Reviewer Responses:

Inu.Roxs-Thank you very much! I hope this is soon enough.

Anime ace 12-Haha your favorite line was my favorite line too! I'm very honored to possibly be the first person to ever receive one of your lovely reviews. I don't expect Botan's gem to activate for quite a few chapters. As for the length of this fic, I'd say…hmm…anywhere from thirty chapters up probably. This is just a rough estimate to be sure, it may fall a little short, but knowing myself as I do I tend to underestimate the number of chapters so I'd lean more towards surpassing thirty chapters. I'm especially pleased you like my writing style, writing in first person takes more time than the other two in my personal opinion. It's easy, but ends up coming out longer. I intend to include Hiei giving Botan a short lesson on swords, but not much, and she won't be learning how to use one as far as I know. Botan's just not the type of person who could use that type, if any weapon. In my opinion she's too sentimental and couldn't take the life of someone else even if she had mastered a weapon. It's just not Botan.

Crystal Koneko-I thought about making Botan's gem's power her oar but decided against it in the end. What I have in mind is relatively the same power but much more symbolic. Lol, chew on that for a while. Hope you don't get a headache heehee.

DeathAngel'sKiss-I'm pleased you liked the chapter, I put a lot of effort into that one and my hands nearly fell off trying to fit all that into one chapter. At least I know that the ending result was satisfactory, which makes it all worth it. That chapter was pure Botan development, but I wanted everyone to see the change in her. She goes from being a sheltered, ordinary girl and is thrust into a new type of living with extraordinary people. The conversion isn't all that easy, but she makes it because she cares for her new family and doesn't want to let them down. Aww, and I luv you too cuz you give awesome reviews and make me happy! Oh, and I should have made a note, but the guard didn't die. Botan stabbed him, but it wasn't fatal, she technically she didn't kill him. Wound severely? Yes.

TheDemonQueen1-Sorry I left it there, but that chapter really should have been two or even three chapters and I was terribly tired after writing out the entire 8,000 words of it. I left as gentle of a cliffhanger as I possibly could. Thank you very much for all of your very awesome comments (they make me blush) and Hiei is an excellent pirate if I do say so myself. Why didn't the YYH people realize that?

Ellamr-I'm guessing you are another person who thinks Botan's gem is going to turn into an oar? Well, you may be right, you may be wrong. But I'll just tell you you're wrong lol. I'll try adding more Yusuke and Kuwabara, I have been neglecting them as of late. This fic is more centered on Hiei and Botan, with Kurama and Shizuru after that. Yusuke, Kayko, Kuwabara and Yukina are more secondary main characters, if that makes sense at all.

Forgotten-Heart-Thank you so much. It left me feeling great about the last chapter. I'm thrilled people enjoyed it a lot.

Vindiya-Botan just passed out of exhaustion from the trying day. You're pretty sharp; I won't be revealing Botan's gem's hidden power for quite awhile. I'm not sure it will be the end exactly, but probably not in the beginning. Care to tell me how you guessed that? Glad you liked it!

Kuwabara99-I think Hiei should have fried Tarukane in the anime and been like why are you looking at me? It wasn't my fault he caught on fire. Things just happen like that. Kuwabara and Yukina's romance will be moving at a slow and steady pace and sorta flipped around. I don't want to reveal too much, but I'm pretty sure you'll like it, I do!

Ballet Kitty-No, I enjoy writing the fic immensely. It gives me even more pleasure to know that other people look forward to reading the chapters. It's a tad stressing, but I love it whole heartedly. Tarukane is gone! See ya!

BballAnimeLover89-Thanks for reviewing!

KeKe-Kikyos-Daughter-Thanks a lot!

RitSuYue-I'm not totally dead set on Botan's gem power, and healing could be a side effect, or a deeper skill. As for now, the main purpose of her gem isn't to heal, but something else…

Avigayil Urameshi-I'm glad you enjoyed the length of the last chapter, I'd like to say that that's the longest chapter that I'll ever write, but it probably won't. Most chapters like that will be broken up into smaller ones but I had planned all that to be one chapter and didn't want to mess up my precarious schedule even more by dividing that chapter. When I planned all this in my head I think this chapter was like chapter seven and somehow I'm at chapter eleven already. I make sure to at some H/B every chapter, it may be small, but it's there. Try squinting lol. There will be more romance in the future chapters, obviously some more than others, but the romance will bloom.

