It's amazing the things you think up during play practice…I don't know if anyone's ever heard of the show, but it's calledThe Girl In The Mirror…I got the part of the Speaker (who's actually supposed to be a 30 year old man…) and in the middle of practice, this popped into my head! Except this time I've given the 'speaker' a name, seeing as it'd be too confusing when read in text. Actually, she's the main character of the novel I'm working on…the one I'm trying to get published. I think it's a kind of tribute, given that the story was semi-inspired by Yu Yu Hakusho…^_^ I dare any of you to try and figure out the plot of the book. You won't get it in a million years.
Originally, this was supposed to be a one-shot, but by the end of the first memory we were up to 10 pages…So I decided to split it up a bit…
Disclaimer:I don't own YYH. However, I do own this specific idea. Aikari in particular is my copyright, so DON'T USE HER EITHER!!!
Chapter 1: Aikari
"Hiei? Hiei, can you hear me?"
The small, black demon groaned, squinting his eyes closed and willing the voice to go away. It was much closer than the other one had been, unfamiliar, louder, and much more annoying.
"Hiei, I know you can hear me. Stop being stubborn and tell me that!"
"Fine!" he snapped. "I can hear you, now go away!"
"Well, you don't have to be rude about it." the voice clicked her tongue. Yes, 'hers', it was most definitely female, but one he did not know. "Come on, wake up. Up you get."
Hiei growled at her, closing his eyes tighter. "I'm not going away until you wake up, Hiei."
Grudgingly, Hiei sat up, forcing his eyes open. He was in Kurama's room, in Ningenkai, a night-time scene played out through the window behind him. He could hear some frantic rustling and scraping coming from the bathroom next-door, like someone digging through a cabinet.
Next to him stood the unfamiliar girl and he leveled his gaze at her. She didn't look like a demon, just a human. An American or British-born one at that, judging by her accent, she looked about 14. Her hair was a dark auburn brown; it fell to her shoulders in gentle waves, and her eyes were a bright forest green. Her skin tone was an almost perfect mix of a pale German decent and a yellowed Japanese line. She was dressed in dark blue jeans, exactly like the kind Kurama wore when he was relaxing, a long-sleeved, dark purple shirt and black shoes.
"There now." she smiled a bit, the grin looking a bit unnatural. "That's better, isn't it?"
Hiei growled at her. "Who the hell are you?"
"The name's Aikari." she brushed her hair back. "But most call me Aika. I guess you could say I'm kinda like your friend Botan, but my job's a bit more complicated."
"Botan?" Hiei raised an eyebrow. "So you're a ferry girl?"
"Something like that." Aika leaned forward and pulled him out of the bed. For some reason, he didn't even feel the sheets slip away from him. "I'm here to help you."
"Help me with what?" Hiei snapped. "I don't need help with anything."
"Don't you?" Aika was playing with him, and it was apparent on her face. "Don't you remember what happened to you? Why you're in here?"
Of course he remembered. It was a bit fuzzy at first, but he remembered every bit of it. It'd been his only choice, but he had still been nervous…anxious…He'd licked his lips, trying to keep his fear from holding him back from the only thing that would free him forever, before plunging it has hard as he could downward…
"Yeah, that was it." Aika twirled a piece of hair around her finger, sounding as though she had just read his very well-guarded mind. "Awful stupid thing for you to do."
Hiei glared at her. "I am dead." he hissed. "If you're a ferry girl or whatever you care to call yourself, just take me to hell and get this damn thing over with! Koenma should know I don't put up with this!"
"You're not dead."
Hiei snapped his head back around so quickly he thought his neck might snap. "What?"
"You're not dead." Aika crossed her arms over her chest, leaning against the wall across from him. "And I'm not a 'ferry girl' and I don't work for Koenma."
"Then who do you work for?!"
"Koenma's boss." Aika thought for a second, then corrected herself. "Bosses."
"There's more than one?" Hiei raised an eyebrow.
"Five, at least." Aika seamed to be counting on her fingers. "Probably more…But no matter. You're not dead yet, so you don't have to worry about them."
"What do you mean 'I'm not dead yet'?!" Hiei snapped.
