Dis/claimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho, nor am I making any profit from writing this fic. I do however make a claim to all original characters that show up in this fic and any art or poetry this fic inspires in me to create (again, read, I'm still not making any monetary profit from the creation of this fic).

Overall tentative/temporary summary of this fic: His shinobi past comes back to terrorize Touya in the form of a powerful mage hell bent on claiming his life and her vengeance. Her first strike against him is only the beginning of his world threatening to fly apart...

Warning(s): This fic has some parts that can be considered graphically portrayed or written. Some of it is dark and contains violence (this first chapter alone contains a fight and Touya experiencing extreme pain due to the enemy's actions, and a decapitation…) and death. The fic is likely to contain torture (but probably not graphically written). Story will contain a lot of angst. Though it is not a huge part of the story, the fic will eventually contain shounen ai (m/m) elements for at least two unusual pairings—Jin/Yusuke and Touya/Hiei. Fic will contain strong mention of past Yusuke/Keiko. Also, the antagonist mage OC will have a stronger presence in this fic than is usual for one of my stories—she is utterly driven by her vengeance, and her fate is inevitably tied to Touya's. Also, this fic will portray a strong, platonic friendship element between Jin and Touya. If I think of any other warnings I'll be sure to amend this this space in future chapters.

Planned overall rating: Mature

Author's notes:

I don't even know where to begin with these author's notes. I've been sitting on the first two chapters of this story for almost a year. I decided it was time to share it…because I've been craving to write and deal with Touya lately in fic. This story was started last year during the Yu Yu Bigbang event at tumblr, though I didn't finish it on time and thus didn't win that event. I still have this story as a product of that time, though, and I really want to finish this piece.

This fic takes place about 200 years after the end of Yu Yu Hakusho and the setting is demon world. None of the show's humans are still alive at this point. I took liberties with many of the demons' ages. Also, please note that Touya and Jin are former shinobi, not current ones. And I can't think of anything else I should say…except maybe expect this fic to be about ten to fifteen chapters, though it might end up shorter. And…enjoy?

Dedication: To Saku (Sakura Sango here at ffdotnet, WittyRose at AO3), for being my best friend and one of the most amazing human beings on this earth. This fic is a long time in coming for you…I hope you enjoy it. I could say a ton more, but I'll leave it here…

The Long Memory of Water (and Demons)
Part I
by Yo
Overall story was started 9/8/16
(This chapter) is posted to ffdotnet 8/31/17 at about 2,500 words

All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. - Toni Morrison

Beneath the revolving darkness of Demon World's sky, a terrible battle waged. Blood splattered winter-white earth, gleaming black under the silver light of the moon. Some of the only sounds that cried through the night were panting, harsh breaths from screaming, overworked lungs and two galloping heartbeats thrumming with an ache to win, to stay alive. Brilliant, kaleidoscopic light from mage spells blasted like fireworks through the darkness every now and then as well. The rapid-fire flurries of punches and kicks from fists and feet smashing against agile bodies joined periodically in the cacophony of battle. Sometimes the resounding ring of ice shards slamming home into the flesh of one of the two combatants merged with the other sounds and sights of this night.

The mage battled in the name of vengeance, but the former shinobi master of ice fought for the sake of getting back to his friend. Their enemies had successfully separated him and Jin from one another...

It shouldn't have been so easy, Touya hissed to himself, but he and Jin had been taken by complete surprise.

They were on their way to begin one of their routine training trips up in the isolated, snow covered mountains of Alaric—in an out of the way place located in the northern most part of Demon World. He and Jin alternated their training trips amongst Demon World's many regions, but most often among Alaric, Gandara, and Tourin. Sometimes Jin and Touya's friends—Kurama, Yusuke, Rinku, Chuu, Shishiwakamaru, and Suzuka, among others—would join them, but more often than not, it was only the two former shinobi who went on these trips.

Touya had tried repeatedly to get his assailant to speak to him at the start of their battle—he tried to get the mage to tell him the reason for this unprovoked attack. The assailant uttered no words, so Touya ceased trying to reason with his enemy—the assailant would only speak to him through battle it seemed. Only through the clash of their bodies would they communicate.

Touya slowly came to know something of his enemy. As each strip of skin was bared to him and marred by his attacks. As the hooded, dark blue cloak his opponent wore was torn away to reveal simple, black, form fitting, fighting clothes. As each brutal brush of his flesh against his assailant's small, lithe body transpired. As he finally ripped away that haunting, bone white mask adorning his opponent's face and he unveiled those short, wild, ebony spikes of hair. As she was revealed to him in the heat of battle, he learned just how much she hated him, yet he couldn't recognize her. He knew that if he'd ever met this woman before, she'd never be someone he forgot.