TearsofSadness17-Cool! I have a number one fan, how awesome is that? squeals and runs around I'm pretty sure that was everyone's favorite chapter if we go by what the reviews say! I'm thrilled you liked it! Tests suck, I have two tomorrow, French and Math ugh.

Bookworm0492-We had the same favorite line! It was just too funny! Glad you like the catfight so to speak and all the action squished in there!

MiaHime-Sorry that chapter was long, but most people tend to favor those, myself included (when I'm not the one writing them). Normally a chapter of that kind will be broken up into two or three chapters, but I had planned for it to only be one and was determined to keep it that way, despite the length. I'm pleased you didn't find any spelling mistakes, at least it proves to me that there were no blatantly obvious errors, thought undoubtedly there are numerous littler buggers hiding in that chapter somewhere. You picked my favorite line; I was hoping that one would win. I won't be revealing Botan's gem power for quite a bit, but feel free to guess what it is. Hint: It's not her oar.

MystiKoorime-Tales of the Jagan is centered around the Treasure of Mortar like Inuyasha is the Shikon Jewel, so be expecting a lot of it. Shizuru and Botan both had good moments, and you didn't truly think I'd let Taro get hurt, did you? Gokumonki was cracked up lol.

Keda Jaganshi-Yay thank you! Celebration! Hope this is soon enough for you.

LivingImpared-I am forever going to spell impaired wrong because of you lol. I agree, Kurama is awesome. Thanks for reviewing!

Gab-Sorry, I know I take a long time to write sometimes. Between the first and second chapter, I think a whole year passed by. Don't worry; I don't think that will EVER happen again with any luck. This baby is now my priority and I deem to finish it.

Betabonanza-Nope, you're on time. Don't feel bad if you miss a chapter though, I'm happy that you review for that chapter even though the next one is already out. I'm honored that even though you're rarely on you still take the time to read this fic!

Heartluv-Hiei is very protective. That protectiveness is going to be pretty important later on too  Thanks for reviewing again!

Hiei's girl 06-Thanks for you sweet comments! Do you like longer chapters? They're sure a heck of a lot harder to write! Thanks for doing the fav line thingie!

Amata Mercy-Wow, let me say that you have to be one of my best and most dedicated reviewers! Every review I get from you I can bet ten dollars that I'm smiling before the end of it! So thank you very much! It gives me so very much inspiration to write! Even right now I'm smiling! By the way, we have the same favorite line!

CelticBotan-Aw I'm so sorry! I never did receive the two songs that you sent me, otherwise I would have most certainly responded after I listened to them! Sorry about the misunderstandings!

Angel61991-Thank you very much!

Tsume-Hiei luver-Glad you liked the last chapter!

Youko's Kitsune Girl-Thank you so much! Your reviews are so uplifting and never fail to make me happy! Really, I need you after math class!

Youko's Kitsune Girl-Yeah, I like combining episodes with chapters. I'm glad you didn't find it boring, I tried my best! Sorry I took so long…you'll find out why at the end of the chapter.

Tales of the Jagan

Chapter 12

Downtime

OOOOOBotanOOOOO

I stretched my arms in the air as a cat would after a good nap and blearily my eyes opened. The first thing I noticed was that I was most certainly back in my room on the Jagan. I snapped around, searching the room almost expecting Tarukane to pop out somewhere with an evil snicker, but of course, he was dead. Hiei and his flames had seen to that.

The second thing I noticed was familiar crimson eyes.

"Hiei!" I screamed, placing a calming hand on my rapidly beating heart, "God! Don't scare me like that!"

"I was waiting for you to notice," the fire demon answered smartly.

I glared but gave up. There was no winning with the dark haired demon.

"How long have you been there anyway?"

How is it possible that I scanned the whole room for intruders yet missed him, who was sitting in a chair not a foot away? My logic didn't even make sense to myself.

"Since you passed out on the battlefield."

"Which was…?"

"Approximately eight hours ago."

"Eight! I've been asleep for eight hours?"

What the heck had happened between the time I passed out and now? Hiei seemed to be able to read my thoughts.

"You haven't missed much. The others are waiting in the captains' room. We decided to wait for you before concluding any major events," Hiei said briskly, "If you're ready we should leave."

I nodded, agreeing because I wanted to see the others, if only to be able to conclude that they were indeed ok. On the other hand, Hiei seemed a bit impatient and somehow seemed to give off the vibe that it was my fault the inevitable meeting would be held. I was thankful they waited for me, but then again I wasn't even conscious to ask them to hold off for me. I wasn't even a captain, so would my opinion even count?

