Note: I no own the Ronins. Don't Sue! Thanky!

A special thankz 2 all of my reviewers so far!

Crystal-chan, Tatoosh, Inda, Silver Thorn, g, Harlequinn, Shun ^ Hyoga, Anthem, Stormy Rose, Tained Halo, The Cat-Girl from Hell, Sophie, Hasuko, Sailorearth1023, Kuwabaralover, Shadow's Girl12, Fire goddess, Moon, Jade Kitten, Pixie Ayanami, Gravity! Thankz 2 all of u! –Alkvingiel

Virtue's Retreat

Ryo sat in his room late one night looking out his window. He left a bit sick but just like a cold was coming on. Then the cough came; Ryo put his hand to his mouth and then took it away slowly looking at it. A few dots of blood were visible. Ryo looked at White Blaze who was asleep beside his bed.

"Oh White Blaze… this isn't the first time. I'm scared something's wrong with me. I want to go home. Home is the only place I feel safe," Ryo thought wiping the blood away from his hand. He then went to bed petting White Blaze's head before lying down. The next morning White Blaze got up at 5:30 a.m. he licked Ryo's hand as he always did to wake him. Ryo groaned and turned over putting the pillow over his head. White Blaze purred and pushed the door open with his nose. He padded softly down the stairs and into the kitchen. Mea would be down in a little bit and give him his breakfast. At 6 o'clock Mea came down in her clothes and her hair pulled back into a ponytail.

"Morning White Blaze. Where's Ryo?" Mea asked rubbing his head. White Blaze hummed and looked up the stairs. "Still asleep? Well he can sleep in every once in awhile," Mea smiled. She put his food in his bowl and then started breakfast for the rest of the guys. Kento came down first, then Cye, Sage and at last Rowen.

"Where's Ryo?" Rowen asked looking around. He was always the last to get up but Ryo was going to ruin his record.

"He's sleeping in this morning or so White Blaze says. He has the right after all I can't really remember him sleeping in," Mea told them cooking the eggs. The guys ate and decided to go into town for some things. Mea put some eggs and beacon in the microwave for when Ryo got up. It was 10 before he finally came down still looking wiped.

"Hey Ryo. I was starting to worry if you were dead," Mea smiled.

"Sorry, I didn't realize how late it was. Where are the guys?" Ryo questioned.

"They went into town for some things. Should be back soon. I put some eggs and beacon in the microwave for you," Mea explained.

"Thanks," Ryo called from the kitchen. He ate 1 egg and 2 pieces of beacon out of the 6 that were there.

"Thanks Mea, besides Cye you're the best cook I know," Ryo thanked her coming into the living room.

About a hour later the guys came in. Rowen had an armful of books, Kento had an armful of food, Sage had a bit of everything and Cye had ingredients for his chili.

"Hey sleeping beauty woke up," Kento laughed seeing Ryo.

"Hey Kento," Ryo said with a yawn.

"You still tired Ryo?" Mea asked.

"No just bored," Ryo replied.

"Hey why don't we go out and play football while Cye cooks lunch," Sage suggested. Everyone agreed, so Cye started on his chili and Mea helped. Everyone else went outside to play football. An hour into their game Ryo threw the ball to Rowen, who was on his team. Rowen ran to catch the ball and make a touchdown but then something else caught his eye. Ryo had fallen to his knees and had his hand over his mouth. Rowen stopped running and the ball landed a few feet behind him.

"Hey Ryo! You okay man?" Rowen asked concerned. Ryo looked up at him for a minute and waved his hand for him to go on an play but then he started coughing again. This time no blood became visible on his hand. Rowen ran over to him to see if he was okay. Sweat soaked his shirt and ran down his face. Sage and Kento came over to see what was wrong.

"Ryo?" Rowen asked again. Ryo continued to cough.

"Kento run inside and get Ryo some water. Hurry up!" Sage told him. Kento ran toward the house. "Okay Ryo. Try a clam down, take some deep breaths. You just got a little to hot and now your having a coughing fit," Sage explained.

"If only you knew Sage," Ryo thought. Kento came back with a glass of water followed by Mea. Ryo finally stopped coughing long enough to drink the water and it seemed to help. Rowen helped him stand.

"Come on Ryo I think you should come in a cool off," Mea said as Rowen helped him to the house.

"Thanks guys, sorry for ruining the game," Ryo whispered.

"Don't worry about it," The others said in unison. They were to worried about him to care about some stupid football game. Soon after he'd come in Ryo fell asleep on the couch.

"Do you think he's coming down with a cold Mea?" Cye questioned. Mea went over and felt Ryo's forehead.

"Well he is a little warm so maybe but I just don't know," Mea replied. Over the next week Ryo's cough got worse and he started to have a fever. But he didn't let the others know it, even though they were still worried about him.

"No Mea. I feel fine! I'm not going to the doctor," Ryo insisted.

"But Ryo, I'm worried about you. You haven't been acting like yourself lately. Just tell me if anything is wrong. Please," Mea begged.

"Well maybe it's just because I want to go home!" Ryo yelled. Just then Rowen walked in to see Ryo's face and Mea's shocked look. Rowen hid in the kitchen to see what was going on.

