~The First Night~
Dark eyes swept over the room as the young man entered on silent footsteps. Like a panther stalking in the shadows, Ushio
made his way to the window, stopping to gaze out at the nearly full moon. There was something strange about him, almost surreal.
It was as if he didn't belong to that world at all, a fey prince waiting for something to happen.
Bickey was streetwise enough to make sure he didn't stir. But, he was sure that if Ushio was really all there, he would
have known that he wasn't really asleep, only faking it. However, the young man seemed content to turn his attentions to the
world beyond the window, a night filled with mysterious wonder.
The boy tried not to move as a tiny creature crept up onto the windowsill, its green fur highlighted by the moonbeams that
drifted down upon it. Man and beast stared at each other for an endless time, making Bickey wonder how the heck Ushio had
trained the darn rat to do that.
'You're looking for him, aren't you? Even though you know he will not come,' a small voice made Bickey blink, even as he
stared at the small ferret in horrified shock. 'I would not care even if he did come back from the dead. Tora means nothing
to me,' Ushio lied, turning away and laying down on his mat. 'Mm hm, you do know that denial isn't just a river in Egypt,
right SpearBearer?' Kyo cocked an eyebrow at the young man. 'Quoting humans now, are you? And I am not Master of the Beast
Spear any longer. It is gone,' Ushio sighed, wishing for it, if only to destroy the beast that had killed his once best friend.
'It cannot be gone. I can still feel the power within you. It seems to radiate around you, driving away the shadows before
they can even come close. I think, perhaps it is sleeping... waiting for you, its master, to call upon its powers once more.
Though, the whereabouts of it, I cannot hope to guess,' Kyo admitted with a sigh, before slipping out the window and into
the night. Ushio gazed up at the ceiling and whispered, 'I hope you are right, my monster friend. For all our sakes.'
In the darkness, Bickey shuttered in fear and distrust. Who was this boy who talked to animals and they talked back? For
once in his life, the street boy truly felt afraid.
~end The First Night~
'Shuuu,' Ryo put a finger to his lips as they slipped out the door. Bickey pouted, wishing he'd gotten the chance to do
something horrible to the golden eyed cop snoring loudly on the couch. Cara just smiled as she followed, having seen JJ curled
up in a sleeping bag on the livingroom floor.
Bickey could almost forget that night. But not quite. The night before last, he'd be witness to something supernatural.
A fuzzy green rat, ok, it was a ferret, that talked. Animals don't talk, they just don't. It isn't natural. The boy shivered
even though the sun beat down on them, despite the early hour.
Ryo glanced around, still a bit worried about his brother who he hadn't seen return home the past night. When he had woken
that morning, the youth's bed did appear slept in, but empty. ~Where could he be?~ A glance back at the house just as they
were nearing the huge gates, stopped him dead in his tracks. Ushio was on the ROOF!
Graceful fingers swept long black bangs from his face as Ushio leaned back on the rooftop. It was so peaceful, the world
seemed silent and calm... like the Eye of the Storm. There was a strange foreboding sense lingering in the air, as if the
wind itself knew something was about to happen.
Black eyes searched the cloudless sky for answers, only to come up short. Perhaps... perhaps he was taking this too seriously.
Maybe, maybe Asako was killed by an animal, not a monster. Ok, now that was way too far from the truth. And Ushio knew it,
knew it well. Something was out there, waiting for him to let his guard down. When he did, it would be all over.
'Tora,' a whisper came unbidden to his lips, before he forced them shut. Tora was dead, gone. He wasn't coming back. Besides,
the boy didn't need him anyway, didn't need him at all. Nope, didn't even miss the old orange furred rug of a monster. Not
one bit... A sigh echoed on the wind as black eyes drifted closed. His heart was clenching again, painfully so. It hurt to
remember; why couldn't it just go away? He deserved some peace in his life, didn't he?
'Ushio!' a frantic call broke the serenity of the morning. The boy sat up easily and glanced around, before climbing to
his feet. Padding to the edge of the roof, he gazed down at his older brother and the two kids. 'What are you doing up there?
Come down, you'll hurt yourself!' Ryo called up, looking extremely worried.
Ushio shrugged, about to leap to the ground when Dee came running out of the house in only his boxers and a white shirt
hanging loose around his shoulders. 'What's wrong, Ryo?!' the man demanded, inwardly worried when he had heard the shouting
moments before. 'Ushio's stuck on the roof,' the lighter haired cop told him, pointing up at the sweatdropping boy standing
on the edge. 'Geesh! Don't jump, Kid!' the older man yelled, racing towards the tree that stretched up to the roof, just outside
JJ came stumbling out of the house moments later, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and glancing around. He blinked several
times, trying to assess the scene. Dee was trying to climb a tree, Ryo was holding onto Cara and Bickey by their shoulders
and staring fearfully at the scene. Oh, and Ushio looked ready to jump off the roof.
