Chapter 15: Tora's Return
Dee glanced up at the sound of the front door opening. He got to his feet, putting his conversation
will JJ into the corner of his mind, a grin spreading over his face as the lighter haired cop came in through the kitchen
door. 'Don't make a mess, you two!' Ryo yelled calmly over his shoulder, before accidentally bumping into Dee who was standing
right in front of him. 'Oh, sorry,' the man blinked up into golden eyes that smiled down at him. A blush came over his cheeks
and he had to look away, unable to quell the stirring of feelings rising inside his body. 'Are you all right, Ryo?' the dark
haired cop asked, catching the younger man by the arms to steady him. 'Um... I'm fine,' Ryo mumbled, pulling lightly away.
Dee simply smiled and leaned back against the doorframe to watch his love wander around the kitchen, the other man's cheeks
reddening when Ryo caught him watching.
'So, how was Ushio?' the light haired man suddenly asked, plucking a soda from
the fridge. 'Ushio?' Dee blinked, thinking back to the last time he'd seen the boy. It had been... not long after Ryo had
left. Ushio had come into the kitchen after Dee had called him, still grumpy for some strange reason.
is it?' the boy grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest as he perched against the doorframe. 'Don't be a brat. You may
not care, but Ryo's worried about you. Why the hell would you try to jump off the roof like that?' Dee sat up straight in
his chair, ready to give the boy a stern lecture. 'Jump off the roof? I wasn't committing suicide, you know. Actually, I've
been climbing up there for years, and I've never had trouble getting down. Besides, I never asked for a baby-sitter,' Ushio
replied, glancing away, focusing briefly on why he was with Ryo in the first place.
'You are only 17, kid. Don't act
like you're the only person in the world. Ryo was afraid you'd get hurt. Especially after everything that has happened,' Dee
continued. 'You don't know anything! You haven't been through what I've been through. If you knew... you wouldn't be so concerned.
I've been hurt much worse that anyone, and I never asked for help... and I won't ask for it now. Just stay out of my way,
all of you!' the boy stated, stalking out of the kitchen and up the stairs. JJ jumped a bit as they heard a door slam. 'Well,
that went well...' the blue haired cop mumbled, lifting his head to look at the darker haired man across from him who was
'He's fine. But Ryo... I know it's hard for you... to do this, I mean. Ushio
is a teenager, he's going to act like this... like he doesn't need anyone to take care of him,' Dee told his partner who just
frowned. 'I know that, Dee. But I... he's my little brother. What am I suppose to do? I can't just let him do whatever he
wants. He could have killed himself today,' Ryo grimaced as he remembered the morning scene. Ushio leaping off the roof like
he had done. 'Ryo, this is his home. He's been living here all his life, so he must know what he can do safely. Besides, I
don't think he's likely to try and hurt himself,' the older man whispered, coming up behind his partner and reaching out to
catch the smaller man by the shoulders. 'Dee,' Ryo whispered back, leaning into his warm chest with a sigh.
over his shoulder at the face making Bickey who rolled his eyes and ducked out of the doorway, before focusing on his partner.
The man was so beautiful; his eyes closed in silent trust.
A shadow of darkness swept through Ushio's body,
causing his eyes to flash open, briefly violet although he did not realize it. But, he could feel it... the danger lurking
nearby. Pushing himself to his feet, the young man swept across the room until he was standing next to his open window, looking
down at the yard stretched out beneath a huge tree only a few feet away.
The youth scanned the area quickly, searching
for the creature... whatever it was, that was making his senses tingle. It was a dark feeling, more powerful, and yet harder
to find, than any monster he and T... had ever faced. Blinking back his pain, he leaned out of the window slightly, trying
to catch a glimpse of anything that would give him a clue.
Then he saw it. Near the small temple, a faint stirring
of darkness slipping around the corner and disappearing from his gaze. Glancing over his shoulder, he noted the closed door
before slipping out the window with ease.
