A Demon's Destiny

Chapter 1: Beginnings

犬夜叉と舌乚馬

By Amerise Athena Rei

"Please…" Kagome pleaded with her heart and soul as she relaxed her head on the wounded Inuyasha's slow rising and falling chest. "Please Inuyasha…Please don't die on me…I'm sorry. I should have never interfered with the fight between you and Naraku. Why…why do you have to be so heroic all the time?"

"Feh, don't worry…about me. I…won't die…that easily," Inuyasha managed to say weakly as his breathing gradually slowed down into mild wheezing. He tried his best to comfort Kagome even though it was a lie. "Don't…cry. You know…how much I hate it…when you cry." Inuyasha gradually reached up a hand and lightly brushed away the tears that Kagome streamed from her water filled eyes.

Every movement that he made sent an excruciating pain throughout his body. He hissed as the sharp pain from the large gash across his stomach he had gained from the last battle with Naraku. Although Naraku was killed, the wound that he had gotten from shielding Kagome from the strike seemed to be more serious than he let on and at that moment, he knew he was going to die. Inuyasha could feel his life force was seeping out of the wound along with his blood. He could already feel his heart beat becoming fainter by the second.

"Don't…worry," Inuyasha whispered serenely as his eyes became vapid and gradually shut. Inuyasha looked straight ahead very wearily towards the sky and smiled as the sun's rays caressed him. "So…this is what…death feels like…"

"Inuyasha, what…what are you saying. You'll pull through…like you always have. Please, don't talk like that. You're going to be alright and then we can all find the rest of the shards like you have always wanted."

"Ka-kagome…I…." Spoken in a whisper, his last words caught in his throat.

Kagome felt that his spirit was slipping away from her and felt a cold wind blowing, carrying his soul with it.

"Inuyasha…." She grieved as she felt his spirit flow out of him.

Kagome grasped Inuyasha to her chest and wept into his hair. Suddenly, she felt a tingling sensation.

"What?" She looked down in her lap and couldn't believe her eyes. It seemed like Inuyasha was slowly becoming transparent. Kagome quickly gathered him tighter in her arms as his body started to fade.

"No!" First he gave his life for mine, now I can't even put him to rest. Does every trace of him have to disappear also?

Slowly but surely, Inuyasha started to get lighter and lighter until she couldn't feel him at all. Inuyasha was gone.

"NOOOO!"

"Ah!" Ranma woke up startled, and was short of breath as if he were sprinting. He brought his hands up to wipe his face and felt cold beads of sweat that covered his body, shivering in spite of himself. Ranma ran his hand through his hair and opened his eyes for the first time and really looked at the room.

Sigh "It's still dark." He said more to himself than anything. His dream obviously bothered him but not as much as the constant pounding in his head. He was restless throughout the night and the migraine that seemed to amplify during his R.E.M. cycle didn't help his sleep one bit.

Ranma's eyes focused on the dark, empty room with such clarity despite the persistent throbbing in his head but also realized that he was all alone…just like the person in his dreams.

Strange, he had a dream that involved people that he had never seen in his life although the whole thing was a blur.

Just who was that girl and why was she so sad?

Ranma just shook his head to try and clear it and was sort of glad that his father and Mr. Tendou were out on an emergency training expedition seeing as they both angered their "master" once again.

Martial Artist! Heh, still groveling at old pervert's feet. Well, at least it's quiet and Pops is not here or he would have had a fit if I had disturbed his 'hibernation'.

The slight comment brought a smile to his face as saw the first rays of the morning peaking through his window. Ranma slowly got up and looked out at the array of color for his spectacle alone and marveled at the sheer brilliance and color distributed about the horizon.

Feh, despite my crappy night, it didn't deprive me of a good start for the morning. I should probably do some katas before everyone gets up…but not before I check to see what Kasumi is cookin' up. She's always up at the crack of dawn preparing for the day. I think I should satisfy my stomach first and foremost.