Ushio rolled his eyes as the man perched in the tree a few feet below the roof, still yelling at him not to jump. Oh, for
goodness sake. It wasn't like he was committing suicide or anything. Besides, he'd climbed up onto the roof in both forms
enough to know the quickest and safest way up and down. Just as Dee was reaching for the roof edge, Ushio leapt.
Several voices raised into screams as the boy fell, only to shutter to a stunned stop when he landed catlike on the pavement
below. The youth pushed himself up from his crouch easily, his movements still graceful even after the fearful stunt. Ryo
rushed at him, holding him tightly as if to make sure the boy was still in one piece. JJ glanced back at the tree to find
Dee swearing loudly as he tried to climb back down, finally dropping from one of the lower branches and landing on a pile
of twigs with a crack!
'Don't you ever do that again!' Ryo screamed, holding Ushio by the shoulders. The youth just smiled calmly at him and whispered,
'Why not? You don't have to treat me like a child, Ryo. I can take care of myself.' Ushio shot back in a dry tone, suddenly
annoyed at being treated like a kid. He was a demon hunter for crying out loud, not a baby. 'I am your guardian and your older
brother, Ushio. I won't have you putting your life in danger just because you're upset over...' Ryo was cut off as Ushio glared
up at him with a furious look in his dark eyes.
'Upset? I have every damn right to be upset! I'm not stupid, you know. I've faced things you don't even know exist. I won't
try to kill myself over the past!' Ushio wrenched himself free and strode back into the house, the door slamming behind him.
'Well, that went well,' JJ mumbled, blinking still tired eyes after the Japanese teen, then back at Ryo. The light haired
cop was silent, his entire body rigid, his eyes hardened with emotion. 'Ryo,' Dee whispered, touching him lightly on the shoulder.
The other man turned slowly to face him, his body loosing some of the tension. 'Dee...' his voice was soft, the pain darkening
his beautiful eyes. 'He'll come around, Ryo. It's not your fault,' the dark haired cop told Ryo, embracing his partner tightly.
'I thought... I was going to lose him,' Ryo choked, biting back a sudden sob.
~I'm not a child. I may only be 17, but I'm more powerful and more experienced than any of them. Still, I shouldn't have
let myself get upset like that. Ryo was just worried about me. After all, he doesn't know What I am... or what I was.~ Black
eyes gazed back at Ushio from the mirror before he turned away and strode over to glance out his bedroom window. A strange
empty feeling coursed through his body as he watched Dee hold his brother. Ryo looked so upset. ~I have to be more careful.
I can't let myself be caught unawares again. I wish there was some way to... to make Him hate me. Don't you see, Ryo? Death
follows me, and soon... he may visit you too. Forget you ever knew me and you might survive.~
'Ryo...' Dee sighed as the other man stepped back, wiping away the tears. 'It's... I'm all right. Dee... I need you to...
to...' Ryo gazed up with such sadness that the other cop felt his heart skip a jump. 'Anything, Ryo,' he whispered back. 'I'm
taking the kids to town, so... I want you to stay here and make sure Ushio doesn't do... anything,' Ryo glanced down at the
ground, even as he fought against the desire to race after his brother. But, that wouldn't work, it would just push the boy
further away. 'Of course I will. I'll stay and make sure the brat doesn't try something like that again,' Dee promised, with
a gentle smile. 'Thank you, Dee,' Ryo's eyes lit up beautifully as they stared at each other.
'Ewww, blech!' the loud sounds echoed as Bickey pretended to hurl. 'Why you little..!' Dee began, raising a fist at the
brat. 'Come on, you two. Lets get going,' Ryo shooed them out the gate and waved back at the pair in the yard. 'So, it's just
the two of us then,' Dee jumped and turned to see JJ standing very close to him... too close. 'And Ushio. Speaking of which,
we should go back inside and find him,' Dee stated, making his escape. JJ pouted, but didn't feel like replying... how strange.
Instead, the blue haired cop just followed the older man back into the house.
'Have either of you noticed Ushio acting a bit strange lately?' Ryo asked, unaware of Bickey's sudden freaked out look
as the two youths followed him down the street. 'Strange? What do you mean?' asked Cara, giving the younger boy a strange
look, her question directed at the older man. 'Well... he just seems out of it most of the time. I can't really blame him
though, after what happened to father. Speaking of which, I thought I asked one of the secretaries to pull up some information
for me about that,' Ryo mused to himself as he walked along.