I slipped out of bed shivering. My nice, comfortable bed was so much warmer than the chilly ship. My bare feet and the wooden floorboards sure didn't help regulate heat either. It was then I realized that I was in my silk sleeping gown and not in my dress that I had worn eight hours ago. Who had…?

"Shizuru said you would be more comfortable in that and no one argued," Hiei stated.

He didn't say who changed me but I felt it safe to assume that Shizuru had done the changing as well.

We walked quickly to the captains' room. Hiei walked a few paces ahead of my and I had to practically jog to keep up with his pace. I assumed it was late at night now, during the whole jaunt we must have passed only two or three crewmembers. The rest were off duty doing who knows what.

When we entered the room all eyes were on us. The group, Kurama, Shizuru, Yusuke, Kayko, Kazuma, Yukina, and Taro were all seated at the big conference table.

"Botan! Are you all right? You shouldn't be so reckless!" Kazuma cried dramatically.

"Indeed. Pushing yourself is not wise but dangerous," Kurama added.

"How are you feeling? You were out eight hours after Hiei carried you back. I was so worried!" Kayko got up from her seat and hugged me in a friendly affectionate way. I returned it happily, if a bit wearily.

"I'm fine, Kayko, really. I'm sorry to inconvenience all of you," I said respectfully, "But really you didn't have to wait for me. I thought only captains could make the decisions."

"That may be true, but Hiei was adamant in not leaving your side. We can't make decisions like this without all four of our captains present, so we were forced to wait. Not that we mind, of course," the fox informed.

I turned to Hiei in surprise.

"You stayed with me all eight hours?"

He shrugged nonchalantly as if it were no big deal.

"Don't read into it, girl. I just had to make sure you wouldn't wake up from a nightmare and bawl your eyes out, or something of the sort."

Despite his cold words, I knew that he was just covering up and saving face in front of the others, but the better half of the group read through it.

"Hiei…thank you."

He snorted and sat down next to Yukina. Kayko patted the seat next to her and I accepted the offering.

"Now we have a new predicament. Yukina and Taro were saved on our last little escapade and we need to decide what to do with them," Yusuke led off.

"That's simple. We send them back to Rui." Hiei's response was immediate.

"No. I'm not going back there," Yukina said firmly. Her eyes were dead set in determination as she stared at her brother. It was clear she was not backing down, yet neither was Hiei. The twins' shared more than their eye color.

"Yukina, don't argue. A pirate ship is no place for you. Go back to Koorime where it's safe," Hiei said in a superior I-know-what-I'm-talking-about voice.

"No, Hiei. Despite what you believe, I don't like it there. It doesn't make me happy. The only thing that ever made it bearable was that you used to be with me, but you haven't been there for years. And don't go on about how I'll be safer there, as I was just kidnapped by someone gunning for you. If wherever I go I'm in danger because of my relations, then I'd prefer to be in a place where I'm happiest. Is being by your side too much to ask for, brother?"

Hiei clenched his jaw shut, not knowing how to reply. It was evident he didn't want her aboard the ship in that thick head of his but he didn't know how to deal it gently. I mentally applauded her. The ice demoness put up a good argument.

"She had a point Hiei. It wouldn't be terribly hard for any of our enemies to find the location of your only living relative. It is fortunate no one before has tried. At least here she is protected," Kurama agreed.

Hiei glared at him, the word traitor whispered across his lips.

"Yeah Hiei, if she's going to be in danger wherever she goes, and basically it's all your fault, can't you at least let her have her only wish? You're even a hard-ass to your own family," Yusuke also sided with Yukina.

"If cutie wants to stay, then as a man you had to let her!" Kuwabara decided.

"That doesn't even make sense you moron," Hiei snarled.

I was a bit confused. Kazuma seemed to have taken up pet names for Yukina. Does that mean he liked her now?

"Right, Botan?" Kazuma asked with puppy eyes. I blinked. Nope, guess he still liked me too.

"Yeah, why not? It would seem cruel to send her back after what just happened!" I exclaimed, looking at Hiei blatantly, my opinion voiced.

"If these girls who are not even of the demon race get to stay, then why can't I? Surely I can't be more of a burden then they!" Yukina defend herself.

Kayko and I noticeably winced. Well, that was a little mean…

"No. I don't think that's a good idea…"

"Brother, please!" Yukina's walls came down, something we all knew was for Hiei's eyes only, and her eyes were watery with desperation, "I don't want to go back. I want to stay with you!"

