Chapter 11: Probable Jealousy

Rays of sunlight penetrated through the green canopies, leaves danced amongst the light breeze, calls of critters echoed amongst the trees as Ayane practiced her combat moves underneath the dark shadows of the trees. In her hand, she held a thick branch, which was easily removed, from a nearby tree. She swished it through the air with ease, fighting with an imaginary opponent. She didn't know why but she felt so comfortable and so relaxed with this exercise. Although, she should really be resting her right foot. With stubborn determination, she refused to let her injured foot rest. She felt a sense of freedom. She closed her eyes; the wind picks up her silky black hair and it sailed through the air. Images of an ongoing fight swam into view.

"Ugh...You're pretty powerful for a human," a green demon said, spewing blood all over his ripped shirt. He clutched at the open wound which was inflicted by his opponent. It was right above the place where a heart for a human should be. His opponent, a 19-year-old woman, stood over him as he sat there, trying to regain his strength. The moonlight above them shone on her black hair, casting an angelic light behind the woman. If it weren't for her violent nature, anybody would've thought that this woman was an angel in disguise.

"Get up and fight me," she said softly and dangerously. She was challenging this demon who had previously made a move on her but because of her ability to sniff demonic auras, she attacked him. Although, anybody could plainly see that the demon was incapable of even standing up. His legs were twisted in odd angles; greenish blood dripping to the ground. He still looked like a human but parts of his true self showed such as his green scaly legs.

Ayane wanted to throw up as she continued to practice and saw the 19-year-old woman plunged a sharp rock into the demon's heart.

A trickle of blood slowly dripped from Ayane's head as she glared at her dangerous opponent. Never in her four year career has she had to fight such a strong demon. Despite the fact that she was only fourteen, she could take down almost any demon; even ones that are twice her size. She held onto the nearby tree for support, hoping to catch her breath and to regain her strength. Her eyes were straining to stay open but her body was so exhausted after two hours of fighting.

"Had enough yet?" Her opponent asked, an ugly reddish demon with a forked tongue. He could easily tower over her. Instead of answering, she rushed towards the demon, jumped over the red demon's head and landed on his back. With her two bare hands, she rammed them inside the demon's eyes; causing him to thrash about. One of his clawed hands went to his aching eyes while the other reached for Ayane. She slid down his back to avoid his hand and landed on the ground behind him. Blinded but still able to sense Ayane's precise location, the demon reached out with his gigantic hand. She jumped up again and stabbed that same hand with a thick branch. The demon cried out in pain. His arms thrashed about again; one of them actually got Ayane off-guard. Her already tired body was flung into a tree; she grunted with pain. She got up on her hands and knees; spitting blood. He's too strong for me. What am I going to do?

The demon sniffed the air and smirked. He always loved the smell of blood especially from someone as young and strong as Ayane. For him, the stronger the human, the more healthy his or her blood will be. Ayane glared up at the demon even though he was blinded. She coughed violently. I need to find out his weakness fast or he'll kill me. "Blurgh!" She spat out more blood. Her eyes were starting to tire. She wanted to rest...Her body was resisting anymore commands that her brain was issuing; her body yearned rest. Come on, Ayane! Wake up and fight him! As soon as I am finished with him, I can go home and sleep...Her left leg was put forward while her right leg was still on its knee. She tried to stand up but she collapsed on the ground. So comfortable...She laid there, eyes closed and listening as the demon walked towards her. This was it. She was going to die now.

All of a sudden, the wind picked up and blew the red, yellow and orange leaves over Ayane's body as if it was a barrier. She laid there as the wind turned into a soft breeze. She could've sworn that she could hear someone whispering something; it was a familiar voice. She had a light smile on her face now. What a lovely breeze. It rejuvenated her. Her body was still tired but the will to go on was there.

Before the demon could reach for her with his claws, Ayane suddenly opened her eyes and did a flip and landed two feet away from the demon. As fast as she could, she ran and did another flip. She landed on the back of his neck, grasped his thick neck with one arm and used her other hand to reach into her small bag. She took out a vial full of a lime-green substance and used her teeth to take off the cork. She spit out the cork and held on as the demon started to thrash around to shake her off. Ayane had to be careful that she didn't spill the chemical. With a swift kick to his ear hole, the demon opened his mouth wide and screamed. She seized this moment to throw the vial inside his mouth. The demon felt a sizzling pain on his tongue; the chemical was melting it! She reached into her pocket this time and took out a stick of dynamite. She lit one end of it with a burning match then she threw the dynamite into the remainder of the demon's mouth. He was squeezing his neck now and stomped on the ground. He made an angry noise and grabbed Ayane with his clawed hand.

He slammed her against several trees. Her back, legs and arms were bleeding. Her normally shiny black hair was full of loose branches and autumn leaves. The demon pulled her closer to his face and gave an angry snarl. Ayane thrashed around, trying to loosen herself from its grip. Blood trickled down the side of her lip. She looked at the demon through half-lidded eyes.

So tired now...Ayane's eyes were drooping, her strength was draining out. The soothing breeze could no longer help her. The last thing she remembered seeing before her eyes fully closed was the dark opening with slimy teeth and a huge tongue. Fortunately, the demon had no succession in devouring her; the breeze had turned into a strong wind. Somehow, it had the strength to lift various thick branches nearby and flung them into the demon's mouth. The sharp edges of the branches stung parts of his fleshy mouth. He dropped Ayane as he tried to pick the branches out. Ayane was flying rapidly towards the ground, she almost reached the ground but the wind picked up again. Her body felt like it was floating now...and she was carefully placed onto the ground. The wind disappeared mysteriously as it came.

