Ryuu Aki , or Ryuk to those around him, born of the Ningenkai , was a professional hitorki who now wandered aimlessly in his futile life, with no purpose left but to beg for a never-coming death, to which he had so narrowly escaped so many years ago. Praised as he was, he remained empty inside, never allowing others to get too close as he want along his own way, with only Neko by his side any longer. It was only five years ago that he had come from his Kami-sama given quest, in which he returned in triumph, but only to the naked eye. He was dead inside now, as he was before he started, with only fond memories that led to the inevitable bad ones to follow him and Neko on their way through eternity.

The old sage sat under the tree, the young children sitting around him, engulfed by his stories as they always were. He waited for them to quiet down as he began, beckoning them closer. "This", his voice rang through the air, "is a special tale we all know, but never speak of" he looked around, "And all around these parts, we know the name, but few the true reasons why and of him." The children gaze at him, curious eyes yearning for the story. the old man sighed, and agin began speaking. "Once, not all that long ago, wandered a young man, a ronin, who had lost but all hope in life. no reason to live did he hold anymore. that was, until the world called for him." the old man went on in his explanation, oblivious to Ryuk's presence nearby. He watched them under the sakura tree, scoffing as the old sage told his story of a thing he never knew. He remembered it all. He didn't need the old man to tell others of his sorrows. Ryuk leaned against a nearby tree, sighing to himself as he remembered it all, murmuring insults of his own stupidity as he reminisced. "oh, Neko, where'd it go wrong?" he asked the cat, who merely purred and rubbed against him, his small wings fluttering as he rubbed Ryuk's leg. Ryuk sighed and looked up at the clouds, where the moon was not visible yet, as they spelled out his fate. "Ryuzaki" he whispered, as he faded into his memories. Five years ago, he returned. More than a year before that, he left. He had been much as he was now, always just on his own, taking jobs as he could to earn money to live off of, but never doing more than had to, or less than what he was asked. 'Dragon', some called him, referring to his feircness, sometimes meant as an insult of the creatures who lay in Makai waiting for the moment to strike and destroy them all. That was why he was called, was it not? To destroy what they had never seen, what they feared for over mere stories passed down through storytellers and changed, translated through many a language that they no longer knew. For all they knew, the dragons didn't even exist, ever, or if they once had, they could very well now be extint. But their fear held them tight on the decision that something muct be done. Of course, Ryuk wasn't well liked. It were serv as a chance to rid them of his precence. No matter to him, he wasn't fond of their lives anyway. They were all mere mortals. All of them. So why care about someone who was destined to die anyway, no matter what you did? Is was at the ignitionation of the new leader, Jakin, who was to take over after Gilfrid's assisnassionation. Such an event was rare and drawn out, and at the end of it, Ryuk was called upon by the new king in hopes of him destroying their unseen enimies. He reluctanty accepted, figuring it a chance to get away. He did not believe in the dragons as the elders did. claiming tem of haunting dreams, mere nightmares thought Ryuk. From the Ninenkia he left south, heading to the river Eridanos to cross to the makai in search of the dragons. The small raft he stood on was not stable as it crossed the crimson waters, into a thick fog leading to a cliff. He was nearly there when the water roared and a monster appeared before him, a cat on its shoulder. The beast itself cried a feircful roar into the fog, lost in the neverending valleys around, deserted of all life. Its black skin rippled as it caused such an uproar, claws the size of Ryuk's torso ripping at the air. It continued to bash around, until it caught sight of Ryuk, unflinching before the beast as he was. "Who are you?" demanded the beast, staring with red eyes into Ryuk's, almost identical shaded. "You first, " replied Ryuk, "It's polite to state your own name first." "True, "said the beast, now calm, the cat on his shoulder still unmoving, "I am Sheshomaru, guardian of this sea. Who are you to try to cross into the Underworld, you are obviously of the living." "I am Ryuk, hittoriki of the genenkia, and who's to say i'm not dead?" "Don't make me laugh, child, you stink of the living." "Very well, but you must let me pass. i have few intintions to return, and i must seek the dragons." "Fine, fine. Just get out of my river. As i said, you stink." "thank you," Ryuk said as he bowed. Before the raft began moving again, the cat on Sheshomaru's shoulder began to stir. The jumped down on Ryuk's and purred."let him join you then," Sheshomaru said as he eyed the winged feline. "he does as he wishes anyway"Ryuk bowed again as the raft sailed off. It wasn't long from there that they arrived at the cliff of the damned, lowering over the earth, covering even the moon that had lingered behind Ryuk on his journey here. He made his way into the opening of the cave and looked around. Behind the, Ryuk could no longer hear Sheshomaru thrashing about. He could hear nothing at all even. The deafening silence was nearly overwhelming. he stepped forward into the cave and