Author's Note: Because of certain past events I want to reference, this happens roughly after the defeat of Sensui, disregarding most of the Mazaku-Yusuke drama (meaning I won't be really dealing with Demon-Yusuke, but the Three Kings Saga still happens), placing Kurama's mother's wedding earlier, and adding a step-sibling. Also, I believe several chapters of this story are already on this site under my former name ElfmaidenTin or YoukoElfmaiden- I honestly don't remember which one it is- but my old email address has been discontinued, so I can't quite get to them. So here it is under new management (sort of). Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

"Ugh…DAMN you, Koenma," growled Yusuke Urameshi into his pillow as the communicator lying on his bedside table roused him from a previously good sleep. He rolled over and grabbed it, unconsciously running a hand through his jet black hair as he flipped open the small screen. "This better be good, pal, it's 2 AM and I'm pretty pissed that I know that."

"Since when is anything I tell you over this good news, Yusuke?" said the short otherworldly prince coolly around his pacifier. "Or at least anything that requires me to wake you up at 2 AM. Anyway, I have an assignment I want you and Kurama to start on later today."

"So, WHY couldn't this have waited till a friendlier hour?"

"Well, I just wanted to make sure you didn't plan anything for the next week or so."

"Yeah, because I routinely plan my daily schedule in the middle of the night. Wait…did you say the next week?" He glared into the screen. "Fan-fricking-tastic. For once an assignment comes when I can't skip school. You realize I'm on vacation."

Koenma paused to yawn, his pacifier balancing precariously on the edge of his mouth before he closed it again. "Demons don't take vacations, Yusuke. And this one's in a small American city called Emmetsburg."

"So why only me and Fox-Boy? What about the other two?"

"Hiei doesn't carry one of these, Yusuke, you should have figured that out by now. We usually get lucky in finding him for missions, and he's currently missing for this one. I already talked to Kuwabara, and he's refusing to do it-"

"What?! And how come you're letting him skive off?"

"BECAUSE of his little code- no fighting girls."

Yusuke raised an eyebrow. "So it's a she-demon?"

Koenma nodded, turning and accepting a folder from his ogre assistant, who shuffled off screen a moment later yawning monstrously. "A she-demon who's killed at least two humans by now that we know of. She isn't neat about it either. Their bodies are found in pretty nasty shape." He flipped through the folder, squinting at the contents. "The killings have only been at night so far, in darker parts of the area. The ningen police have an eyewitness who says they saw a female figure crouching on top of a building one second, and the next second it was gone. Therefore, I'm thinking she's got some possible Hiei-level speed."

"What are we talking power-wise?"

"Probably high C-level…maybe low B. The only way to really tell is to get some equipment out there, but the important and obvious thing is that you stop her, and soon. We aren't at all sure what her motives are in killing, so we could have a few more people dead in a very short time. Anyway, if I don't get back to bed soon, I'll be cranky in the morning, and I think it's the same situation if a bit understated for you. I'll open a portal to here around 9. Bye." The screen went dark; Yusuke moaned and collapsed back onto his bed.

It seemed only seconds later that the hated beep screamed its way into Yusuke's disconnected dreaming, and only the thought of how much it might cost kept him from throwing it across the room. "WHAT? Oh, Kurama. Hi."

"Good morning, Yusuke." The red haired kitsune looked oddly exhausted on the small screen, but no less composed than usual.

"Morning," said Yusuke as he cast a bleary eye at the clock. It was 8:50 AM.

"I was just calling to make sure you got Koenma's message."

"Yeah, about six hours ago. So it's just us, huh?" Yusuke carried the communicator to the bathroom, where he grabbed his favorite comb off the sink and pocketed it.

Kurama nodded. "I tried briefly to locate Hiei, but he's nowhere nearby so I decided not to pursue him. He probably wouldn't think it was an important enough mission for him anyway."