Hate burned cold in her ever shifting, fathomless blue eyes—the deadly white rapids of a great, timeless river rushed through those eyes, an icy river that would never let him go, not even when he finally drowned in those deep waters. Her eyes froze his soul…and winter was his realm of power.

Touya wouldn't forget someone who battled with spells either—because pure demon mages were rare in Demon World. He'd only known of two in his entire eight-something centuries alive. Ruka was one of the two.

She was the defensive spell caster from the Dark Tournament that took place in Human World around two centuries ago. Ruka had erected a powerful barrier that bound Hiei and Genkai while his shinobi sect dishonorably tried and failed to sabotage Team Urameshi on the command of his sect's sponsor Butajiri. His sect had hoped to win the Tournament and take Hanging Neck Island as the prize. They lost Gama—the only other comrade, besides Jin, who was even worth naming from his former sect—in the confrontation with Team Urameshi. Ultimately he and Jin ceased to be shinobi after that Tournament.

No other time in Touya's long life could he consider to be so transformative for him and of his world views, except perhaps his experiences around the time of the first Demon World Tournament (How many Demon World Tournaments had taken place since then? The sixty-seventh Tournament would be next year if his calculation was accurate—one every three years, and next year was to be the 201st year since the Tournament's inception). Encountering and fighting and befriending Team Urameshi had irrevocably changed his life and Jin's.

The second mage Touya had known was from about four centuries ago—about two centuries or so before that fateful Dark Tournament. He was still chained to the shinobi and had killed the mage in her sleep. Izumi was her name if he recalled the assignment correctly. She angered some demon warlord with plots and acts of insurrection. The shinobi had been employed by the warlord, and Touya was the one chosen to be dispatched for assassination. One of the strongest things he recalled about that sleeping mage was how her long, raven tresses had splayed across the silken, blue pillow beneath her head, haloing her fragile, picturesque features. He also remembered her scent—a pure, bubbling spring, nestled like a secret in the safety of a deep, dark wood. Silent, he used an ice dagger to slash her throat. To be absolutely certain of her demise, he also stabbed her through the brain and heart. He didn't think she had the chance to open her eyes before she died.

Although he never fought the mage and rebel leader Izumi—or the spell caster Ruka for that matter—all those centuries ago, he still hadn't forgotten her. Nor would he forget the mage he battled this night with those strange, painful spells of hers. If he managed to beat her. If he came out of this fight alive.

No, I must win, Touya resolved to himself, frowning harder and gritting his teeth as another of the mage's spells glanced across his right arm.

Faltering somewhat from the blow, Touya tried to breathe past the pain searing into his flesh—pain that was like he'd been struck with knives of lightning flame.

He had to end this fight now. Enough was enough.

The cold power of his demon energy began to build up inside him and wash over him from the snow trodden earth beneath his feet all the way up to the crown of his head. He glowed bright with a silver-blue light—a sharp, razor-edged omen of icy death, an oncoming, subzero blizzard with no mercy for the victims it freezes out of existence.

He, then, raised his hands, most of his energy now gathering there, for the attack he would hurl at the mage. The mage stood still, giving him sudden blank eyes and a fiendish grin. Inwardly, he grew confused by her response.

The mage, abruptly, dropped her arms at her sides and closed her eyes, the ugly grin on her face growing wider. Touya wondered why she wasn't preparing to protect herself. Then, he just knew

She's been waiting for my final attack, Touya realized, but he quickly determined that it didn't matter what she'd been waiting for because he'd attack regardless.

Touya focused and let the icy barrage of his attack go hurtling toward her—it was an attack that would freeze her solid, then he'd follow it up with a series of hard kicks that would shatter her body to pieces. She was a fool not to guard herself against him.

And then, opening her eyes again, she did protect herself—she'd erected a silvery, shimmering barrier spell, resembling thick, spider-like webs, in front of her body at the last possible second. He could've sworn her barrier absorbed the energy of his freezing attack and somehow directly connected to the rest of his energy system. He got the sense that as the barrier "touched" him it came to recognize the structure and cadence of his energy signature. The energy absorbing barrier, for what else could he call it, seemed to reach out and steal his energy away from him because overwhelming, debilitating exhaustion suddenly crashed through every part of him.

I'm sorry, Jin, Touya thought, defeated and so drained that he collapsed to his knees down in the snow.

"I can't believe the wretch who murdered my mother is so weak. I've trained for years to take you down, and you don't even offer a challenge," She taunted, speaking for the first time during their battle, her alto voice lilting with derision.

"I'll make sure you join your mother then," Touya promised, his fatigued body clenching taut with rage at her disparagement.

He fought to stand, but failed to rise to his feet.

