Fate: This is going to be...odd. Very odd. And a bit on the gory side for the first few chapters.

Fluffy: Mmm, gore.

Disclaimer: We don't own Yu Yu Hakusho, either. I mean, if we couldn't get our hands on Yu-Gi-Oh, then why Yu Yu Hakusho? It belongs to the great and wonderful Yoshihiro Togashi, who--

Max: --Who we are stalking in an attempt to scare him into giving it up in exchange for a bright pink alarm clock. Mwahaha.

Lori: And let the fic begin!


Sometimes I wonder why I chose to be human, Kurama mused as he slammed through the door, caught up in the swell of migrating students as they fled the school. Sometimes. Not always, but sometimes. He smiled slightly, tucking his head down somewhat and moving with the flow out onto the sidewalk. Most of these times I'm pretending to be a demon salmon of sorts, flowing upstream or downstream. I'm not meant to be a fish.

"Do you think you're really meant to be a fish?" he quizzically asked the boy next to him without thinking it through.

The boy blinked. "What? No...no, I'm not a fish...I'm not a fish..."

Kurama smiled. "You're not?"

The boy gaped, further proving Kurama's point. Kurama smiled even more widely and slithered through the crowd deftly, leaving the perplexed boy behind him.

And then I realize that I rather like looking and acting more or less human, despite all this crowded metropolis business. He rolled his eyes as he crossed the street, the other humans swarming around him. Mostly.

As he began meandering through the park on his way home, his eyes widened somewhat. Hmm. Blood? Meh. Silly humans getting themselves killed. Just like demons in that vein, I think. His eyes wandered up to the trees in the park, having brought the thought of demons to his mind. And I don't think Hiei wants to talk to me right now. He ruefully fingered a small scar hidden by his hair, just over his right temple. He does get so violent when he's woken up rudely.

As his face settled back into blankness, a small moue of distaste and hunger crossed his eyes before vanishing into emptiness. That smell of blood...it's only getting stronger.

He paused and slid behind one of the trees, inhaling slowly and letting the sweet, tangy smell wash through his lungs. So familiar...so very familiar...like broken glass...


Che. I'm just confused.


Kurama glanced back at the somnolent black figure in the trees, then shook his head, dragging a smile to his face once more. Well, he's still asleep, so it can't be that bad. Can it?

He decided to leave that question unanswered, and continued on his way home.

As he reached the end of his street, the dark heady smell of dead flesh and blood smacked him full in the face as the wind shifted.

Kurama's eyes widened, this time in horror, as the smell snaked down the back of his throat, coating his mouth and the inside of his nose with the essence of gore.

Oh no oh no oh no oh no no no no...

He flung his briefcase to the side and fled away down the street, pounding towards the familiar stoop he could vaguely see in the distance.

No no no no no...

Flying down the familiar street he traversed nearly every day, shoes skidding across rough pavement and hair falling out of its loose tie.

I don't believe it...

Up the stairs, nearly slipping in his haste, and flinging the door open, letting it slam shut in his wake.

I can't believe it...

But scent doesn't lie.


Dead on the kitchen floor, the flourishing potted plants on the windowsill a cruel mockery of the bloody scene.

I'm laughing.

Hands plunged into the slowly clotting blood, hair hanging down to the floor, feet having slid out from under him in the widening red pool, cold sweat dripping down his face and off his eyelashes into the mess before him.

I'm laughing.


...the hell just woke me up?

Hiei blinked, the tree around him coming into focus quickly.

The ambient sound also came into focus.


Hiei winced slightly, eyes narrowing as he stood and continued out onto the most convenient branch pointing in the direction of the noise.

That...is definitely screaming. Hiei's eyes narrowed even more. What the fuck?

He scowled out into the open air, allowing the sound to wash over him. It certainly wasn't a human screeching like that. No human could have managed to keep up such a noise for so long without stopping to breathe. Even by demonic standards, it seemed a hell of a feat. Certainly an investigation-worthy feat, if only to kick the arse of the person making the noise from here to Calcutta. So Hiei promptly kicked up the speed to about 0.05 kilometers per hour faster than "what the FUCK was THAT?!" and blazed off in pursuit. Not like the screaming person was going anywhere or anything.

