Inuyasha: The Last Youkai
Disclaimer: Rumiko Takahashi owns Inuyasha, his companions and his story. I merely borrowed them for a time to have my way with them. Strictly for fun, no profit or disrespect intended. Also I give credit to Peter S. Beagle for writing that classic, the Last Unicorn (whose plot I have adapted) that I drove my parents crazy watching on repeat as a child. Once again, not my characters, plot adapted, no money.
Note: The prologue will be the only first person pov, chapter one will go to third.
Title: The Last Youkai
Author: Fluffy's Green Comb
Rating: NC-17 (or M)
Pairing: Sesshoumaru/Inuyasha (not until later chapters)
Warnings: Well, everyone pretty much dies in the prologue, but they start coming back. The prologue is an angst cry fest, but it will get better. AU, Violence, yaoi (two men having sex), inucest (two male half-brothers having sex), a female Miroku…
Summary: This story explores the question of what happened to all the youkai. It takes place in modern times as Sesshoumaru struggles to find out where those of magic vanished to and why. It will have the gang in tow and I hope to get in quite a few familiar faces over the story. I decided to base the story line on the Last Unicorn. We'll have to see where it goes.
The Last Youkai
Prologue: Supreme Conquest
Light of every colour blind me with their loud assault on my eyes. My ears are dulled by the constant onslaught of fabricated noise and endless babble of voices discussing nothing of importance. My nose may as well have died so bombarded and tainted by foul scents it is no longer able to distinguish the many that are this ningen world of harsh chemical decay.
Bodies dowsed in stale, fabricated odours created to mimic what is real press around me on all sides. Claustrophobic they move like a single beast, swallowing the life with their mundane existence. Yet, they are unaware of me. Much as they are of one another. They walk beside and around me, parted by my presence yet they see nothing. For a being such as I cannot exist in their planned hard world. I am a thing of feudal fairy tales told to amuse, frighten and inspire children. A figment and fantasy. I am not a true being of flesh and life that can be alive among them. Or so they have taught themselves with time. As such they do not see me. It is amazing how the ningen mind can so easily dismiss what they do not wish to acknowledge.
I am alone on the dying, lamented world. The last of my kind. The last of many kinds. I am the strongest, most pure, the only one capable of surviving it would seem. The supreme conquest I longed for is nearly mine.
Yet, now, it is hallow, cold, unsatisfying and worthless. There are none to witness this. To share in my victory. It is empty. There is none to blame for my solitary existence but myself.
There is but one left to battle in this world. One that my sword does not injure. A final foe to overcome.
Reflection over the changes and choices I have made in my life has been my only companion as I drift through this world. Searching for remnants of the past. I realize this began before my life. For I am certain it was not merely Naraku and ourselves which inflicted the mortal wound that festers in the heart of this planet. But perhaps we assisted pushing the blade into the flesh.
How this began and for what purpose are mysteries I seek to solve.
I have no regrets nor any desire to consider what course life could have taken had my choices ended differently. This Sesshoumaru is not so foolish. The choices made were mine and the results suited the time. I am also not so arrogant as to see there were choices made which I have learned from by their faults. My past has made me who I am and I would not change it. However, the choices of the future can be made better from my past experience.
I have watched these ningen come and go, more the same in their routines. Some I have seen return and pass again in the reincarnations of their souls. Always fleeting as is the ningen way. I sought no company and now there are none left who can see me with ease. I have not been close to any being since the death of Rin. Nor have I smiled.
Tell me father, why did you struggle so for this Sesshoumaru to feel when it would first be agony, heartache and then loss that only I feel these past 500 years? Sometimes I consider that my forced change and struggles those 200 years were indeed solely for the benefit of your more precious son. Did you wish for him to have the support of a brother, with no care for me? Did you wish him to be strong, loved, cherished, encouraged by companions, and accepted, but for me to fight alone, be taught to love, have compassion, accept, then to lose it all but the strength I possessed to begin with? Perhaps. Perhaps not. These thoughts are meaningless now since your perfect hanyou child was lost from the world not long after my Rin left me the final time. A time I could not save her. Humans can not escape death when it is time.