'Where is Ushio?' Ryo asked, pulling away with yet another blush
on his cheeks. 'Up in his room, he's been there for a while,' Dee replied, watching the other man slip out of the kitchen.
a familiar voice taunted from the door only seconds later, causing Dee to glare at the dark skinned boy who made a face and
Ushio paused in his search, the presence of a monster behind him causing him to turn. But he only
smiled faintly when he saw who stood there. 'Where's Karani?' the youth asked, brushing his bangs out of his face. 'With Kyo
at home. I wasn't planning to stop by, but...' the human formed creature looked hesitant for a moment, as if unsure why he
was even there. Ushio just smiled and nodded, gesturing towards the house. 'He's in there, Rashin,' the boy stated, turning
back to his work.
The other turned to go, but not before whispering, 'Be careful.'
'Hello.' JJ jumped
up from where he had been sitting on the front porch. As soon as he saw the dark haired man standing near him he relaxed slightly,
smiling at him. 'I didn't even hear you come up. You're very quiet,' the blue haired young man stated, gesturing for the other
to have a seat next to him. 'With my job, I have to be,' Rashin said as he sat down.
'So, what do you do?' JJ asked,
not noticing the other man's startled look. 'I guard the forest,' Rashin answered truthfully. The blue haired one smiled gently,
taking his breath away for a moment, before their conversation grew.
Ryo knocked gently at the door, before
letting himself into his brother's room. Noting that it was empty, he sighed, ready to leave. That boy, honestly. However,
he stopped upon the realization that he had never actually had a chance to look around. He and Bickey only slept in there
at night, so they had never really notice much about the room, other than how plain it was. ~Probably because Ushio brought
his things with him when he came to New York.~
A slight clatter from the single closet in the room drew his attention.
Stepping closer, he reached out for the handle and slid the doors open. A beam of light filtering through the open window
caught upon the corner of a white sheet of paper laying on the floor of the closet. Ryo bent down, plucking it from the ground
easily, and turned it over. Large narrowed white eyes glared at him from the page, the blend of light pencil marks and vivid
colors bringing out the fullness of the image.
It was a creature created from the dreams of a lonely child, or so
the man thought. Large, almost massive, even on a normal sized sheet. Only half drawn, as if the artist remembered only the
most important details and had gotten lost in the eyes of the monster himself, unable to finish the drawing. At first, Ryo
thought it was some kind of tiger, but the eyes were too large, too white, too... piercing to be that of a normal animal.
It's expression was dark and shifting, as if the creature itself was alive and constantly watching his every move. The cop
noticed that the creature's paw was more like a clawed hand, talons sharp enough to rip out a normal man's throat. The beast,
though delicately sketched and beautiful given color, still managed to drive fear into his heart, making him glance over his
shoulder to assure himself that nothing was lurking in the dark corners of the room, waiting for him... stalking him.
a shake of his head and a nervous laugh, Ryo placed the picture face down on the closet floor and closed the door. Still feeling
a chill down his spine, he hurried over the window for a breath of fresh air. That was when he saw him. Ushio. The boy didn't
notice him as he slipped around the corner of the small temple, out of the man's sight. Ryo sighed and eyed the light brush
of footprints on the windowsill that had been unnoticed before. Turning away, he left the room to seek out his younger brother.
Ushio grumbled to himself as he walked back towards the house. How weird, he was sure... no, he knew something
had been sneaking around the temple. Something dangerous. But now, he couldn't even tell if it had run off or was still nearby.
~I hope it didn't go into the house.~
Ryo stepped outside and closed the back door behind him. As he walked
towards the temple, he didn't even see Ushio slip around the corner of the house. Instead, he focused on the temple and walked
up to the old doors. Reaching out, he touched the handle, even as something dark flashed through his body, making a shiver
crawl up his spine. ~Strange.~ He shrugged it away and stepped into the ancient temple, the door closing silently behind him.
smiled when he saw the pair sitting on the front porch. JJ and Rashin seemed to be getting along just fine. ~Wonder if Hyo
and Karani looked that way too.~ He'd never seen anyone act like that, not really. Well, except maybe Dee and Ryo, but...
