|The Balance of Chaos
Author: WistfulSin PM
The world is made of a complicated array of duo-ships. Dark and light. Death and life. This balance makes existence possible. And just sometimes, it takes a shift in the balance to reveal how upset the world used to be. IrunixHieiRated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Romance - Hiei - Chapters: 22 - Words: 156,491 - Reviews: 147 - Favs: 52 - Follows: 59 - Updated: 03-03-13 - Published: 12-25-09 - id: 5610503
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Lullaby for Stormy Night- Vienna Teng, Raise it Up- August Rush Soundtrack. Lucky- Bif Naked.
OH MY GOD? IS IT TRUE? CAN IT BE?
Yes it can. That's right lovely readers, I'm back and ready to dish out the literary punishment! Hell yes. A few updates: Shiningheart of Thunderclan helped me finish the chapter by giving me the piece of info I'd been struggling to think of for months. Violet Natured also helped by emailing me a few weeks ago and reminding to kick my ass into gear and prove I'm not dead. Also, I am set up on fiction press (as wistfulsin) as well as here. Lastly, I have a blog and this time I will post the link in a way that you can actually read [joygasm gemini . blogspot . com] Minus the spaces.
I hope you enjoy, forgive the mistakes. I'm late for work and didn't edit very well. Without further ado, here it is, Chapter 21.
Hiei roamed in strange new world in the usually empty home of the Okami. The human form of her brother would come to visit her often, but he could always see the hope in her eyes that the boy would choose to stay. One night he slept on the couch and Hiei woke in the night to find her sitting on the arm of the sofa, softly stroking the man's face.
This stranger's body hid her brother, and she saw passed the shell easily. To her it was a small boy under a thin blanket on her couch. But she was worried about the effect of the potion he would drink and she took control of it. He'd taken too much before and nearly blinked himself from existence, turning back into an infant as he had. She had talked to Kurama about it and he'd told her the effects.
The more one used the potion, the closer to the surface the past would float. She didn't want to claim her brother's new life, did not want to strip his family of his presence. This was all within the first few days of his arrival. It was after her shift at the restaurant one day that Hiei wondered where she was and found her in what looked to be a renovated bar sitting at a piano. The human child who'd watched him walk through the portal to find her was on one side of her, Kin on the other.
A group of rough looking human men was gathered loosely around listening to the woman, wearing a now usual purple ribbon on her arm, as she played the piano and sang a lullaby to the boys.
"Little child, be not afraid, though wind makes creatures of our trees and their branches to hands, they're not real, understand, and I am here tonight." She played some notes deftly and he watched Kin watch her hands keenly, a soft smile on the child's face. "For you know, once even I was a little child, and I was afraid but a gentle someone always came, to dry all my tears, trade sweet sleep for fears, and to give a kiss goodnight…"
"Who the hell are you?" Ichi looked up quickly as the two biggest boys began to approach Hiei.
"That's enough." The two words stopped them as the music stopped and she rose to her feet easily, pushing away from the piano.
"Hiei!" Kin jumped off the piano bench and ran over to the fire demon, smiling brightly. "I'm sorry the last time we saw each other I was such a mess."
"Hiei doesn't care about that, Kin. And you've seen him since." The woman chided the boy gently walking towards her glaring mate-to-be.
"But not like this!" he countered forcefully and she shook her head, kissing the short man on the lips lightly.
"Boys," she muttered quietly.
"Where are we and who are these cretins?" he demanded blandly staring around them.
"Oh, this is Omu, Nori, Doni, Hayate, and Gorou." She swept her hand wide. "This is our hangout."
He grew noticeably tense when she said 'our', which made her in turn prepare for the sure to come flare of his temper.
"We're Ichi's boys!" Youta threw a small fist into the air, and Hiei began to notice that every one of them wore some form of dark purple. Kin wore a headband in the same style as himself, Youta had a ribbon tied around his arm like Ichi and the boys wore their colors as variously as they wished.
"Ichi's…boys?" Hiei turned slowly to his woman, who pointedly wasn't looking at him.
"Yeah, Big Sister saved us!" one of them, he didn't care which, spoke. "We work for her."
"It's not what you think." The immediate defense made Hiei narrow his eyes with the suspicion that this was precisely what he thought.
"Baka onna!" he snapped. "You've gone and built yourself a human army, knowing Koenma has his idiots trained on you at all times! What are you going to do when that spoiled diplomat finds out about your little arrangement?"