looked about. Nothing but stalactites and stalagmites surrounded him as he made his way through the maze of rocks and eventually came to an opening that showed light. He entered it to find the walls covered in fire, as well as a river of lava, but much to his dismay the room itself was freezing cold. in the center of the large room was a vast opening in the ceiling from which the moon could be seen. It smiled down on him like evil preying on a small child, as it always did, aiding him through his trials in life. Before he could go any further, a chiropteran appeared before him. Suddenly strings came out of nowhere and took hold of his limbs, and remained attached to the ceiling. He felt himself being shaken against his will. The chiropteran smirked and recited a small verse. "If you're gonna run, how fast you gonna run, if you're gonna jump how high you gonna jump? " Ryuk then felt himself being lifted. "Everybody," the chiropteran now said slowly, "shake your bodies" Ryuk immediatly struggled to free himself before being shaken again. He knew this tale. If he was shaken again, death was inevitable. I'm not your puppet!" he yelled. the chiropteran smiled at him and snickered and Ryuk sliced the strings with his katana. "Why are you laughing?" he demanded now, irked at the play of puppetmaster. "I didn't like you anyway, my kodomo . No, my ningyo are to be of much higher quality than the likes of you. I think i shall kill you of all living instead." "Puppets are dead" Ryuk sneered. "No, they know all that is going on. You see, mortal tales are always wrong. i like to play with my dolls, but the stench of the living is overwhelming, so i coat them with death. but inside they still exist. Unlike you, Dragon. You're but a child. You should have known better but to leave your nest." "Ha, i am no dragon, you foul beast. now let me pass." "Now, now, weren't u taught not to lie? you smell of a living dragon. that will soon change however. now die!" With no further explanation the beast lunged forward at Ryuk and slashed him, aiming for his heart. Ryuk dodged just in time and caught the thing by it's tail, ripping if off with his bare hands, which now grew claws. astonishment stopped Ryuk long enough to allow the beast time to stare at him, but no longer. He cam again, his tail re-grown already, and again aimed for Ryuk's heart. This time Ryuk stabbed him first, blood on his katana from grabbing in awkwardly with his new claws. the beast turned to stone and crumbled to dust inexplicably. Ryuk stared down at the small pile and walked off, Neko behind him, his little wings fluttering joyously. Ryuk had been walking for a while now, and was in what looked to be a palace of sorts with vibrant paintings with no details. simple representations of the mori and mizu were around in the paintings, and ever present the eternal battle of tenshi of good and evil and the kishi who fought on both sides. He walked through the elegant halls and into a ballroom with three doorways leading further in. From them he could here three sounds. One was of cheering, such as an arena, one of crying like that of an infant, and the last was that or terror, silence, and of death. Before them was a set of stairs, and as he approached a koorime appeared, blocking his path. Ryuk bowed to her and smiled to himself. "Are you going to attempt to stop me as well?" he asked "I am Arya. And yes, it is my job to slow you. and you are?" "I am Ryuk, hitoriki of the Ningenka. How is it i must get past you? I am not fond of fighting women." Yes,a proper young one i see. I have a riddle for you, actually. you must answer correctly to pass, if you are wrong i will merely turn you into ice." "Okay, then. Go on with your riddle." " a man is found in a cabin with one door and no windows. aside from the man, the room is empty, and the door is locked from the inside. the man is hanging from a pipe with a puddle of water under him. How did he get up there?" the koorime smiled with self satisfaction as Ruk thought. "You have ten minutes." She informed him, then snickered out loud. "You have a heart of ice," Ryuk said at last, looking into the eyes of the woman who stood before him. "As did the man in you riddle, and that is how he died. he stood simply on a block of ice. Is that correct, Arya?" The koorime shrieked. "Yessss, " she hissed, and began to melt. "now choose your fate of which path to take. you must choose before i vanish!" she said hastily as she continued to drip, her legs now gone. Ryuk walked directly forward, to the door in the middle and made his way through it. A blinding light greeted him, and he continued forward before looking around. Now he could see, and hear, what surrounded him. screams and cheers were all around in the arena, the stands filled with inhuman beasts. directly in front of him was a red cloak from above. A special seating area. in it, he could make out dragons. He yelled for their attention, but to no avail. The crowd suddenly left, and a messenger dog came at him. a note around his neck was assigned to him. Ryuk followed the directions in the note and made his way back through the palace to the large dining room. In it were two large dragons. They bowed to him as he entered, and he returned the polite gesture. "I am galbritox" said the larger of the two, "And I Kagome" said the smaller. "I'm-" "We know who you are, Ryuk. You are one of us after all." "What do you mean, one of you? I am a mortal." "No, son, you were simply raised by humans, as we wished you to be. We knew the humans would one day seek to destroy us, so we sent them you as to avoid