'I'm hungry, Ryo,' Bickey suddenly whined, eyeing the restaurant they were passing. The man smiled and turned, a little
upset about skipping their breakfast even though there really wasn't any food back at the house worth eating. 'All right.
We'll have a quick breakfast here and bring something home for the others,' said Ryo, holding a door open with one hand, the
heavy brown shopping bag balanced in the other. 'Great!' Bickey leapt through the door followed by Cara on her rollarblades.
'Hm... I do hope they allow rollarblades here,' Ryo sighed, following the pair.
Ushio groaned as he collapsed on the far side of the temple, facing away from the looming old house. Why did Dee insist
on bugging him like this? It wasn't like he wasn't capable of taking care of himself. Still, the boy sighed and leaned back
against the wall, eyes drifting closed. His memories were catching up with him again. Closer and closer, trying to overwhelm
him with their presence...
'USHIO!' Dee's voice startled him from his thoughts, causing the boy to leap to his feet. With another deep sigh, the youth
decided it was time to find out just what the man wanted before he drove him completely crazy. In his haste, Ushio barely
noticed the shadow growing behind him. It watched the former demon hunter until he reached the door of the house, before sinking
back into the temple with a hiss of black smoke. Ushio paused as something dark and unfocused fluttered at the corner of his
vision. Turning, he stared at the temple for a moment, before heading inside. He never noticed the growing presence hiding
in the darkest depths of that building, waiting for a chance to devour his soul.
'Hello there,' a kind older woman greeted the three as they sat down at one of the tables. 'Hello,' Ryo smiled as he returned
to the language of his ancestors. 'What did they say?' Bickey whispered to the girl sitting next to him. 'I think they were
just saying hello,' Cara replied, picking up a menu. Bickey shrugged and did the same, before sweatdropping and turning to
Ryo who was still chatting with the woman. 'Ryo, I can't read this,' the boy whined, his stomach starting to growl fiercely.
'Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot,' Ryo turned to him, switching back to English to translate the menu. The older woman smiled at Cara
before suggesting something to Ryo in Japanese. 'Yes, that would be wonderful,' Ryo replied, handing her the menus.
'But, we haven't ordered yet!' Bickey protested loudly, his eyes widening on the woman walking away. 'She's bringing us
the special,' Ryo told the boy, smiling gently. The cop turned to see a muscular man come out of the kitchen and speak with
the woman about the order. ~Must be her husband... wait. I've seen them before.~ Ryo instantly recalled seeing the two when
he and Ushio had gone out shopping before. ~They must know him. Maybe they can tell me what happened to father.~
'So, Ushio must have seen the killer and refuses to tell the police who it is,' JJ suggested, leaning back in his chair.
The two cops were drinking coffee at the kitchen table, keeping an ear out for the youth cooped upstairs in his room. 'Hm...
why wouldn't he tell them who murdered his father?' Dee wondered aloud, sipping his cooling drink slowly. 'Maybe it's someone
he knows. Or, perhaps he's afraid that person is going to harm him if he tells,' JJ replied, cupping his chin and resting
his elbow on the table's edge. 'I doubt it. That kid doesn't seem like the type to take crap from anyone,' the elder man snorted,
glancing out the window as he took in the day's beauty.
'Or maybe... he killed his father,' JJ's haunting suggestion pulled Dee from his thoughts. 'What?' the golden eyed cop
turned upon his friend in astonishment. 'Think about it. He was there when his father was killed, found at the scene of the
crime. That boy was covered in blood and slashes, as if he'd gotten into a fight. The father torn and battered, ripped apart
savagely. And Ushio... poor innocent seeming Ushio, refuses to say a word about the incident to the police or anyone else.
At least, not that we know of,' JJ's calm but assured voice brought doubts to Dee's mind. Perhaps he was right. It was possible
that the boy had murdered his own father, but why? There had to have been a motive. What could have been so wrong between
them for the youth to do such a horrid and bloody crime?
'Thank you,' Ryo smiled up at the woman as she handed him the receipt. The woman hesitated, as if torn between walking
away or saying something. Her mind made up, she turned to look at Ryo who was still sitting at the table, now absent of the
two young ones who were wandering around the restaurant curiously.
'Is Ushio alright? I don't mean to be rude, but I noticed you walking with him a few days ago,' the woman finally spoke,
clutching her hands before her. 'My brother is fine, thank you for your concern,' Ryo returned with a reassuring smile. 'Brother?
Oh my. We didn't realize he had any relatives left since his father... well,' the woman's voice was slightly weak, as if she
didn't want to bring up any news that may upset him. 'It's been a hard time for both of us, but Ushio more than I. I barely
knew my father, for I was raised in America with my mother. Ushio is my half brother, you see, and I did not know about him
until he was sent to stay with me. I am his guardian until he turns 18,' Ryo told her, remembering the first time he met Ushio
getting off the plane in New York.
