Damn it! That HURT!
       That Hunter had been persistent, chasing Kurama relentlessly clear across the Makai without stop. Whoever had hired him to take out the famed Kitsune must have been angry indeed to stoop to such levels.
       Par for the course.
       Now that famed Kitsune was hurtling through the astral, or spiritual, plane, betting all of his remaining strength and energy into this last gamble to save his own life. The shock that had come when the Hunter's bullet pierced his flesh had nearly distracted him from gathering his waning rei and throwing himself headlong into a realm he'd only heard tell about during stories in his youth.
       Stories about how the Youko, his people, were able to use their latent kinetic and empathic abilities to prolong their spirits for a short time after their mortal death. How, if one were available, they were able to use a kind of spiritual transference to place themselves into a female host for immediate reincarnation, so to speak. Having always scoffed at such fanciful tales, now Kurama was thankful he'd still listened to the stories, for all his mocking.
       Imagine that, a fairytale saving my life.
       It still galled him that he, the notorious thief of the Makai, famed cold-blooded killer and greatest assassin of all time, was reduced to a mere speck of a hyperphysical entity searching for a host. And in the Ningenkai no less.
       Any demon would recognize my spirit here in the Makai and do their best to keep me out. And I have so little strength right now, I probably couldn't break the weakest of barriers.
       Pushing through the portal that had been conveniently close by, Kurama propelled himself forward, ignoring his own signs of weakness and expending even more ki as he searched for the perfect human host.
       A young woman stood by a grove of cherry trees, the regal deciduous instinctively appealing to his own earthy nature. The scent of sakura blossoms invaded his heightened senses, bringing forth a welcoming aura. It spoke of safety, a place of sanctuary where he could rest.

