Of Wind and Darkness

Ch. 1 Betrayal

The fight had been a rough one. The demon Happosai released had wreaked havoc through the Nerima wrecking crew. Ranma had gotten the worst of it though. In the middle of the fight, Akane had recklessly charged the monster yelling about how she could fight too, and Ranma had to, of course, rush in and force her out of harm's way. The demon's swing would have been a death blow for Akane. It was still quite a debilitating one for Ranma. Running in, he thrust her to the right and was pounded straight into the dirt. He could hear every one of his ribs crack or break on his left side.

Fortunately, Ryoga distracted the raging beast at this point, giving Ranma enough time to get in close and finish him off. Using his father's forbidden techniques, of course, but Ranma felt no remorse over using them on such a creature.

The sun began to set.

After the demon vanished back to whatever hell dimension it had come from, the arguing began. The girls fought over Ranma, worsening his injuries, while the guys alternated between pleading with the girls and glaring at him. In the end, the girls left in a scuffle, Ryoga got lost, Moose went chasing after 'Shampoo' bushes and Kuno was knocked out somewhere unconscious after an impromptu trip through the air.

Leaving Ranma alone. - Which is good, right? - he thought, lying on the ground. He was in so much pain it was hard to focus. Every breath felt like liquid fire and he could hear his lungs gurgling in time with his short gasps.

- Hey guys? -

Something else was wrong. If only he could concentrate. The demon had vanished, but, the feeling of danger was growing, not diminishing.

- They left me alone. -

As the sunlight vanished over the hillside, the feeling became very strong. Ranma struggled to get up, to yell, to warn the others, but his energy gave out and the world started to go black.

- Please, somebody, come back. Help me! -

A shadow descended over him, and a cool hand touched his cheek. His eyelashes fluttered in an attempt to open his eyes. Then something/someone bit him. A thrill of ecstasy ran through his body. At the same time, he could feel the last of his life energy being drained away.

- No! I won't let this happen. I'm not going to die! After everything, I won't let this thing defeat me. -

Ranma struggled to power up, to bring up his chi, but to no avail as it petered away into nothingness. Mentally reaching, he grasped out for something, anything, a security line to save him from the approaching abyss.

Then he felt something flow into his mouth. A taste. Something that wrapped around his sinking soul and kept him from the teetering edge. He drank eagerly, grasping for a way back despite the fluttering feeling in his heart that something was wrong.

Then the source was gone and his breathing changed. Coming in slower and slower gasps until it stopped, then began again.

Looking down at the boy, D'aray smiled softly. Ranma's skin waxed pale until it was luminescent. The raven black hair lengthened until it reached his hips. His eyes opened and, where blue-gray had been, changing eyes of deep blue and violet glowed, streaks of silver flashing through them. "Storm. You are my Storm. A brilliant flame you were, destined to burn hotly and swiftly, soon extinguished. But, now I have changed the fuel and your flame will burn cold and bright forever."

D'aray ran his hand down the boy's cheek. "Beautiful. I think I'll keep you."

Ranma was swept up, and a long back cloak wrapped around both of them, as they faded into the night.

Later, a very peeved Akane, along with a worried Ukyo and Shampoo, would return to the site only to find a pool of blood with no foot prints leading to or from the site. The woods would be searched, thoroughly, by desperate parents and various martial artists, but no sign of Ranma could be found.

* * * *

In the darkness, a breeze stirred. A figure in black sat in the corner of an elaborate room, full of darkly stained wood and tapestries.

- They left me alone. No one came to rescue me. After all the times I came for them, for her, no one cares. -

"Yes little one, they care not for you, but I do."

Ranma looked up to meet the emerald gaze of the one who now owned him.

"Come my Storm, we have places to see and people to undo."

With supernatural grace and eerie silence, Ranma rose to his feet and glided after his master. Yes, this was his life now. Or was it his death? Had he gone to hell? What had he done in his life that was so awful that he was doomed to spend the rest of eternity as a demon? Well, he had killed Saffron, a god. Or maybe this was the punishment of his ancestors, his father was always telling him how worthless a son he was, but did he really deserve this waking nightmare?

All such thoughts passed from his head as the wind rose - and he stepped into the darkness.

Authors note: This is something that's been floating around in my head for some time. If you like it, let me know and I can continue it as a series. Otherwise I'll just leave it as a creepy one shot - for Halloween or something.

D'aray is Gaelic for dark.