Dee wasn't usually as quiet about his feelings.
Just as he was about to approach them, the tingling sensation returned.
The same thing he had felt when he had noticed the black thing creeping around. Turning quickly, he raced back around the
corner of the house just as a shout of horror filled the air.
Dee rose at the sound of Ryo's cry, racing
out the door towards his partner. 'Ryo!' he shouted, the moment he saw the slack body in Ushio's arms. The boy was perched
a few feet from the temple, holding Ryo's upper body and staring intently at the blackness within the temple. Dee barely noticed
the fact that one door of the temple had been shattered, but he did gasp in shock as when he reached the pair, only to see
the blood dripping down the side of his boyfriend's face.
'Take him,' Ushio insisted, giving his brother over to the
older man and standing up to face whatever lurked within the black emptiness of the temple. Rashin and JJ came racing around
the corner only moments later, just in time to see a clawed hand reach out of the blackness and grab the doorframe.
the hell is that?!' Cara stared in horror at the creature making its way out of the temple. Even Bickey had to gasp at the
sight. It was Huge! The beast had to duck a bit just to get through the doorway, its large taloned hand ripping the other
door from its socket. Black fur and eyes as white and evil as the devil itself. Its gigantic mouth opened in a roar, showing
off the set of sparkling white fangs that stretched the entire length of its mouth. One foot smashed against the ground as
it stepped out into the sunshine, still as black as the night and more dangerous than anything they had ever encountered.
kept his eyes focused on the creature, waiting for it to attack. Without the spear, how could he stop it? It didn't matter,
all he knew was that he had to stop it, no matter what the cost. Because if he didn't... it would kill everyone.
groaned and struggled to open his eyes. He felt as if a truck had decided to run over him, then had backed up over him to
make sure he was hit the first time. As he shifted, he felt a searing pain lash through his chest, enough to make him bite
back a small cry. 'Ryo, love... don't move. You're injured,' Dee's warm voice came to him, causing the hurt man to tilt his
head up to meet the golden gaze of his partner. 'Dee... what happened?' he managed to ask, trying to ignore his dizziness.
Dee's sudden frown and the way his arms tightened around him made Ryo realize that something was very wrong.
a creature over there. Your brat of a brother is facing off with it right now. He's going to get himself kil... um, I mean.
Oh, just rest Ryo. I'll take you inside and then help Ushio,' Dee tried to lift his partner, hoping to get them away before
the creature noticed him again.
'Ushio...' Ryo's eyes fell upon his stubborn brother who was indeed standing directly
across from the monster, staring at it, tensed and waiting. 'You can't do anything like this, Ryo. Just relax. I'm going to
get my gun and help,' Dee insisted, backing up towards the house, keeping the monster in sight at all times.
Ryo's words trailed off as he lost himself to unconscious oblivion once more.
It was dark
inside the temple when the door slid closed, small flickers of light coming though tiny holes in the door. Raising a hand,
Ryo pulled on the string to bring a small lightbulb hanging from the ceiling to life. Glancing around, he noted the boxes
and antiques stacked up in all the corners of the small temple. Walking slowly, he wondered if perhaps he had been wrong.
Maybe his brother was not in the temple. But then... he could have sworn he'd heard someone moving around in there.
his head and making one last survey of the room, he turned towards the door to leave. A few steps away from the door, the
man noticed a growing shadow on the ground beneath his feet, and the sound of heavy breathing that was coming from... directly
behind him. Spinning around quickly, Ryo looked up into a pair of white slits, unable to do anything but shiver as he noticed
the huge black body of the monster standing on the edge of a pit he had not noticed until then.
The creature let out
a low hiss as its jaws opened, revealing a set of ivory shark-like teeth. Ryo took a step back but was unable to duck as one
clawed hand slashed him across the chest with enough force to knock him through the door, shattering both it and the small
bulb that was the only light in the darkened temple.