"You're. Not. Dead." Aika spelled it out slowly. "Yet. That's what I'm here for. I'm gonna show you some things…mostly stuff that happened in your life, but there will be things if you let yourself die…"
"'Let myself die'?!" Hiei sneared. "What madness are you talking about, girl?"
"Look, shrimp." Aika turned him around. "Check out the bed."
Hiei glanced at it. He wasn't surprised to see his body still lying there, under the white sheets and dark green comforter, completely comatose. "So?"
"So if you were a suicide 'ghost' so to speak, you wouldn't be staring at your body in your friend's bedroom." she sighed. "You'd be back in that same clearing you were before, and would probably hover there for the rest of eternity."
Hiei raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"Suicide is a very serious crime against your own body. Even if you fully die, you've got no chance of going to heaven or hell. You'll be a wandering spirit until you find some way to atone for the sin of killing yourself, and that can take millenniums!"
"…Fine then." Hiei shrugged. "I can deal with that."
Aika clicked her tongue again. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that…"
Hiei narrowed his eyes "What do you care?"
"I care because it's my job!" Aika snapped, just as ferocious. "You think this world needs any more restless, unsettled spirits? Especially demon spirits? Part of my job is to stop that from happening as much as possible."
"Fine." Hiei snapped. He was in no mood to argue. "But can I come back here and die whenever I want?"
"Whenever you want." Aika nodded, agreeing. "Even when we are here… nobody's gonna be able to see us. Even if they have sixth-sense, if somebody walked through that door, they'd still see you lying in a coma, and they wouldn't see me at all."
Almost on cue, the door opened. A frantic-looking redhead stood there, framed by the bright hall-light, green eyes wide as he panted. He held rolls of bandages in one hand, and several different kinds of seeds and plants.
He rushed into the room, going straight through Aika without either one even blinking. He was too busy focusing on the small, limp body in the bed. "Hang on, Hiei…" he whispered, before diving into his work.
Hiei turned back to look at him, but he was gone. The bed was gone. The room was gone. It was just him and Aika, standing out in the middle of a flat plane where you could see nothing but white.
He spun on Aika, glaring viciously. "Where are we?"
"Just clearing the canvas." she shrugged. "We've gotta take a close look at everything…Now let's see…" She was digging for something in the pockets of her jeans. "I know I put it in here somewhere…Than's gonna fry me if I lost it…Ah, here it is!"
Somehow, someway, she produced a solid black laptop computer, sat cross-legged in midair, turned the machine on and started searching through the files. "Hm…Urk…" she muttered. "You haven't had it very easy, have you? Left to die as a baby…raised by thieves…Bad relations with only remaining family…Tch-tch-tch."
"Shut up!" Hiei snapped, wishing he had a blade to slice this damn girl in half.
"Cool it, I was just stating the facts." Aika waved him off. "Hm…I suppose we should start when your life would change the most…which would be…right about here…"
She hit the enter button on her keyboard and a scene began to form itself. Hiei glanced around, expecting to see the snow world, where Yukina's nurse had told him about his sister, or the dark operating where room he'd received his Jagan.
But the scene that formed around him was much different. Their point of view was high up in a tree, peering through the branches to a dark city street. Below them, two figures walked side-by-side through the street. The shorter one was female, a human girl, about 13-14 years old with messy black hair and dark brown eyes. She was talking rather excitedly to a taller boy of the same age, vibrant red hair cut short and bright green eyes obvious beacons in the night.
Hiei recognized this scene instantly and turned on Aika. "You said it was when my life would change…" he growled,
"It is, isn't it?" she gave him a smug look. She was sitting on the branch next to him, legs crossed pointedly at the ankles. "You have to look at the big picture. Your life took a whole new turn after this one night."
Hiei was about to say something, but the memory's voice interrupted him. The girl was talking to the boy, and from the look on his face he was rather annoyed.
"So come on…" she asked, looking hopeful. "Can't you tell me? Please?"
The red-haired boy stopped, closing his eyes. "I'm sorry, but…no."
The girl looked at him, a bit hurt, then bowed her head. "Oh…Okay. I understand. I'll go…"
There was a rustling sound from the branches just beside where Hiei and Aika were sitting. The boy's head snapped up, and his hand suddenly grabbed the girl by the upper arm. She looked at him, hopeful.