Inuyasha and his companions, all those he fought and loved are long gone, father. But your eldest whose heart you forced still remains. Alone with nothing left in my chest but grief.
I am not bitter; I merely wonder if you had seen this as well when you made your choices in your lessons to us.
I would not relinquish the brief time Rin was in my life for any matter. She was a daughter to my heart. She brought joy and love to me where only cold reason lived before. She taught me forgiveness and love. I did feel, yet I saw no need to express or open myself to kindness until Rin entered my life.
I still recall the joy upon her sweet face as I, her father, gave her to Kohaku on their day of matrimony. Their children grew well and loved. I was always pleased to see Rin's smile echoed in theirs. I recall once telling them that their descendants would prove to be caring, determined, strong and that they would do great things for ningen.
My brother's wife had found that statement humorous for some reason. Her eyes had sparkled and her mouth spread into a kind smile that on some level reminded me of Rin's innocent mirth. Over the years I had seen some similarities between the two. Perhaps it was a ningen thing. For I also saw they were as different as the feisty miko to that dead miko and they were supposed to have shared a soul. Fate turned her loom in circles.
It was as my sweet Rin was fading that the miko spoke to me of their similarities and the amusement she had displayed previously.
My demon mind has a perchance for retaining details which humans would find disturbing. I recall events unaltered in perfect recollection of scent, sight, sound, taste and feel as though experiencing it once more in this moment.
I recall sitting beneath the shade of an old tree, overlooking the growing town which housed both Inuyasha and Rin's families. It was late in the spring the scents of growing and birth clean in my nose. Down in the rice and grasses below my hanyou half-brother chased about the great-grand children of his monk and slayer companions. He was in his fire-rat attire, a splay of red and trail of white hair bounding through the sea of rising green. He looked no older in body than the day we slew Naraku, many years before. The gold of his eyes on the other hand had warmed and aged with experience.
The old miko clutching her cane shuffled over until she stood at my side. Sweeping back her unkempt grey hair she eased her frail bones down to sit next to me. The white of her sleeves folded in her red clad lap as she watched her husband play with old, joyous eyes. They remained warm and steely brown amid the wrinkles that covered her face. Despite being near eighty, an impressive age for a ningen at that time, Kagome's heart was as strong and fierce as the day she first faced me beneath the bones of my father.
Far below on the outskirts of the village Rin sat in a worn chair under the shade of the small home she and Kohaku had built. The slayer boy had been buried over six or so years ago. His sister and the monk, perhaps five years before that. The couple had gone to battle a demon together for the final time. They had fought valiantly, but they knew when they left that they would not return. They had decided to have their lives end in battle, together. Noble for ningen.
Rin was nearly blind. Her hearing was failing even more than her vision. Yet, she remained with a sweet smile upon her lips and the grass beneath her worn, bare feet. Her unseeing eyes shining with joy in their gaze over the abundant garden she had nurtured over the years.
"You could go sit a little closer to her, you know, she can't see you all the way up here." Kagome boldly scolded. She could only get away with such tones directed at me due to the grudging respect I had developed for her skills and bravery over the years. That combined with the fact my brother loved her more than life. If I'd killed the wench, he would never have forgiven me. This would not be conducive to all the advancements we had made in our…relationship as half siblings. We were not close, as they would say, but we were connected and somewhat respectful of one another's prowess. Even to acknowledge one another peacefully. There was no longer a desire to take the other's life, but we rarely spoke or remained in the same area. Given more time we would continue to understand one another further, perhaps we could even have learned to care for one another.
Time has never been giving.
"She is aware of my location. Rin always sees the heart of an individual despite her lack of sight." I responded. My child could always find me. She did not expect for me to stand beside her and dote in a ridiculous manner. She accepted me for what I could give. It was enough that I was here to her. It was all that was necessary for us. We did not require words or contact.
The miko snorted in humour which seemed to be directed to an internal dialogue. "Was my gift from her then too?" She murmured.
I shifted my gaze to her aged features, never turning my face from the sun that bathed Rin's. "What ridiculous notion causes you to laugh at my connection to Rin?" My eyes had narrowed for I saw no amusement.