His eyes opened once more, only enough to stare into the black
depths of the temple through the doorway that didn't seem to let any sunlight into it. A gleam of white smirked at him and
he fell into darkness.
~End Flashback dream~
Ryo blinked open his eyes, trying to peer through the afternoon
sunlight. 'Dee?' he whispered, unable to think for a moment. Why was he outside? Who was holding him? Was that.. growling?
Something smashed against the side of the house and brought Ryo back to full conciousness. 'Dee!' he yelped, feeling
the other man's arms tighten around him, surprised to still find himself safely tucked into his partner's warm embrace. 'Damnit!'
the other man swore, moving closer to the back door. 'How long have I..?' Ryo tried to think, but his head was pounding for
some strange reason. Flashes of his dream came back to him... no, not a dream. A memory.
'Dee, that thing came from
inside the temple!' Ryo announced suddenly, reaching out to grip his partner's shirt. 'I know that, Ryo. But, this really
isn't the time to talk. I've got to get you into the house so I can help your brother,' Dee insisted. 'Ushio...' Ryo glanced
around, startled to see a dent in the side of the house. 'He's fighting that thing. Damn, that kid seems to know what he's
doing,' Dee grumbled, watching the fight. 'He's going to get himself killed!' Ryo panicked when his eyes finally found the
Ushio dodged another set of claws that arched towards him. Whatever the beast was, it was dangerous.
Not to mention fast. Damn fast. Ushio could barely keep up with it, the way it seemed to fly just above the ground. And strange
enough, it was focused on him.
Those white eyes. They were so familiar. ~It can't be.~ Ushio leapt to the side, feeling
the claws barely brush against his side, tearing through his shirt before grinding into the dirt and leaving a gaping hole
in the ground. Sharp white fangs glittered as the beast roared in fury and drew itself up to attack again.
Rashin hissed, about to run to the boy. He needed to help him. The child didn't have the spear to save himself this time.
He would have gone, changed into his true form to save his friend, except... Rashin half glanced at the human standing next
to him, staring in horror at the battle. Blue eyes were wide in disbelief and fear for Ushio's safety. If he went, if he changed...
then he would give up everything... JJ wouldn't... how could a human love a beast?
Ushio groaned, barely heard except
by Rashin himself. The beast hunter was familiar with battling, he no longer taunted, instead he chose to move faster than
the wind when fighting his enemy. ~Damn you, Tora! He's yours to protect and you failed!~ Anger surged within his human form
as he glared at the battle. The black beast was fast... and it was winning. Whatever it was, it wasn't a normal monster. And
worse, it decided to make the Master of the Beast Spear its prey.
JJ glanced to the side as soon as he
became aware of a low growling sound that vibrated in the afternoon air. Rashin, he looked... strange. His eyes seemed too
black, too filled with anger. The man's body was tense, his muscles shifting as he stood there, radiating a powerful aura
of hatred that was directed at the monster who was trying to kill Ushio.
The blue haired man let out a gasp as his
friend suddenly ran towards the fight. 'No, Rashin!' he called, afraid that the man was going to his death. The man barely
paused, dark eyes looking back at him, dark enough that JJ noticed the little white dots watching him from within those black
depths. The moment was broken as Rashin turned away, his whole body beginning to change as he leaped towards the battle.
hissed as a single talon slashed past the side of his throat, ripping lightly into his skin. Blood dripped down his throat,
making the youth very aware of his ragged breaths. Damn, the creature was intense. It never stopped.
