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Disclaimer: I do not own Ushio and Tora or Fake. This is a crossover and does contain some yaoi.



The Shifter


~No, it can't be her. Mayuko's dead.~


Despite the words whispering the truth in his mind, Ushio found himself rooted to the spot as he stared at the young woman across from them. He barely noticed Tora's giant body crouching behind him, large white eyes studying the girl with confusion and distrust. Something didn't smell right, and the beast knew it.


~*~


JJ stood torn between staring at the girl who had appeared from the inky black pod and racing over to help his fallen... and now monster, friend. Blue eyes flickered back and forth, even as he noticed Rashin pushing himself to his hind legs. The red furred weasel balanced slightly unsteadily on his feet as he himself cast narrow black eyes upon the scene unraveling before him.


~*~


'Mayuko?' Ushio whispered, one hand reaching out as if to touch her, the other wrapped firmly around the base of the spear. The girl seemed to float away from him, as if not wanting to be touched by a creature such as him. Hurt flashed in Ushio's slitted violet eyes as he looked upon the form of his once dead friend.


~Dead. She can't be alive. She's dead. Mayuko is DEAD!~


'Yes, Ushio. I am dead,' the girl's soft tinkling voice mocked him. Blinking, Ushio stared at the school girl who just smiled angelically before continuing. 'Do you remember that night, Ushio? That night?' she asked, her voice chiming like bluebells. 'That night,' Ushio repeated, the memory of her final scream echoing in his mind. 'Yes, you do remember. I remember too, Ushio-kun. It was because of you that I died,' the girl whispered, her voice becoming cold and twisted with malice.


'No, I...' Ushio stuttered, trying to come up with some kind of excuse. 'There is no excuse. You killed me,' the girl hissed, hair beginning to blow in an unseen wind. 'I didn't. It was the...' Ushio was cut off as his former friend screamed in anger, her voice echoing through his ears. 'You killed me! It was your hesitation that caused the death of my only family, that caused my death! You listened to me scream and did nothing. I died in a pool of my own blood, ripped open by claws of your enemy! Your enemy! Not mine, not Asako's... Yours. It was knowing you that condemned us to this fate!' the light haired girl screamed louder, her words striking a blow into Ushio's already wounded heart.


'It wasn't my fault. I tried to save you!' he shouted back, forgetting everyone around him as he stepped closer to the girl. Mayuko's lips curved into a grin, then a deep frown as she caught sight of the hand upon the Beast Spear Master's shoulder. Ushio turned at the touch, looking back into slitted white eyes that glared past him at the girl. 'Don't be a fool, brat. She is not the hamburger girl. She is a manifestation of your own feelings, your own self doubt... your own darkened soul,' Tora growled, forcing Ushio with his words to turn back to the girl glaring at them. With an angry shriek, the young woman's form became black and inky, shifting and merging and changing before their eyes.


A second young woman stood before them, her dark hair cut short, her clothing bordering on tomboyish. 'Baka!' the girl yelled, hands crossed over her chest as she glared at the hunter. Ushio blinked, finding the situation all too familiar. Once his best friend and potential girlfriend, Asako had also seemed to come back to life.


'I hate you, Ushio. It is all your fault. Mayuko would have been alive if it wasn't for you. I would have been alive. You are the one to blame,' the girl taunted, her anger and hate flowing around her like a black mist. 'Asako, I never meant to hurt you. I never wanted anyone to die,' Ushio whispered, unable to stop himself. 'If you hadn't found that spear and released that monster pet of yours, none of this would ever have happened. I was happy, Ushio! Didn't you care? Were you so angry at me for finding a man I could care about, a man who wasn't a cold blooded murderer?! That is why you left. You couldn't stop Mayuko or your father from dying and you ran away... leaving me behind to be the next victim,' Asako hissed.


Tora's hand clenched tighter, even as Ushio struggled to come to terms with his own self doubt. 'I didn't know. I killed it. How could I have known?' his whispered voice flowed through the air between them. 'You were a hunter! It was your job to protect us! But, you obviously weren't good enough. In the end, you were just a scared little boy. Tora was gone, unable to protect you, so you ran away,' Asako accused him, her eyes dark with hatred and loathing.