She looked at me then. With those eyes which promised to see the best in one's soul. The eyes of forgiveness that reminded me much of my Rin. She studied me in silence before looking back down at her husband with a soft smile. Inuyasha was pretending to be oblivious to the two dark-haired children who were stalking him through the rice patties, up to their thighs in water. The shift of his triangular, white ears on each of the little humans' movements was a give away that he was acutely aware of them. "I wish we could have had kids sometimes. He would have been so proud and he would have loved them so much. But, then at other times, I'm glad we couldn't. He's still a kid sometimes himself, you know? Our children would have been feared like he was too and it would have broken his heart. Especially if they died before him. Miroku and Sango were hard enough."
"He is hanyou. They are unable to produce offspring. It is well known. While the monk and slayer were human. It is natural they died when they did." I stated simply. Human lives were frail and short. Barely a breath in the lives of many a youkai. But it was a breath I was grateful to have taken with Rin. I knew she would pass, and I would not be able to retrieve her. As was the nature of man. It was still a painful thought, but natural. "I hardly see the correlation to your amusement."
Kagome's lips turned up slightly. "I was just thinking…" She remained silent, watching a bit longer. "I'm from the future. I'm not born for another 500 years give or take. I came here from the bone-eater's well; it connected our times near the Go-shin-Boku Tree. When I fell through the well the first time, I was attacked and it led to the Jewel being sliced from my body, and I took the arrow out of Inuyasha. To learn part of my soul had loved him before. The red string of fate you see, jerked me from my time back to Inuyasha with the jewel to finish things." She looked at me, gauging any reaction I might express.
I tilted my head to the side slightly in thought, "Hn." I was not surprised to learn this. The Well did resonate a temporal power and it was logical the tree that existed between times had roots which reached to the well. Thus able to open a portal and set things moving to fate's desires. The Priestess whom Naraku had desired and Inuyasha loved had been reborn with the Shikon no Tama into Kagome 500 years in the future. The tree had opened the path and brought them together to separate and end the cycle. Had father known? He had the uncanny ability to plan ahead so thoroughly, perhaps he had known this tree as well. Curious.
"Just hn?" The elderly woman asked incredulously, her voice cracking slightly. "Not even an eye-widen?"
I gazed side-long at her, "You can not believe I would find it surprising, with the contraptions, clothing and scents you carried?"
She sighed, "you could at least pretend to be impressed we had been time travelling."
"Why would I demonstrate a false reaction?" Seriously, what point would I have in lying. It was dishonourable. "I presume Inuyasha could follow because of the connection the beads provided to your powers, or merely because it was the tree's will."
"Yeah," she said sounding slightly annoyed. Most certainly due to my lack of reaction to her theatrics.
"I fail to see what amused you still." I stated blandly. My eyes following the line of the land until I could once more watch Rin. One of her daughters was beside her with a handful of flowers for Rin to smell.
"It's just that I had wondered where I came from. I knew my dad's family history, they lived north of here. Mom's family was from this town though, Grand-pa came from a long line of temple keepers for the Sacred Tree, Sou'unga and the bone-eater's well. Because of me, going back, I kinda wondered if my own children might be my ancestors. I never recognized the names of anyone in town as being my family line really. But, Inuyasha can't have children and I still couldn't figure out where my mom came from." She smiled. "When Rin had her second daughter, I knew that name. When she married…well…I knew for certain that Rin's second daughter was my mom's ancestor. It was even better that the man she married was a far cousin of Kaede's who moved back to the village. See? That's why I'm amused. A lot of what made me, I get from Rin. A girl who looked up to me as a young woman. I wondered if fate saw that my line, would always love Inuyasha." Her eyes sparkled pleasantly surrounded by the wrinkles on her face.
I quirked an eyebrow at her. This bold, offensive, rather abusive at times, odd creature was a descendent of my Rin? I blinked. True, I did see the similarities. But it would seem 500 years had certainly diluted the purity of the source. I turned my eyes away once more.
"Inuyasha doesn't know about this. He might freak out a bit. That all the times Rin and Kohaku were in danger my life had been on the line as well." She smiled adoringly down at the hanyou. Who had been wrestled to the mud by the two small children. Three more had joined the pile on top of the red mound. Kagome laughed at their antics, a rattling noise in the back of her throat.
