By: OtakuSailorV

It was quiet, a little too quite for him. Others might not have complained so, but he was used to the cries of battle, the loud, sorrowful cry of sword against sword.

He hated forests too. Quiet and forests, they always seemed to go hand in hand. And he despised them both. If he had his way, he would spur wars on until there was no one left to fight. He knew he was a blood-lusting maniac, a warmonger, someone who was always looking for a good fight, but that was his nature and he desired it no other way.

Hakudoushi strode through the deep, respectively silent foliage with growing disdain. A frown of discontent was spreading rapidly across his features the farther and farther into the forest he went. The trees were becoming larger, and much more still. For, like other living creatures, trees seemed to grow wiser the older they became, and thus grew ever more still, contemplating things that would have baffled even a youkai's mind.

Probably infinity. Trees liked to contemplate infinity a lot. Hakudoushi mused to himself, trying to stave off more loathing that was swiftly seeping into him.

Some of the trees seemed to shudder as he passed, as if smelling the reek of blood on him. And in some ways he did not doubt that they could sense his evil aura radiating off of him and trying to infiltrate their own, more neutral auras.

He stopped, his sharp scimitar pointing skyward in his hands as he thought he heard the crying of a young child. But what was a child doing so deep in the forest all alone? He smirked slightly. Maybe he could have some fun out here after all. . .

The trees appeared to bend - as if sensing his thoughts - in an effort to protect whatever it was that was crying so softly.

He brushed them easily aside, and when they continued their assault, he brandished his scimitar. There was a soft cry within his mind, whether it was the crying child or the trees themselves whispering a warning, he did not know. Striking out swiftly, he cut down the trees that had dared come in his way and quickly stood back again, smirking at the result.

The limbs that had moved to fend him off had been severed, and a several large gashes had been cut deftly and deeply into the bark. The marks would never heal.

Hakudoushi's relatively empty eyes moved so that he peered beyond his handiwork, into what appeared a sun-filled clearing. Inside sat a girl with pale hair like his. Her skin was tanned though, like those that live by the sea, and her eyes were dark purple.

She reeked over salty tears and hanyou blood. Hakudoushi wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"W-who're you?" She whispered in a frightened tone, turning those doleful, round eyes on him.

She looked very young, roughly eight years of age, and had the childish look of curiosity and trust blended in her every expression.

He regarded her for a moment before stepping into the sunny clearing. The trees had cropped themselves together tightly, branches interlacing so that it appeared as if she was being caged inside for some reason. Or was it that this was protection? Well, protection or a cage, it wasn't going to protect her from anything major. An opening above let the light stream down in an ethereal way, making the whole situation seem like something out of a storybook or one of those silly legends.

"He walked into the opening, coming upon the descended Goddess who was weeping, for she could not return home. . ."

Yeah, right, he had heard those silly human stories and still sneered at them. They were all wrong, and not only that, but they were so horrendously wrong and sugarcoated that he felt like puking and laughing at the same time. A rather frightening feeling, that.

"I'm Hakudoushi." He said, giving her an odd look. She certainly seemed a child, and she certainly seemed to have been crying.

She sniffled, wiping the remains of her tears away swiftly. She gave him a small smile, though she still looked unsure. "I'm Shiori." She said, not moving from the place she was sitting in the sun-warmed grass.

Shiori blinked innocently at him, not quite frightened, but not quite content either. The scimitar he wielded was what made her check herself when she had first smiled. "Why are you here, Hakudoushi-san?" She questioned in that same, soft-spoken tone. "Grandfather will be angry if he finds you here. . .And you hurt the poor trees too. . ."

Hakudoushi gave her a critical look. The girl couldn't be serious. She was getting sentimental about trees? And was this so-called 'grandfather' of hers the one that had stuck her in here?

This was why he hated hanyou's; they were so easily sentimentally attached to something that it made him want to writhe. How could she say such things about stupid trees?

"I'm not afraid of some old man." He snorted pompously, shifting his weapon on his shoulder as he spoke. "And those fussy trees got in my way."

He ignored her inquiry on his business. She didn't need to know.

"You shouldn't be here, Hakudoushi-san. . .Really, Grandfather will be very angry. . ." Shiori hated her grandfather's bad temper. He seemed to like battle a little too much.

