Summary: AU. What if Rinne wasn't half shinigami and half human, but just? How would he and Sakura have met? And how would it affect their relationship? Is there any difference in Sakura's relationships with others? What if Tsubasa never left after he found out Sakura can see ghosts? There will be lots of friendship, rivalry, and Pairing: Rinne/Sakura, one-sided Sakura/Tsubasa.

Just a little something I came up with as I thought about the relationship between Rinne's grandparents. His grandparents and everyone else in his family are the same, just not human. They maybe OOC at times, but I blame this on the AU story and my lack of knowing anyone who appears after Volume 5.

Also, please note that this chapter is from Rinne's POV.

Differences Paths Taken Make

By: the-writing-vampire

Prologue:

First Meeting – The Lost Human

She would have fit in just fine. It was perfectly normal to see someone my age walking around here – though most people would find it sad. The only thing about this five year old girl is that she's not a shinigami. Nor is she dead and it's as clear as day that that is the case. She seemed so lost, it reflected in her childlike bluish-hazel eyes.

Damn those damashinigami! My thoughts scream as I walk up behind the girl, and reach for her upper back length twin braided brown hair. I gently give the braid a tug and say: "Hey, little girl. You shouldn't be here."

Turning, the girl shows a shocked and confused expression. It almost makes me laugh, but I didn't.

"I am sorry, but I am lost. By chance, could you help me find my way home?" her trembling mezzo-soprano voice whispered as if it was the wind. I couldn't help but notice that something happens when she speaks. A tug on what humans would call "the heart" but I know to be my life flame seems to compel me to answer yes, of course to her request. I don't understand why it happened, or what it means. All I know is that I couldn't let this little girl come across any harm. The brilliant smile she gives when I answer only makes the tug pull more.

She takes my hand as we walk away from the Wheel and toward the World of the Living. I keep my eyes fixed on where we are going, not really noticing anything other than the hand that holds mine and the road that must be taken to get her back home safely.

"My name is Mamiya Sakura," she says as we approach the gateway to her world. She pauses, waiting for something. It's only after I process everything that I know that she was asking for my name. What harm could my name cause? It's not like we will ever meet again (unless I am the charged with bringing her to the Wheel when her time truly comes), and even then, the chances of her remembering are non-existent.

"Rokudo Rinne," is my simple answer.

She was back where she needed to be. The only thing left to do was remove her memories of the world of the dead and let her get back to her normal life as a normal human. I find myself somewhat regretting that this must be done. But the law was the law. If I do not follow it, I am just as bad as my accursed father [a title that he does not deserve if you ask me or my Grandmother]. So, I did what I had to – I hypnotized Sakura to take the memory of this away. She fell asleep in the bushes, and I turned to walk away. I only looked back over my shoulder once, and it was to leave her with a final message that she would not remember.

"Good-bye Sakura. I hope you live a long, fulfilling life. And be careful who you follow and where you wonder from now on. It was nice meeting you, and I would be sad to see you again soon."

With that, I went home. These events slowly got lost in the whirlwind that is time, and I thought not of them. However, one thing always was clear in my memory of her – a smile that could melt even the most frozen of hearts.

Well, that's all for the first chapter. Please let me know what you think. The next one will likely involve Sakura and Tsubasa. Do not worry; I have not taken way Sakura's ability to see spirits. How else would they run into each other again?

A bit of fair warning: updates maybe rare. I'm not the greatest at updating, as you may be able to tell by looking at my only other story (which I am still working on). I will update when I can, but with my classes starting at the end of August, I give no guarantees on how often I will post. My course work and job come first.