The ice demoness got up from her seat and walked to wear her sibling was located, grasping a single hand between both of hers to add to the moment, her crimson eyes unveiled for her relative to see exactly how much this meant to her. Hiei was silent for a moment in consideration. Then a few drawn out seconds later he sighed in defeat.

"If you really want it so much then I can't deny you…"

The mint haired demoness broke out into a happy smile reserved for Hiei only and jumped on him in joy.

"Thank you so much!"

Yusuke coughed to distract and return the table to order.

"Ok. Now that Yukina's decided, we need to move on to the second matter." His stare was directed at the boy, who I believe was named Taro. The said boy shivered in anxiety and feared, not sure if he could trust the men. I felt sympathy for the little thing, had I not known that captains very well, they would have seemed very intimidating to me too. And they were pirates who in society were seen as cold, heartless, ruthless felons. I could only imagine what the little one was thinking.

"Well he can't stay here, that's for sure," Kurama commented, "A little one would have no chance here."

Taro sunk deeper into his chair and trembled, lip jutting out. The women felt waves of sympathy, overtaken with motherly instincts to comfort the poor, young child.

" We can't just abandon him!" Yukina said in concern.

"Why don't we just take him to a place where he will be cared for? Like an orphanage or a friend of ours?" Kayko brought up.

Taking a moment to consider her proposal, it was shot down.

"No, not a good idea. Orphanages these days have taken a turn for the worst…they are barely running. The main house is normally little more than a run down shack supporting too many people. There is limited food and too many children to care for. It's a pity, but I don't think the orphanage is a good home for our young Taro. The capacity of children is already overfilled, one more would be even worse a burden," Kurama explained.

"You guys are big shot pirates, don't you have any safe hideouts or something? Allies? Home turf? Anything?" Shizuru questioned, a little miffed at the repeated denials.

"Uhh, well see our reputation and our occupation doesn't to much to make friends…considering we pray upon them. We don't make alliances so we can have a broader market, we like the freedom to be able to attack any place at any time. As for hideouts…we never needed one. No one has ever been able to provide a threat that would make us consider having a hideout for safety precautions. Like giving a bird a parachute. The same goes for home turf…"

"Quite a popularity poll," Shizuru sneered.

"Yes, but it has benefited our needs until this moment," Kurama pointed out calmly.

"Well, I got nothing. My hometown isn't ideal for the kid either," Shizuru commented.

"Well, I'm taking my chances and guessing Koorime's out," Kayko received cold glares from both the twins, "And my hometown isn't more than a pile of rubble…"

Taro bit his lip in concern, tears of fright appearing. The poor thing was so young and needed to be taken care of…he reminded me of Sayaka.

"Attanun, my hometown is hopefully recovering from the last attack it suffered, but the Timmons would be overjoyed to see me again, I'm sure. I'm positive they won't turn Taro away!" I said positively.

"You sure, Botan? Taking care of another life is no small matter," Shizuru pressed.

I nodded.

"They took me in. And they took Sayaka, their niece, when her family perished. Really, they're just a pair of old sweet-hearted souls. Regrettably, the Timmons don't even have any true children of their own but they are wonderful parents," I enlightened, "They couldn't turn down anyone in need. It's one of the things I love the most about them."

"Really?" Taro squeaked.

"You'll feel right at home! I have a little cousin that's just about your age! She's so cute, you'll love her!" I continued excitedly. With my disappearance, Sayaka would need a new playmate, and Taro needed a new home…

Taro's eyes glittered in happiness, reflecting my own joyful candy eyes. My signature bright smile revealed itself and the little one couldn't help but mirror it.

"That still might not work. You forget we just attacked that village I doubt they would welcome us with open arms," Hiei scowled.

"He has a point," Yusuke agreed.

"Well, really they only saw Hiei. The crew carried out the rest, so the others won't be recognizable. Obviously, we'll keep the Jagan out of sight. And I think…yes, they were in the center of the burning town thanks to your oh-so cuddly crew and we were a ways off. I was facing them, I can remember looking at their horrified faces so I had to be, which means you were facing me and your back would be to them…With all the catastrophe and smoke, I doubt they would have gotten a good look, and even then it's only of your back. We should be ok as long as we keep a low profile," I tried to persuade, looking around hopefully for support.

Kurama chuckled.

"With all respect Botan, that town believes you dead, do they not? A girl that they have passed off as deceased suddenly reappearing is bound to cause some scene," the redhead reasoned.

"Oh…I hadn't thought of that," I admitted. That might actually bring us some unwanted attention, but who could blame them? I'm sure they'd be overjoyed to find that I'm not dead, but its attention I can't afford.