"Naraku should have placed more effort into obtaining the last shard sooner," I stated dully.
Her eyes went wide and she gaped at me before regaining her composure. "Hmph. How long are you staying this time anyway?"
I remained silent, watching Rin surrounded by her garden, braiding flowers with her frail wrinkled hands. "Until it is over."
Kagome followed my gaze in sober silence. "So soon?" She whispered.
We remained silent beneath the warm sun, surrounded by the fresh green growth of spring. "Sesshoumaru?" her voice was serious and filled with a sad longing. I glanced toward her, acknowledging the address. "When I go…will he be alone?"
My dispassionate gaze moved to the hanyou as I considered her words. He was splayed in the mud, a mound of children on his back shrieking. Sensing my stare I noted that he looked up and around in confusion. Ears swivelling despite a small chubby hand pulling at one playfully. His wide golden eyes darted about until they met mine and he frowned. "No," I stated.
"Thank you," Kagome said with relief. Though my agreement had nothing to do with her. My brother would require a distraction and I longed to continue my efforts. I wished for supreme conquest and I would have it by building my strength and eventually an empire. I would tolerate Inuyasha as my travel companion should he wish to leave here.
A few days after that conversation, I care not to recall the exact number, Rin left me. I stroked her grey hair softly as she sat amid her flowers. She tucked a bloom behind my ear and smiled up at me, innocent and sweet. Ever trusting and believing in my hidden heart. She was as much a child now in her withered final moments as she had been the day we first met in the forest.
She went quietly, as was her nature. I left my heart burning on the pyre with her body when I turned away. Jaken's insufferable wails stifled only by my foot. There were places to be and Rin was gone.
Not long after, instinct and scent returned my steps back to that village. It was the miko's body which lay honoured on the pyre this time. The gathering was immense and diverse. Youkai, Human and Hanyou had gathered to celebrate her life and remember her. I remained in the shadows, watching my half-brother falling to his despair.
Once the ashes had been placed in the shrine, and those gathered had dispersed, I gave Inuyasha the option of traveling by my side.
The vision of his shattered lost expression as he turned to me then. His ears slack against his skull, his eyes dull, desperate and broken. The expression would haunt me until the end of my days. He claimed he required some time. He would find me and join me when he was able. I observed as the trees and their intricate shadows absorbed that crestfallen form that night. Head downcast and steps uncertain. It was the last I ever saw of Inuyasha.
I waited two years before I lost patience and began my search for him. Never was there a trace of him past that forest which bore his name. He never returned for all my waiting. Though I returned every 5 years since. To this day I know not where or to what I lost him. An empty ache touches me each time I recall his parting look. I could have forced him to accompany me. I did not. There is nothing I can change. Things are as they are. Strange, it is the hanyou I wished to ignore whose loss most affects me.
There are fleeting moments where I feel hope at the sight of red disappearing around a corner, or the pang of loss at the twitch of a white dog's ear. Never do I find him and I realize it is foolish to look. I continue to search in my journey for any sign of him despite this, as foolish as it is. We were never close. But we had been brothers in the end.
It has been over the last 400 years that I became fully aware of the vanishing taking place. Over the last two centuries things escalated and the decline became rapid and complete. I actively fought to find the cause for the sudden dwindling of the youkai, but I failed. I am perhaps the last on this dying orb, except for one other creature of power.
I had been aware of the decrease in the youkai population of my home during my brother's life compared to when our great father had roamed it. I was also becoming aware of the waning powers the humans possessed. The lack of spiritual powers and sorcery in the ningens was not my concern at the time. I had first assumed that the lack of youkai was due to our continued conflicts. The weaker was being culled by the greater as was our nature. The humans killed many as well. I had also considered that the substantial dent in the local population was due only from that which Naraku, Inuyasha and I had hewn. If that was the case, the numbers would increase in time for many youkai had a swift population rate. There were always creatures being created from human emotions and darkness. But they never returned.
I embarked upon travels further from Nippon. In my journeys I discovered our homeland was not alone. Beings such as I were increasingly rare or completely gone. I wandered the land, learning many tongues, seeking answers to this disturbing turn of events. There were many names for ones like us, many varieties, many habitats, but the results were the same in every land.
