Soft wind swirled, tickling the tiny chime that hung suspended in the mouth of the open window. Ushio sighed as his eyes looked out at the night sky, his thoughts drifting to the troubled thoughts from that evening. No matter how much or how many times he tried to figure everything out, the answers just seemed to escape him. How had he gotten home? Where as the Beast Spear? Who killed Asako? Was Tora really dead? How the heck did Karani and Hyou get together?
Ok, that last one really puzzled him, but he just shook it off. It wasn't any of his business why they were together, just that they were. And now that he thought about it, they did make a cute couple. Glancing around, he found himself watching the sleeping figures of his older brother Ryo and his adopted nephew Bickey. A slight smile came to his face at the younger boy's sprawled form, and his brother curled on his side away from him. It was still hard to believe that he had a brother, much less this New York cop. What would he think if he knew?
~Hm... What would he think if he knew what I was... what I am? Would he hate me? Would he want to arrest me for the deaths I've caused? Would he shun me?~ Those thoughts drifted to him, causing him to refocus his attention on the nearly full moon outside. Ryo was the only family he had left... and he'd be damned if he'd let anyone hurt him or Bickey. The thought that Ryo may turn away from him cut him deeply. Everyone he loved was dead, save for a few friends here and there. They had counted on him and he'd let them down, let himself down, let... Tora down.
Ushio curled his arms around his knees and stared down at the floor, letting out a large sigh. Yes, if Tora ever did find out about that night, he'd be furious with him. Who'd ever heard of a demon hunter trying to commit suicide? It was funny, yet so ironic. Tora was dead. Tora, the only monster he'd ever truly been comfortable around. Despite their angry words and threats, Ushio hadn't feared the monster. Actually, he was still awed by his power and wisdom, not that he'd ever admit it. Tora was smart and strong, yet strangely childish at times... or he was... once. Not anymore. Never again.
The wind trickled past his ears, humming its sweet melody. The youth slide down onto his back and cast one more glance at the moon before closing his eyes and letting sleep overtake him. His thoughts were no more silent than during the day. For the longest time, Ushio had been made to suffer the grim reality in both sleep and wake. Perhaps, this time... he would not dream.
The morning was loud with a jangle of voices new to that old house. Inside the kitchen, several people could be found huddled around the small table, trying to eat breakfast and not kill each other. Dee was currently caught between flirting with the ever silent Ryo, and blocking the attentions of the overzealous JJ who refused to take a hint and backoff. Ushio passed Bickey. and Cara who raced past him into the livingroom as he stepped through the doorway, trying to stifle a yawn.
'Did you have a nice sleep, Ushio?' Ryo greeted smiling up at him. Dee grumbled under his breath, before sipping at his morning coffee. 'It was ok,' Ushio lied as he set about gathering his own breakfast. Truthfully, the youth had had the same nightmare filled sleep as he'd had since Tora had gone missing. Only now, it was filled with images of Asako and Mayuko and his father... each blaming him for his mistakes, their deaths. As if his life wasn't hard enough with the memories, now his dreams had to haunt him, leaving him no respite from reality.
Ushio stretched before heading out of the room to eat his breakfast in the livingroom with the other two. 'Oh. I think Rashin is going to stop by today,' Ushio called over his shoulder, not noticing that JJ froze at the mention of the dark haired man. Dee used that moment to escape to the opposite side of Ryo and set about trying to engage him in a conversation. JJ simply blinked and shook his head to clear his mind. He loved Dee... right?
'Ushio,' a deep voice drew the attention of the room's three occupants. 'Rashin... Kyo,' the youth greeted, smiling at them over the last few bites of his breakfast. The dark haired man nodded towards him, a green head popping up over his shoulder with a fanged grin. 'Hey, a green rat!' Bickey's voice interrupted, reminding Ushio that the pair were in the room with them. 'He's not a rat, he's a ferret, idiot,' Cara whacked the boy over the head and stood up to approach Rashin. Kyo smirked and crawled onto Rashin's shoulder, letting the girl pet him on the head. Bickey. soon joined her, but was driven back when Kyo snapped at him, beady eyes glaring in his direction.
