A/N: Undergoing construction. Edits abound.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or Yu Yu Hakusho.
An uncommon stillness settled over the darkened streets of Tokyo; the only remnants of life were the flickering of street lights and the stifling odor of industrial success. The oppressive city air hung thick and humid, the weight of it magnified by the grisly summer heat and the absence of moonlight that would normally permeate the now unrelenting black of night. No bustle of night time stragglers, no subtle breeze rustling boughs. Nothing, save for the unremitting sound of silence.
The foreboding calm and heavy anticipation soon crumbled under the weight of a violent disturbance. A shriek — horrendous and blood curdling — ricocheted off of buildings and streets, and pierced the thick of the air with its intensity. Strained and ragged, it rang out into the night as the culmination of pain, terror, and utter despair.
She tore out from the wooded area, stumbling and frantic, desperately fleeing the writhing mass of evil pursuing her. She was only vaguely aware of her surroundings, unable to acknowledge anything but the feeling of her feet hitting the ground, the pounding of her heart in her chest, and the echo of a gut-wrenching scream in her head. She had no idea where it was she was going and no inclination from exactly what she was running. She recognized only the sheer panic that coursed through her veins and drove her onward to where her legs instinctively took her: away from the unknown but horrifying abomination that surely followed.
She faltered in her blind rush when a figure, engulfed in shadow, appeared on the edge of her vision and caught her attention. Though she couldn't make out most of its features, the halo of a nearby streetlamp managed to reveal a mass of dark hair and two large brown eyes, distant and calculating. She was certain she knew those eyes, and for some indiscernible reason, she was even more certain the boy behind them held the key to her salvation.
If she could just get to him ...
She never saw the monster close the gap in her moment of hesitation. She never saw the clawed hand pierce through her back and grip the heart in her chest, nor did she notice the blood that replaced the half-formed scream in her mouth, the words dying on her lips as she struggled to say his name.
She didn't have her life flash before her eyes, and she didn't count the infinite regrets and what ifs. She only vaguely regarded the lonely eyes before her, and the distant, heart-wrenching cry of a lone wolf as it echoed in her ears.
Kagome awoke with a start, sitting straight up in her bed before she could even open her pale blue-gray eyes to take in her surroundings. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she fought to choke down the scream that hung in her throat as she realized she was, in fact, in her own room at the Sunset Shrine. She clutched her chest with one hand as she brought the other to run through her hair.
"A dream," she whispered unevenly and tried to steady her breathing and nerves. "It was only a dream."
She sighed audibly as she worked her way out from under the sheets twisted by her thrashing and stood to move toward her window. Sliding it open, she took her place on the windowsill and looked out over the grounds. Her eyes searched the dark in a strange anticipation that she, herself, could not explain. Her gaze fixed on the old well house at the edge of her vision, and she waited.
She waited. For what she couldn't say, but it was as she always did after such dreams, ridiculous as it seemed. It hadn't been the first time this particular dream plagued her, and she was fairly certain it wouldn't be the last. Yet, as often as it had occurred in the last year and a half, she simply couldn't get used to it. Each time was slightly more terrifying than the last, and each time the dream seemed to unravel a little more.
In the beginning, it had merely been a brief flash of images of her running, without sound or feeling. However, it had steadily grown, and each time she'd attempt to pick through the fragments to gain some sort of understanding, but the attempts were futile. She never seemed to be able to discern what exactly she was running from or who the boy was that she desperately sought.
After a time, she had begun to avoid sleep. Not that the dream had been the only cause, though. No, her discontent ran much deeper than a few nightmares.
By all outward appearances Kagome was a normal 17-year-old girl. She attended school, went out with friends, and even dated a few boys. Something was missing, though. She had known it for at least a year, maybe longer. She had felt it — a cold restlessness that had settled within her soul — an emptiness that had taken root in her being and forced her to feel foreign in her own skin. Always waiting, the victim of a cruel, insatiable anticipation.
She wrenched her gaze away from the well house and turned back to her room, frustrated. She couldn't explain why she was so drawn to it, but she knew there was something special about that well. She'd been to it several times in the last few months, hoping to uncover something, anything that would explain what she was feeling. She'd even gone so far as to climb in the damned thing, yet sadly, she found nothing.
She sighed and slipped back into bed, resigning herself to attempt sleep once more. Through half-lidded eyes Kagome absently acknowledged the lack of moonlight and shuddered under her sheets. Gods, she hated the new moon.
It had never occurred to her to wonder why.
He stood at the barrier between worlds, fiddling with the talisman in his palm absently and searching for a distortion in the mass of energy and magic through which to test his theory. A soft breeze lifted the folds of his cloak, revealing features just on the brink of masculinity in hues of rose and gold as the morning light pierced the sky, and he sighed, waiting for just the right moment.
It came as the shimmering energy flared and then dimmed, a weakness exposed in the prescience of dawn, and the once-human boy clenched his fist around the charm and pushed through, satisfied when he met no resistance.
Quickly, he withdrew his hand from the wall, loosening his grip along the way and bringing his open palm back to where he could look closely at the talisman he'd been holding. A strange looking charm to be certain, it was nothing more than a flat, dull, silver disc, threaded through so it may be worn, and adorned with symbols of the old script, denoting a concealment spell of sorts.
It seemed nothing special, but had it been a fake, the impurity of it would have most certainly reacted with the magic contained in the divide and repelled it. He really wasn't certain of where it had come from, but his instincts had told him he would need it — and in the end, instinct was really all he had.
It was instinct, after all, that had sustained him throughout the years and dictated his every action. It was instinct that had carried him through the hells of his existence and brought him, now, to stand at the barrier between worlds. It was instinct that drove him to push through that barrier.
He held no notions of what he might find on the other side, nor did he care; he was incapable of such things. The most basic components and machinations of a sentient being were elusive to him, at best. Emotion and physical sensation simply did not exist within his depths. With no past recollection and no clear future, he was a creature without beginning or end —an animated hollow, apathy bound to undying flesh hardened by centuries of vagrancy. Yes, even the privilege of death proved unattainable. He simply … was.
He didn't even have a name.
No, these luxuries were not bestowed upon the damned. Instinct was the only thing afforded him.
He cast another look back over his shoulder and held it as a small figure emerged from the perimeter of shadow and sauntered up beside him on four tiny feet. He knelt as the creature approached and without words slipped the talisman around her neck.
Absently, he drew a hand back to the pouch at his side and felt it for the only other object, save for weaponry, in his possession. Asserting its presence, he lifted the tiny neko into his arms and stood facing the great divide once again.
The once-boy drew a deep breath to steel his resolve ... and stepped forward.