Blood, Hiei thought as he closed the short distance and turned onto the street where he thought his goal might be. The screaming had at last stopped, leaving the street utterly devoid of life, owing to normal businesspeople being away. Hiei really didn't want to be this close when it started up again.

He skidded to a halt by where the smell was strongest, then stared unabashedly at the house boasting the scent.



Hiei decided to, this time, not be so hasty in trying to figure out what was going on, and to actually arm himself before plunging into what could be mortal danger. He popped his katana out of the sheath and ascended the stairs in a blur of black, banging through the door and vanishing into the hallway. Blood patterned the floor in footprints and splashed droplets.

Hiei sniffed again. Human blood. Pure human. Definitely not Kurama's. What the hell is going on here?

He followed the blood trail through the door and on into where he remembered the kitchen being from when he'd wandered off around Kurama's house out of curiosity.

A demon is generally quite used to scenes of carnage. Hiei was no exception, especially since he'd led rather an exceptionally violent life, even for a demon. Still, complete and utter mutilation of a human being he knew rather well was uncommon enough for him to at least pause briefly.

What kept him rooted to the ground past that brief moment was the fact that Kurama was huddled on the floor in the middle of the largest puddle of blood. Blood streaked him in wild angry swathes, painting a gruesome mask across his face and outlining his glazed eyes. His school uniform was mostly intact but soaked with blood as well. Faint streaks of white marred his red hair, which was falling haphazardly out of its normal tie.

"Kurama," Hiei began, his voice echoing off of the porcelain in the room.

Kurama's head snapped up. His eyes fixed on Hiei's, still looking as though they'd been painted over with a fine coat of silver. His next response was to draw his lips back over his teeth and hiss in a purely animal fashion.

Shit, Hiei thought. "So much for the kind and gentle version of Kurama," he said aloud, trying to provoke a response.

"I did not kill her!" Kurama snarled, his normal voice slightly distorted. "But I might as well have done so!"

Hiei raised one eyebrow. Conversing with a deranged and possibly homicidal youko in the most sarcastic form possible may not have been the best idea, but Hiei was singularly uncreative in his communication. "Interesting. Do tell."

A snarl was all the warning Hiei got before Kurama went straight for his throat.

Shit! Hiei thought, ricocheting off of the walls in an effort to regain control of the situation. However, he was most certainly in an enclosed area, and if Kurama went for any of his long-range attacks he didn't have much choice except to go in executioner-style. Which was probably a bad idea, all things considered. First and foremost, he'd be stuck alone in the Ningenkai. With the two annoying humans. And no other demon with which to complain. Second, he didn't much favor the idea of getting in trouble for killing one of the prized members of the Urameshi team. Third, Kurama could always tear him apart before he even came close enough for a clean shot. Usually Hiei was faster, but this was most emphatically not a usual situation.

And now I'm in a most likely to-the-death battle with one of the few people I fear, Hiei thought grimly. Fuck.

So tensed was he for Kurama to bring out his rose whip that he didn't really understand what was going on when he saw both hands empty but moving at him anyway.

It was only when something sticky hit his face and his eyes started burning that he realized that yet again Kurama had used blood to blind him.


Botan impatiently drummed her fingers on her oar as she floated through the city streets. I don't want to do this job...I really don't want to do this job...but I am the guardian and I'll do it.

Even if I don't like it.

Even if...

Damn. Kurama's going to be near-useless with the death of his human form's mother, I can see it coming. I just hope that nothing bad happens soon...or that this isn't a permanent thing.

She sighed and pushed a stray tendril of hair behind her ear. It was almost immediately ruffled loose by the wind of her flight as she turned a corner and ghosted along the street.

She halted outside the house and then stared in consternation. The soul of the recently deceased was flying in crazy circles around and around its former dwelling. Botan kicked off after it in brief pursuit to see if it could be at all calmed down, then quickly ascertained that it was impossibly. They most certainly did not want to rest in peace, or even rest at all yet.

This worries me, Botan thought. If Shiori won't rest in peace, then there's something she left behind. Something like a violent death, or a...

Or a child in trouble?


Oh bugger.

