Author's Notes: This is based loosely on the anime and manga series. Tora is gone (he's disappeared, pretty much dead,
gone, a spirit wandering and waiting) Ushio is now a very old man and his wife Asako has just passed on. Slight shounen ai,
but more based on eternal friendship and spiritual bonds, mention of soul mates.
The sky was murky and gray, the air slightly damp and dreary. Gravestones littered the grassy landscape for miles, the
scent of death hanging on the wind as it blew slowly past the onlookers. At one particular grave, a small group had gathered
to watch the casket being lowered into the deep, dark pit. Inside lay the body of an elderly woman who's life had been lived
to the fullest. She had been surrounded by friends and family, been the mother of several children and the grandmother of
even more. The wife of a kind and noble man who's deeds were unknown to many, yet forever remembered by his own friends, the
kind that would hold his memory for all eternity. She had loved those around her, fought for what she believed in. And now,
she was finally letting go of everything, of life itself. For death is the opposite of life, neither can be achieved without
the other. Dirt piled up atop her wooden bed, trapping her into an unwakening sleep. The grave would be visited and remembered
as the eternal resting place of Asako Aotski.
Dark eyes watched silently as friends and family departed from the gravesite, each returning to their own lives outside
of death. He had known this day would come, had both dreaded and awaited its coming, unsure until that moment what would happen
when it did. But, now he knew. It was like a calming ocean breeze flowing through his aging body, bringing a feeling of peace
into his heart. Like a forbidden touch he had only once before had the chance of experiencing. Once, so long ago... when he
had been just a youth... and yet so much more. Back when his soul had been in the grasp of a powerful spiritual weapon, his
body molded to its purposes. He had know the shadows as if he'd been born into them, had known the hunt and the dark pleasure
of battle. Back when his partner had still been there, at his side, as if nothing could break them apart. Even after the incident,
Ushio knew that his soul was still bonded with the monster who had been his friend, enemy, and partner. It had been a bond
of friendship and hate, something so real with both light and darkness to its pattern that it could never have been broken.
Not even when Tora had passed on to the spirit realm...
The sky boomed with thunder and lightning, rain flashing down upon the muddy earthen ground. Under the deep voice of nature,
the sounds of the battle grew. White fur flickered through the air, followed by a crimson orange flamed beast howling in rage.
Beneath them, a smaller form raced down the hillside, faded blue jeans covered in blood and wet soil. The giant ivory fox-like
monster rose up, his shadow sweeping over the browned grass and crushed flowers. It's dark eyes watched the tiger beast fly
closer, claws outstretched, fangs flashing as lightning lit his forelocks. It also noticed that the youth was drawing closer,
the weapon of power held tightly in his young hands. The fox knew it was only a matter of time before they defeated him, he
was still weakened from the centuries of battles and long lived enemies. To let the pair join their powers together would
mean his death. With that thought, the demon closed the distance between him and the other monster. Nothing mattered now but
getting rid of the furred creature standing in his way, the monster lord... Nagatobimaru.
The long haired demon hunter raced towards the pair attacking each other in the sky. He was nearly there, nearly... Lightning
crashed, illuminating the fighters even as the inevitable happened. One white taloned hand slashed a deep grove through the
other monster's thick orange fur, dying it crimson with rainspeckled blood. Ushio watched in horror as two snow colored tails
wrapped painfully around Tora's neck, crushing the air from his throat. The demon struggled in vain, unable to get a clear
swipe at his enemy. The boy hunter leapt, the urge to save his partner overwhelming his rational senses. Two black eyes narrowed
upon him, the unused arm slashing down upon the beast spear's handle, sending the boy crashing back to earth. Rising from
the damp ground, the youth's eyes widened upon the scene in the sky above him. A darkness had opened up behind his friend,
starting to suck them both in. White eyes met slitted violet, passing an unspoken message. ~This is how the battle is to end.
A sacrifice must be made to keep the balance. Do not interfere.~ And then, they were gone.