"What if we sent others?" Yukina suggested.

"No, Botan plays the key role here. Without her I don't think the Timmons will be convinced to take in a child from strangers. If they are as kind as Botan says perhaps they would, but the odds aren't in our favor. I wouldn't chance it," Kurama put down.

"What's the big deal? I'll just say that I…I'll make up something and apologize for worrying everyone. I'll say that I'm traveling the world or something like that and I'm back to visit. They wouldn't have any reason to question me or doubt my words. Of course I couldn't lie to the Timmons but they'll understand! I know they will take Taro in!" I pleaded exasperatedly.

"Ah, let's just go with it. Botan seems to think it'll work and I'm too tired to discuss this any further. It's a plan and that's good enough for me." Yusuke yawned and stretched to prove his point.

"Yusuke! You jerk!"

"Kayko stop bitching, I'm tired."

"Yusuke Urameshi!"

"Stop flirting you two!" Shizuru interrupted.

Yusuke just leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes, doing the greatest impression that he didn't care at all. Kayko on the other hand looked quite flustered and a tad on the annoyed side.

"What should we do?"

"Well, for now…set course for Attanun. Do you have any objections Taro?" Kurama asked.

"None!"

"Hey, don't I get a say in this?" Hiei asked.

Everyone ignored him.

"Stop whining Hiei, you sound like a baby who didn't get his way!" Yusuke grumbled. I could tell this would supremely succeed in pissing said fire demon off.

"Excuse me?" A low voice growled. "Says the laziest captain there ever was. I'm surprised you're tired, seeing as you never do anything. What have you dragged your ass out to do lately?"

Yusuke bristled; the words hit their mark.

"I do plenty!"

"Yeah, of sleeping! You don't do invasions, missions, heck you didn't even help out with the rescue, detective!"

"Detective?" I wondered.

"Yeah, it's an old pet name of Hiei's for Yusuke. I don't really get it but…" Kazuma started.

"You see, Hiei isn't the type of person who can use endearing names for his friends such as the term 'buddies' or 'pals'. It just isn't his style. Instead he makes up nicknames that basically serve as the same person. Kuwabara's the idiot or moron, I'm the fox, Yusuke's the detective, and from what I can tell you're the woman or girl," Kurama elaborated. He had a gift in reading Hiei. I made a mental note to go to Kurama if I ever wanted info on Hiei. After being friends for such a long time, Kurama was practically the Hiei dictionary for dummies.

I rolled my eyes.

"I'm honored, really," I said sarcastically.

"You should be. You're THE woman. Kayko is referred to as Urameshi's woman and Hiei calls Shizuru mine."

Nice to know he didn't think that I was anyone's property, except maybe his…but Hiei didn't actually claim her as his own…Yet if he referred to every other girl as someone else's then wouldn't the fact that I didn't belong to them automatically make me his by default? Stupid, stupid fire demon and his agonizing mind games! I didn't need this headache.

"I'm officially closing this meeting. Yukina, come with me. I'll show you to your room."

Hiei left the room with his one and only twin following on his heels.

OOOOOHieiOOOOO

I growled angrily as sweat poured down my overworked body and continued performing advanced swordplay. Often I vented my frustrations through training. One, it improved my abilities, two, it kept me in shape, and three, it was only too delightful to imagine that I was pummeling the sources of my stress.

After masterfully executing a swirling jab combo I kicked out with a muscled leg to further pummel the air. I had been practicing on the deck since after I had left Yukina to get settled in, who knows how many hours ago? The deck was my unofficial favorite place to train. The smell of the sea accompanied with the breeze and sun made a peaceful area to practice on techniques and just to be left alone. Whenever I trained, I came to this spot.

The heat and exercises worked their magic; I was now loose, sweaty, and panting. I jumped into another dangerous dance with my trusted blade immediately after. Today had just not been my day. Too many things had happened and I didn't know whether they were good or bad.

Yukina was now officially one of the crew and I still didn't agree. Long ago I decided that I would leave her on Koorime for her own protection. The whole Tarukane scheme opened my eyes a bit, but I still thought Koorime was safer than on the Jagan. Then my sister's happiness came into play and things lost the black and white mindset.

To make matters worse, Botan was going to see Attanun again. Admittedly, it worried me more than I would have liked. When young human had decided to come along, I hadn't actually given her much of a choice. Either come, or lose the gem that meant more to her than her life. Now that she was returning, would she want to stay there in Attanun?