'It wasn't like that! I tried to save Mayuko and dad. I killed the ice wolf and had no choice but to go to New York. If I had known that there had been a monster still killing people here, then I wouldn't have left. Not that I could have been much help anyway without the spear,' Ushio's voice became softer as his words registered in his mind.


'Without the spear? Oh yes, poor Ushio. I had forgotten about that. It must have been so hard for you,' Asako's voice was taunting and dark, even as the inky blackness enveloped her, as it had done Mayuko.


As the blackness withdrew one more, it left behind yet another figure. An aging old man in priest robes stood before them, his white hair flowing to his shoulders.


'Father.'


Two voices echoed each other, two men staring in shock and wide eyed disbelief at the figure that had appeared. Only the tight grip on his shoulder stopped Ushio from flinging himself into the arms of his father. 'Ushio,' Ryo's voice whispered, knowing that facing such a creature would be harder than anything. Although the half Japanese cop was still in the dark about exactly what was going on, he knew that the man standing before them was not his father. No, it was much more deadly.


'Is that any way to welcome your father home, boy?' the man asked, his face void of any emotion. 'Father...' Ushio whispered, blinking away unshed tears at the sight. 'Is this how you repay your ancestors, boy? By running away? You abandoned the temple, allowed yourself to be weighed down by sorrow and anger. And in the end, you lost the spear with a single action. Foolish boy, what were you thinking? Trying to kill yourself, you should have known that the spear would not let you go. Instead, it bonded with you, becoming part of your soul and changing you in the process,' Shigure's voice filled with anger and disgust.


'Changed...' Ushio whispered, unaware of the numerous shocked eyes trained upon him, taking in the old man's words. Even Tora's eyes had widened in realization, and how it hurt the giant monster to know that his partner had tried to take his own life. 'Yes, changed. You are now the true Master of the Beast Spear. It is as much a part of you as you are of it. Should you die, then the spear will fade as well along with your own body. You are immortal, at least, until a way is found to get rid of you, demon hunter Ushio,' the man explained, his voice thick with spiteful intent.


'You are not my father. Who... what are you?!' Ushio suddenly demanded, fingers tightening around the beast spear for guidance. And yet, the weapon was silent... it was Ushio's battle, one he must defeat on his own. Here, in his birthplace, he was being confronted with the secrets he had hidden deep within himself. All his anger and frustration, his fear and pain, everything was merging together, forcing him to act.


'We are and are not. We have existed for centuries, taking the forms of loved ones to the hunter. And in the end, all the former bearers of the spear became our victims, save one. The one who stands behind you,' the creature wearing a human face hissed. Ushio turned to look over his shoulder at Tora who was frowning darkly at the creature. 'Yes... Lord Nagatomibaru, also known as Tora, once one of the most respected demon hunters in the land. He too was taken by the spear, but it did not bond with him the way it did you, little Ushio. No, it slowly and painfully changed him into a monster, devouring his human soul and leaving only a blood thirsty, crazed beast to haunt the human world for hundreds of years before your ancestor came into possession of the spear and imprisoned it to a stone,' the creature chuckled evilly, the lips of the old priest twisting into a cruel smirk.


'My ancestor, did you kill him too?' Ushio wanted to know. The creature laughed darkly, the sound sending chills down the backs of everyone who heard it. 'He was too easy. Without the spear in his hands, he was the easiest of all. We led him away, deep into the woods, taunting him and mocking him with his past. And in the end... we drove him mad,' the creature announced, crackling with glee.


~*~


JJ would have leapt between the young boy and the psycho. whatever it was, if... Rashin's clawed arm hadn't blocked his way intentionally. Blue eyes glared into black as the ruby furred beast looked at him over his shoulder. 'Don't get involved. This is a battle that Ushio must win on his own,' the weasel whispered softly, turning his eyes upon his human friend once more. Or perhaps, not so human anymore. 'But, he's going to get hurt,' JJ insisted, nearly stomping his foot in frustration. He wasn't the only one who didn't understand what was going on.


Ryo was perched in Dee's lap, his body still stinging from the wounds of being thrown through a door by the monster in front of them. Dee's grip on his arm stopped him from taking off to save his brother who was in danger. 'Don't. He knows what he's doing. Besides, that tiger-thing will make sure he doesn't get killed,' the dark haired cop whispered, watching the anger spread across Ushio's face as the ink creature still in the form of the boy's father laughed evilly. Ryo's eyes darted back to his brother after he spent a moment staring in shock at his partner. White eyes caught his own, holding a silent promise, before the beast turned its attention back to the matter at hand.