Tales of entire youkai civilisations who had evaporated in a night baffled my ears. Enchanted weapons once sought had been lost and places once sacred and enchanted were barren. In the lands where none remained the humans too had lost all their powers. Such common things in my youth had become stories, and eventually myth to them.
Had man destroyed us? Had we destroyed ourselves in our base need for power? Plausible answers, yet it did not explain where these artefacts had gone, nor the death of the magic in the ningens. The roots of all our powers seemed intertwined. As each land lost its sacred powers I remained unaffected. In truth, I have grown stronger then I was in Inuyasha's life. Tenseiga and Bakusaiga remain active in my hands.
Those few who remained I questioned thoroughly when we met. All of whom have disappeared themselves over the centuries. My mother included in their number. I had searched, but Tenseiga no longer could locate the Meido Stone.
It was a common thread of information that they spoke of which intrigued me. A great red dragon made of coils of flame had hunted them. They had witnessed this beast surrounding and devouring other youkai in the dead of night. Including an entire settlement. I was sceptical of its claimed strength until I beheld the phenomenon myself.
The goliath beast came from the skies in a slow stream of trailing blaze. The body of the creature was made of smoke, the flesh was ever shifting flames. It hunted its prey with the confidence and languid motions of one who was aware of their indestructibility. It made no sound, a silent inferno of red in the dark. Over the years I came to learn of its methods. The prey was safe in running. It was useless to battle this enchanted flame. They all fell to it in the same manner. The coils of its serpentine body would surround the victim. Once the body formed a complete circle, the creature would turn its prey into a ball of energy and inhale it into the fanged maw. With its size and methods it has devoured entire civilizations of in a breath.
Since that eve the beast and I have been at hunt for one another. We have battled in the bitter cold of the artic night. Amid the churning of the ferocious tropical hurricanes. Over the endless dessert dunes of the Sahara. Between the great red woods of the West.
I learned from one of the last monks of true ability, that the creature was not born thus, but a puppet. As such I have never been able to destroy the beast. I pursue it through the evenings, as it pursues me. My blades and poisons merely slice through the flames. I have attempted to douse them in multiple ways. But it merely recovers and vanishes in the morning light to return to me in the night's silence. It has become a comfort in a way. Together we battle. Until one shall fail and be the very last.
What drives me is to find its daylight nest. To seek what hidden master urges its actions or if it is all that remains. I often believe its master fell long ago, and the uncontrolled doll merely travels to do its last bidding. I long to learn why it has devoured all, why the humans have become barren, why the items have gone. It is all which drives me in my solitary rule of this failing world.
We are the last.
I often miss the inane babble of my loyal retainer. Jaken had fallen to the beast many seasons ago. The fool.
The sacred trees had gone silent and still long ago.
Though I had grown in strength and body with the passing of time. To what extent I know not for I have none to gauge them. My abilities have been honed. I have explored and perfected the art of using my Bakusaiga. I have even learned to further use the powers of my great father's Tenseiga. Yes, my strength has suitable increased.
I can sense a disturbance in the air and soil of this world from any current. Those few humans who have buried, latent abilities find themselves energized in my presence. The land responds to my passage through it in ways it did not before. Perhaps, it wishes to cling to the last of the old ways. I can feel the land in a way the humans are now numb to in their steel cells.
I have mastered the art of being unobserved when I stand before the observer. A thing which requires little effort in this time.
When the Bone Eater's Well had awakened beneath Go-Shin-Boku's urgings I had felt the ripples from where I walked on Africa's shore. Go-Shin-Boku was a thing which existed outside of time. It had been the only thing which had not drawn the red one. Perhaps because it lived every when in a moment. It never stirred in my many years since the defeat of Naraku.
I sought the source of the ripple at once.
I found myself at the familiar shrine. Arriving to find the past present. So young the miko was, a mere child. So untried and floundering was my half-brother at her side. Freshly freed from his fifty year sleep, with not even Tetsusaiga at his side. It was a scene that was both painful and curious for me to observe.