"It's not an army!" she yelled. "It's a gang!"
"Did you suffer brain damage from that coma you were in? Or is this that usual psychosis you suffer from?" he demanded angrily.
"I was lonely, you jackass!" she yelled louder, body tightening for a fight. Kin stepped from between them with a frown at their fighting. Hiei brushed the boy further to the side and slightly behind himself to get him out of the way. "You had to leave, and I needed to do something and they needed my help! You should take notes!"
"Take notes? As if between you, the baka, and the detective I need any further assistance learning to be a total moron!"
"What else was I supposed to do? Just sit there staring into space?"
"You were supposed to heal! Supposed to keep yourself out of trouble! Kurama was supposed to be watching you!" his anger rose. "You're arm is still weak and you're doing nothing but causing yourself more harm!"
"Stop treating me like I'm a damn child!"
"Stop acting like an imbecile and prove you can handle yourself!"
"I did just fine without you!" she stomped her foot. "You left and I handled everything just fine, you son of a bitch. You didn't even think anything was wrong! Because it's not!"
"Just because you're better at hiding your idiocy doesn't make it any less idiotic!"
She pushed him in the chest as he stepped forward, and reflex caused him to strike out and take control of her wrist. Her eyes grew wide as he tightened his grip and twisted.
"I already had to live through you dying once, Shinpi. I will not suffer through you throwing yourself into Koenma's hands this way. If I have to prove you're hurt to stop you, I will." His eyes darkened as his tone dropped.
The men stared on, wondering if they should step in. They'd seen the woman handle everything that came at her just fine. No one could hurt her. No one could touch her. Surely she was-
She fell to her knees with a growl of anger and pain. Hiei released her wrist and knelt with her.
"Shinpi, stop this foolishness." He muttered quietly. "If Koenma were to discover this he'd take it as-"
"Sister!" Kin ran for his sister and threw his arms around her neck throwing a scornful look at Hiei. He'd only seen one person dare try to make his sister succumb before and it cost them both their lives. She wrapped her good arm around the boy's waist and pulled him away slightly.
"You aren't yourself." The words made her look at the crimson eyes of her lover. "You haven't been."
"You haven't been here to notice." She looked at him and then smiled brightly but he could see it was forced. "What do you think of my roughnecks, my stupidity aside?"
"Shinpi." He wasn't done with this conversation.
She got to her feet and spread her hands wide. "They've done a lot of good work recently. I mean, we're all taking shifts at the Yukimura Noodle House. We're protecting the streets of our fair city. We've turned into quite the ramshackle family, you see."
He just nodded quietly as she explained the situation to him, introduced him to the boys and then he sat quietly by the wayside as the boys each told harrowing stories about the feral red head.
"You said she wasn't the same." Kin slid over to Hiei and spoke lowly. "What did you mean?"
"When we came back from Makai, after the Duals," Hiei felt the boy at least should be told the change in his sister's mentality, "she was much better. She was less angry at that baka lightning wielder and more herself. Then the months began to pass and her nightmares started. As she slept less she changed. Then it happened and she's been different."
"What's it?" he pried.
"I don't really know." Maybe that's what bothered him most. She refused to talk about it. No matter the cold sweats she slept in, or the whimpers of her nightmares, she never talked about it.
All Hiei knew for sure was that his okami had been gravely injured, and nearly taken from him. She had been weakened to a level below that of their first introduction and was now being choke-chained by Spirit World. Everything from finding her strung up so carelessly onward, he knew. He'd witnessed. Whatever had happened before was blank to him and she refused to let him in to see.
"That's okay, my sister is the strongest woman in the three worlds! She's the toughest Takani ever born! And the best king!" Kin's fiery belief in his sister's perfection made Hiei smirk. "She'll be okay, Mr. Hiei. She's always okay in the end."
They watched her together, just to be sure.
"You know, I enjoyed Otake's presence. Sure, he was a bit of a maniac at times, but he was a good leader. Fantastic bone structure." Shinpi picked at her nails as Koenma explained the situation to her. Otake had been the captain of the SDF while they faced Yusuke, but shortly after retired. Saito stepped up to assume the lead position of the detachment. "You know, he nearly hit me once."
The SDF was gathered in the room. The two women members kept staring at Shinpi as if seeing her for the first time. They were young, its possible it was their first time.
"Amon-Shinpi, perhaps now isn't the time." Koenma raised his eyebrows pointedly.