~*~


'I won't let you do this. I won't let you hurt anyone I care about again,' Ushio hissed, gritting his teeth in anger, his fingers clenched painfully around the spear. 'You are weak, boy. Even with the spear you have no chance of defeating me,' the creature with his father's form sneered. 'Maybe not, but I won't give up until I'm dead!' Ushio yelled, before closing his eyes to focus his mind and energy, driving it into the heart of the Beast Spear.


Everyone watched in shocked silence as the weapon began to glow, power flickering down the young man's arm in purple energy waves. The creature took a step back, then seemed to collect itself. The form of Shigure Aotski melted back into the black ink as it grew larger and larger. Finally, a giant blob of darkness towered over the hunter, blocking the sun with its immense form.


Ushio's eyebrows furrowed in concentration, his long hair beginning to spark with energy. Finally, the boy opened his eyes, revealing glowing violet slits. Letting out a loud cry, the hunter drove the spear deep into the middle of the blob.


~*~


Ryo watched in horror as the creature began to laugh. His brother's eyes blinked in shock, then heated anger. It was as if an animal-like rage had taken over his entire body. Only a single clawed hand that touched his shoulder at that very moment, stopped him from attacking the blob barehanded.


~*~


'Tora,' Ushio didn't have to glance back to see the beast. The tiger monster stared over the hunter's shoulder at their enemy and growled, 'Don't lose your concentration, brat. Focus on the spear's power. Focus on your own power. Focus... on my power.'


'Tora,' Ushio's voice held a hint of astonishment. The beast was offering his own power to defeat the enemy? 'Do it,' another growl forced Ushio to close his eyes once more. This time, he reached out to connect his own blue ribbon of energy with the monster's deep red ribbon of energy. Twisting them together, Ushio focused them towards the spear, letting the violet snake-like strands of energy envelope their combined powers.


To the observers of the battle, it only seemed as though the spear was getting brighter, burning with pure white energy. However, to Ushio and Tora, they felt their souls becoming one with the spear.


~*~


'Wow,' Ushio whispered to himself as he gazed around the darkness that was the very heart of the spear. 'Don't go sightseeing just yet, brat,' a growl announced the presence of an even stronger creature. 'Tora,' Ushio turned, seeing his partner partially glowing with the white combined energy. 'You're glowing to, baka,' the tiger smirked, as the boy looked down at his own hands. Indeed, he was glowing as white as his partner.


'We don't have time to sit around here. Focus all the power on the creature, I'll help you,' Tora grunted. 'Thanks,' Ushio whispered, feeling tears prickling even in his spirit form. Silently, he closed his eyes and allowed the rush of power into his soul.


~*~


For a few moments, nothing happened. And then, something did. JJ nearly jumped as the creature began to scream in agony, withering like a snake on the end of the spear. Both Ushio and the monster, Tora, were glowing with white light, enough to drive the shadowed blob back an inch, before a shaft of white energy flowed out of the spear itself and ripped right through it.


~*~


Ryo blinked away the spots in his vision. The yard had gotten bright suddenly, as the screams of the creature died away, so did the light. Turning his head, he watched as first the tiger monster became visible, then his brother.


His eyes widened at the sight. The tiger beast's long orange fur was streaked with white, making him seem older, wiser. And his brother, was silent as he stood there, his long white hair flowing, his eyes closed, the spear hanging by his side.


~*~


Only Rashin noticed as the hunter began to weaken, falling back into the welcoming arms of his beast, Tora. The tiger monster simply held the human youth, cradling his exhausted form in silence.


'Ushio!' Ryo tried to stand up, and this time, Dee actually helped him. The tiger monster headed towards the house, leaving everyone to follow in his wake as he phased through the wall with the boy.


'Well, that was the weirdest thing I have ever seen,' Bickey remarked, even as they walked away from the battlefield.


...tbc...


Author's Note: Thank you sooo much to everyone who reviewed. Yes, I have read every single review. Ok, just one last chapter, the epilogue to write and then I'm done. I have quite a few other Ushio and Tora fics started, some crossovers and such. I can't wait to put them up!