Briefly, I longed to confront them. A moment of Inuyasha's ire to ease my lone existence. I dismissed this in the next breath. Inuyasha and I were still at war in his heart. I had yet to learn compassion and release the jealousy I had held. He had yet to grow into the formidable, respectful creature he had come to be. He had yet to find his happiness. I could not take that from him, as I would not wish it taken from me. To interrupt their path now would change what we had become. I would never become this Sesshoumaru who loved his human daughter and now mourned my hanyou brother. I would not alter such a thing.
For a brief moment as he was dragging the miko to the well, I noted his warm, curious eyes study the space in which I stood while he sniffed. He was uncertain. He could sense something amiss but nothing was seen or scented. His expression so open, determined and hopeful. So unlike the last expression I had beheld upon his grieving features. My resolve crumbled and renewed in the same instant. We both moved from where we stood, in opposite directions. He never saw me in the shadows; I never was able to forget seeing him.
I remained close in the years they passed through the well. I did not cross any place I knew they were. I would not do that to my empty heart. It was enough that I had seen him well once more. Though it brought a further sense of guilt for losing him.
I remained to ensure the red one did not interfere. It did not. Strangely.
When the miko crossed over after her three year absence for the final time, I knew Inuyasha would never cross again after that. I left my once wild homeland. A week now since that day. A finality in my heart. It was the red dragon and the white dog battling alone in the night until we fell. Perhaps we would continue our battle even after that. It was all that was left to us now.
I stood on a side walk in a city that could be any. The press of bodies parting around my form. Metal, concrete and smog surrounding me. The self imposed grey leaching the life from the humans who lived here in slow degrees.
Everywhere, consuming all they touched, like a pestilence. They had made their lives so complicated it had made them ill. Despite their proclaimed advancements it seemed they were falling further back from the greatness they could be. Their desires were the same as any animal. Food, shelter, procreation. Yet, they had convoluted their needs into a barbaric greed. The race had become experts in denial of their actions, dulling their abilities and weakening their strengths. Destroying their true selves.
I did not loathe them. I will not kill them for their stupidity. They have disappointed me with their greed and denial. I have witnessed humans in their most admiral moments. I have seen them strong, honourable, worthy of interest. Yet most chose to be otherwise. Taking what they see as the easiest route and claiming ignorance of the known consequences. Becoming cowards of themselves.
Very few could detect my presence in their midst now. Even when my Youki was threading through them and I chose not to conceal myself. They would shiver and glance about; veering from the place I stood in a natural wave. So accustomed to blocking the truth and only processing what they wished. On rare occasion a few would detect me. A scarce occurrence of power lying dormant in their veins. Perhaps these would have been a powerful monk or priestess in the times of old. The very young who still viewed the world without bias would pause. Children had sorcery of their own, I could always detect when a group was near. Before the world they lived in striped them of their potential they could see. The very old could often sense me as well. Those close to death can feel more than those still fully alive. They would stare where I moved. Some would see but a glimpse, so very few would see more. They would stare in wonder and awe before shaking the vision away. I never learned their thoughts. I am merely a phantom of a life past in this world.
I will forever hunt the red one. Living on as these ningens kill the world and each other with their toxic lives.
Tell me father, did you wish me to feel compassion in this loneliness? Why did you wish me to love…when it would be taken away and I would have nothing but this. Was it so I would continue this fight? Were the feelings in my heart and the release of my anger so I would try to comfort this dying world while the red one and I circled in the night?
Questions I will never solve.
It is pointless to dwell on them. My mind moves onward as my body. Things are as they are, and I am naught but Sesshoumaru. I will find the Dragon's nest and answer my questions, or perhaps the fates will send me to you, great father.
I should remember, the cycle of fate's loom. Battles renew and things always return again.
A slight tug in my awareness. Dull and unimportant, a sign I was passing close to a human who still had the potential of magic. A second more distant tug approaching from another direction, a third and forth from yet another. It was not unusual for those with such inclinations to come together. Humans were herd animals. They enjoyed the company of those of similar being. I gave it no further thought.
I passed effortlessly through the busy street of the approaching night. Lights, sounds, smell all bombarded and disgusted me. The red one may come tonight. We may not find each other until another. It was irrelevant when or where.
I moved in the direction of the part of city which was considered unseemly. I know not why. The same dark needs and urges lived here as in the more favourable places. It was merely more visible. More openly displayed instead of concealed and lied about. The dark honesty here was more preferable. As well as being less crowded.
