Disclaimer: I own neither X-men nor Yu Yu Hakusho. I don't know WHO owns them, but it certainly isn't ME.

- : - : - Chapter One: Mission X - : - : -

"This had damn well better be important . . . "

Urameshi Yuusuke eyed the almost unbelievably tall flight of stone steps leading up to Genkai's shrine with more than a little irritation showing in his expression.

It wasn't that the trek up the long flight of stairs would tire the young man overly much --it was a nice enough day for a hike, cool and crisp with the approach of winter--, but the fact that he HAD to climb the stairs was still very annoying. He could have been hanging out with Keiko, or teasing Kuwabara, or beating up on the lesser thugs that hung around his high school.

" . . . As in 'Life-or-Death, the World's-About-To-Be-Blown-To-Smithereens' important."

But NO. He had to spend a good twenty minutes of his time heaving himself up the Stairway From Hell to go meet the Junior God Of Hell to find out his next Assignment To Hell.

And THEN he could waste another twenty minutes hauling himself back DOWN the stairway.

Yep. Life was FAN-freaking-TASTIC.

Yuusuke heaved a sigh and set his foot upon the first stair. "The stupid toddler's probably lost his stinkin' pacifier."

- : - : - : - : - : -

As the last few steps leading to the shrine passed beneath his feet, Minamino Shuichi (known to a select few as Kurama) found his thoughts dwelling upon the odd message that he had found lying on top of his desk the night before.

To Kurama:

Be at Genkai's at precisely eight-thirty tomorrow morning. You have an assignment.

Mighty Lord Of The Reikai
Overall Grand Ruler Of The Reikai Investigations Department
Beloved By All
Your Employer (and The Guy Who Signs Your Paychecks)

Kurama greatly enjoyed the irony that Koenma's signature and titles (as misleading as they may be, seeing as NONE of the Reikai Tantei EVER got paid) took up more space than the introduction and note did combined, but that did not stop the youko-turned-human from being intrigued by the new 'assignment.' Things HAD been boring lately, and a bored youko meant a youko ready and willing to do just about ANYTHING for a little excitement.

Hands in the pockets of his jacket, Kurama stepped onto the flat, stone platform at the head of the long stairway, peering through the wooden gateway framing the entrance to the shrine grounds in an attempt to catch a glimpse of Genkai or Yukina (or maybe even Hiei or Yuusuke), but the courtyard was empty and there was no sign of anyone. A stray, autumn wind swirled beneath the wooden gateway and caught teasingly at his loose hair, tugging it across his face until he tucked his back behind his ear with an impatient motion.

He stiffened slightly, however, as his nose caught the odd, alien scent also carried upon the wind.

He tilted his head back, inhaling deeply.

There was a hint of . . . rain, and snow . . . and lightning? And a separate scent as well . . . earthy, definitely male, with the sharp tang of sweat and metal and . . . tobacco smoke?

Kurama frowned, perplexed.

What in the world . . . ?

"Oy, Kurama! You get summoned by His Royal Shortness, too?"

Kurama turned at the yell, peering down at the familiar raven-haired teenager trudging up the steps.

"Yuusuke," replied Kurama, by way of greeting. "I assume Koenma sent for you as well?"

"Yeah." Yuusuke ran one hand back through his hair as he jogged up the last steps to stand beside the emerald-eyed young man. "If it's anything less than the approaching Apocalypse, I'm outta' here."

Kurama allowed himself a small smile. "No," he said, amused. "You'll go along with whatever Koenma says, if only for a chance to fight again."

Yuusuke grinned. "I'm getting predictable, huh?"

"Not much." Kurama turned his gaze back toward the shrine, frowning as the odd scents mingled with the aged, comforting scent of Genkai. "Do you know anything about this 'assignment'?"

"Nothing." Yuusuke's eyes skimmed over Kurama's odd, wary posture. "What's up with you?"

"There are strangers in the shrine. Two of them. A male and female, I think."