"What? Why Ryo? I thought this was your home now?" Mea questioned. Ryo sat down on the couch and put his face into his hands.

"So did I. But Mea I just have this feeling in my stomach that I want to go home. I feel that something's missing and I have to find it. I think me and White Blaze are gonna go back to my childhood home," Ryo explained.

"But Ryo I thought you were happy here?" Mea questioned sitting down by him.

"I am Mea. Oh please don't think I'm not, I love it here. Being with you and the guys instead of out on the streets is awesome. But… but I miss my first home. Mea please forgive me but we're leaving in two days," Ryo told her as he stood. She looked up into his eyes with tears in her own. Ryo looked at her for a moment and then turned going upstairs to his room. A tear fell from her eyes as she fell over into the couch and cried. Rowen stood behind the kitchen wall; slowly he slid down the wall and buried his face in his hands. Rowen told the others what he'd heard when they got home that night.

"But why would he want to leave if he's happy?" Kento asked.

"I don't know. But I don't think we should stop him. If you guys had heard him this afternoon, he sounded so sad," Rowen answered. The others looked at each other and then nodded. Two days later Ryo stood outside the house with White Blaze. The guys and Mea stood watching him; he had only a small bag thrown over his shoulder that had his most prized things in it. Mea wiped a tear from her eye as he got on White Blaze's back.

"Please don't cry. I promise I'll come back and I'm going to write," Ryo begged seeing Mea's tear.

"You take care of yourself, you hear Ryo. Don't go and get yourself killed," Sage tried to joke but the sadness was in his voice. Ryo laughed at this.

"Well bye guys. I'll miss you. Let's go White Blaze," Ryo urged. White Blaze took one look at the guys and then ran off into the forest. The letters from Ryo came once every month but they never had a return address. 4 months after Ryo had left his letter didn't come. Mea was worried but the others just told her that the post probably lost his letter. Another month pasted and again Ryo's letter didn't come.

"Guys, I'm getting worried about Ryo. We haven't gotten a letter from him in 2 months. And don't try to tell me the post lost it again because I don't believe it. I think we should try and find clues to where he and White Blaze went," Mea told them when she came in with the mail.

"Alright Mea. Your worried and so are we. Let's look in his room at the things he left," Sage replied. Mea and the guys all walked up the stairs to Ryo's room. Cye opened the door to Ryo's old room. The curtains were open and sunlight filled the room. Books Ryo had borrowed from Rowen were piled everywhere. Most of the books were medical and vacation spots. They each looked at the other and then began their search.

Meanwhile in Ryo and White Blaze's childhood home in the Himalayas, Ryo became sicker. White Blaze had pleaded through his mind to let him go and get the others or a doctor. But Ryo always refused assuring White Blaze that he would be fine. He coughed up more blood and stopped eating. Ryo became too weak to get out of bed and White Blaze didn't leave his master's side except to hunt. Each morning when White Blaze woke up he would rub his head against Ryo's arm then Ryo would scratch his head to let him know the he was awake. Then one morning, two days after Mea and the guys had decided to go through his room, Ryo didn't pet White Blaze back. White Blaze rubbed his head against Ryo's arm again; still there was no response. White Blaze ran out of the cabin and roared. Ryo needed him to find someone to help. White Blaze started the journey back to Mea's.

"Rowen you said that you let Ryo borrow some books mainly on Europe?" Mea asked as they searched Ryo's room.

"Yeah," Rowen answered searching through Ryo's books. Rowen pulled a photo album from Ryo's book self. "Guys… I think I found something," Rowen told them flipping through the pages.

"What is it?" They asked crowding around him and looking at the pictures. Most were of mountains but a few had a very young Ryo standing there smiling. In some he was with White Blaze, and in a couple they stood in front of a small cabin. But there was one picture that Rowen was talking about. Ryo was on White Blaze's back; they were looking over a really small town. A sign was put up maybe what seemed a hundred years ago and the words were faded. But they could read it. The town was called, Uzhar.

Ryo sat up dizzily trying to focus on something. "White Blaze?" Ryo asked hoarsely. His best friend didn't reply and a cold breeze whipped on his face. The door was open and a few snowflakes flew inside. "Uh…I have…to find…him," Ryo groaned getting up. He stood in the doorway looking out as the trees spun in his eyes. The cold felt good to Ryo because of his fever. Ryo tied a red cloak around his neck and pulled the hood up. A fresh inch of snow had fallen since White Blaze had left covering his paw prints. Not realizing it Ryo headed in the opposite direction of the town. The storm became more powerful as he walked deeper into the forest. "Ah! White Blaze!" Ryo yelled into the snow. Then he started to cough. Ryo trudged on blood dripping in the white snow from his hand as he walked on. 15 minutes later he entered a small grove of pine trees, the tallness and thickness of the trees cut the wind and snow off a little bit but not by much. Ryo fell to his knees and looked up at the sky. "I'm sorry… so very sorry. I really thought I could have beat it," Ryo whispered falling flat on the snow. The storm grew and soon covered Ryo's body to where only a few patches of his red cloak showed through.