Hakudoushi gave her a strange look and, coming over, sat down next to her. His hazy-looking eyes fixed on her intently for the longest time. While he stared in that way, the birds sang a sweet song and the wind whistled cheerily by.

Shiori blinked at him, thinking she had somehow upset him. She opened her mouth to speak again, but no sound came out. Flushing with embarrassment, she did her best to avert her eyes, but his gaze always drew her back. What was he looking at?

"You know," He said thoughtfully after a long period of silence. The birds dispersed as if a gun had been fired into their midst and abandoned the snowy-haired child. "You're kinda cute when you smile, like you did before."

Shiori blushed. Only her mother had ever told her she was cute, she was not used to strangers telling her that. She was used to strangers being scared of her or loathing her because she was a hanyou. This was different. . .Her mouth opened again but still no sound came out except for a few strangled noises that made her flush even more.

Hakudoushi smirked at her, crossing his arms to match his crossed legs. "You shouldn't worry so much either." He went on as if nothing had happened. "I don't need someone worried about me."

Shiori dropped her eyes, scanning the blades of grass for some answer. But if they knew anything of importance, they weren't going to tell her.

"B-but. . .Grandfather. . ." Shiori stammered uselessly, not sure what to say.

Hakudoushi suddenly leaned real close, putting his face directly in front of hers. His eyes were shining with annoyance, but there was a hint of amusement hidden within as well. "Look, I know I'm stronger than some old man. And if I'm not, then the world is probably better off anyway." He informed her roughly and sat back as if it were as simple as that.

Shiori blinked at him in surprise. She had never known someone to speak of their own death as if they were a useless person. She had heard death referred to in many other ways before, but never this way. . .

"Y-You shouldn't. . .say things like that. . .Hakudoushi-san. . ." She replied timidly, keeping her eyes downcast.

Hakudoushi looked over at her as she looked up at him. Her eyes looked deeply troubled and sad; they seemed to shine with tears just waiting to be spilled. He stopped, awkwardly unsure of what to say or do. He had never seen a girl cry before. Well, that was a lie, he had seen them crying before, but that was in terror and anguish. He hadn't seen one cry in sympathy for someone else. It was strange, it was new, it was. . .rather beautiful.

Just the way the light shone, highlighting her features, making the dewy tears shine that clung to her eyelashes sparkle like diamonds. Her tan skin and blue-white hair had a light of their own and contrasted in the most beautiful way. Her lip trembled slightly in her effort to speak past a lump in her throat. She just looked. . .beautiful.

Hakudoushi gawked as she struggled to go on. After a moment, she managed it and finished her sentence. "You never know. . .someone might be really upset if you died. . ."

For a moment, they just stared at each other. The birds sweetly started to chirp again before suddenly a loud, rumbling neigh seemed to shake the entire forest. The birds abruptly halted their song for a second time as the rumbling progressed.

Shiori looked around with wide, frightened eyes, startled by the unknown origin of the loud noise. Hakudoushi frowned as his body slowly started to fade. Naraku was calling him, as was Entei, his demonic horse, calling to warn him that it was time to leave. He had failed his mission then.

Shiori looked back at him and let out a cry at the sight of his disappearing form. "H-Hakudoushi-san!" She said, the tears dislodging and flying through the air like little crystals as she swiftly turned to stare at him.

He made a face, muttering to himself. Getting up, he sighed in exasperation. "Calm down, I have to leave now is all." He said in a tough, detached tone.

Starting away, he swung the scimitar back over his shoulder. Behind him, Shiori still was sitting on her knees in the grass. She blinked after him innocently and, just before he was about to disappear completely, she got to her feet and waved one arm in the air vigorously, trying to give him a smile before he left.

"Sayonara, Hakudoushi-san!" She called loudly.

Turning just a little bit, he gave her what was supposed to be a smile before waving his own hand back at her. "See ya around, Shiori. You keep smiling." He said nonchalantly. And with that, he was gone.

Woo, I've done very few one-shots before, and it is rather hard to write for this pairing, but I finally did it. I'd like to thank Skittlez-chan, my beta and good fiction friend for challenging me to this, and for consistently making sure that I keep my head in the right spot during all my other works. grin

I must adjourn now, so sorry that I don't have any notes on the pairing this time. Forgive this one. bow bow

I hope you enjoyed.

Review Please.