Yuusuke's eyes narrowed, and he turned all of his senses toward the silent shrine. His sense of smell was nowhere near as keen as Kurama's youko nose, but his instincts were more refined when it came to sensing upcoming fights. "Humans, or . . . otherwise?"

"I'm not sure. They smell . . . strange. But there's no scent of blood or fear, so it's doubtful that they're here to fight."

Yuusuke tilted his head to one side, a slow smirk crossing his features. "In that case, why don't we go say hello?"

Kurama sent a wry glance toward the battle-eager young man. "Why not?"

Yuusuke stepped through the gateway with Kurama following slightly behind. The raven-haired young man fell almost instinctively into the cocky persona that most associated with him.


There was the sound of soft footsteps from inside the shrine, and one of the screens at the building's front slid aside to reveal Genkai, her usual stern frown fixed firmly in place. If one knew her well enough, though, one could pick out the slight warmth in her eyes as she spotted Yuusuke.

"Hello, Shuichi. Good morning, Dimwit."

Yuusuke and Kurama exchanged a glance, the same thought running through each of their minds.

Since when did Genkai call Kurama anything but 'Fox'? And since when did she even acknowledge that 'Shuichi' was one of his names?

Genkai had nicknames for everyone. Yuusuke was 'Dimwit.' Hiei was 'Sociopath.' Kuwabara was 'Fool.' Kurama was 'Fox.' The aged martial artist never called any of the Reikai Tantei by anything BUT her chosen nicknames for them unless things were serious . . . and she NEVER called Kurama 'Shuichi.'

Yuusuke sent a questioning glance toward his teacher, but kept his voice purposefully light. "Hey, Grandma. Has the Brat told you what's going on?"

"He's told me enough." Genkai looked back over her shoulder at the still- open door of the shrine. "There are two people here to see the both of you, Dimwit, Shuichi. Their want to see the Sociopath as well. They have an interesting story to tell, to say the least."

Yuusuke looked past his teacher, peering into the dim interior of the shrine, barely able to make out the two shadowy figures within. "You know me: I'm always up for a good story."

The more burly of the two mysterious figures (the male, Kurama was certain) shifted slightly, stepping forward, into the sunlight. His eyes were narrow and dark, his jaw square, and his hair was black and messy. His clothes consisted of faded jeans, a t-shirt, and a battered leather jacket. His eyes ran over Yuusuke and Kurama appraisingly.

When he spoke, his voice was low and gravelly, and words were in heavily accented Japanese. "So, these are the kids?"

Yuusuke arched one eyebrow in surprise. "You're American?"

"Canadian, kid. Name's Logan."

The other stranger (the woman) stepped forward, emerging into the light and revealing herself to be a slender African woman with snowy-white hair, clad in a long skirt and button-up blouse. She said something in what Yuusuke assumed was English (he could only pick out words here and there; for once, he wished that he hadn't skipped so many of his language courses). Her voice was smooth and warm, and Yuusuke and Kurama both found themselves liking her somewhat.

The feral-looking man jerked his chin toward the silver-haired woman. "This is Ororo Monroe. She says that she's pleased to meet you."

Yuusuke opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted when his surroundings faded to an odd shade of smoky gray, all noise ceased, and a short, blue-clad figure appeared before him to hover in midair.

"Yuusuke!" Koenma's familiar voice grated against Yuusuke's ears. "You're here!"

Yuusuke glared darkly, peering around suspiciously. He still stood in the open courtyard area in front of Genkai's shrine, and he could still see Genkai, Kurama, and the two stranger's standing around, but everything was frozen and painted in cool shades of blue and gray. It reminded Yuusuke greatly of the time that Koenma had come to see him in the middle of a school day to inform Yuusuke about his latest case.

"Yeah, yeah, what's the big problem now, Short-stuff?" Yuusuke scowled up at the floating, infant-like form of the demigod of the dead. "And what's with the two oddballs?"

"DON'T CALL ME THAT! . . . And THEY are here to take you to your new case." Koenma eyed the scowling detective with more than a little sternness. "This is important, Yuusuke. None of your normal shenanigans on this one, understand?"

