion. “Please tell me how an existence as hateful as mine came to be.”
Without hesitation, Fujimoto puts his arms around Yukio and hugs him tightly. “Son, please don’t think of yourself like that. I don’t look at you or Rin with anything resembling hate, and neither do the men at the church who helped raise you.”
“Please, just continue,” Yukio manages to get out, but he can’t help keep the tears from pushing themselves out of his eyes.
Fujimoto tightens his grip on Yukio briefly before releasing his son and continuing with his story. “Although there is no solid way to prove this, the speculation about the Blue Night is that it does indeed coincide with the night you and Rin were conceived. In order to make a prolonged human possession possible to achieve his means, Satan released the bulk of his powers, targeting powerful clergymen at the time. The result was the Blue Night.”
Yukio appreciates his father’s directness, but he can also discern soothing undertones, as if his father had spent a lot of time thinking about the words he would use to convey the truth to him as gently as possible. The love he feels because of his father’s kindness instantly stops his tears. After taking a moment to digest the information, Yukio asks, “Did you know my mother?”
“Not well,” Fujimoto admits. “However, from our encounters, she seemed like a great woman. She always had such a positive attitude, which I know is hard to believe considering the position she found herself in. And she loved both you and your brother.”
“Really?” Yukio asks, unable to keep the skepticism from his voice.
“The love a parent has for his or her child is unconditional,” Fujimoto reassures Yukio.
The sincerity in his father’s voice convinces Yukio to accept what his father says, and so he moves on to another topic that has been bothering him for a while. “I always assumed that mother died giving birth to Rin and myself, or shortly thereafter in light of complications having to do with the special nature of the delivery. Do you know if this is the truth?”
A strange look passes over Fujimoto’s features, which unsettles Yukio for the first time since the two of them have broached these uncomfortable subjects. “That is correct.”
Yukio knows there must be a story behind his father’s reaction to his question, but he’s too afraid to ask. Instead, he redirects the topic elsewhere. “So, why is it that we come to visit her grave a week after her death, then?”
“Don’t you want to know how I know about your mother’s passing?” Fujimoto asks, giving Yukio a sloe-eyed glance.
Yukio isn’t sure he does, as his anxiety levels spike up as if warning him against prodding his father for the truth. He decides to be honest. “I’m not sure,” he admits.
“Son, the truth, at the appropriate time, can be a good thing.”
“Is now the appropriate time?” Yukio asks, meeting his father’s gaze straight on.
Fujimoto lets out a laugh. “You’re always so serious. It’s the appropriate time if you think it is. However, you can’t run from the truth forever.” His eyes lose a bit of their lively spark. “I get the feeling neither can Rin…”
It pains Yukio to see his father looking so dejected, and throughout the years he has learned that thinking about worst case scenarios in regards to his twin is quickest way to turn his father’s mood sour. So he quickly blurts out, “Sure, why don’t you tell me how you know about my mother’s death.”
Fujimoto gives Yukio a crooked smile, as if he knows that Yukio’s sudden change of heart is meant as a distraction. “I was sent as an executioner.” The smile drops off of Fujimoto’s face, and his expression becomes guarded. “Upon successful delivery by your mother, I was supposed to slay the offspring of Satan, assuming I could connect the two of you to Satan. I was supposed to be your death… and Rin’s death. What do you think about your father now?”
With a start, Yukio realizes this confessional session is as much for his benefit as it is for his father’s. “Father is father!” Yukio declares without any hesitation. “It doesn’t matter what you were sent to do; I’m still here. My brother’s still here! You aren’t an executioner. You’re a savior!” And Yukio is surprised to find how much he really believes in what he has just told his father.
Shooting Yukio another smile, Fujimoto looks quite calm and says, “Please keep those thoughts in your mind when you start doubting the worth of your existence.”
Suddenly Yukio understands the anguish his father must feel when he thinks negatively about his existence, since his father had put so much effort into preserving his life. By denying himself, Yukio would be denying his father’s love. “I’m sorry,” Yukio says. “I didn’t understand before, but I understand the message you’re trying to convey now. And I appreciate everything you’ve done for me and for my brother up to this point.”
“That’s my boy,” Fujimoto says, ruffling Yukio’s hair.
Yukio automatically smoothes the strands of his hair back into their rightful places once his father is done mussing it up. “I’m still curious, though. Why do we come to visit mother’s grave a week after her death?”
Fujimoto shrugs. “No real reason. I just didn’t want it to be on your birthday. It’s too depressing, and I really didn’t want you and Rin to think of your birthday as a sad day. Plus, it’s too close to Christmas. However, if we wait a week, it would be after any potential New Year’s celebration. I also thought we should keep it somewhat close to when she actually died. The timing just worked out, and… it really ended up feeling like a cleansing ritual at the beginning of every year. It just felt appropriate, and then it sort of became a habit.”