Botan immediately landed and hefted her oar experimentally. Not the best weapon in the world, but it'll do. She narrowed her eyes and marched up to the door, oar in hand.

About to enter, she paused and stared at the space between the door and the jamb. Wait...why is the door open? I don't understand...

She tentatively pushed the door open with her oar, waited for any ravenous plants that might be booby-trapping the area to show themselves, and when none were forthcoming stepped into the foyer.

It was right about then that she heard a splashing noise, a stifled yelp, and a near-rabid snarl that scaled up into a shriek.

Child in trouble, check, Botan thought as she dashed through the door. Yeeowch! Her feet slid out from under her and she sat down hard on the floor. Then her eyes widened and she inhaled sharply, leaping back to her feet and clinging to her oar for support. "'Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?'" she all but whimpered, feeling her kimono stick to her legs with blood. It had originated in one pool under what was left of Shiori, but had been flung across the room by--

Fuck, she thought succinctly as she realized that a very nearly insane Kurama was staring at her with absolutely no recognition but a lot of bloodlust in his eyes.

"Fucking fox!"

Botan paused in her defensive raising of her oar. I didn't say that...Kurama didn't say that...who said – oh. She slanted her eyes slightly to the left to see Hiei with blood splashed across his face, namely over his eyes and the bandanna hiding the Jagan eye. The fire demon had been effectively blinded and was very obviously furious.

"You just keep walking into that, don't you?" she found herself muttering.

Hiei's response was to swear at length while blinking rapidly, his eyes moving almost nonstop in a futile effort to see. He was practically shaking from the strain of all his muscles being tensed at once, waiting for some kind of sign that Kurama was attacking him. It was as close to panic as Botan had ever seen him, and also close to the angriest.

"Kurama," she said, trying to keep her voice level. "Kurama, you have to calm down."

Kurama hissed again, exposing a set of rather sharp teeth.

"Eeep," Botan said involuntarily.

"Stop whining," Hiei snapped, rubbing furiously at his eyes with his free hand. "The fox has obviously lost it for once and for all. Comes of staying too close to humans. Stupid little mortals."

"Uh-oh," Botan said softly as Kurama leapt straight at Hiei. She then threw her oar forwards and blocked the enraged fox demon, preventing Kurama from disemboweling Hiei. Hiei promptly started lashing out with his katana, trying to hit Kurama before he got killed.

"Oi, oi, stop that!" Botan yelled. She swung the oar one way, knocking Kurama back, then swung it again at Hiei. She then backed up, her eyes wide, and slipped again in the blood on the floor.

The oar clattered to the ground as she knocked the back of her head on the ground. She slowly sat up, rubbing her head and blinking, then shuddering at the feel of blood in her hair. "Ew," she whimpered, then hoisted herself back to her feet with the aid of her oar. "Kurama! Hiei!" she yelled, waving the oar around. "Stop that! Damn demons," she muttered under her breath. "Always so unbalanced."

"The fox blinded me!" Hiei snarled.

"How is that a reason for you to kill him?" Botan demanded.

"This is the second time he's done that!" Hiei complained.

"Why don't you stop your arguing and get out fast before I do something I'll hate myself for later?" Kurama suggested, the slightly distorted edge of his voice still there when he spoke quietly.

Botan looked over at Hiei. "Go wash your eyes out. Now."

"I'm not running away," Hiei snapped.

"No, you're running back," Botan replied. "Go!"

Hiei sulked back against the sink and poked at the faucet. Water gushed out, splattering all three of them and adding to the slipperiness of the floor. Kurama hissed again, this time in annoyance.

This is not good, Botan thought emphatically. This is really, really horrible. What am I going to do? If I went to Koenma now, they'd kill each other before I got back. She looked over at Hiei awkwardly getting water all over himself, then at Kurama hanging onto the kitchen table, staring at him and breathing raggedly.

"This is not good," she whispered. "This is very, very bad."


Fluffy: Right-oh. Psycho Kurama. Half-blind Hiei. Very nervous Botan. Whee! I'm going to have fun with this!

Duel: There are no reviews yet. You want to change that. You know you do. You know deep in your heart that you want to change this fact. And the Sharp Pointy Review Stick of Doom wants you to change this fact too. *waves the Stick threateningly*