Not so perfect. In his exhausted state, Kurama had overlooked one tiny, extremely important detail. His potential host was already pregnant.
       This was not always a bad thing, he reflected, forcing himself to remember more details about ningen bodies and the transference process. Up until the end of the first trimester, a foetus remained without a soul, a gathering of ningen cells that were not yet a person. It was at the beginning of the second trimester that a soul was either sent from the Reikai for reincarnation, or, barring spiritual interference, a brand new soul would begin to generate, creating an entirely new life. A first born.
       This particular woman was already nearing the end of her first trimester. And, he snarled mentally, glaring at the ball of energy that hung over the foetus like an omen, her potential child is scheduled for reincarnation.
       He neared the glowing spirit ball, disbelief, anger and fear warring for dominance within himself. He didn't have the time nor the energy required to seek out another host. The only thing left would be to destroy this invading spirit and take over the child for himself.
       A small part of his soul cringed at that thought. Youko Kurama was a relentless thief and killer when need be - but this was something different. In the Makai, where his name was revered, it was different if you killed other demons. They were already condemned. But this...
       This was a soul sent from Koenma and the fates themselves. This was a life force that had been judged and found worthy of a second life. The punishment for killing such a soul would be harsh indeed. Possibly banishment to the nether realm where he would remain a lost soul, to be devoured by a stray demon at will. Kurama winced. That would be the absolute end.
       On the other hand, such a fate was a long way away. Ningens lived relatively short lives compared to demons, and when his human body died, he would be able to revert back to his youko form. Having already lived several centuries, he could easily imagine living a couple more. By that time, he might be sick of life.
       I'm not ready to die yet though!
       He prepared himself, summoning what little ki he had left.
       Are you going to kill me now? An amused voice broke through his concentration. He snapped his awareness up, searching for the owner of the voice. His eyes zeroed in on the spirit he had been preparing to destroy.
       I asked if you were ready to kill me, the voice said playfully. I could hear your thoughts you know.
       Kurama cursed himself, forgetting that all souls shared a kind of telepathic bond that, on this primal level, reduced to nothing but mere energy, was easily accessible.
       I will do what I have to, he finally answered, gritting his teeth. I'm sorry, but I've fought too hard to give up now.
       I see. The spirit hesitated, then floated closer. Kurama snarled.
       Aren't you afraid of me? Don't you know who I am?
       I know who you are, said the spirit. And that's why I'm not afraid.
       I detest riddles.
       I like them.
       Enough of this. I have a body to inhabit. With that Kurama lunged forward, one hand gripping the ghostly sphere, the other poised above in a ready position to plunge through its core.
       At the contact however, a flood of memories overwhelmed his senses. Not his, but the spirit's. He howled, throwing himself back as his mind was swamped with images of its past life. An entire lifetime was crammed into his mind and just when he thought he couldn't take anymore, the onslaught ceased, and he staggered slightly, one ghostly hand reaching up to rub at his temple.
       You...you're a...
       The spirit waited patiently.
       Kurama felt his resolve start to crumble. When he'd grabbed the spirit, he had an idea of what to expect. Like the cold breeze you feel when you encountered a ghost, when one spirit touched another, both lives were felt and experienced. And in this case, the spirit was...
       You're a child! He choked out. Images of a small, redheaded young girl, no more than ten human years. You died a child... His mind sought out the cause of her demise. Loo-kee-mee-ah?
       Leukemia. It is a human bone marrow disease. The spirit smiled gently.
       Kurama felt as though he'd been punched by a six-eyed
grath demon. It was one thing to target and destroy a soul - but never a child. His own childhood had been such that he...his eyes squeezed shut and his fingers clenched tight within the folds of his diaphanous folds of his robes. Children were sacred to him.
       And he'd just threatened one.
       A niggling detail wormed its way to the front of his mind and he gasped, eyes flying open. That was your first life!
       The spirit nodded. Kurama now felt as though he were going to throw up. Not only did he threaten a child, but this was her first reincarnation. Her first life had been ten years long, filled with pain and sickness, and he was threatening her chance for a second start. Not a sentimental creature by any means, Kurama was not heartless, regardless of how others perceived him.
       It's all right.
       I can't believe I've come to this. Kurama sighed. Beaten by a child.
       His rei was diminishing rapidly.
       Aren't you going to kill me?
       I can't kill a child, Kurama muttered bleakly. It isn't honourable.
       The spirit giggled and flew closer. Kurama looked up with a start.
       What are you doing?
       Poor Kurama...the spirit sighed, all traces of laughter gone. You've come so far.
       I'm used to disappointments and harsh realities kid, Kurama snarled. I don't need your pity. I don't need anything!
       I think what you need is a friend.
       The spirit of the dead little girl reached out with translucent fingers, cupping the curve of his fading jaw and looking at him with a motherly expression.
       Always alone...
       Kurama wrenched his face away and backed up a step. You know NOTHING about me!
       You saw my life, did you not? The spirit smiled sadly. And I saw yours. You may have lived several hundred years - but you were almost never alive...
       You don't know what you're talking about.
       Always alone. The few times you opened yourself up to someone, they were taken away. The spirit looked at him, awe and sadness shining out of silvery orbs. How do you keep on living? What sparks your urge to stay alive?
       No one sane seeks death voluntarily. And I'm not one for suicide. Kurama glared at her. You may have seen my memories but you don't know anything about me.
       I know what you seek.
       Then tell me, oh enlightened one. Kurama was rapidly loosing his patience along with his energy.
       Kurama couldn't even speak. Excuse me?
       You've never known the unconditional love of a mother, a family. And the brief trysts of friendship always ended too soon for you to gain an understanding of just how precious it is and can be. But those brief glimpses gave you enough to live on, enough to focus your curiosity on. Am I right?
       He blinked. I...I...
       I only lived for ten years, the spirit acknowledged. But those ten years of my life taught me about love, about friendship. I always knew how much I was cared for. Doesn't it hurt you to know that there will be more people cheering your death than mourning it?
       I have never needed anyone other than myself. He scowled. And how did a ten year old become so all-knowing?
       I've found death brings about a certain...maturity. The ghost smiled. You learn a lot in the Reikai waiting to be judged.
       I wouldn't know. His words were clipped and brusque. His aura faded even more. The spirit hummed.
       Take it.
       Kurama blinked and looked up. Huh?
       The child. Take its body.
       But...what are you...
       The ghostly spirit hovered just in front of him, and suddenly, Kurama could see wisps of the little girl past the mature outlook.
       I didn't live long, she acknowledged. But I did live. She reached out with her hand again and this time, Kurama didn't flinch or pull back when she stroked slender fingers across his cheekbone. I feel sorry for anyone who does not grow up knowing the love of a mother.
       Kurama choked. I have never needed anyone...
       But you do need someone, the spirit smiled. Why else would you keep forcing yourself to go on living? All you've known is the loneliness. But something inside of you is urging you to go on until you find what you crave. She tapped his nose lightly. You've just never known what it was you were searching for.
       But still...if I just take over, then you...
       I will be without a body, I know. She grinned. But I have a better track record than you. I think perhaps Lord Koenma might show me a bit more pity than he might you.
       Kurama didn't know what to do. He had never expected to be shown such a gesture of kindness. To be perfectly honest, he'd never been shown that kind of emotion, never given that kind of sacrifice. He trembled in the face of such gentleness, letting out a whimper as the girl brushed ghostly fingers through the silvery strands of his hair. Such tenderness...he'd never felt so cared for.
       Is this what mothers are like? he asked, a tad wistfully, closing his eyes. The girl laughed gently.
       Mothers are even better. They care for you when you're sick, they love you even when you're angry and bitter. They worry about you when you're gone and they hug you when you return.
       Unconditional love. Kurama's lonely spirit cried out for the mother he'd never had. His own mother had abandoned him just after his birth, and even after all this time, he still ached to see her, to know her.
       There's more. Once you learn love from your family, it spreads out to your friends.
       I've only had one friend, Kurama said quietly. He died because of me. I can't have more - I can't. His heart lurched. I'd probably end up without this mother too.
       I think you're wrong. The spirit gestured to the foetus they were still hovering over. And this is your chance to actually live.
       Kurama bit his lip fretfully. Somewhere along the line, his anger had completely evaporated. This girl spirit had turned his world upside down and now he didn't know what was right anymore.
       Not that I ever did.
       He looked at the serene face of a little girl who had shown him the first shreds of warmth he'd felt in a long time. Her face was lined with confidence, unafraid for her fate. His fingers twitched.
       There was no guarantee that she would be given another chance for reincarnation. She would be a defenceless spirit travelling back through the Makai. There were many demons in the Makai that fed on souls. She would never make it back. He looked up as she gasped.
       He looked. The foetus was starting to glow and he growled as he realized what was happening. It was starting to generate a new soul. If it did, both of them would be gone. He made his decision.
       Come here!
       Kurama sighed with impatience, opening his arms. Come here and join me.
       The spirit blinked at him. But...
       I will not be responsible for the death of a child! He snarled. Now come with me.
       He knew what he was offering. A merging. She could join his soul and be a part of him for as long as he lived in the human body. As the dominant soul he would remain in control, but she would always be there with him, a part of him. Neither of them would ever be what they had been.
       And it was irreversible, for as long his human body would live.
       Do you know what you're offering? She asked him quietly. He nodded gruffly.
       I'm offering you a chance to live as well, he said grimly. Then his demeanour softened, just a touch. Through me, you will get a chance to live again in the future. You will be dormant, asleep, and I will keep you safe in my mind. And when this mortal body dies, you will be free for reincarnation while I resume my youko form. His arms remained open though his hands were trembling. I will help you live. And you... he bit his lip nervously. You can teach me how.
       The spirit searched his aura, wispy as it was, and then nodded. She floated over, allowing herself to be enfolded in his embrace. He sighed as he felt her soul merging with his, her light chasing away some of the darkness. He gasped as her innocence overlapped his cynicism, tunnelling through his mind and embedding herself into his heart. She sighed as he mentally wrapped her in layers of protective barriers, determined to do the right thing for once in his life. It was a dangerous thing, housing two souls in one body, but Kurama was determined to succeed. He spared a brief moment to snicker - the gods wouldn't like this very much. He shouldn't have even been in the ningen realm, let alone taking over a human body. He felt her settle within him, his aura strengthening, fuelled by hers, and he then turned and looked at the foetus, watching as it failed to sense a soul in itself, and began to try and create one.
       Oh no you don't, he muttered.
       Mentally settling himself, he sank towards the future child, letting himself be absorbed by the shell. The energy that had been gathering in preparation for a new soul instantly redirected itself to him, eager to have this new spirit a part of it. Kurama felt energized like never before. Then he noticed something.
       Oh no! Not happening!
       He expended a portion of his new found energy, focussing, shaping, changing. He felt, rather than heard, the little girl giggle.
       Quiet brat-child. You may be a part of me, but there's no way I'm going through life as a female!
       Her laughter faded away as she settled into a deep slumber, tucked away in a corner of his heart that he would protect for the rest of his life, until his death - where she would then be released, free to find a body of her own, to make a life for herself that she had previously been unable to enjoy. He felt a brief stab of guilt that she would have to wait so long for it to happen, and he swore that he would learn to live, to love, if for nothing more than out of gratitude for what she had done for him.
       His energy depleted, he yawned mentally as a comforting darkness swept over him and his last thoughts were of gratitude for the unknown child who helped him, and a feeling of hope for his future.