"Don't move." he whispered, tensing. He glanced around, green eyes searching the streets nervously.
"…What is it?" she asked.
The rustle next to Hiei suddenly dropped out of the tree, a black blur. At the same moment, the boy snatched the girl off her feet and leapt out of the way, sliding to a stop ten feet from the spot.
The figure stopped to appear as Hiei. He looked a bit younger than he did now… but not much, considering he was a demon and didn't really age. He looked pretty angry and a bit tired, holding his sword in one hand.
"So…you managed to dodge that, did you?"
The red-haired boy…the 8th grade Shuuichi Minamino, known to a select few as Kurama…set the girl down, keeping his eyes on the demon. "Maya…You okay?"
"Yeah…fine…" she said breathlessly, looking at her classmate in surprise. "Wh-what about you? I'm not to heavy, am I?"
The smaller demon lunged forward, sword bared for the redhead's chest. Kurama snatched a blade of grass from the ground, and in an instant it was a long, thin, sharp sword.
"A plant weapon?!" Hiei's memory-self muttered.
"Try me." the younger Kurama growled.
The two disappeared into the distance after a moment, and almost on instinct, Hiei followed. First he tried jumping through the trees, but he would've lost them. So, on prompt by Aika, he took to the ghost-like flying after the two targets.
His memory-self and Kurama's younger form slid to a stop, still bearing their swords. "You're pretty good." Hiei muttered, raising an eyebrow. "What's a guy like you doing working for Yatsude?"
Kurama started, eyes wide. "Yatsude?" he asked. "He's in this town?"
Hiei's eyebrow rose even higher. "You mean you're not working for him?"
"I see…" Kurama let the grass-blade sword drop, returning to the simple plant. "You can put away your weapon. I live in this town."
"Hn." Hiei muttered, sliding the sword back into its sheaf. "I lost my temper…a bit too…soon…"
Something bright red dripped from the small demon's cloak, splashing into a puddle on the ground. Kurama's eyes widened. "Blood…" he whispered, and the small black demon collapsed.
The scene around Hiei suddenly warped, startling him into stumbling back. He glared at Aika, once again calmly standing by his side. "What the hell is this?"
"Your memory." Aika shrugged. "I can't access what's not there. You were unconscious. This is just picking up where you remember."
The scene started to swirl back to place, realigning the colors in new shapes and a new place. Hiei glanced around, finding himself in a very familiar bedroom. It was as organized as ever, but the bed was pushed up against the right wall, the desk on the left, and there were a few posters like that a Ningen teenager was expected to have.
The red-haired boy from before…his memory of Kurama…sat leaning on the wall by the window, looking relaxed and attentive at the same time. A katana and black cloak sat next to the bed, where a small figure was stirring.
Hiei's memory-self sat up, blinking in confusion. The redhead looked up, smiling. "So, you're awake." the black-haired demon snapped his head around to look at him. "You have a high capacity for healing…only two hours."
Hiei glanced down, raising an eyebrow at the sealed-closed flesh. "The wound…" he muttered.
"I was deep." Kurama muttered. "I treated it with a Makai remedy. It probably helped." Hiei said nothing, so he went on. "You spoke during your sleep…Who is Yukina?"
Hiei let out a low growl, glaring at this crumb of a boy. Kurama continued. "You've had that Jagan for only a short time…I can feel it. You must have a good reason for attempting that." he looked up. "What is the connection between her and Yatsude?"
"You talk too much." Hiei sneared, crossing to put on his katana and cloak. "Go any further and I'll remove your head."
The boy fell silent. Hiei slid the sword around his waist and took a moment to secure his cloak before mounting one foot on the window. "…A warning for you, as thanks." Green eyes turned up to look at him. "Your naiveté has lost a day."
"You still plan on fighting?" Kurama raised an eyebrow. "It's too soon."
"He gets stronger, the more he eats." the demon muttered. "I must take him out now."
Kurama's eyebrow raised a bit higher. "Tell me, what is your name?"
"…Hiei." with that, the small demon was out the window, pulling his corporal self with him.
The real Hiei hovered, invisible, over his memory self. His eyes turned to the girl hovering next to him. "I don't see what this accomplishes." he growled.