She smiled at him kindly and set her hands in her laps to appear interested in the function. "Of course, Koenma-sama."
He stared, a little shocked at her immediate obedience. "Alright then. You asked to see her Captian."
"Her, not her and three other demons." Saito sneered.
"Two and a half," Yusuke snapped at him.
"And a human," Kazuma spoke up too with a glare. "What do you want with Shorty now?"
"She's a menace and needs to be put down." Saito spoke "We've been watching her, and she has quite the loyal following even in Ningenkai. There's a band of humans that follow her every word with due diligence."
Hiei promptly glared at the stoic woman in question.
"To be entirely honest, that's total bullshit." Yusuke glared at the SDF Captain, who glared back. "She's not harming anyone. I've met the guys, they're actually pretty good."
"She's a reckless, hedonistic danger to everyone around her." He argued.
"She would like it noted that while most of that is true, she is, however, not deaf." Ichi glared darkly at both of them. "And she would also like her rather tame and docile behavior noted."
"You're not helping," Koenma rubbed his eyes tiredly.
"I'm not hindering." She shrugged. Yusuke and Kurama stood on either sides of her. "At any rate, I can use my arm now, but I'm still too weak to be a danger to anyone."
"How do we know you're not lying?" The question irked the threesome.
"I haven't shut you up yet, that's how you know." She snapped at him. "Look at me. I'm supposed to be one of the most powerful demons in the three worlds and I've got the equivalent of a shock collar on me. If it weren't working you would not survive this incredible disgrace to my character. You think I haven't noticed your latchkey child soldiers over there lurking about? I have. And I haven't done a damn thing to address it because I don't have anything to hide."
"Let me see the seals." Saito demanded extending his hand. She turned slowly to look at him with cold eyes.
"I will show the seals to Koenma. I will show them to the seal maker. I'll even show them to my demon boyfriend," she threw her thumb at Hiei. "But I will be damned if I ever comply with a direct order from you."
The Force Captian's face grew red until it was nearly purple. She rolled up her sleeves and showed her left inner forearm to Koenma. The faintly blue tattoo was still in place, still solid.
"Other arm." Saito demanded, and she paused before going to unwrap her careful binding.
"That's quite enough." Koenma rose to his feet, not quite daunting in his toddler form. "Captain, I would like to be the first to tell you that having loyal friends in no way violates any law or condition. Shinpi is not growing a human army. Her seals are quite obviously in tact and I would appreciate you harassing my Spirit Detective a little less and working on patrolling the border a little more. There are gaping holes forming and that should be your first and only priority at the moment."
The Special Forces unit stared quietly at the prince, who had slammed his hands on the table.
"My father may have dispatched you but he put you under my full authority. Now please, do your actual job and protect Ningenkai from a deteriorating barrier." The group turned and left the room. Shinpi watched them go from the corners of her eyes, never moving her head. Saito stopped by her chair and bent down.
"I know what you're planning and what you're capable of demon. The moment you choose to stray from your directive, I will be there. I will take pleasure in being the man to finally put an end to your wretched existence." He whispered to her and began to walk towards the door.
"Captain," she called, still unmoved. Her eyes were forward. "I beg you to try."
He slammed the door and she smiled, indigo eyes moving to Koenma. The boys stared at each other then her and wondered what that had been about.
"Why does he want to get at you so bad?" Yusuke scratched his head.
"I'm the first big threat of his blossoming career." She brushed her hair over her shoulder. "Much like you were to Otake, I am to him. Plus, it would really boost his name if he could finish what the other captain had attempted to start."
"Is there anyone who hasn't tried to kill you?" Hiei griped. She smiled quietly for a second.
"Kurama, Yusuke, Kazuma, Kin and Hayato."
Koenma banged his head on the desk at the list of names and grumbled to himself. "I've got to get a better screening process for this position."
"I want to visit New York again." The random statement earned a look from the fire demon as the woman lounged in the tree a branch below him. They were at the temple. "I haven't been since Kin was young. It was such a mess back then. I heard Broadway was breathtaking."
"Broadway?" he raised an eyebrow.
"Theater." She stared dreamily up at the sky. "Singing and acting, the classics. It's supposed to be worth the trip."
She looked up at him with a lazy smile and he scowled.
"Oh come on, Hiei. You're not still angry are you?"
"They could've taken you in, you know."
"I'm not doing anyting wrong." she climbed up the tree until she was crouched in front of him. A sly look crossed her features. "But I can be, if you'd like."