Yuusuke rolled his eyes. "Feh. Whatever. What's the deal?"

"Hmph." Koenma sighed to himself. " . . . What do you know about mutants?"

Yuusuke frowned. "I know that the American government is in a real uproar right now. They want the mutants to all register themselves or something, and the mutants aren't taking to it that well." He snorted. "Not that I blame 'em."

Koenma nodded. "Right. I see that you CAN remember things, if you want to."

"Get to the point, Squirt."


" . . . right, right . . ."

"ANYWAY . . ." Koenma glared down at the raven-haired young man. "We've heard rumors of mutants gathering beneath someone of great power, who promises them freedom from human rule. Someone who guarantees them a world of mutant superiority. Supposedly, there will be a mutant uprising against the human governments, probably sometime soon."

Yuusuke cocked his head to one side, frowning. "What does that have to do with the Reikai and Makai?"

"I'm GETTING to that!" Koenma's pacifier bobbled as he sucked on it meditatively before continuing his explanation. "There's a group of mutants known as the X-men, based in the USA, who are dedicated to peace between mutants and normal humans, and their leader, a man named Charles Xavier, is very concerned about this new group of mutant extremists."

Yuusuke's foot tapped impatiently against the stone tile on which he stood, his arms crossed over his chest. "And this worries you BECAUSE . . . ?"

"We believe that the leader of the extremists is a demon."

Yuusuke's foot stilled. "What class of demon?"

"Anywhere from B-superior to S-inferior. We can't get any reliable information on him aside from that fact that he calls himself Kurorashi."

"Kuro Arashi." Yuusuke nodded absently. " 'Black Tempest.' "


"So you want me to go and kick this 'Kurorashi' back to the Makai where he belongs?"

Koenma cringed at Yuusuke's choice of words. "Er, something like that. What I REALLY want you to do is find out what his purpose is in gathering all of those mutants, and THEN kick him back to the Makai where he belongs. I have a feeling that there's more to this than a mere thirst for power in the Ningenkai."

Yuusuke frowned. "Who all's going?"

"You and Kurama, and Hiei, if we can get in touch with him in time. Botan is too busy gathering information and ferrying souls right now, and Kuwabara doesn't have the . . . subtlety needed to blend in where you three will be going."

"Subtlety?" asked Yuusuke, eyes narrowed. "'Blend in'? What exactly have you cooked up as our crackpot cover story THIS time?"

Koenma sighed, rolling his eyes heavenward. "The X-men are based at the Xavier Institute for Exceptionally Gifted Youngsters, a school to teach mutants how to use their powers. The X-men will be a great help to you on this case since they know much more about mutants that anyone in Reikai does at the moment. And in order to get their help, you and the others will have to pose as mutants."

"But . . . we're demons." Yuusuke looked doubtful. "Won't they be able to tell the difference?"

Koenma sighed again, looking as though he would like nothing so much as an aspirin and a long nap.

"The Xavier Institute identifies new mutants through an advanced scanning system named Cerebro. It can search all of the world for abnormal energy signatures. They don't necessarily look for 'mutant energy,' they just look for 'non-human energy.' It is the responsibility of the Reikai to shield all demon auras from discovery by humans, and the demon energies of you, Kurama, and Hiei were all shielded from Cerebro by Reikai energy. However, I removed your shields early yesterday so that the Institute would 'discover' you and come hunting. This man and woman are professors at the Xavier Institute, sent here to recruit you three."

Yuusuke massaged his forehead. "So . . . They'll interpret any of our 'demon quirks' as mutant abilities?"

Koenma nodded. "Mostly. It would be good if you could limit yourselves. YOU had best just stick to excellent martial arts skills and strength, and Kurama should avoid letting his youko side out. Mutants generally have only one major ability, you see."

"And Hiei can play around with fire to his heart's content, ne?"


Yuusuke considered for a long moment, then shrugged. "Hell, why not? I'll do it."

- : - : - To Be Continued . . . - : - : -

A/N: Follow the arrow and send me a nice review, okay? I'll be EVER so happy if you do! ^_^