3 days after they had started their search… Cye picked up a crumbled piece of paper and unfolded it. Cye's eyes grew wide as he read what is written on the paper. "Guys! This is a page of Ryo's journal!" Cye told them.

"What does it say?" Mea questioned.

Cye began to read them Ryo's words, "I know that I've been sick for about 2 months now. After the first time I coughed and blood appeared on my hand I became more worried. I dare not tell the others, cause they will just worry themselves to death. It is now that I borrow books from Rowen. I need to research and after hours of reading I have found out what I have. It is called, the White Plague, or Tuberculosis. I have decided to go home and recover. I have learned that cold air helps this sickness. Hopefully after a few months at home I can return to my friends. They will be worried but they can not know about this. I don't want to be any trouble to them so now I'm leaving for Uzhar, White Blaze and I are going home," Cye finished reading and looked up. Not one of them would meet the next's eyes.

"So… what now?" Kento asked after 15 minutes.

"We've searched his room for 3 days now. And now we know where to find him for sure. I say, let's go and…" Mea started but she was interrupted. A roar was heard coming from outside. They all ran to the window looking out.

"It's White Blaze!" Rowen yelled. In a blink of an eye they all were outside happy to see their friend again. White Blaze purred as they all rubbed his head and ears. Then suddenly he growled at them. "What's wrong boy?" Rowen asked taking his hand away. White Blaze growled again, he looked in the direction that he and Ryo had gone on that day four months ago.

"Something's wrong with Ryo," Sage stated following White Blaze's gaze.

"What Sage? How do you know?" Mea questioned.

"I just have this feeling now that Ryo needs us. Plus the armor is telling me," Sage replied. Suddenly they each felt it as their armor symbols started glowing on their foreheads. They each felt Ryo's pain.

"Then let's transform and have White Blaze take us to Ryo. We'll see what we can do from there," Cye told them. They all nodded and transformed into their armors.

"White Blaze think about where Ryo is and I'll take us to him," Rowen said as he created a bubble around them. So White Blaze thought and almost at once they were taken to right outside of Uzhar.

"Wow! It's so beautiful!" Mea exclaimed seeing the mountains. White Blaze turned toward a snow covered dirt road. After armoring down they followed. White Blaze led them to the cabin they had all seen in the picture. Mea ran up to the open door and looked in. "He's not here," Mea told them sadly. White Blaze sniffed the air. He tugged at Sage's sleeve and pulled him the way Ryo had gone.

"White Blaze! Stop!" Sage yelled then he faintly saw blood under the white snow. "Come on guys! This way!" Sage called as he ran through the snow. After 10 minutes they came up on the clearing Ryo had fallen in. Kento saw the red of his cloak and pointed it out. Rowen and Mea got to him first; Rowen slowly turned him over.

"Oh Ryo…" Mea whispered seeing the frozen blood on his face.

"Let's get him inside!" Rowen urged slowly picked his friend up. Rowen carried Ryo back to the cabin and then laid him on the bed while the other guys watched. They had not had the medical training that Rowen had so they just stayed back out of his way. "Mea get me some warm water, one of you guys help get his clothes off. And be careful they might be frozen to him. Somebody else find me as many covers and quilts as you can," Rowen explained. They did as told and slowly color came back to Ryo's face. Rowen put his hand on Ryo's forehead after 20 minutes. "He's burning up you guys. We have to get him to a hospital or… he's not going to make it."

"Isn't TB deadly?" Cye questioned. Tears came to Rowen's eyes but he didn't answer.

"Rowen? Please answer the question…Rowen?" Mea whispered tears flooding her eyes.

"TB is one of the deadliest diseases there is. And if we don't hurry it will claim another life," Rowen replied. They were all silent for a minute.

"Then let's go, I don't know about you guys but I don't want to see Ryo die at 24. Not after all he's been through," Sage told them. Rowen carefully rapped Ryo's body in 5 blankets and then lifted him into his arms. Sage covered Ryo's face and then they started the hurried walk to Uzhar. Once at the hospital the doctor immediately took Ryo in. Rowen stayed with him to help in any way he could. While they were working on Ryo the doctor told the nurse to check the others for any signs of the sickness. Cye was the only one to have anything show up on his tests so they treated him. Ryo however was another case; the White Plague was almost full blown. And the doctor sadly told them that all they could do was treat him and hope that it worked. It would be 5 months before they saw anything good or bad. Thankfully the news was good, the treatments seemed to be working if only a little. Most of the time Ryo was unconscious but every now and then he would be awake enough to respond to his friends. And today was one of those days.

"Ryo? Why didn't you tell us before now? We might have been able to help you?" Mea questioned. Ryo looked away from her but answered.

"I thought I could beat it Mea…I really did. I'm the warrior of Wildfire. I defeated Talpa and with the help of my friends saved the world. And yet I couldn't beat a stupid disease," Ryo replied quietly his voice hoarse from coughing. Mea nodded and rubbed Ryo's hair back. He sighed and slowly sank into for once a restful sleep.

*Hey guys! I need your help! I've been suck on this idea 4-ever! Please tell me if I should continue or not & if I should give me some Ideas! Thankz!* Alkvingiel