"I've been through a lot with you guys, and I have to say I'm still not completely used to Hiei's way of thinking. I mean, a couple people dead in the streets, who cares?" Yusuke yawned and stretched, then scooped up the communicator and headed to the closet to grab his coat. "He might have even had some fun. According to Koenma, this demon's got some his-level speed on her."

"Well, I hope dispatching her doesn't take very long. I am much enjoying this quiet period."

"Heh, I bet you are. Having fun with your new sister?"

"She's beautiful, Yusuke," said Kurama happily. Yusuke grinned. Kurama's mom had gotten remarried recently, and with his new father came a teenage stepbrother and a three-year old stepsister, the second of whom Kurama had fallen completely in love with. Yusuke had never seen the demon so perpetually in a good mood. And in the Spirit Detective's book, Kurama's cheerfulness was a nice detour from his normal aloofness. "Well, I'll have to drop by sometime after the job, so Avi can meet her Uncle Yusuke."

"Of course. I'll see you soon."

"Yep, see ya." Yusuke clicked the communicator shut, then proceeded to wonder how he was going to explain his sudden trip to America to his mother. Well, it's not like I haven't disappeared for weeks at a time before. His wondering was brief, however, considering a portal opened up right on top of him.

"WHOA!" was all he could get out before he toppled into the whirling vortex of blues and reds.

The next thing he knew, Yusuke was sprawled on a cold hard surface watching stars dance in front of his eyes. "Koenma, are you ever even SLIGHTLY considerate of my well-being?! Oh man…"

"Come on, Yusuke, a big tough guy like you can handle a little jolt. Welcome back to the Spirit World!" Yusuke grimaced at the familiar bubbly voice. "Botan, why is it that you think just because I saved the world a few times I appreciate getting slammed into the floor?" He sat up, rubbing his head as his vision cleared; the blue-haired ferry girl was perched on a nearby window seat, and Koenma leaned against the wall of his office next to her in full-grown form. He smirked and walked towards his desk. "For once, Yusuke, you're the first one here. Congratulations. Kurama's usually pretty punctual with us."

"Not like I had a choice, you opening the portal right on top of me like that." He stood up and stretched. "While we're waiting, you want to brief me one more time on what's going on here?"

A hole opened in space a few feet away, and in a couple blue flashes Kurama stood before them. "Sorry about that, I got a little held up." Yusuke grinned at Kurama, who flashed him a small smile. "I suppose we should get started."

"Yup. Thanks for coming, you two. Now, this shouldn't be too hard of a job but nonetheless don't get cocky, Yusuke."

Yusuke scowled. "Oh yeah, don't worry about it."

Koenma glanced back down at his report. "Demon women generally do not 'fight like girls', as you've experienced before. Be careful. She's only been seen at night so far, but keep your eyes open during the day too. Whenever you get any information, just relay it to us via compact so we can record it. Should only take you a few days. We rented out an apartment for you in the downtown area. 121 State Avenue, room 57." He checked some sort of clock on his desk. "And you should get going soon, considering the landlord will give it away again in about two hours. He was a little irritable with Botan over the phone."

"He called me some names I'd rather not repeat when I said we needed the room ready today," she said stiffly. "Let's hope not everyone in that town is so snappy or they might have a little trouble negotiating there."

Koenma looked back at the team members. "Okay, everything's set. We'll send you along, and some equipment, extra clothes, and food will be in your apartment when you get there. Good luck gentlemen," he pressed a button on his desk, "we'll be in touch. Have fun with that thirteen hour time difference." A larger than normal portal appeared next to him.

"Thirteen hours. Great. Hey, you sure this many portals in one day doesn't have a nasty effect on someone?" said Yusuke. "Next stop, State Avenue. Don't forget that Kurama, if this next ride messes with my brain." He stepped through the shining portal and disappeared.

Koenma rolled his eyes. "Keep him in line for me, okay, Kurama?"

Kurama smiled as he followed Yusuke. This is what he lived for these days, it seemed.