It was easy to see her love and devotion for her family that lived there. They had taken her in and raised her from the time she was young. Years of trust and love had built up while her time on the Jagan paled in comparison. How could three weeks aboard a pirate ship compare to a lifetime's worth of living in Attanun? It was so obvious it sickened me.

But…I couldn't let go. Botan had grown on me, touched my heart in a place that had lain dormant until our meeting. I had only ever connected with Kurama that fast, and the situations were different. Kurama was a kindred soul, and because of my foxy friend I developed a strong sense of companionship and loyalty. With Botan it was more like a fierce protectiveness, she was pure and kind and sweet and I wanted to protect that. It was almost indescribable. I didn't like feeling that way and at the same time couldn't get enough of it.

It was so weird. I'd get mad at myself for being so concerned for the girl's welfare then get livid with anger if she was hurt. I'd hate myself for giving in to her and curse myself even more for making her sad. There was no winning with it.

It had only been three weeks, but already it was impossible to think of life without her. She had forced her way in and embedded herself into my soul. There was no getting her out now. We had bonded quickly from the beginning and it grew, from the playful banter, to the meaningful moments, her never-ending faith that I would protect her, and the way I continued to look out for her.

There was a possibility that if Botan were to return to Attanun, she wouldn't want to come back. If the Timmons demanded she stay, would she defy them? There were too many if's and but's, too many risks for my liking. If she wanted to stay, would I force her to come back with me? Could I? I would want to for sure, as it was I felt like locking Botan in her room just to make sure she couldn't leave, but in doing so it would shatter the trust that had built up all this time. What was the lesser evil, living with out Botan or living with Botan's hate?

While my body was entranced in fancy footwork and swift strikes and combos my mind was in another world trying to sort out the problems. I didn't even need to concentrate; my body would perform perfectly on autopilot it was so practiced in muscle memory.

My trained ears picked up on a startled gasp and I shot around mid-strike and froze. Botan, eyes wide, hands covering her mouth, stared in fascinated horror. Her candy colored eyes met mine and she flushed a bright red, mouth forming an 'o' but the words never came, leaving her gaping like a fish.

I looked on in amusement and curiosity. I wondered for a moment what had made her so flustered. It wasn't that hot. I looked down and smirked. Oh. That's why.

Somehow I had forgotten that I had been training and what training tended to do to the body. I was shirtless, and sweaty, muscles bulging from the drawn out strain. I didn't flush or blush. Instead I had a cocky smirk. My body was nothing to be embarrassed about; a bonus from being a strong fighter was constantly being in perfect shape, muscular and chiseled. My physique was the pride of the demon race, a perfect specimen of what a demon should look like.

Many females of all races and age have practically salivated at the sight that it was no longer a surprise, more like expected. It was more unusual if I didn't attract stares. The attention did wonders to my ego. Having Botan stare me down like a piece of meat somehow pleased me more than when other random females drooled puddles. Like the cocky prick I was, I leaned back over the side of the railing to give her a better view and further flaunt my form.

She snapped out of it at my movement but the damage was done. My arrogant smirk told she had been caught in the act. Her complexion closely resembled the redness of a tomato. Botan was very embarrassed and very, very indignant.

"You shouldn't walk around like that, you know, it's not proper," she huffed.

"You weren't complaining a second ago," I replied smugly. She glared, blushing deeper.

"So you come to train up here?" The old diversion tactic. Classic.

"Hmph. Obviously."

Botan walked over and examined the sword I had discarded during my 'flaunting'. She picked it up off the ground and I didn't make to stop her though I cautiously followed her with my eyes lest she trip and hurt herself in some manner. Botan wasn't the most graceful person on the planet, and with a sword she had to be extra careful. Especially my sword, for it was made of the strongest metal and sharpened to perfection. The craftsmanship that had gone into that sword was almost incomparable and the jewels encrusted into the hilt gave it a deadly sense of beauty.

"It doesn't look that hard." Botan winced and struggled to hold the weapon with both hands. "Sheesh, how much does this thing weigh? And you can actually swing this thing and not fall over?"

My weapon was as light as a feather to me, but I could see where she would have problems lifting it. She was only a human. And the sword was at least a good forty pounds.

Botan took a practice swing and nearly fell over from the momentum. I tried to take the sword from her but she stubbornly refused.

"I'm fine!"

"You'll kill yourself with my blade. Use this, it's lighter."