"Mom?" Ayane whispered and opened her eyes. As soon as she uttered that, the wind turned into a light breeze. She lowered the branch, dropping it on the ground. Her knees collapsed underneath her and she stayed there. The sky was clear but drops of water landed on Ayane's nose. Her finger slowly touched the water droplet that landed on her nose and stared up into the sky. She could hear a woman's voice singing lowly in her ear. It almost brought tears to her eyes. The voice was full of sorrow but it was also full of love; love for her lonely child. The words weren't clear to Ayane but she didn't need to hear them, she just needed to hear the emotion behind it. She barely remembered the pain in her foot. The song stopped. Sighing, Ayane got up and wiped away her tears before heading back.

Later...

"Are you okay?" Ayane said as his vision swam in and out. The worried black-haired girl squeezed a wet cold cloth and put it on Hiei's forehead. He groaned as he pushed himself up on the bed. He put his hand to his head as the cold compress fell off his forehead. Ayane caught it and tried to force him back on the bed. "Get back into bed!" She said in an almost scolding tone. She had stood up too fast so she fell down immediately to the floor; her right foot was still killing her. Yukina had helped Ayane wrap her injured foot but the sizzling pain wouldn't stop.

"Why don't you worry more about your health than mine?" Hiei said, somewhat rudely. He was still trying to get up despite 'nurse' Ayane's order. The stubborn Ayane wasn't about to give up so quickly; one injured foot won't stop her from taking good care of him. After all, he DID save her life. She was going to have to repay him somehow. What better way than nursing him back to health?

"Hmph! That's what you say to me after having to carry you all the way into Yusuke's bed! You're not exactly light, you know!" Ayane yelled. Hiei sweatdropped. He didn't know that she was this fiery.

"You carried me here? You were unconscious..." he said.

"Well, I was but you fainted after me and I woke up first so I would have to carry YOU," Ayane said, her back to Hiei. She was stirring something on the table opposite the bed. The clinking of a spoon against the edges of a bowl could be heard. "Anyway," she continued in a softer tone now. "Thank you for what you did before. You're not as bad as I thought you were, Hentai-san."

She's still calling me that? Hiei thought. "Hn" was all he said.

"I don't really know what you like to eat so I'm making you some special soup. Yuki-chan taught me how to make it but I made up my own recipe," Ayane said, smiling to herself. She never knew the pleasure of cooking a simple meal for anybody. The former Ayane was not the cooking type, she was the more fighting and killing type so it's expected if Ayane's cooking isn't edible. "Okay, hope you enjoy it. Ta-da!" She turned around and showed Hiei the bowl of her 'special soup'. He wasn't sure what was in the soup. What was that red lumpy stuff disassembling in there? Unaware of it, he made a face. Ayane caught the look on his face. The smile slowly faded from her face.

"What exactly is in there?" he asked.

Before Ayane said anything, Yukina came in. "Hiei-san, you're finally awake. Are you okay?" She asked. Hiei just nodded. Ayane caught the kindness in his eyes that shone when he looked at Yukina. For some reason, Ayane's heart started to pound faster. She held her hand to her heart but lowered it.

"Aya-chan, you shouldn't be standing! Your right foot is still hurt and your back wound-," Yukina said.

"Huh? Oh. I'm fine," Ayane said, putting the soup on the dresser next to the bed. Before she left the room and without looking at Yukina and Hiei, she said, "Be sure to drink the soup and get some rest, okay? If you need me, just yell." Ayane limped out of the room and rested against the nearest wall. What's wrong with me? My face feels hot and my heart is pounding so fast. I must be getting sick. When in fact, she was jealous of Yukina, she just doesn't realize it.

Later that afternoon, Yukina had left to return to Genkai's, Ayane decided to check up on her patient who has been resting all that morning. She was just outside the door when she brought her fist up to knock the door but she hesitated. Instead, she turned in another direction to the living room. There, she spend a few minutes staring at the blank TV. This is stupid! Why am I so afraid to go in there? I wonder if he actually drank my soup? She put her head between her hands and sighed. She looked up at the ceiling and omitted more sighs. "This is stupid! I'm going in there! I'm not afraid of him!" She declared loudly that Hiei could hear her. Inside his room, he sweatdropped again. What the hell is she mumbling about? He thought.

She marched defiantly to the door and opened it. He was calmly sitting in bed while she looked at him. The bowl was still full of soup that she made; so he didn't drink it after all. Ayane was putdown by this revelation. Did it really look that revolting? The pain in her right foot suddenly increased. "Aghhh!" She cried as she fell to her knees. She gripped tightly on the doorknob. Her face grimaced to withstand the pain. The wound on her back from the dagger also started to heat up. It felt like fire was literally coursing through her body.

"Kill him...Kill him now and your future will be secure..." A woman's voice ran in Ayane's head. It seemed familiar. Where had she heard it before? "Kill him, do you hear me?"

Ayane sat on the floor, breathing heavily. She noticed that her pain was completely gone. Her whole body broke out in shivers. Her eyes widened as she stared at the floor. What was that about? What's wrong with me?

"What's wrong? You were screaming," Hiei said, standing before Ayane. She looked up at him and shook her head slowly.

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong," she said, avoiding his eyes. Her back wound burned again. "KILL HIM"

"NO! Shut up! SHUT UP!" She screamed at the voice in her head. She cowered near the door, hands over her ears. The voice stopped for now. When Ayane came to, she realized her awkward position on the floor. She carefully stood up and cleared her throat. "Um...I have to go somewhere right now." She passed by Hiei and limped out of the room.

The fire demon just looked after Ayane as she limped to the front door, grabbing her jacket from the sofa. He sighed. He would have to follow her again.

A/N: Attention! From now on, Jiroshi's name is changed to Daisuke. 'Jiroshi' is Ayane's boss, in case you forgot. I don't have much to say so please review.