She said nothing in reply to his futile posturing, knowing it for the empty threat it was. She began stepping toward Touya in an unhurried manner, her barrier spell now, thankfully, dissipated. Her hands were up in front of her body, palms facing outward, and blazing with a new spell/attack, readying to strike him—it was a worrisome, miasmic, blackish-purple light.

Touya knew he should be afraid of that bizarre power sizzling in her hands, but he wasn't. He stared down the nameless demon mage approaching him, cocking his head to the side a little, the green bangs attached to his teal head bouncing a bit at the action.

Because she was absent from Touya's memories, it wasn't possible for him to mentally connect her to the mother she claimed he killed. Whether she lied or spoke truth, she had no right to bring Jin into this madness. He wouldn't let a past deed of his, even a supposed one, be the reason Jin was harmed, if he could help it.

His light blue eyes glinted with defiance then, and he struggled once again to rouse his exhausted body. He refused to cower on his knees before the mage. He'd been a warrior all his life, and if death at the hands of this woman was his fate, then he'd meet his end as one, too. He might fall, but he'd fall unafraid.

The former shinobi master of ice, further steeling his resolve, at last found his way to his feet again. On trembling legs, he brought his fists up to his chest and gathered the last remnants of his energy in those appendages—his icy shrouded fists to the fiery blistering spell/attack in her hands.

Nearly to him in her advance, the mage suddenly let out an insulting, mirthless bout of laughter. To which, Touya growled in response and rushed to meet her head on again in battle, closing the last bit of distance between them. He punched her repeatedly in the face, the fury of his attacks seeming to surprise her for a few seconds.

I'll show you weak, was Touya's fierce thought, as he tried to add kicks to the fray.

So caught up in his fury, he never noticed her hands, still besieged with that dark burning power, beginning to move upward. He never saw it coming when she crushed his clenched fists with her own hands. With startling strength she somehow knocked him on his back in the snow, her legs viciously gripping his waist from above him. She slammed their entwined hands above his head against the snow, their bodies sinking deeper into the pliable, white, melting substance under them—the picture they made in this position, even with clothing still on, surely a twisted reminiscence of a pair of lovers preparing to engage in another, pleasurable, kind of act.

There's nothing pleasing about this position, Touya thought.

In the same instant he had that thought, he was assaulted by the most unbearable agony. The dark, sweltering energy surrounding her hands burned and branded his wrists and his fists—the pain consumed him straight down to his bones and set him writhing. He'd never be able to think, or breathe, his way past such pain, any more than he could stop the chilling screams that left his lips—no one would.

Just as she released Touya's hands and started raising her own up to palm his temples with that dark, scorching power, something hard and fast rammed into her body from the left side, knocking her away from Touya. Following that, she was thrown back even further from the ice demon by a wailing, livid gale. Finally, the deadweight, decapitated body of her partner was flung on top of her, the force of the impact taking the breath out of her.

"You keep your grubby paws off of him," The former shinobi master of wind roared at the downed, shocked mage.

Jin reached down and pulled Touya tight into his arms, both of Jin's arms coming around to support Touya's upper back and knees. Touya's pained, burned hands rested limp against his heaving stomach, his eyes clamped shut—neither Jin, nor Touya, were yet aware of the strange, twisting line of symbols beginning to blacken across the ice demon's hands.

On some level, the former shinobi master of ice was able to register that he was safe because the moment Jin picked him up he ceased screaming outwardly; instead, he started biting his bottom lip bloody, to hold in, bear up, against the pain in his hands. Touya's singular focus, in Jin's arms, was not to scream the way he had beneath the mage.

Jin rose upward a few feet in the air with his precious burden, the wind currents he manipulated cycling furiously around them. The short, red, bright strands of Jin's wild, May-fire hair whipped and lashed about at his face, his big, blue eyes sparking down in rage at the woman who had dared to harm his friend—eyes that promised her hurricane force winds as retribution. Jin would hunt her to the deepest, darkest depths of Demon World, and beyond, for this...but for now he had to get Touya away from danger.

"You better be thanking your lucky stars you get to live a little longer because the next time I see you I'll be shoving you way down past six feet under," Jin threatened, then turned and sped off high in the air toward Alaric's capital and where Mukuro's stronghold was.

Dazed as she was, the mage still pitched her partner's dead body off of her. She stood up, not even bothering to look at the corpse. Not a single ounce of grief welled up in her over the demon's death. The demon had been nothing more than a means to an end for her as she would've eventually killed him herself.

"That did not go as planned," She groused before disappearing from the clearing of snow into a swirl of fine mist.

Though, she thought, with an inward, half crazed grin, I did manage a partial curse on the weak bastard. He'll have no relief anytime soon. And next time he won't be so lucky—"lucky stars" indeed, wind demon. Next time the ice wretch's suffering and death will be mine. I'll steal his light, if it's the last thing I do. Just as he took mine!

To be continued…