To her I probably appeared that I pulled the spare sword out of thin air, but actually I just ran over to the weapons rack so quickly she wouldn't be able to see the movement. We traded swords and I sheathed the heavy-duty weapon. I had enough training for one day, and I didn't dare turn my back on the bluette when she had in her hands a pointy object. Of course I didn't fear for myself, Botan would never (hopefully) try to attack me, I could certainly overpower her should she try, but my fear was stored for the girl who could easily injure herself if she wasn't careful.

The new sword was probably made for a human, light and easy to carry. It wasn't nearly as flashy, sharp, or dangerous, yet again that was probably for the best. The young lady took a few practice swings in the air, finding it much easier to wield this blade than the former. I shook my head noticing a flaw.

"Not like that, like this."

I appeared behind her and positioned her hands in the correct technique.

"Bend your knees. It will make it easier for you to move around and dodge."

She froze for a moment but did as I asked. I thought that my closeness probably made her uncomfortable but I didn't care much at the moment. I was indecently close, my bare chest pressed to her back and my hands covering hers.

"Ok, maybe it is a little harder than I thought," she giggled nervously.

I quirked an eyebrow.

"Maybe I'll give you some lessons later."

She shook her head.

"I don't think a sword's the weapon for me. It's too lethal." What did she think weapons were for? "But maybe just to pass the time. I guess it can't hurt."

I nodded.

"Later then."

"Yeah, I'm bushed."

"Go to sleep if you're tired."

"I think I will. Night, Hiei."

I grunted which translated as an informal 'later.'

OOOOOBotanOOOOO

I banged my head against the table again. That moron! I can't believe he did that!

I was tired, truly I was, but sleep was chased away when every time I closed my eyes a mental picture of 'him' showed up. Why, Hiei, why? Why do you have to be so unfairly attractive-mean! Unfairly mean! Ugh, now I couldn't even think straight.

I had left sometime after the meeting in search of Hiei for the simple reason of boredom. Hiei was always my favorite person to hang around with, even just to annoy him was fun. Sometimes we had our quiet moments of serenity where neither of us would even speak, just shared a tranquil silence in peace. It was enough; sometimes words weren't needed between us. We could communicate enough by our body language.

When I had found him, he was of all places training on the deck. I had seen him training before, but they were always quick and brief like an experimental kick or two or a restless swipe of a sword. Nothing to gawk at. Today I actually stumbled on a training session, which was much different.

I came to find Hiei breathing heavily and half naked, his glorious upper half exposed. She really couldn't help but admire him. And admiring was putting it gently. But what could he expect? She hadn't seen many males in less than decent states in her entire life, and certainly not ones in as great as shape as he.

And the arrogant little prick knew it too. In fact, he practically encouraged it with how he flaunted his flawless body in front of her! He was gorgeous though; perfect abs, chiseled arms, and the layer of sweat provided the dripping wet look. I think I deserve a medal for not fainting on the spot.

So I did what any girl in my position, tell him to cover up. Well that was a disaster; Hiei just took the opportunity to tease me even more. Obviously being half naked didn't bother him at all. So then I tried to ignore him, of all ways by taking his sword.

"It doesn't look that hard."

And then I picked it up. Big mistake. This thing weighed a ton! My muscles protested with the added weight but I held on for the sake of my pride if nothing else. The fire demon made it look so easy…how was I to know it carried the weight of a cow?

It was a pretty sword, I had to admit. In the hilt were fancy designs and jewels that sparkled in the sun. The blade was polished and also sparkled. I bet this sword was worth more money than the Timmons ever had their entire life. Briefly I wondered why glam up a weapon so much. In the end it had one purpose, to kill.

I summed up my courage and tried to swing the blade, and when I did I lurched forward with it. I stumbled a bit but then found my center. Hiei tried to take it from me, but I was not going to be defeated!

"I'm fine!"

"Use this, it's lighter."

I looked, and in his hand Hiei had a sword that hadn't been there a second ago. Did he know magic too? Well, I can't say that would surprise me, he knew everything else!

I had accepted the new sword and traded it for his. This one was just a standard, simple sword, plain and ordinary with no catchy features, but it was light and I could actually move this thing. Taking more practice swings, I was happy to find that I could cut the air as many times as I wanted. See, I knew I could do it.

Then Hiei was behind me, positioning my hands correctly on the weapon.

"Not like that, like this."

I froze. It was entirely too close for comfort. The man's very fine chest was pressed into my back and I could practically feel the rippling muscles. With his hands on mine it was practically an embrace. What did he think he was doing? Now I was too flustered to even think about swordplay.

"Bend your knees."

I was still frozen. As if it couldn't get worse, the words were spoken right into my ear. Did he even know what he was doing to me? Then I remembered I still hadn't bent my knees like he had asked.

