Yume: Prologue
dedicated to
Fuuko no Miko


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Author's note:
H'mmm... this is my first attempt at a Raiha/Fuuko fic. *grin* It's really a  bribe in disguise *waves cheerfully*. Anyhow, this one is kind of...  different. Most of it takes place in a dream. Dreams are weird. It kind of  helps if you know something about dreaming when you read it. Everyone (I  hope!) dreams, but not everyone dreams the same way. Some people dream in  color, others in black and white. Some people can feel and smell; others can't. Some people know they're dreaming; others have no clue. If you  already know about lucid dreams (knowing you're dreaming) and that sort of  thing, kudos! But just to give a quick overview of a few points, I wrote up an explanation of "how things work" for those who were interested. Anyhow, I feel really weird about this one, but this one's my baby, like all  the others were... and since it wanted to get written, it got written.

Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you,
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you,
Birds singing in the sycamore tree,
Dream a little dream of me.
-the Mamas and the Papas


One week had passed since the girl had been rescued.

Things weren't quite back to normal yet. Mokuren was still undergoing Genjuro's ministrations. He had been badly burned during his confrontation with Recca. Privately, the purple-haired ninja wouldn't have minded if he had been completely disposed of. His crudity and lack of panache grated upon Raiha's nerves. He had a sneaking suspicion his underling would just as cheerfully attack someone such as Neon as he would attack an enemy. However, if it suited Mori to keep him around, then so be it. He would keep his peace.

The boy and the little girl had abandoned the Uruha, and for this, Raiha felt secretly glad. The Uruha really was no place for children. It had been fortunate for both Koganei and Ganko to have been 'discovered' when they had been, and taken in-- but it was equally fortunate that this had not turned into a permanent arrangement. Neon had wanted to kill Koganei on the spot for his abandonment... but she had been convinced to spare him for the moment. Raiha hoped that this delay of justice would permit the boy to be spared entirely. He knew that Kurei had had big plans for the boy... his brilliant mind had attracted Kurei's attention, and he had invested much personal time and effort into making him what he was now. Having Koganei turn against his former friends so quickly, with so little warning, suddenly dashing Kurei's plans for him into shards-it was a dangerous situation, and the boy was lucky to be alive. Hopefully, as time eased Kurei's anger, he would forget about proper punishment. Then again, time wasn't very good at easing Kurei's anger at all. Still, Raiha would do what he could.

One wing of the mansion had undergone considerable fire damage. The smoke had been even more destructive. Cleaning crews, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians had been at work nonstop in an attempt to make the damaged section of the mansion habitable once more. Mori Kouran was seething because not only would he have to pay for the repairs, but his little healer had been allowed to escape. He held Kurei personally responsible. Kurei, in his icy manner, did not seem to care about his father's rage. Rather, he had been intrigued. Not impressed, but intrigued by the sudden reappearance of his half-brother into his life, plus his friends in tow.

Raiha was intrigued, too.

He had been watching the monitors from the security room. Kurei had given him strict instructions to not interfere. The purple-haired girl had only been another intruder, until he had caught sight of what she wore on her arm.

It was the Fuujin.

It looked just like it did in the old scroll Kurei had shown him, although it was now missing its central crystal. That was only to be expected, as Raiha had that crystal in his own possession, using it to seal off his Raijin's power. He found himself wondering what she could do with a Fuujin which was not at its full power. After all, she was only an amateur. It was rare that an amateur with a madougu could tap into much of its power. Those three nincompoops Kurei had working for him were an exceptional example of that fact.

She didn't have to use her Fuujin against Maria, though. Raiha was rather impressed at that. So many people overused their madougu, employing them even in the simplest of tasks. Raiha had only used his once or twice in the past. He preferred to rely on his katana and his ninja techniques; using the Raijin against most opponents would be like dousing a match with a fire hose. She and her friends had easily taken care of Maria and progressed onwards.

But what about a human opponent? he had wondered, following them as they made their way through the mansion. Ganko was not exactly the most capable member of the Uruha. Still, in her childish way, she was clever, pretending to be a doll named Primela. She used her favorite mannequin, Reira, as a decoy to fight Fuuko. If only Ganko hadn't been so hesitant at the end…! But it was fortunate for Fuuko's sake, and Raiha couldn't hold Ganko's weakness against her. She was still a child.

He had followed their fight with great interest. While Fuuko's capabilities were not quite adept, she seemed to be at one with her Fuujin. She just needed more experience to truly maximize its potential, even without the central orb. But the girl had great potential.

Later, she had stood up against Kurei and Kurenai. The girl had been quite brave, although of course Kurei had easily disposed of her at her current level. But she had guts, facing him like that, especially in her amateurish state. Only a brave girl or a foolish one would put herself in such a position… but she was certainly no fool. Raiha could easily tell that much.

He felt oddly drawn to the girl. He was curious about her. What made her tick? What did she like? What was her life like? What kind of a person was she when she wasn't fighting?

However, it would be dangerous if he tried to pursue her. Kurei would not approve if he found out he had been consorting with their enemies… and Kurei would be sure to find out. Raiha preferred to allow his loyalty to remain unquestioned. But by the same token, his curiosity refused to go on unsated.

And so he had taken the madougu, Yume, from its place in the collection of the other unused madougu. No one had questioned his choice. He was Jyushinshuu, after all, answerable only to Kurei.

Raiha now sat in his room in the mansion, seated cross-legged on the floor. He had placed a mirror against his bed, and lit a candle. The candle illuminated his room with a soft light; crickets were chirping outside his window, and the mansion was silent. Very peaceful. Very conducive for meditation. He gazed into his own eyes in the reflection, slowly losing touch with himself. As his slipped into unconsciousness, the Yume, hanging around his neck, flashed brightly.