Fingers dug into the muddy ground, eyes widened as he stared down, not seeing the blood soaked earth beneath him. The beast
spear hummed, growing louder and louder, and yet... the boy did not hear it. Instead, his mind was totally focused on the
past few moments, the words the still hovered inside his head. It couldn't be true. Tora couldn't be gone. Tora wasn't allowed
to die. He just wasn't... The boy's fingers ripped gashes into the earth as he threw his head back, fangs glinting as he howled
in fury and resentment. The sound echoed, drifting as far at the cities surrounding that once peaceful area. The painful agony
of the cry beaconed to the hearts of every living creature, drawing them from their peaceful sleep to gather at a window,
or stand outside, each striving to understand what they could not possibly realize. The roar was more than just anger and
pain, it was filled with suffering and hurt. It was the scream of a soul that had just lost its purpose, it's other half.
It was a realization that the life as the youth had known had been ripped from him and shattered upon the dark soiled ground.
Fragments of memories flitted through his body, leaving him weak and exhausted upon his muddied bed. Everything had changed,
nothing would be the same again.
Days later, the boy once again stood at the the very edge of the hilltop, staring into the distant sky. His heart still
knew the exact location of the battle, a memory that would haunt him for years to come. And yet, as he turned to go, a soft
wind blew past him, ruffling through his shortened hair. Like a gentle caress of silk it wrapped around him, enfolding him
into a familiar embrace. ~Tora? Is that you?~ Ushio would have sworn he could almost hear the slight chuckle that danced on
the wind, sending vibrations of warmth through his entire weary body. The boy leaned back, succumbing to the spirit's fluid-like
hold. For the first time in his entire life, his soul felt complete, his body protected from every outside source. It was
as if something had been lifted, something that had been weighing him down since birth. His partner's soul was releasing him,
freeing him. A slight feeling of panic entered his mind and body as he felt the other begin to fade. ~Don't go. Tora...~ Unfelt
tears soaked his cheeks, his soul fearing that it would once again be ripped from its other half, forced to live alone and
unguided. ~Never... Always here... One again... at the appointed time...~ Ushio didn't understand exactly what the beast meant,
but the other's soul was slipping further into an abyss that the boy could not see. But now, he knew deep within that they
would meet again. The bond they would share for eternity had been created from both love and hate, friendship and anger. Nothing
could break it. Nothing...
A shrill hum filled the calm silence of the graveyard, it's voice calling him to his destiny. After years of absence, the
beast spear was summoning it's bearer once again. Black eyes faded to slitted violet, grey hair lengthening into waves of
ebony silk that flowed upon the gentle breeze. The once old and fragile mortal body released the youth that had slept within
it's soul, awaiting his future. White robes flowed down over pale flesh, bare feet slipping without a sound through the rustling
grasses. The shimmering white light in the distance grew as he approached, becoming a large tiger shaped creature. With a
gentle smile, the boy approached his ancient partner, the other half of his soul. White eyes gazed back at him, an invitation
to rejoin the hunt. The former human man, now forever Beast Spear Master nodded, stepping forward until they were less than
an arms length apart. Violet eyes grew emotionless however as he turned to gaze back at the hilltop that was still occupied
by three figures, one of which was no longer living.
Raylain Aotski, youngest daughter of the former master of the beast spear, stood gazing back at the partially transparent
youth who was resting near the base of the hillside. Her father had warned her that this day would come, so she was not upset
over his departure. Ray knew that Ushio had loved her mother, but even love could not destroy a bonding of souls. He would
be happy there, in a place where he could race and hunt with his other half. Tora would guide him in that other world, never
leaving his side. They belonged together, partners even in death. And somehow, she knew her mother understood their bond,
she always had. Somewhere in heaven, Asako was smiling down at the man she loved, understanding why he could never join her
there. He belonged in that other place, forever bound to the eternal hunt.
Tora tilted his head towards the youth. No words needed to be passed between them, for their souls spoke in silence. Ushio
smiled lightly and turned away from the mortal realm. In one hand, the spear was clutched close to his side, the other gesturing
for the demon to lead the way.
Raylain smiled as she watched the pair fade and disappear into the spirit mists. A gentle touch to her shoulder alerted
her to her husband's presence. She nodded to him, it was time to depart. Her eyes rested upon the wheelchair nestled in the
grass next to her mother's grave. The old body resting in it's folds no longer needed blanket's warmth, nor the gentle wind's
breath. The woman placed her fingers upon the handles and lightly pushed the chair towards the funeral home. Now her father's
mortal body could rest in peace, for it would soon be buried on the hilltop next to her mother's grave. And yet, his spirit
had passed on, moving to the other world to fulfill his destiny. Alongside his soul's partner, her father would forever remain
the Master of the Beast Spear.