I approached on the edge of the busy district reeking of pungent alcohol, intercourse, sweat, and other more base scents to noticed a woman. She stood posed on a street corner with her back to me. Her form was shapely, fit and curved if slightly ill-nourished. Her flesh was a honeyed Asian tone. Her hair straight and jet-black, falling to mid back. She was adorned in a purple dress which was too short and cut too low in the front so nothing was left to one's imagination. She balanced well in her tall, spiked heeled black boots as she flicked her hair over her shoulder. A strange metal bracelet flashed on her wrist. A prostitute. Like many of the other females and a few of the males on this area of street.
I wondered what had sparked my attention in her direction. Curious, I stopped walking and stood near a dingy lamp post. It had been well marked by both weak human and canine urine. Very little gained my attention. So I wished to wait a time to discover the reason why this human had. That tug of potential power was coming from this female. That hardly warranted my interest.
She swayed her hips as a group of young men approached. The women calling them over. I watched her flick her hair again and place her hand on one man's chest. When she spoke her voice was calm and melodious. "So, would you like us to practice the act needed to bear children?"
The man laughed. "Well, if it isn't the gypsy slut? Does a free rut look good in my future?"
She smiled, "Oh, you know I'm worth at least 100. You see…I have this cursed hand…I can't control it…" she winked as she abruptly groped the man through his pants and squeezed. "Of course, if you don't have the money." She shrugged and started to walk away. "Maybe one of your handsome gentleman friends does?"
I reached a tendril of my youki out to brush against her thoughts and soul. My nostrils flared and to my amazement the scent was rather similar to the one of old, though not the same. Indeed. This woman was the reincarnation of my half-brother's monk companion. I felt my lips twist into a strange half-smirk. An action that had not touched my features in an age. Fate had a sense of humour it would seem.
She shivered and began to turn toward me. It would not be surprising if she could see me. Miroku had been a powerful spiritual ningen before. But he had been a devious lecher as well.
She would not recognize me in this life. Reborn to this world. Yet, it was a moment of remembrance for me.
"No hold on, slut. I have the money, though you ain't worth 100, I'll give you 40 and show you a real man." The human and his weak friends laughed. I saw no amusement, other then their own stupidity at which they could laugh.
Before Miroku's new female form could turn, a yellow taxi screeched to a halt on the road and a livid man leapt from the back seat. He wore black jeans, a button-up shirt and a dark trench coat. His hair was dark brown, cut short, with the bangs falling to his eyebrows. He was athletic and strong without the unnecessary bulk of hard muscle. I could feel the strength of his soul burning through his skin. Once again I narrowed my eyes and touched this man with my power. Instantly raising my eyebrow in intrigue. It would seem Sango had chased Miroku into this life as well. Most unexpected.
"Mira!" The voice which came from the man was deep, quiet and filled with rage. Then gathered men and prostitutes stepped away swiftly from the encroaching wave of rage.
I remained as I was, observing.
Mira looked around for a moment before lifting her hands in a placating gesture to Sango's new life. "My dearest Koralo, it has been a long time since I've seen you. How are things?"
"How are things? You know very well. Because of you, my father is dead! My family is shamed! I've lost my job and my family's reputation because of your conniving. Tell me, where is my brother? Have you dragged him into this filth as well?" Koralo loomed next to Mira, only standing a few inches above her yet seeming to tower in her wrath.
A lost brother, I mused. It would seem things truly did remain the same for them. I wonder would fate be cruel enough to put Kohaku in this position once more. It seemed unlikely.
Mira seemed genuinely morose. "You don't understand we can't leave. He'll find us. I never wanted to hurt you or your family, but I had no choice."
"You lie, cheat and manipulate others for a living Mira. Why should I believe a thing you say?"
A gentle tug.
"Because she's telling the truth!" A defiant voice called as a lanky boy dropped a skateboard and ran from the shadows to stand protectively in front of Mira. I noticed the metallic sheen of the bracelet on his wrist the same instant I recognized Kohaku. Looking much the same as he had the first time I knew his soul. Five hundred years ago.