Her kiss was gentle but pushed a little. The sun was down and stars lit up the sky. He couldn't really resist her persistence. "Isn't there somewhere you said we had to be."
"You don't have to come. I'd just like you to." She clarified for the fifth time.
"Hn. Let's go."
The jumped from the trip and landed lightly, before taking off. They ended up at a school. There were cars lining the street and a hand painted sign declared a talent contest being held. Hiei questioned why they needed to be there.
"I made a promise." She explained simply. Taro greeted them, his Aunt sitting in a fold out chair beside him. Ichi kissed Hiei's cheek and left him to the humans before scurrying off.
"After fifteen minutes the lights dimmed. Piano music started to play and Youta was in the spotlight with his older brother Ren.
"No father figure in the house, and I'm wondering how I'm going to work it out. Oh, my friends keep on telling me how I don't need that man, but they don't really understand…" Ren sang the first verse soulfully, catching Hiei off guard. He had a strained voice, unused to singing but he sounded sincere. Ichi was playing the piano diligently. He realized this was the second time in a week he'd witnessed her playing music in Ningenkai.
"Seems to be nothing left for me. Momma's gone and Daddy didn't want to be. And now I'm all by myself, wondering where is love, or should I just give up, ya know." Youta sang heartfully, pouring himself into the song as innocently as any child could.
Shinpi's voice cut through the crowd with that alluring power she had, "Life falls down on me, cuts into my soul, but I know I got the strength to make it through it all. 'Cause I'm still standing tall. Breaking through these walls, I'm gonna give my all."
Hiei breathed deeper when she sang. She sang with the boys and they joined her on the piano bench continuing. When the song ended there was silence for a minute before loud applause. Ichi motioned for the boys to rise and bow and the followed her prompts. She just smiled at Hiei from the piano bench and winked.
"That was so amazing!" Youta hugged the demoness who laughed and nodded as they walked outside as a group after the contest. They'd placed third, behind some magic act and some girl reading poetry. "Thanks for playing for us. I really appreciate it! I thought we had first place for sure!"
She just smiled and patted the boy's head. "Don't focus so much on winning and try to improve. You did great."
They parted ways and Hiei snorted, earning his woman's attention.
"What?" she asked curiously.
"What you said to that boy, about winning. You're one of the most competitive people I've known."
"You know what it's like growing up in Makai. If you don't beat the competition you end up dead." She shrugged. "Here he can just be a child and not worry about it yet. He has years yet before he has to kill himself trying. If he were a demon, or even a stronger human, maybe it'd matter more to me if he won or not."
"If he were Kin-"
"Then he would have been expected to achieve." She shot him a sharp look. "But he's not my child and he seems to be doing right by his mother."
Hiei nodded as they continued to walk. "Kurama mentioned a festival."
Her cheeks blushed red making him smirk.
"Oh, that. The cherry trees are blossoming." She looked away. "It's not a big deal."
"He said it was important to you."
"I'd like to know when Kurama became an expert on me."
"He's the only one I trust to understand you when I either can't or am not here." He explained hotly. "Why are you being so awkward about this?"
"I'm not being awkward. And just when did you start caring about silly human traditions, even if I enjoy them?" she demanded.
"I don't care." He turned away stiffly. Her eyes narrowed as she studied him.
"Then it shouldn't concern you." Her voice was tight and he kept his eyes forward knowing she was staring at him.
"Fox." Kurama spun in his chair and turned to Hiei who was on his open windowsill. "What's the significance of this damned festival? I tried to talk to Shinpi about it. She was defensive."
"It's just a celebration, Hiei." The red headed man offered. "Maybe it means something else to her."
"She won't tell me."
"How are you handling all this, Hiei?" His penetrating green eyes scanned his friend and found him tense. "How do you feel about Kin being back in her life?"
"He makes her happy." He stared with crimson eyes.
"What does he make you?"
Hiei was quiet. He had an answer, he just didn't want to give it. Now that the kitsune was in the same room with he could speak to the impartial man. Sitting on the other's bed he grew serious.
"Do you think I could be a father, Kurama?" the question was stern. Kurama took a deep breath and looked out the window.
"You don't have to be his father-"
"I'm not talking about with Kin, fox. I want to know, do you think I could be a father the way she is a mother." He asked, his tone more hedging.
"That," Kurama smiled softly, "is an entirely different question. Are you saying you'd want to be a father?"