Ushio tried not to laugh. It seemed Kyo was still mad about the rat comment. Rashin glanced up to find the blue haired man standing in the kitchen doorway watching them. Their eyes met, holding for a moment, before JJ looked away, a light flush coming to his cheeks. Rashin was quite amused as he watched the young man struggle with his decision on whether or not to withdraw back into the kitchen. His mind was made up though when Dee pushed him into the livingroom in order to get through the doorway, followed by Ryo.
Ushio slipped out of the room, seeing Rashin's sudden exit. Kyo preferred to stay behind, currently residing in a puddle of green fur in Cara's lap, pleasantly happy to be stroked by the young female. Ushio knew the others probably hadn't even noticed him leaving... well, maybe Ryo, it was hard to pull anything past him. Everyone else seemed to be too focused on their own lives at the moment to notice him. Of course, it helped that he had been the Master of the Beast Spear and was still able to blend in with his surroundings and move within the shadows. Even in a bright room he could easily escape the notice of others. Sometimes, he really loved being able to do that.
'So... are you ok?' Ushio glanced up at Rashin who was looking off into the distance. They were sitting side by side on the front step, watching the sun as it rose higher into the sky. 'Why wouldn't I be?' he responded, knowing that the other male wasn't the least bit fooled by his answer. 'First Mayuko, then your father, and now Asako. The three humans you were dedicated to protecting are gone, six feet under so to speak,' Rashin answered, his black hair blowing slightly in the wind. 'Rub it in why don't you,' Ushio grumbled under his breath, looking away.
'You have got to stop blaming yourself for their deaths, Ushio,' the man suddenly spoke, watching him with dark eyes. 'It was my fault. I should have protected them better. That creature slaughtered Mayuko and my father, before I was able to slay it. And now Asako has been murdered and I don't even have a clue which monster did it or where it is. Not that I can do anything about it anymore. I don't have a weapon,' Ushio sighed, feeling a bit deflated from his own words. Rashin watched him for a moment, studying him.
'We are not sure who this monster is, or where he came from. As for defeating it... I believe you can,' the man told him. 'With what? A broom and a bucket of water? Unless this monster is the Wicked Witch of the West, I don't think it'll melt that easily,' Ushio said, leaning back. 'The wicked what?' the other man asked, raising an eyebrow in confusion. 'American show, don't ask,' Ushio responded, trying to relax under the sun's heat. Rashin shrugged and continued to study the ground in front of them.
JJ watched the love of his life flirt with another man. How depressing. Why couldn't Dee see that Ryo wasn't good enough for him? With a sigh, the light haired young man turned away from the scene, leaving the happy family to themselves.
As he passed the front door, he noticed that the dark haired god... um, man, was sitting next to Ryo's younger brother on the front steps. For a moment, he stared in wonder at the older man's rugged beauty. With his tanned skin and beautiful muscles, even the dark scar on his cheek seemed to accent his masculinity. But alas, those two seemed pretty close by the looks of things, even if Ushio was only 16. He almost sighed again, ready to walk away.
'Stop blaming yourself, Spear Bearer. Will you allow their deaths to be in vain? Even if you do not believe it, we do. All of us. All you need to do is ask, and we will be at your side. Their deaths must be avenged,' Rashin's voice floated from beyond the screen door. JJ ducked back, out of sight, as he listened to them.
'It's my fault! I should have stopped that thing! They're all dead because of me. I couldn't save them, I gave in to the pain when I shouldn't have been thinking about myself. God, I'm so weak,' Ushio's voice hitched with a barely notable sob. 'Ushio...' Rashin's whisper was filled with grief and concern for his friend's pain. 'None of you know. How can you? Even Tora doesn't know how I... I...' the teenage stood, arms wrapped around his waist, wrapping himself into an embrace as if to ward off the world around him.
