Category: Anime, Rurouni Kenshin-Yu Yu Hakusho crossover, Yaoi, TWT
Pairings: KuramaxHiei, SanoxKenshin, light Kaoru-Kenshin
Email: arigatoumina (a) hotmail . com
Website: www . geocities . com / arigatomina
Part 1: Temporal Lock-Down
The ripples swept over the land much as a tidal wave might have, swallowing chunks of the world and washing back to reveal a new, sparkling surface. But the cleansing was not a brilliant one, not for the inhabitants of the world that were swept away as if they'd never existed. And they didn't exist, not in the new, rewritten world.
The changes were severe, unprecedented, but undeniable. It seemed no part of the earth had remained untouched.
Even the Reikai was left stricken, numb with shock and rampant confusion. If Enma hadn't been there when it happened, they, too, would have been swept away, replaced or eliminated by the changing ripples. He placed a temporal lock-down on the realms beneath him, halting the shifts just outside the Reikai's borders. And, since he had absolutely no skills at dealing with lesser beings, he left his son in charge of cleaning up the mess.
To his credit, Koenma only spent a few hours panicking at the complete disappearance of his best workers. He searched the foreign landscape of the Ningenkai in vain. If his Tantei had been born into this new world, they'd died long ago. Only one remained, and it wasn't one he'd dream of approaching. For that one, the changes had been changes for the worse, in more ways than one.
The temporal hold did leave traces, shades of the souls that had been wiped out, hints of lives that were irrevocably changed. He pulled on those the same as he might have shifted to the past to get them, had the past not been rewritten. He could only hope that his father's hold had been enough to keep them from feeling the ripples in time.
Three young men appeared in his office, shadowy at first. After a few tense seconds they materialized.
The tallest one abruptly fell onto his face, his position telling that he'd been in the middle of delivering a punch when the ripples had swept over him and sought to wipe his existence out. Yusuke promptly snickered at Kuwabara's stumped oath.
Kurama blinked in surprise to find his two friend so close when he knew he'd been alone in his kitchen a moment ago. He was the first to realize they'd been summoned to the Reikai, but Koenma barely heard his confused greeting.
Another figure flickered a few feet from the three teens, familiar yet foreign at the same time. Old scars flashed on his face and bare arms, the more familiar cloak a phantom image as the two realities warred against each other.
Kuwabara stumbled away, staring at the ghost-like shadows surrounding his sometime comrade. And the images settled into a mixture of the two.
Hiei hit his knees in blatant shock. "How...?"
Kurama shook off his confusion, taking a tentative step toward the kneeling demon. Hiei looked the same, as far as his clothing went, but the cuts on his face were impossibly old. He'd seen Hiei not four months ago. There was no way he could have sustained scars like the ones that marred the right side of his face, one line so prominent it cut through his eyebrow to arc down to his jaw.
"What happened to you?" asked Kurama.
"Why are we here?" Yusuke asked Koenma, being too far behind Hiei to see what Kurama was staring at. "I was in the middle of a good nap, you know."
"And I was beating up a thug!" Kuwabara groaned, rubbing his fist. "Now he's going to think I ran away."
"Shut up," Hiei growled.
He snapped around to pin Kuwabara with a dangerous glare, far more hateful than the taunting looks he usually favored the boy with. The orange-haired human blinked in surprise, and Hiei turned away before Kuwabara could think of a rejoinder. He shoved himself up, rising to stare at Keonma. "What did you do?"
"We have a very, very serious problem on our hands," Keonma said quickly.
His voice was still a little faint and he took a slight step back to put more distance between himself and Hiei. He could practically see the conflict going on behind those angry red eyes.
"Someone has changed the past," he continued. "As a result, the future as you know it, is no more. By all rights, none of you should be here. My father put a temporal hold on time, otherwise you'd all have been wiped out with the changes."
"What?" asked Yusuke. "How could someone change the past?"
He turned to send a disbelieving look at Kurama, but the redhead was giving Koenma a very cold stare.
"What kind of change could wipe us out entirely?" Kurama asked, his voice soft and dangerous.
"A demon," said Koenma. "He went to the past and released one of our prisoners, who then spurred the demon world into invading the Ningenkai. They took out more than half the human population and as far as we can tell, the Reikai couldn't do anything to stop them. We just didn't have Tantei powerful enough back then to fight the leader, let alone the demons massing together to invade."
Hiei didn't look the least bit surprised. His voice remained cold and accusatory. "How did you bring us here? And why? The past has been changed, it can't be changed back."
"It can," said Koenma. "I've been given permission to send the four of you back to the contact point - if you capture the escaped prisoner before he incites the demons, then none of this will happen. The world will return to its rightful state."
"Wait a second," Kuwabara said suddenly, his eyes widening. "Are you saying everything changed just because of one demon?"
Koenma nodded, still keeping a wary eye on Hiei. "I haven't studied the changes, but I can tell you what effect this has had on your histories. The human world was decimated by the invasion. Kurama, your human mother's family died immediately. Your youko form was killed shortly after the demon army began its move into the human world."
The redhead glared at him, but he nodded solemnly. "You still managed to migrate your spirit into a human form, but the infant was killed as well, months later."
He turned a bit to catch Yusuke's eye. "Your half demon ancestor lived for a few years before dying as well. Raizen survived, but he stood back from the carnage and died of hunger just like he did in your memory. Keiko was never born, her ancestors died in the first invasion as well. The same for Kuwabara's ancestors."
