Warning: Probable character death. Some language. Violence.
Status: Incomplete, but fully outlined. Likely to be about five parts long. Shortfic, so far. *crosses fingers*
Wednesday afternoon, 3:18 pm
Kuwabara was on his way to his last class of the day – English 302, Conversation and Culture, which was a little misleading, Kuwabara always thought, since it seemed to mostly involve American conversation and culture – when Hiei died.
It felt a little like a hand closing around his throat and squeezing, only it didn't feel anything like that at all. The sun was shining, the bell was ringing, students were walking past him laughing and talking and worrying about their last pop quiz, and somewhere in the Makai, Hiei had just died.
Breathing would have been hard, if he'd thought to try it, but he didn't. For several seconds that stretched on for years, Kuwabara was only aware of the fact that something which had been there before no longer was. It was a shock not unlike looking down and realizing one of your arms had just been cut off.
The little shit finally got his ass kicked, he thought vaguely, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. His vision was tunneling, going black around the edges, leaving the world a blurry, periscoped version of itself.
It hurt like a fucker, too. A seeping pain that slid inside his mind, dripping through his thoughts and pooling around nerve endings, staining memories and coloring his perceptions.
Sensui, he thought distractedly. But that had been worse.
Self-preservation kicked in and his mind reacted on instinct, shutting down his psychic awareness, throwing up the mental shields Genkai had spent long hours teaching him to create until he no longer had to tear them down and rebuild them with every use, but could simply ease them aside until needed. Nothing was supposed to get through them, but this had, so violently and suddenly he hadn't felt it coming. Maybe because it wasn't an attack. Maybe because Hiei had been inside those shields before, and knew the way.
Hiei was dead.
Kuwabara dragged air in through gritted teeth and forced oxygen into his lungs. The way they burned told him he'd been lost to the shock longer than he would have liked.
Hiei was dead, because someone had killed him.
The world snapped back into focus around him, still the same day. No one else noticed or cared what had happened.
Hiei had been murdered, and something smokey and thick had curled through Kuwabara's mind like a drugged animal, or the dying embers of a forest fire just long enough to warn him that he was next.
Continued in Chapter One: The Isolated Pawn