"You'll see…it's the big picture, remember?" the girl leaned back, as though she was lying in a recliner. "Just sit back and enjoy the show for a bit."
Hiei glanced back down. His memory-self had paused a moment, glancing back at a new energy. Kurama hurried up to him, leaping over the rooftops as he was. "I'm coming with you."
Hiei raised an eyebrow and continued on. "Oh, yeah? And why is that?"
"I…have my reason…" Kurama muttered, keeping pace even with a 12-year-old's body.
"It's because'a that girl, isn't it?" Hiei smirked.
Hiei had to laugh, watching himself fight with Kurama for the first time. Remarkable, how their personalities had meshed so nicely that first time. He remembered how amusing he'd found it, that this Ningen boy who was no mere child could match wits with him so easily.
Within minutes, they had reached a burned-out toy factory at the edge of town. There were charred doll parts lying in piles, but mixed among them were the hidden remains of dozens of humans.
"He's serious, this one…" Kurama muttered quietly, then a voice rang out.
"Intruders! You are dead men!" the creature raged, crashing two giant hands to the ground in a failed attempt to hit them.
Kurama slide to one side, bearing his Rose Whip instantly. Hiei was on the other, katana unshaved, glaring at the demon Yatsude. He was a gigantic thing, with, as his translated name suggested, eight powerful arms.
Two small, dark eyes glared at Hiei in recognition. "You again…" he smirked, licking his lips. "You're awful persistent for such a shrimp.."
"I'll ask you again." Hiei growled. "Who was the Ice Maiden that you ate?"
"I don't remember." Yatsude chuckled.
Now it was Kurama's turn to step forward. "You were brought a female student today." he hissed. "Where is she?"
"You know her?" Yatsude laughed. "I'll give you a clue…what is this?" He lifted up a yellow sash, bright red blood dripping slowly off it.
Kurama's eyes glared in rage. "Bastard!" he growled, lunging at him.
Floating above him, Hiei wondered, if he had realized his feelings at the moment, would he be jealous of that human girl? But no, Kurama merely felt responsible for his classmate's safety, and wouldn't stand to have the blood of a innocent human on his hands.
Yatsude knocked Kurama to the ground, the kitsune scrambling a moment to recover his whip. In that short time, Hiei leapt at him with his sword, but Yatsude sent him crashing to the ground as well.
"Pathetic! You're both pathetic!" he crowed.
Hiei pulled himself up, groaning just a little bit. His eyes locked with Kurama's, and instantly they were in agreement of how to win this…
Yatsude laughed when both fallen demons leapt up as a pair and attack him. "So…you've decided to work together?" he laughed. "Still pathetic!"
He threw both to the ground, eagerly awaiting the next attack. Once again, both came at the same time, but this time, Hiei disappeared very suddenly.
"He vanished?" Yatsude wondered, then grinned. "No…it's a trick. He's above him!"
Kurama struck with his Whip, which Yatsude easily caught. Letting out a crow-like laugh, his hand shot up to crush Hiei into a pulp…
With a shattering noise, the doll's head was demolished, leaving a flowing black cloak in the demon's hand. "A…A doll?! Oh, crap…"
The memory Hiei, attacking from behind, sliced him in half around the waist. Coming in from the side, Kurama's whip sliced him up the rest of the job. His head was still conscious for a few moments, and it gave a few words:
"Impressive…As a reward I'll tell you this." he whispered. "The girl is safe…I don't know about the Ice Maiden. But, if I had eaten her…I would not have lost…"
Hiei looked at it, motionless, on the ground with the rest of the disassembled body. "Yukina…she's not here."
Kurama found Maya, still in one piece, behind a stack of boxes. He lifted her onto his back and begun to carry her to her home. For reasons Hiei couldn't understand at the moment, he walked alongside this new-found partner.
Kurama held a kind of gold powder in one hand, letting it drift into Maya's range of breath. Hiei raised an eyebrow. "The pollen of forgetfulness?" he asked.
"It's an amnesia inducer…" Kurama muttered. "It's for her own good…"
"Hn." Hiei shrugged. "And what about you? Tell me your name. I'll make an effort to remember it."