'I'm happy he has someone to take care of him. The poor boy nearly raised himself for years, and still managed to take
care of the people he cared about. Like my dear Asako, may the spirits guard her soul,' the woman's eyes lowered with a deep
sadness. 'Your daughter,' Ryo spoke, realizing it to be true when she looked at him once more. 'Yes, my lovely daughter. She
was engaged, you know, even though she was only 17 when she...' the older woman trailed off.
'I'm sorry for your loss. I assume, my brother knew her well,' Ryo watched the woman nod in response, her face breaking
into a small gentle smile. 'They were best friends for years. After Mayuko's death, they drew apart from each other. I must
have upset him so much that he was not here when her and her fiancee were kil... passed on,' the woman's voice faltered, and
the cop wondered what she had been about to say. Was her daughter and her daughter's fiancee murdered? Not wanting to trouble
her, he decided to return to the subject of his father.
'Mrs...' the man paused, realizing he had never gotten her name. The woman smiled at him with a gentle look, a look only
a mother could have, and said, 'Nakamura. Mrs. Nakamura.' 'Ryo McLain, well, I've been using my mother's maiden name for a
long time since she and my father never truly wed,' Ryo noted the woman's knowing sigh, as if she agreed full well on his
father's fleetingness with women.
'If you don't mind me asking, how did my father die? I don't know the details and they might help me to know what Ushio
is going through,' Ryo flushed, hoping he wasn't sounding too forward. 'Well... I assume Ushio hasn't told you about his past...
deeds,' the woman guessed, seeing Ryo's questioning look. 'He was never one to, involve people in his problems, choosing to
deal with them on his own. Mayuko's death was very hard on him and Asako,' the woman told him, keeping her voice low. 'Who
is this Mayuko? Another friend of his?' Ryo asked, focusing entirely upon the woman.
'Mayuko, such a lovely girl. Went to school with my dear Asako and Ushio for many years. Neither one strayed from his side
despite the things he had to face. That is, until Mayuko and her family were murdered,' the woman announced.
'Murder? What possible motive could he have?' Dee asked aloud, gulping down a long shot of coffee and staring
right at the other cop. JJ thought about that for a moment, before sighing. 'There can be many motives for a child hating
his father enough to kill him. What I don't understand, is how Ushio could have done it. Maybe they were fighting with knives
or something. Not that any murder weapon was ever found, but... do you really think that some wild animal decided to rip apart
Ushio's father and try to attack Ushio? He never gave a statement, and yet, the police let him go free because he was too
young to press charges against,' JJ argued.
'There are too many gaps in the story. The police must not be giving the reporters the right answers. Did you
get a chance to check on the other death? Asako, or something... friend of Ushio's who got killed,' Dee turned to see JJ smile
suddenly, and wondered what he'd found out. 'I did, and I know Ushio had nothing to do with it. Apparently, she and her fiancee
were attacked one night when they were out walking in the park. Same story as Ushio's father, torn apart by a wild animal.
You'd think if a wild animal so viscous was hanging around, there'd be more murders in the news. It almost seems like it's
some lunatic who only kills people Ushio is close to. Just a possibility,' JJ announced, leaning back on his chair.
'Hm... a lunatic... I wonder why anyone would hate the kid so much to kill his father and friends, if it isn't
just a wild animal like everyone is willing to believe,' Dee rested his elbow on the table, his chin in his hand as he let
his golden eyes flicker to the window. ~Damn. Guess we won't be going out for lunch today, Ryo.~
Ryo followed the two bouncy youths as they headed back towards the ancient temple. His eyebrows were furrowed
in concentration as he went over the woman's words in his head. The stories of his father's death, as well as Asako's and
Mayuko's brought a chill to his spine, making him wonder if any of them were really safe from the creature that had done it.
The woman herself wasn't sure exactly what had killed them, only that Ushio knew something more to the story and Ryo didn't
think the boy was going to tell him anytime soon.
Something stalked the shadows behind the man, following close as its prey led it back towards a place that seemed
to exist within its memory, although it could not understand why. All the creature understood was the thrill of the hunt driving
it to bring vengeance upon any who dared get close to its prey. Yes, its prey... Only one was strong enough to be truly hunted,
the manchild with burning black eyes that flashed violet. Soon, very soon... it would turn its eyes upon the one who dared
challenge it by returning... Soon...
Author's note: Sorry for taking so very long. Let me know how you like this chapter everyone, I love Reviews!
And yes, Tora is coming very soon too! After all, he can't just let something else hunt his meal, can he?