Yukio feels his brows furrow and his lips pucker at his father’s response.
“You seem unsatisfied with the answer,” Fujimoto observes with a dry laugh.
“I thought there would have been more meaning behind something that was so scheduled,” Yukio admits.
Fujimoto laughs again. “That’s what’s wrong with you, you and your schedules. You have to do things that feel right and let loose, so you can be at peace. I want you to be at peace.”
With those words, a sense of catharsis washes over Yukio. All of the questions that have been building up over the years have finally been answered, a sign of his father’s trust in him. His father’s kindness has also provided the necessary redemption for Yukio regarding his existence. He really does feel at peace. “Thank you, father,” he whispers. “The timing was right.”
Fujimoto shoots him a grin in response. Together, they head off to find Rin.
The day that the Okumura twins celebrate their fifteenth birthday, Yukio’s father promises him a shopping spree at the Exorcist-only store. Yukio is thrilled that he’ll finally get the opportunity to obtain some of the more expensive materials he has always wanted to use but hasn’t been able to afford, and he rewards his father with a huge smile and a hug. Keeping the promise in his heart, he goes to tend to Rin, who has just walked through the door injured from yet another fight.
A week later, while visiting the graveyard with his twin, his father, and his father’s fellow clergymen, Yukio feels more solemn than normal (even taking into consideration that he is mourning the loss of his mother). Looking at Rin, Yukio feels the corners of his lips tug downwards. He hopes with all of his heart that his brother will never have to be burdened by learning of painful subjects like the Blue Night and the truth behind their existence.
When Yukio and Rin celebrate their sixteenth birthday, Yukio is grateful that they are in the company of Rin’s classmates. Yukio rather likes Rin’s peers. Although he would never admit it to anyone else, he has always found his path to becoming an Exorcist slightly lonely due to the fact that he was so much younger than his peers of the same skill level. Even while smiling as Rin celebrates loudly, joyously, and rambunctiously, Yukio’s thoughts return to the Blue Night, as they always do on his birthday. Although the connection isn’t as simple as their birthday being on the anniversary of the Blue Night, he has trouble separating celebrating his and his twin’s existence from the anniversary of when their existence came to be reality. Yukio wonders whether or not his twin has ever figured out the connection between their existence and the Blue Night, and thus whether Rin’s festive nature is genuine, or a front for his classmates (some of whom Yukio is sure have made the connection) in order to keep their minds off of it.
Yukio and Rin return to their childhood home a week after celebrating their birthday at school in order to meet up with the clergymen that helped take care of them when they were younger. As a group, they head to the graveyard. Yukio and Rin visit two headstones together. Like always, they lay flowers at their mother’s grave. However, this year, they pay their respects to their late father as well. While standing in front of their father’s grave, Yukio casually peers at his brother, who looks like he is in pure misery and is barely able to keep the tears at bay.
‘Father,’ Yukio wonders. ‘What should I do?’ At that moment, he remembers his father’s patient, kind face as he explained the truth behind their past, as well as the sense of relief and peace of mind it gave him. The memories help him come to the conclusion that honesty, in this case, would be for the best. ‘The truth, at the appropriate time, can be a good thing,’ he recalls his father saying.
Putting a hand on his older brother’s shoulder, Yukio says, “There are lots of things I need to tell you about the Blue Night, our mother, and our birth. Father shared the truth with me before he…” Yukio finds that he can’t bring himself to finish the sentence, so he continues, leaving his statement unfinished. “Now, I’d like to share the truth with you. I’m sure he’d want you to know everything that has happened in the past.”
When Rin looks up at him with surprised, wide eyes, Yukio gives him a gentle smile, reminiscent of the one his father had given him four years ago. For some reason, Yukio feels closer to his father now than he’s ever felt since his father’s passing, and he decides that anything positive that can be associated with this particular series of tragedies is truly a blessing. He starts the discussion by opening it up to Rin’s curiosity, the same way his father had done with him four years ago, paying special attention to apply the same care and tact to his brother that his father had used with him. He knows the importance of emphasizing the redeeming qualities of their existence. Denying the good in their lives would be the same as rejecting their father’s love.
When their conversation is finished, Rin gives him a melancholy half-smile, but the light in his twin’s eyes tells Yukio that Rin appreciates the truth. For Yukio’s efforts, Rin simply gives one of his hands a gentle squeeze before walking away, presumably to think about and to digest the information in his own way. To Yukio, the gesture feels like gratitude. His heart constricts with a bittersweet emotion, and when he blinks, he’s not surprised to feel moisture sliding down his face. Deftly, he brushes his fingers across his cheeks to wipe the tears away. Focusing on his father’s headstone, he whispers, “I hope I did you proud, father. And I hope you’re at peace.”