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bad dreams (are another reality)

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Shiro woke up, chest tight, lungs refusing to inhale, and the feeling of phantom blood gushing from an unseen wound. Blue flames flashed in his mind, Rin drawing the Koma sword, and Shiro felt his guts twist, nausea constricting his throat.

He puked, just barely turning over and grasping the small garbage can by his bed close enough.

Shiro retched once more, coughing up nothing, stomach empty. He wished his mind was too.

“God, what the fuck,” he mumbled to himself, looking to his right. The little alarm clock by his bed read 2:53am in stark red letters, the date under it stating that is was a month and year that it should not be.

In fact, it was two days before Shiro had planned to talk to Yukio about becoming an exorcist, like he had in that strangely vivid dream.

Shiro felt a sudden urge to check on the two boys; he hauled himself up out of bed, ignored the lasting bite of stomach acid at the back of his throat, opened his bedroom door and quickly padded down to the room Rin and Yukio shared.

Neither of them woke as he cracked the door open and poked his head through.

The room was dark, though the sliver of moonlight through the 3 inch opening of the curtains was enough to provide Shiro light to see the two boys, snug in their respective beds and breathing peacefully.

Two seven year old boys, dreaming and unaware of their heritage or the horrors that existed in the world.

Shiro breathed out. The thought lightened the tightness in his chest, though the two boys in front of him warred with the fresh memories of them, 15 years old, Yukio an exorcist with a Dragoon Meister under his belt, and Rin, awakened to his flames and heritage, struggling to find a job and a place in the world.

Shiro heaved another sigh, this one heavier and stepped back. The door shut with a soft click.

“Time travel, ne?”

Shiro whipped to the sound of the voice, hand reaching towards his lower back, flicking through bible verses to ready on his tongue-

“Mephisto,” he breathed, relaxing. “What are you doing here? Let’s go downstairs. Jesus christ.”

Mephisto hummed agreeably, following behind like the good dog he occasionally played at being.

“You swear quite a lot for a priest, Fujimoto,” he remarked thoughtfully as he followed Shiro down the stairs. Shiro could hear the smirk that he knew would be playing on the demon’s lips, were he to turn around and glance at his impromptu guest.

“I’m an exorcist, asshole. Big difference.”

“Mm. I would suppose so but,” Mephisto paused thoughtfully, drawing back one of the chairs at the kitchen table and sitting himself down like he damn well owned the place, “maybe not. Exorcist; priest: what does it matter? They both supposedly fight the good fight for humanity against us unruly demons, neh?”

Shiro rubbed a hand down his face.

“What do you want, Mephisto?” he sighed. He didn’t sit. Mephisto raised an eyebrow at him.

“What do I want?” he asked. Something felt off about his tone. But then, Shiro mused, something always felt off about Mephisto’s tone. “Just wanted to investigate a little spike of time travel I just sensed. You dreamt of a different time; correct?”

“I-“ Shiro rubbed at his face again; it was too late - or too early in the morning, really - to be dealing with this level of bullshit. “I don’t know.”

“Well, you did,” Mephisto informed him primly. He crossed one leg over the other and leant back in his chair. “Which, my dear Shiro, begs the question: what will you do with this information now? This is a second chance. Don’t waste it.”

“What the f-“

With a small pop! Mephisto was gone.

Shiro growled and scrubbed a hand through his hair roughly.

“Time travel warnings or not, the least that asshole could’ve done was pushed in the damn chair,” he grumbled to himself. He roughly shoved the chair in and decided to go back to bed.

——-
He didn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

———
Two days later, Shiro had found himself pulling both boys aside after school instead of just one.

“Yukio, Rin; I have something important to talk to you both about. Come sit down.” He smiled at them.

“How would you both like to be able to protect eachother even more?”