"I'm asking your damn opinion."
"My opinion is that any child under your care would be wholly safe. You may not be the most emotional man, or the most obvious, Hiei, but you will protect with your life what is yours."
Hiei began to explain his thoughts to the kitsune, though a little hesitantly. He explained the dreams. Kurama listened and realized his most reserved friend was growing. The fire demon was still a little blind, but the red head could tell that change was happening in him.
Hayato shrugged on his cloak, grabbed a long box and some rolls of paper. Miki watched him.
"You're leaving me in charge?" she asked with a bit of fear in her voice. "I don't know if that's a good idea."
"You aren't in charge, Amon-Shinpi is. I'm leaving you as a figure head. Just do your job, enforce the rules and contact me immediately if anything is wrong." he stated. "I have to go to Ningenkai for a short while."
"Why can't our illustrious leader come here?" she asked flatly.
"Because she can't." He glared. "I've told Yomi to keep an extra ear on the land, if he can."
"You don't trust me either." She turned her head angrily.
"Behave yourself." He turned and walked from his room, leaving her to sit by herself. She turned and watched him walk out with his back straight and head high.
"Why do you admire her so much?" she kicked a book on the floor lightly, knowing he was gone. She always knew when Hai was around. Her cheeks burned. "I mean, I could be a legend too if I wanted to."
Kurama's family, Yusuke, Keiko, Kuwabara and Yukina were all piled into the small yard attached to the back of Ichi's home. Kin was there, as his child self. They were having a gathering before going to the festival the next day. The children were excited about it. Suuichi was playing with Kin who enjoyed having another little boy around.
"Have you talked to her?" Kurama asked Hiei who grunted in reply, watching everyone mingle while he purposefully stayed out of the way.
"How's that arm?" Yusuke lightly punched Ichi's shoulder and she laughed, immediately throwing him into a headlock.
"You know, it could still use some work." She laughed as he struggled against her grip.
Kuwabara laughed and nearly snorted his drink. They were all enjoying themselves, Keiko talking to Shiori quietly about marriage and children and Kurama. They had set up a small picnic table. The boys were on the far side of the yard, playing some imaginary game. Ichi had sat next Keiko to listen to their conversation with a lazy smile.
Kin stared at Suuichi with a smile. "I like your hair."
The other boy fidgeted and offered a timid thank you. Ichi got to her feet and stared at the sky above Shiori's head. Kurama was helping set up the food in their small backyard picnic. Energy shot through him suddenly and he turned to see Amon-Shinpi staring up with a snarl. Her arm was glowing with faint energy.
There was a sudden wind, and the two children were behind the red headed demon as she threw a shield around them. A demon swept from the sky with a shriek and sank talons into her arm.
Her bandages ripped and she screamed in outrage. Energy exploded, uncontained, and there was no hesitation as more demon poured around them from a rip in the sky.
"Ichi!" Kuwabara ran forward just behind Hiei as she threw the demon to the ground and growled, not hesitating in firing a shot of red energy into it.
"Get them into the house!" she yelled pointing to the boys.
"No! I want to help!" Kin fought against Kuwabara as he pulled both children away. "Sister!"
"What in the world?" Shiori was on her feet, shock on her face as the wind around the small woman sparked with red hot energy. The seals that had been in her bandages were whirling in the vortex around herself. The seals glowed blue and she looked at the sky that was nearly black for the demons above them.
"Let's go!" Keiko grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards the house. "Trust me, you don't want to out here-"
The burst of energy sent a wave that nearly knocked the women off their feet. Yukina was staring at her friend as her hair whipped. She could see her friend's normally blue eyes growing more and more violet-red. "Ichi."
"You want me?" the woman screamed up to the horde above them. Hiei was staring in anger and horror at his okami. "Then come and get me!"
Kuwabara was in the house as Yukina and the other women came inside. "Stay here with the kids."
He had wrapped Ichi's sword in a pillow case, and was taking it outside. Kin ran up and grabbed it from him, pulling the sheath from the blade and took off outside were Kurama, Hiei and Yusuke were waiting for the demons to fall on them.
"Sister!" Kin ran the sword to her and she looked down at him with her changed eyes. "Sister?"
"Go inside." She turned her back to him. "You're still too young."
"I can help!" He protested, taking a strong stance. The wind kicked up and she narrowed her eyes.
