The breeze carries my soul...

If any of you are wondering, this is a sort of prologue to Fate's Destiny, a YYH fanfic featuring Kurama. It involves his past as a youko, his predicament with a girl of kindred spirit, and their battle against a mage's mad plan for supremacy.

This prologue serves as an introduction to Fate's Destiny. It can't really stand on its own, though you won't have to go through it to procced to the main story. Partly, it's based on my musings on the darker side of fate. There's a bit of angst, of course. But anyway, The Prologue.

Fate's Destiny: A Prologue

Flashes of light appeared before his eyes, his eyes shrouded by a reddish haze, even as his vision seemed to blur. He could see his partner's shining silver hair from a distance, hand outstretched, as if bidding him to come. If only I can...but go! This is goodbye...for now. He stared ahead and watched the youko clutch is fist in anger and desperation, then his lithe, graceful form leapt out from view as their pursuers converged to trap him. Farewell, my well.

He felt the hot heat of his own blood stream across his base, and his strength ebbed with each passing second. He clutched the pendant to his heart, this memento of which only he knew the full significance. He had given up his life with Kurama in order to retrieve it, and now silver-haired thief had passed from his sight. He heard the pounding feet and harsh voices of a mass of youkai who had come after them in pursuit, and they encircled him, celebrating their kill. The soldiers of the demon lord from whom they had stolen an artifact. And behind them, the demon lord himself, his smile grotesque, his eyes gleaming with insane glee. He felt fury rip within him. He shouldn't have allowed himself to be taken, to die alone like this.

Then, he saw a fluttering of dark robes before him, followed by a a shroud of darkness, which encompassed all the youkai gathered around him. As he watched, the darkness seemed to expand, then contract. Then, it swirled, as a lake's surface would ripple, and in a tornado-like motion, it swept upward, carrying screaming youkai with it. The motion intensified, until the youkai were torn apart from the force. Various fragments from his former pursuers dropped around him. He could not help but form a grim smile.

The demon lord was behind him now, sweating and confused. He could not see the face of his rescuer, but he could sense the dark mirth from the hunched form. One clawed hand was thrust toward the demon lord, and he began to run away, fear evident from his sweating, shaking form. The claw snaked out, shooting what seemed to be ball of lightning toward the fleeing figure. The demon lord was hit, and he was frozen in place by thousands of bolts of black light striking each and every part of his body. Kuronue watched, transfixed in fascination, even as he felt himself weakening further. Then, the demon lord collapsed, and Kuronue could sense its soul blending with the bolts of energy. As he watched, the bolts gathered together to form a ball of energy, which flew back to his rescuer's hand. The hand caught the ball deftly before crushing it beneath powerful fingers. Energy flared, then died.

Kuronue's rescuer turned to face him. Kuronue saw that the youkai was short, yet powerfully built, with square shoulders and a broad chest. He wore robes of dark crimson over a velvet surcoat, and his feet with clad were knee-high boots. He also had a striking face, with deep, slanting eyes of a pale yellow shade, bushy eyebrows, reddish-blonde hair reaching up to his waist that was bound by a leather band. He fingered his short-cropped beard with long, slender fingers, each tip with a nail as long and as sharp as a claw. He gave Kuronue the impression of a cunning and desparate predator.

"Do you wish to live, Black Raven?" the man's voice was deep and compelling. Kuronue blinked, then nodded slowly.

The man smiled. He closed his eyes in concentration, his brow wrinkling and sweat pouring profusely from his forehead. Then, his eyes flashed open, and the bamboo poles shattered beneath his gaze. Kuronue staggered to the ground, still bleeding profusely from his wounds, his breathing shallow and labored. The youkai glanced at his rescuer in silent plea.

The mage gestured, and Kuronue's form was suspended within a block of crystal which hovered before the mage. Kuronue felt his eyelids drop, then his limp from lapsed into unconsciousness. The youkai mage smiled as he studied the still form of the raven youkai. Just what I need, really. A youkai to do my bidding. A cruel smile etched itself on his face. And he will draw one other to me.

The mage and the crystal vanished, leaving only disemboweled bodies in the wake of the passing battle. Silent silver eyes gleamed in the night behind a clump of trees, having witnessed the winged youkai's abduction. All through the night, the stranger's stare remained glued to the spot in its quiet vigil. The swift breeze blew through the bamboo grove, passing the spot where the stranger stood watching. Then, when the breeze blew on, the gleaming eyes were gone.

Kurama stood at the school's rooftop, the wind ruffling his wealth of fiery red hair. He seemed oblivious to it, however, as his eyes unfocused, staring into nothingness. Today marks another anniversary of the day Kuronue had died... Kurama shook his head sadly. All those years, and he could still feel a pang of grief. He was almost like a brother, family, and more...

Kurama turned when he spotted a dark shadow from a distance. He smiled as he detected the dour figure of Hiei standing not far from him unmoving, watching his silent reverie. Kurama relaxed and stepped toward the fire demon. Hiei did not move, but followed Kurama's movement with veiled eyes.

"You seem more detached than usual, Kurama," Hiei remarked as Kurama got nearer.

"Thinking of the past," Kurama admitted, shrugging. "It hasn't been an entirely pleasant one for me."

"Hn," Hiei nodded, then said nothing. Then, he smirked. "Whatever it is, it must've been something to have torn you away from that ningen horror you call a classroom."

Kurama had to smile. Hiei did have a sense of humor, even if a unique one that verged on sarcasm. During his stay at Ningenkai, Kurama had grown to love the world and appreciated its innate beauty. Hiei, however, seemed to want to detach himself from Ningenkai, except for few contacts with the other Rei Kai Tantei and Yukina. It was this dark, brooding side that drew Kurama to Hiei. We share in that darkness, you and I. Two youkai in a ningen world. But we both hide black truths within our souls, and choose to live with the torment.

"Memories hurt, but I've never been known them to harm physically," Kurama remarked, feeling the chill wind whip around him. "Still, I wonder if I'll always have to live with certain regrets."

"You will, because you know you have to," Hiei remarked softly, then surprised Kurama by placing a hand on the taller man's shoulder. "Because you are strong. And that is why you will."

Kurama smiled, his green eyes twinkling with amusement. The warmth from Hiei's touch had been welcome. You never fail to surprise me, my friend. Beneath that gruff exterior lies a person who does understand, but hides that truth well. He then drew a rose and tossed it to the wind, watching the petals blend with the breeze.

An offering, Kuronue. Through all this years, know that Youko Kurama still does mourn your loss.

Hiei watched the petals swirl through the breeze. With a glance at the pensive Kurama, he nodded in silent salute, then jumped from the roof and was gone from sight. Kurama didn't know where the enigmatic Koorime was wandering to now, but then, Hiei did seem to have an instinct. You appeared when I needed a friend who knows what I live through and who understands that I must. Kurama tossed a second rose to the wind, this time with his thoughts on Hiei.

May the wind carry my thanks to a kindred soul...

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