'Ushio!' Rashin's shout drew JJ's immediate attention, as he peered around the corner to look through the screen. The youth was running at full force down the path, even as Rashin stepped off the front stairs. The Japanese man paused, watching Ushio disappear through the gate, echoes of his silent cries piercing his mind. A flicker from the corner of his eyes made the dark haired man turn. He caught a glimpse of blue fading around the corner and frowned. If the human had heard him...
His eyes darted to the side as Kyo crept up onto his shoulder.
JJ entered the livingroom silently, just as Ryo rose to get more drinks from the kitchen. Bickey and Cara were huddled in front of the small T.V. set, watching a strange Japanese cartoon. Dee glanced up, then darted his eyes to the kitchen door, hoping the the other man wouldn't try anything.
'Dee... how did their father die?' JJ asked suddenly, sitting down on a chair near the couch. 'Huh?' the dark haired cop blinked in surprise. 'Ryo and Ushio's father... how did he die?' the younger one asked again. Dee frowned, his eyebrows dipping as he struggled to remember.
'Wait a minute,' the golden eyed man whispered, remembering the day Ushio had visited them at the station. Focusing on the younger detective, he stated, 'One of the secretaries dropped off a file for Ryo before he got to work. Hm... Oh yes. I forgot about it. I remember scanning over the article quickly. Apparently, their father was killed by a wild animal... torn apart right in the backyard... and Ushio witnessed it.'
'It's my fault! I should have stopped that thing! They're all dead because of me!'
'Ushio said... he couldn't stop it. That they died and it was his fault,' JJ's voice was barely heard above the noise of the television, but Dee caught it. 'Ryo... didn't see the file. It wasn't there when we got back from looking at the evidence for one of the cases. Ushio seemed to be in a real hurry to get out of there,' Dee thought aloud, as JJ's eyes widened in realization.
'Do you think... Ushio might have taken the file?' the light haired cop wondered. 'Why would he do that?' Dee asked, unsure. 'He's weird,' Bickey's voice suddenly interrupted them. 'That isn't very nice, Bickey,' Cara scolded, looking at the young boy. 'So what? He is weird. He talks to himself all the time, acts all moody, and gets away with everything,' the bleach blond boy grumbled. 'You're just jealous,' Cara exclaimed, turning away with a frown. But, her eyes widened as she remembered the day at the park.
'What's going on?' Ryo interrupted, causing everyone to jump in surprise. Dee gave an uneasy grin and stood, reaching out to help with the drinks. 'Nothing, nothing at all, Ryo,' the man lied, throwing a glance at the others. JJ nodded. If Ushio had stolen the file, then he must have not wanted Ryo to find out how their father died... but why? Why did he think it was his fault?
~Mine. It's all my fault. Everything. If I hadn't released Tora, I'd never have gotten the spear. Then, none of this would have happened. I'd be a normal boy, Asako and Mayuko would still be alive. Father would still be alive, and Tora... he'd still be in the cellar, trapped... but he wouldn't be Dead! Why does everything happen to me? Why can't monsters ever just attack me and leave my friends and other innocent people alone? Why do they have to suffer for what I've done? Why?
Ryo glanced out the window, watching the rain come down from the darkening sky. 'I'm worried. Ushio still hasn't come home,' the man sighed, leaning back against his partner. 'I'm sure he's fine. He knows this place better than any of us,' Dee tried to comfort his love, wishing they didn't have to hide their suspicions from him. Ryo would only be angry if he found out their thoughts on his own brother. No, it was better to find out the truth before mentioning anything.
And outside, the rain kept coming down.
Author's Note: I know, very late! Sorry everyone. This is taking a while to finish, and the Beast of Souls is going to take even longer. I promise to work on this one, it should only be a few more chapters until the climax. I can't wait to get to the end, Tora is just dying to appear. Thank you for all the reviews, I adore them!