war." "What do you mean, 'son'? and couldn't u simply defeat them?" "You are my son, prince of this kingdom, and yes, we could defeat them, but we do not wish to." "Explain yourself, beast!" Ryuk cried, drawing his katana, now used to his claws. "Calm down, Ryuu. We know you do not them them anyway. haven't u ever noticed that u were different?" "Yes.... but... no... not like this. i'm not one of you!" "Ryuk," Kagome spoke up, "you are our son. i know, it is hard for you to understand and take in, but you must understand, it was for the best. now please, calm yourself and join us. You may stay here as long as you like. Then, when u want to, return to the mortals and tell them we are defeated." It was now later that evening, and Ryuk lie on his bed, starring up at the open ceiling at the moon. the events of the day still perplexed him. a knock at the door took him from his thoughts. "Hey," came an unfamilar voice, "may i come in?" "Yes," replied Ryuk. A dragon a bit older than Ryuk's age walked in, also in human form. He was being followed by a smaller dragon-child, a human also, but with a tail. "Hi," said the older one. "i'm Seto and this is Mokuba," he said, beckoning to the smaller one. "We're in a different clan. I'm sure it was explained to you all the dragons rule as a whole but your family the highest rank. we're the second highest, the kaiba clan." "Yes, my father mentioned you. he said there were three brothers though..." "No-name isn't worth mentioning. Don't worry about him." "Oh, um, okay..." "We just wanted to say hi. You're leaving tomorrow though? why so soon?" "Don't belong here, or anywhere else. But i at least want to fight." "Whatever. We have to go bye." Ryuk didn't respond. the two disappeared in a puff of smoke. 'I don't belong here' he said to himself. The next morning, Ryuk was met with his parents before his departure. they had deliberately forgotten to mention the dragon he must battle before he could leave. It was in the heat of the battle and Ryuk was running low on energy, all but ready to give in against the forces of the opposing dragon, Kakashi. He was cowering behind a tree when suddenly Kakashi was propelled forward in the air, landing on his stomach, arms outstretched. From above, Ryuk caught sight of yet another dragon, this one of medium size, close to Ryuk's own age. He let loose a sudden burst of fire and burned the opponent's back. Ryuk went towards his fallen foe and landed the final hit to his head, knocking him out for good, then sliced it off. The other dragon flew down and bowed to Ryuk. "i'm Ryuzaki." He said easily, a small smile on his face. Ryuk could nearly feel himself melt. "I'm Ryuk." he finally managed. He resisted the urge to say anything further so as not to embarrass himself at what may could out. "i know, Ryuk. we all knw who you are." He smiled again. "and i'm coming to the Ningenka with you." Ryuk was about to faint. He smiled and said okay shyly. Neko purred and jumped over to the new dragon, who had quickly transformed into his human form. "We have to go a differnt way than how you got here though. As i;'m sure you know, Sheshomaru doesn't allow returns." "Yes, i noticed that." Ryuk could feel himself from blushing. Ryuzaki smiled and showed Ryuk the way out. Upon their return to the Ningenka, Ryuk and Ryuzaki were ambushed by crowds fascinated by the beast's head that Ryuk still held. They went to the king and told of their travels (lies, most of them) and then asked to be pardoned to thier quarters, asking for no glory. Ryuzaki stayed with Ryuk, and explained his reasons for staying in the Ningenka to prevent any further disturbances. The dragons had created the humans as playthings, but soon grew tired of them and let them to thier own, not wishing to have to destroy what they had created, just as no child wishes to mess up a picture they had drawn. He also revelaed to Ryuk that no dragon was inheridealty immortal, and that it must be given away on the chance of one's death. It had been months since Ryuk's return, and happiness now sourrounded him and his new family, consisting of Neko and Ryuk's lover, Ryuzaki. But the humans idn't like it. They didn't trust the newcomer, just as the had never trusted Ryuk. One night, as they were sleeping, they set their home ablaze and ambushed the couple when they ran out, trailed by Neko. the small-winged cat ran up a tree and hissed at the humans as they attacked the two lovers, who had recently been working to overcome Ryuzaki's sudden illness that was common of dragons in the Ningenka for the first time. Ryuk had gone through it himself when he was young. They struck down the foreigner before Ryuk ran them off. But it was too late for Ryuzaki. Ryuk collapsed next to him, on his knees crying. Ryuzaki held his lover's hand and told him to stay strong, and int aht, he passed on Ryuk's most cursed ability that he held to this day, and forever would.

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Ryuk sat under the sakura tree, petting Neko mindlessly as he looked around. the old man had finished the tale and the children were awwing at the tale, wide-eyed and open-mouthed at such a story. Ryuk sighed and picked up Neko. "It'll be okay, Ryuk, i'm always here with you too, you're not really alone." the cat said. the dragon-child sighed. "Yes, i know, Neko. and i think you for that. but still...." "Unlike other stories, yours has no moral. no meaning. it was all a lie." "Not all of it..." Ryuk said, and looked up at the never receding moon. In it, he saw Ryuzaki, who watched over him, just as he always had.

END.