All three, companions of my brother, had been reincarnated together once more. I did not believe in coincidences. There was a reason we had come together in this moment.
"Ambrose, little brother, come with me, I've been trying to find you for months since you left after father killed himself." Koralo spoke softly, reaching his hand out.
"Kor, I, I can't come with you," the young boy looked down at his feet.
I felt as though I were re-living the past once more. It was uncomfortable. Had they not gone through this before? Why do so again.
"Why?" The man that had once been the demon slayer Sango fell onto his knees. Pleading with his little brother. Mira placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and sighed.
"I told you, we can't."
"And I asked why. Give me the reason." Koralo demanded.
My attention was turned from their unnecessary drama. A feeling, an ache in my chest as my heart increased its rate. I shifted my gaze to the alley from which the boy had come. To find myself looking into a pair of bright, all too familiar brown eyes.
I fell to a knee in shock. Rin. My Rin was here again. Reborn into this world. Her face was small and smudged with dirt, she was that child again. She smiled at me, her front teeth missing, but her smile the same as the child I had loved. My Rin, reborn nearly the same. How? "Rin…" I whispered, my voice dull from the fact I had not used it, not for a length of time I could recall.
She just smiled and stepped forward. She wore an old t-shirt, ripped jeans and filthy sneakers. She smelled of neglect. Another of those bracelets graced her thin, frail wrist. None of this mattered to me as I reached out my clawed fingers, to gently touch her cheek. My Rin.
"Hey You! Step away from that girl! I don't know what kind of stuff you're into, with tat get-up. That little girl isn't part of the negotiations, you understand?" Mira was approaching us. Looking at me warily. "Wren, come here."
My little girl flashed me a smile before skipping over to the hooker. Anger blossomed in my chest. That she would believe I wished the child I loved as my own for such base an act. My anger was halted however as I realized Mira had addressed me. I rose elegantly back to my feet and turned to regard her, curious.
Ambrose was staring up at me in awe, and Koralo was regarding me with suspicion, standing just in front of his younger brother. A protective stance. They could all see me and were not…denying the sight.
"You're…quite impressive." Mira said with a purr in my direction. Once Wren was beside her.
Koralo glared at her. "You're too much Mira. He's had more surgery than Joan Rivers, and mutilated his body for reasons I can't even imagine. The Make-up and outfit are ridiculous. He looks like a Japanese porcelain doll. A perv as well. Yet, you want to jump him?"
Mira just shrugged, "I appreciate beauty wherever I find it."
I had narrowed my eyes. Recalling why I did not mind being unseen by ningens.
I lifted my head, a frown of annoyance. Several men were approaching all wearing the silver bracelets, they possessed guns. Little issue to me, but such weapons were an irritant.
"Hey, get lost ex-copper, stop harassing the girls!" One of the men shouted as he approached.
Koralo turned on him, fists balling. "You can have this, girl. I came for my brother."
"He's property of Spider, you know him right? The one who dealt with your dad's addictions?" Another of the men snickered.
My fingers twitched at my side. Spider…it was surely impossible.
The shrill screech of tires pierced my hearing. I swivelled my gaze to the vehicle approaching swiftly from around the corner ahead. People were screaming and running as the windows were rolled down. The black muzzles of the firearms protruding.
I looked to my Rin, still smiling up at me from next to Mira.
The men with the bracelets had drawn their weapons. Mira had grabbed Ambrose and Wren now, trying to run for a building with Koralo shielding them.
I sighed. Humans, why must they put such effort into death?
Before they could move another step, and the bullets spewing from the vehicles could reach them, I was airborne high above the steal towers. Wren and Ambrose held in one arm against my chest. Koralo dangling from my mokomoko, and Mira hanging from my clawed hand by the back of her dress.
I flew silently over the rooftops, a blur of white in the dark city sky. Ignoring their terrified screams.
Perhaps, being alone was not so unpleasant.
Note: I know, but I really couldn't resist making Miroku a woman this time around. I have that type of dark humour. How could I refuse what he so earned? Now, back to the other ficcies.
For your reference, I tried to go with similar sounding or meaning names:
Mira - was Miroku
Wren - was Rin
Koralo - was Sango
Ambrose - was Kohaku