© 2001 Stormy

Author's Notes
       This fic takes place during that period of time between Kurama being shot by the hunter, and before he's born. It's my interpretation of just how he reincarnated himself. The world transference process I've heard about was left to open for me, so I tried to explain a little about it in the fic, and the way I wanted to use it. The idea of the youko race being telepathic, empathic etc, is my own interpretation and imagination. Please do not take the details of this fic as canon for the show.
Okay. I'm not going to go into a long theological debate or argument. For the purposes of this story, and the fact that a lot of YYH is about reincarnation, I decided that reincarnation, or the possession of a foetus by a soul happens at the end of the first trimester. My reasoning behind this is that in all the medical reports I've read, if you choose to do so, abortion takes place within the first three months. After three months the foetus is referred to as a child. If that's the case, then a soul doesn't enter the foetus until the end of the first trimester, after which it is a child, and then grows into its soul.
       This is my interpretation for this fic. Do not ask me what my views are on abortion or anything else - it's none of your business, and it has no bearing on this fic. Also, don't bother flaming me on the theory of reincarnation, or how my ideas of a child not being a child until after the first trimester - this is called FAN fiction - meaning I am the fan, I am writing what I want. Besides, if you're a fan of YYH, you would know what it's about and wouldn't bother anyway.

Grath demon - I have no idea. A monstrous, nasty demon that eats Kitsune. ^_^ I needed something. Back

© 2001-2006 WaveWrights

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