Dee glanced up and nearly screamed at the sight of the horrible creature that entered the kitchen. 'My God, brat! Did you sneak out to party last night or something?' the detective asked, seeing the frightful appearance of the young boy. 'No, just didn't get much sleep,' Bickey mumbled, taking a seat across from him, his eyes drooping. Dee eyed the youth, noticing the blond hair that stuck out in all directions. His eyes were nearly bloodshot, as if he hadn't slept in days, his dark brown skin seeming paler than ever.
'Did you have a nightmare or something, Bickey?' Cara teased, as she entered the room. 'Very funny. It was worse than a nightmare,' the boy grumbled, propping his chin up on his arm. 'Oh?' now the pair were watching him, waiting for an explanation. The boy opened up his mouth to speak...
'Morning,' another voice interrupted, as Ushio slid into the room gracefully. Dee glanced at him, then back at Bickey who had gone shock still, his eyes widening. The Japanese youth glanced into the refrigerator and groaned. 'I'd better go shopping. Wanna come, Cara?' Ushio asked, smiling at the younger girl. 'Sure! Let me get my blades!' the brunet smiled as she raced out of the room. 'Be back soon,' the boy promised, following her.
'So, what's up?' Dee asked, eyes fixated on Bickey who seemed suddenly terrified. 'H... he... I saw him talking last night... to the rat,' the boy whispered, eyes wide. Dee blinked.
A yawn interrupted them as JJ stretched his neck and stepped into the kitchen. 'So? That little green ferret is Ushio's pet. Why wouldn't he talk to him?' Dee's voice drifted from the table, bringing the blue haired man's eyes on the pair. 'But... Kyo talked back,' Bickey whispered, looking pale as a ghost. Dee glanced up at JJ who just stared back at them.
'Ushio, Cara... Where are you headed off to?' Ryo asked, stopping at the bottom of the stairs. 'Shopping,' the pair echoed, heading for the front door. 'Oh, wait a moment and I'll come with you,' Ryo told them, before calling back over his shoulder to let everyone know he was going out as well.
'Dee! I'm going to the store with Ushio and Cara. Keep an eye on Bickey for me!'
The golden eyed cop blinked at the voice of his partner, before glancing at Bickey. The front door slammed, announcing the departure of the threesome. 'Are you sure it's safe to let Ryo go out with Him?' the boy asked, getting ready to follow... just in case.
'Bickey, Ushio is his younger brother. I doubt he'd do anything to Ryo, but...' Dee turned and looked at JJ intently. 'What?' the blue haired young man asked, uncertain about the sudden attention, even if it was from his one true love. 'Feel up to a bit of research?' the older cop asked, with a sly grin.
Ryo smiled, holding open the door to let his brother and Cara through, each carrying a large brown paper bag filled with the newly bought groceries. Ushio nodded to him silently with a small smile as they walked along the sidewalk towards the temple. The young cop was entranced by the peacefulness of the city that morning, as if no one had a care in the world.
Ryo and Cara turned to see the young man standing frozen in place behind them. On the corner of the street they had just passed, stood a small restaurant that Ryo hadn't noticed before. A heavily built man stood silently behind a motherly woman in the doorway. Their attention was for Ushio alone.
Ushio turned slowly, gazing at them half over his shoulder. For a long time, they seemed to just stand there, watching each other in a strangely haunting silence. Then, Ushio lowered his eyes and turned away, striding past the pair in front of him and disappearing around the corner.
'Oh, Ushio,' the woman's voice made Ryo focus on her again. The man, who must have been her husband, was holding her as she stared after the youth. There was a sadness in their eyes, a pain... as if they had lost something precious to them.
A horn honked, and the moment seemed to shatter on the wind. The older couple retreated back into their restaurant, leaving Ryo and Cara to blink and head towards home, still confused over the encounter.
'Ryo!' Dee smiled as his partner appeared in the doorway, his arms filled with a bulging brown bag. 'Hi Dee, Bickey,' the man smiled at them before walking past into the kitchen with Cara behind him. Dee glanced down at the boy at his feet before standing and making his way to the hall. 'You'd better not do anything, you pervert,' Bickey's voice made the cop's neck crawl as he turned to glare at the boy. After sticking out his tongue in a juvenile way, Dee strode past Cara and into the kitchen.