Ushio felt his
foot catch on something, unable to stop himself as he fell to the ground and rolled onto his back. The claws came down at
The beast blinked in shock as something stopped it from killing its prey. A sharp scythe came between
its claws and the boy's face. Another beast, slimmer than it and more weasel-like, was standing just off to the boy's side,
black eyes glaring back. Anger filled the black hunter, hatred for the other creature trying to take what rightfully belonged
to it. Leaping, a set of sharp talons knocked the tall green weasel away as a diabolical grin spread over its features. Retracting
its hand, it lapped up the red blood that was dripping off its claws, savoring the taste of its enemy.
and forced himself to stand. Ushio needed help. The boy had moved away, now standing and bracing himself against the temple
wall, struggling for breath as the beast crouched, ready to pounce upon the youth. Ushio managed to dart around the corner
of the temple just as the black monster attacked, claws ripping through the wall easily. Gleaming white eyes screamed in anger
as it followed the boy to the front of the temple.
Ushio turned and ducked the row of claws slashing towards
him. Bracing himself, he flew under the arm and knocked the monster back into the temple, digging a piece of broken wood into
its shoulder. The beast screamed in pain and fury, before growing strangely quiet. White stared into black that was fused
with violet. Ushio stood back, facing the beast still standing in front of the temple's one unbroken door. Two sets of ears
twitched at the click of a safety release on a gun being taken off.
Ushio turned in time to see JJ point
the gun at the beast, eyes set and ready to shoot.
It happened so fast that Ryo only had time to gasp his
brother's name in horror. The cop had noticed JJ drawing his gun and pointing it at the beast. However, he had expected Ushio
to dive out of the way, not jump in front of the creature. He must have been crazy to scream 'Matte! ~Wait!~' Why the hell
would he turn his back on a monster?
Needles to say, JJ didn't end up shooting, but that didn't stop what happened
next. Ushio failed to notice the monster grin cruelly, one hand surging forward into Ushio's back. The youth's body was pushed
forward as a single long talon ripped through his back and out of his chest, blood dripping down his torn shirt and skin.
Everyone stared in horror at the sight. The grinning beast, the impaled youth whose eyes had drifted closed,
barely able to stand as a drop of blood dripped down from the corner of his mouth. 'Ushio!' several voices rose in shock,
anguish, and pain. Cara screamed suddenly as the monster's claw pulled back through the boy's chest and disappeared, leaving
a bloody open hole in the skin. Ushio stumbled back a bit as the monster pulled away, eyeing the blood on its claws and darting
out its tongue to lap at it greedily.
'T-Tora,' Ushio gasped, feeling a fire burning within his entire body.
The pain from his wound was nothing compared to what was happening inside his chest at that moment. His head rolled back as
he let out a scream of pain.
Rashin's eyes widened at the sight before him. From where he was crouched,
he could see the glow beginning to envelope the young ex-demon hunter. It was like white fire surging with blue flames, but
even he could see through the power surge. Ushio's scream grew louder as something began to emerge from his chest.
the hell?' Dee held his partner tighter as he stared at the boy. Ushio's scream was filled with pain so deep it was frightening.
The glow startled him, but even more shocking was the sight of a spear head suddenly poking out of the bloody hole the monster
had left. A ribbon emerged next, the color of blood as it circled around the bottom of the spear head, attached to a long
wooden handle that was rising out of the boy's chest. Ushio gave a choked moan as the handle left his body and the entire
spear floated in front of him, now the source of the blue and white light.
Ushio opened one eye to stare
at his old familiar weapon. ~What the hell?~ It was inside him the entire time? How? Gods, it was so close, so... Unconsciously,
he lifted one hand to wrap around the base of the spear, touching the wood and feeling the familiar weight of His weapon.
Light surged from that weapon into his chest, making him gasp for breath at the force.
The beast watched
silently, eyes widening as the scent of its prey grew stronger. The light was so bright, but the creature's eyes were fixed
on the boy whose hair was lengthening at an alarming rate. Long raven black tresses hung down to his feet, his muscles becoming
harder under his silken skin. The monster was unprepared for the sight of the young man turning silently to face him, the
eyes that were slits of violet staring at him. The boy's mouth opened again, but no sound came out as the light died down
and the youth fell... right into the beast's chest.
