One could say everything about Rin.

He was clumsy.



Easy to provoke.

And an idiot at times.

But something he was not; a scaredy-cat.

So when they faced that mole-like, particulary large (it was twice Rin's height with paws and claws to match), demon that evening in late winter, he was the first to rush at it, ignoring Shura's calls, Yukio's protests and his fellow exwires' following. What he hadn't counted on was that demon sidestepping the all of them and turning to face Yukio.

The master wants to see you younger prince, the demon rumbled, his voice shaking the air. His eyes glowing he'd gone after the glasses-wearer and tried to rip him apart. Yukio had retaliated, sent two bullets into the demon's forehead, two more through his eyes, another into his neck and the sixth straight at the broad chest. They didn't work. The demon just shrugged them off, his eyes re-growing, bullets falling out of healing wounds.

When Yukio felt his gun run empty, it was cold fear trickling down his spine as he jumped to the side, trying to buy a little time as the demon's claws buried into the ground where he'd stood earlier, leaving the frozen earth ripped open like a bleeding wound. Shura went for the demon now too, her sword sliding off the thick hide. A flick of the large, reptile-like tail threw her against the next tree, leaving her unconscious. The same tail simply slapped the exwires away like a bunch of nasty flies before, once again, he turned to Yukio, his sharp teeth glinting in the brisk night air and full moon's light.

The exorcist reached for his reserve ammunition, only to find he'd already used it up. Another set of claws came for him, which he too avoided, but he'd reacted a second too slowly, leaving his arm with bleeding cut that threw him off-balance, the snow catching his fall where he lay stunned. Heavy steps thundered in his ears as he sat up, clutching his arm, crawling backwards until his shoulders met a tree. The demon grinned, sure of his prey.

Until something blazing hot scorched his skin and he roared, turning to face the aggressor, his tail wipping the previous prey aside as he did, ignoring the youth's cry and dull thud as he hit the ground next to Shura. Rin was furious. Again he sliced at the monster, blue flames following the path of his blade, and his, as they moved. Claws slashed at the half-demon, who was quick enough to avoid them, only taking one second to counter. As he drew the attention of their enemy, the arias of their team started searching for the death verse, while Shiemi rushed over to their wounded friends.

Rin saw when the demon's eyes focused on her. He tried stopping the monster, but another whip sent him flying as well, rolling when he hit the ground and cursing when he found the impacts had actually broken a couple ribs. As he stood, he spit some blood, then went for Shiemi, who had barely reached Shura when she screamed out in terror, claws going for her. No chance she would avoid this one.

She closed her eyes, praying for a quick and painless death, when she heard the sickening scrunch of pierced meat. But not her own voice crying in agony. Timidly she opened one eye and found herself face to back with Rin, who somehow had managed to bring his blade between him and the mighty paw, holding it back - but the claws had pierced him anyway, she could see the pointy ends protuding from his back. For a second or two, time froze, then the mole forcefully drew back his claw, pulling the blue-haired half-demon with him before the weapon came free and Rin just dropped to the ground, coughing up blood. Shiemi was about to summon Nee, when he was already back on his legs, even though panting with a weird wheezing sound, flames surrounding his shaking frame.

The demon grinned when he realised his advantage. This would be easy..

Again he turned to Yukio, who, by now had recollected some of his senses and watched with horror not only the massive creature but the bleeding form of his brother both speeding towards him. No, he wanted to cry, Don't be an idiot! It's a trap! The demon and Rin reached Yukio at the same time, with Rin giving his shocked brother a thumbs up, then turned to face the mole who, again, lunged. Rin, not willing to wait for the strike, jumped at the mole, planning to cut its throat wide open.

He'd miscalculated the speed of this beast.

The paw came down on his back, pressing him into the snow before he even knew the mole had moved. The cold snow, lack of air, horrible pain, the sound of more ribs cracking under the enormous pressure, the iron taste of his own blood filling up mouth and nostrils. For just a few seconds, everything turned black. When he came to, the mole had removed his paw and had, once again, turned to Yukio and Shiemi, both of them scrambling behind a tree, seeking protection. Rin stood, but barely. The mole's tail was in reach.. if he just could..

What is it, my boy? Need help?

Rin felt himself shiver. He knew that voice. But why now? His sword lay just a step or two from him. He just needed to pick it up.. So he made one step. He fell. The voice laughed.

Don't be like that, my boy. Papa only wants your best. Let me in..

"No way..", Rin growled, reaching for the blade. The mole's tail swooshed past where he'd stood just a moment ago, leaving him stunned from the sheer air pressure, but giving him an idea. He gripped the blade, springing to his legs, ignoring the agonising pain flaring up his spine. When the reptile appendage came at him, he stabbed the Kurikara right into it. The mole cried out, turning his head towards the attacker, hissing. Too late. Flames began engulfing the creature, which cried out in anger and pain as it turned to ashes.

Rin watched as the remaining heap dispersed, then collapsed back onto the red ground.

Shuffling steps approached, then he heard Yukio call something as he fought the dark spots in his vision, but it was a losing battle. Knowing he'd be out soon, Rin slightly turned his head towards his brother, grinning. The other sibling's eyes widened. Be it in rage, worry or wonder how the other could smile at a time like this.

"Nii-san, don't.."

He didn't get to finish the sentence. Yukio sighed, head shaking, eyes fixated on the fainted form of his foolish brother.

He waved Shiemi over, then went to call for medical support.

".. I told you, didn't I?", was the first the half-demon heard when he came to. Next was nervesplitting pain - everywhere. The smell of desinfectants in the air. A monotonous beeping sound that sped up when he realised where he was. Some kind of hospital. A plastic thing on his face; a breathing mask. Damn.

He lazily looked to where the voice had come from. No big surprise. His brother, holding a book, back turned to Rin.

".. Which part of 'stop using your body as a shield' is so hard to understand!?", he suddenly barked, making Rin first flinch from the sudden loudness, then from pain shooting through every fiber of his battered body. Yukio must've seen it from the corner of his eyes, as he forced himself to calm down and only when he felt he wouldn't explode into his brother's face, went on.

"You were so badly hurt even your healing powers didn't work.. Can you even imagine what would've happened if.."

"Oi, oi.. Everything turned out.. fine..", Rin rasped, frowning at how rough his voice sounded. ".. didn't it?"

"If you mean the others; minor scratches. A few concussions. They will live. But if you hadn't rushed in, none of them would be hurt at all."

"Heh.. sorry for saving everyone.."

"You almost got yourself killed. When will you start using your head before acting?!"

"It's not.. my style..", Rin replied, unable to hide the flinch as pain, again, shot through his body. Yukio of course noticed and paused, clenching his teeth, suddenly standing up and practically ran out of the room, leaving his brother none-the-wiser.