For a second, the older man paused, taking in the sight before him. Absolutely handsome and innocent seeming Ryo bent over the bags on the table. He looked delicious, good enough to eat even. But, then again, Ryo always looked like that to him. Slipping up behind the lighter haired man, Dee leaned close and curled his arms around him. 'Dee!' Ryo startled, banging back lightly in his mild surprise.
The golden eyed cop just smiled charmingly, continuing to hold his partner in a warm embrace. 'Mmm... uh, Dee... Did you see Ushio come in?' Ryo's attention was on the third paper bag which was sitting calmly on the counter. 'Hm? No. Those cartoons of Bickey's are loud, but I would have heard him if he did,' Dee replied. 'Then, how did that bag get in here?' Ryo wondered, unsure of himself. 'Your brother moves very quietly. There isn't any need to worry about him though, he probably knows a backway into here,' Dee said truthfully, but more to keep Ryo from realizing his suspicions of the man's own little brother.
'I'm worried about him, Dee,' Ryo suddenly said, after a moment of silence. 'Why? Did something happen?' his partner wanted to know, arms curling tighter as if to protect the younger man from danger. 'Today... Ushio seemed... Well, we were walking past a restaurant and the owners seemed to know him. They came out, and called him by name. The strange thing was, they seemed so upset when he wouldn't speak with them. Sad even. But, Ushio seemed sadder,' Ryo whispered, remembering the pained look in his brother's eyes during the encounter. 'Ryo, one of his friends was killed only a week ago. Maybe he's still upset about that. Perhaps we should go speak to them tomorrow... well, you speak and I'll just eat... you said it was a restaurant, right? How about it? Lunch, tomorrow? Just the two of us?' Dee smirked as a blush flooded over the other man's tanned cheeks. 'Uh... ok,' Ryo agreed, feeling flustered even though Dee always seemed to have that effect on him. The man was just so forward at times, then endearingly romantic at others. But still... he was quite... intriguing.
'Where is the beast?' the shadowed form insisted. The man and woman looked at each other in silence before shaking their heads. 'We have no information on what this creature is or where it resides,' the woman whispered. The figure stepped into the light, revealing piercing dark eyes and a frustrated frown.
'Ushio... there is a bit of information we can give you, although it is very little,' Rashin told the youth. 'What?' Ushio demanded, looking impatient. 'It seems to be targeting people who it knows are close to you. There were other murders before Asako. Students from your old class, ones you probably knew more than others. After Asako died, we too were attacked, but managed to escape. It does not like the light, Ushio... it hides from it. Karani managed to save even Hyou's life when it came for him,' the elder weasel demon admitted. Ushio glanced over at the Japanese woman in the tight red dress who seemed upset by the words of her brother.
'Ushio-kun, you are not alone. Even if you no longer have the Spear of the Beast, we will fight by your side. Perhaps, it is best to return home now. You should not leave your family alone and unguarded,' Karani whispered, watching the boy blink in realization before taking off into the darkness.
'Rashin-niisan. You know it will attack soon,' the woman sighed. 'I know. But, I believe he can defeat it...' Rashin replied, turning and stepping back into their small temple-like home.
'You have not told him, have you?'
'No. It will only upset him.'
'Still, he should know what he is up against.'
'How can you tell a boy that the beast he hunts smells of many friends and even closer allies?'
'JJ. Did you find out anything?' Dee whispered, watching the doorway to make sure Ryo didn't walk in on them. Deep blue eyes gazed back at him as the other cop nodded. 'His father... Shigure Aotski, was not killed by anything human. The newspapers claim he was ripped apart by a giant beast, but even the police here have no evidence. All they know, is that Ushio was found kneeling in the yard over his father's body... and he had blood all over him,' JJ whispered. The silence in the air was haunting, filled with uncertainty and a sense of doubt. There was something missing to the story, some little piece that would tie everything together. But at that moment, there were only scattered pieces of a blood stained puzzle drifting on the wind around the temple grounds.
Author's Note: Reviews! How is everyone liking the story so far? It gets better too! It was actually not going to be this long, but the story is just writing itself deeper and deeper, but it won't be too much longer. And yes, as I mentioned before, Tora will be showing up soon!
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