"Go. Inside. Now." She snapped. A handful off attackers fell from the sky. She snarled so fiercely Kin felt like he'd been ripped backwards through time. The darkened sky, high winds and unfamiliar place had him off kilter. A demon landed behind him and he lashed out, but didn't land a hit. He was disoriented.
The demon hissed and slashed his nails down against the boy's arm. Kin threw up his hands and fell back, but there was heat and he cried out. Something soft caught him around his waist.
"Baka." Hiei sneered, a bit angry at the child's disobedience. His arm was around Kin's waist, sheltering him, and his other hand blocked the demon's next attack. He set the blue eyed child down roughly and swung hard to fist fight the surrounding demons. Yusuke was yelling, firing energy as effectively as he could. Kuwabara called on a shield that blocked him and Yusuke from a savage energy assault.
Ichi was cutting them down as fast as they were coming, no regret, no hesitation. Her violet eyes bled grew more red as her borrowed energy consumed the blade in her hand. Four demons jumped on her at once, dislodging her grip on the sword. She came up swinging, using her nails and strength to tear them apart. The wind was biting and hot.
"Hiei!" Shinpi turned quickly and jerked her fire demon back by the shirt as a side attack went flying passed him. His bandages were tearing as well and she frowned. "Can you control it without the binding?"
"Yes." He punched over her shoulder, knocking a demon to the ground. His eyes said she was in trouble, deep trouble.
"I have an idea." She told him her voice a key different than usual. He stared. "I need you to call the Mortal Flame."
"You hate fire."
"I'll be okay."
He frowned. She stared. Kuwabara was hit in the shoulder from behind and cut down two foes at once with his swords.
"Trust me." She asked, something she didn't call from him very often. Offering a tentative nod, he called the flame into his hands. She came and took his fire covered hand in her left one, the flame crawled up her arm and over to the other, where it lapped at the red aura hungrily. Sweating, she raised her arm and faced her palm out. Kin stared with awe filled eyes as his sister screamed like a feral animal.
Hiei's fire poured over her wind their attacks joined as the demons still in the sky were caught in their lifted blaze. Crimson eyes watched in a sort of shock as the fire demon felt his okami act as an amplifier for his power. She rolled it over and through herself and directed it towards their attacks. As she fell to her knees, her voice hoarse from her scream, their hands broke apart. The fire died.
Their enemies were gone, save the few Kurama was finishing off as the red headed woman panted on the floor. Kin ran to his sister and Hiei, who was pulling the woman into his arms.
"Are you always this exhausted after calling on one of those flames?" she whispered throatily. She was covered in sweat and despite not being burned, her left arm was a bright red from where the heat had touched her skin. Her right arm still glowed red and looked untouched by the flames presence.
"Just the dragon now." He assured her tersely.
"I didn't know how to tell you." She was trying to stay awake but even the borrowed energy wouldn't be enough to strengthen her for long until she rested. "I had no choice but to make a pact with him, Hiei. It was trust in him or die."
"Trust who?" he demanded.
"Grandfather." She closed her eyes. "He was with me the whole time."
"Not anymore." She faded into a dreamless sleep in his arms and he felt his anger quicken.
"Baka onna!" he roared as he pulled her closer. Kin watched the display of his anger and wondered what the fire demon was mad about. Was he upset that she was obviously doing something reckless, or was he mad that she had kept it from him?
"Get her inside." Hiei told Kurama as he ran to their side. Yusuke was aiding Kuwabara into the house. "I swear Kurama, if she doesn't do it herself, I'm going to kill her someday."
Kin's heart stammered and he wondered, not for the first time, if his sister had gotten herself in too deep once again.
Moaning was the first clue to Hiei that Shinpi was waking up. It had been several hours. Yukina had tried to heal her, but it after fixing up Kuwabara's messy injury, she hadn't been able to help much. Kin had poured some of his healing energy into his sister and it seemed much more effective to all who watched.
The boy was asleep on the couch in his adult form and Hiei was in their room, waiting angrily for his stupid woman to come to her senses.
The moment she was awake she heard growling.
"If I wasn't sure I'd break you, I'd beat you." He told her, rising from the window sill to stalk to her side. "What have you done, Shinpi? What trouble have you found this time?"
"Trouble found me." She sat up stiffly. Her right arm felt close to numb again and she was leaning heavily to her left. He grabbed the appendage and studied it, the faint red glow still present over the seals.
"No one understands what you've done." He looked at her eyes, now indigo blue, still holding her arm.