Ok, divert attention! Distract, distract, distract…

"Maybe it's a little harder than I thought," I giggled, trying to hide the nervousness, emphasizing little.

Hiei raised an eyebrow.

"Maybe I'll give you some lessons later."

Oh, no, this couldn't go on. I had to get away before I lost my sanity.

"I don't think a sword's the weapon for me. It's too lethal. But maybe just to pass the time. I guess it can't hurt."

I didn't think I could ever become the expert Hiei was, ok I already knew that even if I practiced every hour of my life I could become decent with the weapon but never as good as Hiei. In truth, I didn't like weapons much. They made me jittery.

"Later then."

"Yeah, I'm bushed."

Almost there…

"Go to sleep if you're tired."

Need to escape…

"I think I will. Night, Hiei."

He gave me a grunt of farewell.

Gone!

Unfortuneatly, it wasn't as 'gone' as I would have hoped. My mind certainly hadn't forgotten it, and didn't want me to forget it either. I had given up on sleep and wondered down to the kitchen just for a place to think. It shouldn't be a problem; everyone should be asleep right now. I groaned, I had to chase Hiei out of my mind, or else there would be no peace.

I took out the lime green gem that was my mother's keepsake. Shizuru's had activated yesterday, supposedly every gem had a certain power locked within. I wonder what mine is? I stared at it, trying to figure out how to make it work. I turned it over a few times to get different angles, shook it, even squeezed it when the thing refused to work. When that failed, I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate, keeping the gem locked between my palms as if I were in a prayer.

"That's not going to work."

I nearly jumped out of my skin.

"Hiei! For heaven's sake give a warning next time!" I tried to catch my breath and heart. This man was going to give me a heart attack I swear.

"You're trying to activate your gem right?"

"Yeah…Shizuru's activated…" My gem must have been sleeping or something.

"It's not going to work," he repeated, "Every gem activates on its own, in certain situations. Yours won't trigger until the right time. We won't be able to know when that is, each gem is different in its power and in its activation. Think of it like waiting for an egg to hatch."

I sighed in disappointment. My gem's power would be much appreciated; maybe with its support I wouldn't be such a burden, perhaps even useful.

"Why are you up so late? You should be sleeping now."

"I-I was hungry so I came back here," I lied. I'd swallow my own tongue before I told him the real reason.

"I see."

"Aren't you supposed to be asleep too, captain?" I mocked.

"I've told you countless times, a demon doesn't need as much as a human. If I tried, I could go a whole week without a wink of sleep."

"Sure, insomniac. Whatever you say."

OOOOO

Favorite Quote-"Well, yeah, aren't pirates attracted to shiny things? Wait, no that was parrots…"-Botan

Notes-Wow, you have a lot of author's notes to look forward too. Heh, sorry about that.

I'm adding some notes here on the last chapter that I probably should have included in said chapter, but I was tired after working seven hours on it and my fingers were none too happy with me at that time, so I'll do those things now. Ok basically I just wanted to point out that last chapter was basically a character development chapter for Botan. She starts out as a sheltered, innocent, ordinary completely average girl and gets thrust into a new life surrounded with violence, danger, and extraordinary people. The conversion isn't all that easy to do, people. I wanted everyone to see the struggle she had to overcome to prove herself to her enemies and her friends. Botan believes in her friends and pushes herself to be strong so that they can depend on her.

Another thing, the guard Botan stabbed didn't die. She pierced him, true, but he didn't die from the wound. Botan's intention wasn't to kill him but to get away. Hiei or Kurama killed the guard (probably Hiei if we think about it, he's very defensive of the girl, god forbid someone actually touch her) so in the end Botan still hasn't taken a life yet. She's too soft hearted as of right now, if she may ever be prepared to kill. As such, she's not wrought over by guilt and is in no way changed as a person, except for being stronger and having more confidence in herself.

Ok, why did I take so long? Honestly, this is the most stressful semester of school classes I've had in three years and I need to spend more time than I did a few months ago. And second, you will all be delighted to know I'm on the track team. FYI track practices for over three hours every weekday. Yeah. So this is later and that pretty much sums up the reasons. Your reviews were wonderful, and I received almost thirty reviews! I was so happy!

About this chapter, the main thing was Yukina joining the crew. I didn't really like the way that turned out so I made a second part for some Hiei/Botan fluff and I liked the way that turned out much better. I won't bore you anymore so I hoped you enjoy the chapter and please review!

---Freesia