With new conviction so early in the morning, Ranma grinned at his stroke of brilliance and got ready and put on pants to workout in.

The closer Ranma got to the kitchen, the stronger and more enticing the aroma of whatever Kasumi was cooking was. As he approached the source of the aromatic invitation of food, he heard sizzling, chopping and a sweet hum as he was now facing Kasumi with her back to him.

"Hey Kasumi, it smells great!"

"Good morning, Ranma-kun." Kasumi greeted quite chipper like every morning as well as afternoons, and evenings, no matter the person or circumstances, yet not turning from her chopping. "My, you are up early this morning. Well, if you'll have a seat, I'll bring you your plate- Oh, my!"

Kasumi exclaimed in surprise as soon as she turned and nearly skewered Ranma between the eyes with her paring knife had it not been for his quick reflexes.

Ranma was almost in as much shock as her as he's hardly ever seen the sweet, mild-mannered Tendou sister say something in other than her sweet, motherly tone…that is, except for when he first moved into the Tendou household and Akane had a haircut via Ryouga's carelessness with his stupid apparel. That particular outburst nearly cost them their dinner had it not been for his quick reaction and ironically, it also saved him an eye or an unwanted lobotomy during this particular outburst.

Having to exhale a breath that he didn't even know he held, Ranma removed the knife from between his index and middle finger and handed it back, handle first, to Kasumi.

"Kasumi, what's the matter?" Ranma asked tentatively as looked at her with nothing but worry as her eyes were still the size of saucers. It looked as if she was looking worried about something that was on his person.

"Ran-Ranma-kun..." She said shakily, still staring at the top of his head, "Your hair."

Man, she must really have a thing about hair. He thought as he raised a question eyebrow.

"Wh-What did you do to it?" She finally managed to spit out.

"'Do to it?'" He echo the question now worried if he even wanted to know the answer.

Not waiting a moment longer, he reached back and pulled his braid forward and was shocked to see that not a trace of black color could be seen on either side of his dragon's whisker tie.

No, this can't be happening! If she was staring at the top of my head, then that must mean…

As if to confirm his suspicions, he ran to the nearest mirror and his jaw dropped.

"Ah!" Ranma exclaimed as he pulled on his hair from the scalp to confirm it was not a wig. How can this be! I know I went to sleep with a full head of raven black hair!

"Who ever did is going to pay!"

"What's with all the commotion?" A voice asked from above him.

Ranma looked up to see Nabiki in mid stretch as she descended into view.

"It had better have been for a good reason to take me from my beauty sle-" And with that, she stopped dead in her tracks to look at Ranma's disarray state and a head full of stark white hair. No sooner did she catch sight of his hoary mane did she crack a smile and no sooner did she crack a smile did she shake in uncontrollable fits of laughter.

"This", Ranma pointed to his head of snowy white locks, "is not funny." He stated with a deadly tone that would have had anyone shaking in their boots…anyone but Nabiki; in fact, she is shaking for a completely different reason.

"Au Contraire," Nabiki managed to say between her fits of giggles, "I happen to find this situation not only highly amusing but a perfect Kodak moment. Say Cheese!"

Faster than Ranma could register and react, Nabiki pulled out a Camera from god-knows-where – seeing as she was wearing only an oversized T-Shirt – and not only managed to blind him momentarily, but caught him with an almost frenzied look pulling at his hair and turning slightly red.

Yup…definitely one for the scrapbook and definitely not for sale…that is unless the price is right. With that, she winked his way and stuck out her tongue before dashing up the stairs.

Ranma was still at the base of the stairs trying to rub away the stars that seemed to be zooming in and out of his vision before he regained that particular sense once again.

Argh! So much for a 'good start in the morning!' I've got to find out what the hell happened to me…but not before I get the negatives from Nabiki!

Without waiting another precious moment, Ranma went thundering up the stairs and down the hall towards Nabiki's room, yet not without Kasumi's gentle reminder to keep it down since Akane is still sound asleep.

12