"I was dying, Hiei." She explained and found it difficult. "I had to do something. I hadn't realized he'd been trying to help me for so long."
"Your dead grandfather." He scoffed angrily, dropping her right arm and walking around the bed to the other side so he could tower over her as she sat.
"If you recall, I told you before that his soul was in the family sword." She told him darkly. "He was only dead in body, never in spirit. Exactly what did you think made those flames that jump to life when I wield the blade?"
"I didn't think anything." He told her, "Because it did not matter."
"It's good to know you think my heritage and sources of my powers are meaningless." She swallowed her rising temper. "When I was there-"
"Being tortured." She shot at him hotly. "I was dying. They were killing me, Hiei, and it was not fast and it was not numb. I felt every slice of their blades, every stab of their rods, every time they bit into my skin to find a new leak for my blood. I was awake through it all."
He remained silent. She didn't say much about the time in the cave, so he didn't interrupt.
"Grandfather's spirit came to me, he spoke to me. When I knew I was dying, he tried to help me live. He told me I could use his energy if I could access and harness it. I have to admit, it took longer than either of us thought and it caught me by surprise how unruly his power was."
"Unruly?" Hiei interjected. She nodded.
"After all, he was a fire demon." She pointedly looked at him. "He is keeping me alive with his energy."
"What?" he blinked.
"I wasn't going to survive," she got out of the bed and stretched her back nonchalantly. "I was dying, even after you came for me. I felt them seal my powers, and I hadn't had enough time to heal. I would have faded into death. We managed to make the connection work after the seals were in place, it just took longer than we'd thought."
She didn't tell him he was her inspiration for coming back. Or that for a short while she'd wondered if it would even be worth it. She'd known she'd be weak, known she'd have been in pain. Part of her was tired of always fighting. Five hundred years was a long time to scrape and bleed yourself into still existing.
But most of all she knew he was waiting for her. It drove her to make the jump back to life. Made her agree to her grandfather's request.
"What did it cost you?" he asked quietly, still angry. His fists were clenched tight.
She was quiet, her back straight as she picked her sword up from beside the bed and pulled it from the sheath.
"Shinpi. What have you done?" he demanded.
"Did you bring this up here?" she asked.
"Yes. It doesn't fight me anymore. Now answer the damn question."
"Its symbiotic," she swallowed. "Grandfather gives me enough energy to survive, to fight when I choose or need to, and I let him take small bits of my life force as I get stronger. Then when I go back to Makai, he has a chance to live again."
The quiet was worse than him yelling but she kept her back to him, studying the sword.
"You can't bring the dead back to life." He spoke darkly.
"I didn't have a choice." She closed her eyes. "It was accept or die."
"How do you think this is going to end?" he growled. "Do you think it's going to be okay? That you're going to walk away from this unscathed? You're giving what little strength you have to a spirit!"
"He's not taking much, I don't even notice." She defended quietly.
"How does he think he'll be able to walk around?" he asked her. "How does he plan to live again?"
"He didn't tell me." She swallowed again. "He just said I'd have to be in Makai when the time was right."
"You made this sort of agreement blind?" he was yelling now.
"Yes." She nodded and turned to him. There was something else in her eyes, he couldn't place it. It wasn't regret, but it wasn't her usual stubborn streak either.
"What are you going to do if things change, Shinpi? What are you going to do if you get hurt again? If you have to fight again? What will you do if we have a child and you're still leeching energy off of a dead man?"
She turned to him completely and saw the worry on his face.
"I lost you," he told her hoarsely. "I thought you were dead. I don't want to ever believe I will bury you again, Shinpi. Retract from this arrangement. We'll work with the energy you've gathered so far."
"I can't risk it. I have to be able to protect the others, and Kin." She shook her head.
"I'll protect you." He promised.
"It'll be hard for you to defend me all the way from Makai." She shot. He took a deep breath, realizing it was true.
"If the SDF finds out, you'll be imprisoned and you won't be good to anyone, much less Kin."
The look she gave him was strange, calm and smiling. "I would love to see them try."
Hayato looked behind Hiei's legs and saw the boy hiding. He stared at his leader, who was staring back with a content smile.
"I know, I know." She waved her hand.
"Kin is hiding behind the fire demon." He stated blandly. "Why is Kin hiding behind the fire demon?"
Hiei huffed and smirked. "Because unlike you, he has the sense to recognize which of us will actually be able to protect him."