"And the ice maidens were wiped out," Hiei finished, his dark red eyes glinting. Koenma jerked back a step, not quite shivering at his knowledge. "None were spared."
Kurama turned to look at the glaring demon, those faint scars catching his eye. "How do you know that?"
"He survived," Koenma said, his voice very quiet. "I didn't know you'd retain both memories."
The demon glared at him and he shifted back a bit more. "Can you separate them? If you can't be trusted I'll send you back to the stasis and leave this to the rest."
Yusuke glared, confusion evident on his face. "What are you saying?"
"That Hiei survived," Koenma repeated. "He was still alive down there, so his shade has mixed with the changed version of himself - the soul is the same, and only one can exist at any given time. I should have known that."
"I'm no danger," Hiei sniffed. He broke eye contact, folding his arms and glowering at the faint scratches on his left wrist. "I have both memories, but I choose this one."
Koenma heaved a sigh of relief and a weak smile spread over his face. "I thought you would."
Kuwabara scowled at Hiei for a moment before turning his gaze to Koenma again. "So...I was never born? That's crap!"
"How do we change it?" Kurama asked, his voice sober. "You said we could go back to the contact point. What is this contact point? Who is our target?"
"That's the bad part," Koenma sighed. "A human spirit we'd consigned to one of our oldest prisons. He was broken out by a demon, and went on a killing spree in the Ningenkai before they went to incite the demons."
"A ghost did it?" Kuwabara shivered a bit but still looked confused. "Can ghosts touch things, then?"
"No," Kurama frowned, "they can't. Not normally. And no spirit confined to prison can be reincarnated. Even possession isn't possible unless the host actually enters the prison."
"Exactly," Koenma said. "It was unprecedented. And we didn't know demons were capable of time travel so we had no warning for what was going to happen."
"When are you going to tell them who did it?" Hiei raised an eyebrow, not the least bit bothered that they were all staring at him now. "A temporal hold on a time shift like this won't last forever. Stop wasting our time. I don't like these memories."
Koenma glowered a bit but couldn't quite get over how uncomfortable he was around the demon. Hiei might not have been his favorite Tantei in the past, but knowing what he was in this modified 'future' was disturbing.
"Itsuki," Koenma said sharply. The three teens showed shock and he nodded to them. "And the host, as you can probably guess, was Sensui."
"But he died," Kurama said, his eyes wide. "A spirit can't inhabit a corpse - not inside a Reikai prison."
"He died, but his soul was never collected." Koenma scowled and shook his head. "We still haven't been able to locate Itsuki's void. So long as his spirit was still tied to his body, he was capable of fusing with another in order to reincarnate in a living form. That's what Shishio did."
Yusuke was stunned at the thought of Sensui being brought back, a part of him helplessly relieved, even knowing the world had been changed because of it. He'd never forgiven himself for his part in the man's death.
"Is this Shishio the one who escaped the prison, then?" asked Yusuke.
"Yes," Koenma nodded. "He's the one you'll be going after, though he'll be using Sensui's form. As far as we can tell his part of the deal was that he could have revenge on the humans he hated. We believe Itsuki and Sensui were responsible for the invasion that followed."
Hiei snorted, shooting a mocking glare at Koenma.
"Wrong," said Hiei. "They merged. It wasn't one or the other, it was both at all times. Just one more personality inhabiting Sensui. Itsuki didn't count on that, but once the pact for revenge was complete, the two souls were inseparable and virtually immortal."
"Did you know them?" asked Kurama.
He watched as dark red eyes flicked over to him, his gaze caught again by the scars that shouldn't have been on Hiei's face. "What part did you have in this altered history, Hiei?"
"There's no need to get into that," Koenma interrupted, throwing his hands up in a placating manner. "We need to hurry and fix this before it becomes set. I'm going to send the four of you to the Ningenkai - to the place where Sensui - I mean Shishio - first acted on his revenge. His first target was a human by the name of Kenshin Himura. If you can catch him before he kills that one, you can take him into custody without anything happening to change the past. So long as you don't kill anyone yourselves, your presence shouldn't cause any additional ripples. Even if some small changes do occur, it will be worth it."
Yusuke frowned, his shoulders squared as he took a ready stance. "So you're going to send us back, and then what? We find this Himura guy and wait for Sensui to attack him? If this ghost is controlling him, will he still have his abilities?"
"I don't know," Koenma admitted.
The teen blinked in surprise, and Keonma deflated, his head dropping. "Just keep in mind that you'll be facing Itsuki as well. And this time he isn't likely to let you fight Sensui - he'll take you all hostage in his void if you drop your guard."
Kuwabara straightened, puffing his chest out. "If he tries, I'll cut him to pieces this time. I've never been in better shape."
"Excellent," Koenma sighed. "I'll send you immediately. You'll be arriving just outside the town Himura is in, so you should be able to get inside without drawing attention to yourselves. Remember, we don't want to cause any extra ripples in history. You should have a good two days or so before Shishio makes his attack, so set up your positions to intercept him - that would be the best way to take him out without drawing attention to the fight."
"And if this fails, things remain the way they are now?" Hiei asked, his expression droll. Koenma shot him a sharp look, and he raised an eyebrow. "What if one of us dies in the attempt?"
"Since most of you are dead anyway, it won't matter," Koenma scowled.
The demon continued to stare at him, and he felt a bit of sweat trickle down his temple. "If you die in the past, you die in the new present as well."
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