Ryo could do nothing more than grip Dee's arm in shock
as he watched his brother's hair lengthen. What the hell was going on? Then, the boy's eyes had opened, staring at him for
a moment through slits of violet that were now his eyes. Amazingly enough, the wound in Ushio's chest seemed to have disappeared,
leaving only the sliced remains of his shirt hanging from his shoulders. Ryo noticed two tiny fangs in his brother's mouth
before the youth turned away.
Then, he nearly screamed as he saw his brother fall towards the creature, unprepared
for the shock of the beast's clawed hands reaching out to hold the boy's shoulders when the youth pressed against it. White
eyes were wide with silent amazement and confusion, as if it no longer knew what to do.
Ushio let himself
sink into the familiar warmth, the same fur covered body of the only monster he'd ever been truly close to. In his hunter
state he recognized the scent of his soul partner, the one he'd believed dead was alive... very much alive. But, he was also
in great danger. Raising his head, he stared at the dark beast who stared back, white eyes filled with confusion.
idiot. Stop letting it control you. You're stronger than this thing. Fight it, baka Tora,' the youth's voice drove deep into
the creature's soul where a single flame of defiance flickered and grew.
Rashin's eyes widened on the pair
as he watched the monster's head roll back as it let out an agonizingly loud roar. Ushio simply held onto the creature's furry
chest, staring up at its face patiently. At first, the weasel monster wasn't sure what his hunter friend was waiting for,
until the other beast's black fur seemed to shiver. Waves of black hair shot out into the wind, an orange color spreading
quickly and driving the black out into the air where it splashed to the ground around them.
widened as the monster changed. As the last drop of black fell to the ground, the monster's hair flowed back down to the ground,
curling around its body in waves of fire orange. However, there was no sign of the evil within its huge white eyes that were
now staring down at his brother who was still leaning against its chest.
Ushio let a smile draw over his
lips as he stared up at his best friend. 'Baka Tora,' he whispered, drawing a smirk to the monster's lips. 'Brat,' the beast
shot back, before helping the boy to his feet.
~No way. That's Tora... and he's being nice!~ Rashin could
only gape in shock at the pair now standing in front of the temple.
'Wait a minute...' Ryo trailed off as
he got a good look at his brother's monster. His eyes widened in realization, his mind drifting back to the picture hidden
in Ushio's closet. 'So, it wasn't just his imagination,' the cop mumbled aloud, still unsure of his brother's safety. The
creature had tried to kill him only moments before and now they were standing close to each other and smiling as if they were
~You're alive. Tora, you're really alive.~ Ushio blinked back a few stray tears that threatened
to leak out of his violet eyes. No, he was a boy, and boys do not cry. Especially not in front of giant tiger demons like
Tora. Unfortunately, Tora noticed, as usual. Ushio felt a gentle touch on his cheek and glanced to the side without moving,
only to see a lock of the beast's long orange hair brushing away the tears before falling away.
going on?' JJ wondered aloud, watching the scene before him with puzzlement. Wasn't the monster trying to kill Ushio? And
why the heck was it orange? ~And what the hell is up with that black goo?~ The blue haired cop found his eyes drawn to the
black liquid that was drawing together into a puddle in the middle of the walkway.
Tora's eyes narrowed
suddenly, the same moment Ushio felt a familiar tingle in his body. Turning, Ushio focused his eyes on the black stuff that
had leaked out of his monster's fur only moments before. Whatever it was, it was still dangerous. Even as he thought that,
the puddle suddenly expanded, stretching several feet into the air, higher than even Tora. The giant black bubble suddenly
melted away, leaving behind a small human body standing across from them.
The gentle looking girl smiled at them, her
light hair flowing straight down to her shoulders. 'Hello Ushio. Tora-chan!' Mayuko smiled happily.
Note: Sorry for the wait everyone! I'm glad to say that this fic is nearly finished. Only a few more parts to go. I know everyone
is wondering where Tora's been all these years and what the heck Mayuko is doing there. And yes, I'm aware that she's suppose
to be dead. I hope to update soon. Please review!