Greetings everyone! I am sorry for doing this, but I had to re-post my first chapter because I did not save it before posting and my authors note and disclaimer didn't make it through the process...A very important thing that is necessary for all readers to know:
THIS FIC WILL BE CO-AUTHORED! I am having a fellow author collaborate with me on certain scenes that will be marked and credit must be given to her. The first few chapters are my work, but later, you will find the sections that I am referring to. If you want to make questions and comments to this person, she writes under the pen name Yabou and her e-mail will be listed there. Otherwise, all reviews for the story will be understood to be addressed to both of us and we thank you for reading the story. I hope that you enjoy!
I do not and never will own either Inuyasha or Yu Yu Hakusho. That is my disclaimer.
A note about where the story is going...there is a mystery that the detectives have to solve! I want readers to piece together the puzzle through out the story just as the pieces are revealed to the Tentei's!
Lots of angst and gore...it is the demon realm after all and Hiei is Hiei...and Kagome well, that you have to read about as we go....very traumatic. Don't expect her to be bouncy. I want the characters to stay in character! So, again this will be long and it will have just as much character development as I can squeeze in there till I'm satisfied.
As for the romance...Hiei is a big softy at heart...that is why he is hurt so easily and now, so very defensive about getting close to anyone. Remember his past and all the rejection he has had to deal with! Sigh...poor guy. But, Kagome is the kind of personality that sees past the mask to the injured heart underneath. And naturally, she wants to heal him! And if she could put up with Inuyasha for three years...a fire demon is just the hot topic she's been waiting for to spice up her life!
Questions? Comments? Well then, on with the story! (Those of you that read the first chapter already, the actual chapter is not changed and you can move on to chapter 2 without having to re-read this)
Kagome picked her foot up, intent only on placing it back down in front of her. Another step. Another. One more.
Her mind was in tatters, mocked by the ragged outfit she shivered in. One step...all her focus was on moving her feet. One at a time, marching carefully through the snow. All her effort was so exact, she kept herself from falling numerous times. To fall would mean death. She knew she could never make herself get back up. Slow...One more...another....again...She knew that things were bad. Things were very bad. But she had no time for thoughts other then to focus on her feet.
The snow was up to her knees, pulling at her legs and threatening her precious balance.
It was cold, but she had long since forgotten that. Kagome was numb, inside and out. She had become an empty shell with nothing to move her except the urgent whispers that told her "one more step." She plunged on, not noticing when her shoe was pulled from her foot. The icy ground had even begun to feel warm against her flesh. The sensation pleased her. It was snowing still...an endless waltz of wet, white, flakes. They collected even as they rained down upon her, looking more like handfuls of snow then individual crystals.
Kagome tightened her fingers over the objects in her hands. She could not feel her fingers and was afraid that her grip was slipping on the precious articles. She had to keep moving. She had to find shelter...though she could not remember what was driving her. Suddenly, her precise , though repetitive flow of thoughts was interrupted by a new intrusive idea. "I'm tired." Her blue lips moved soundlessly. It was as if even her vocal cords where petrified and unmoving. "Tired..." She felt a wave of warmth spreading through her limbs. It made her stumble, sent her sprawling to the ground.
The rhythm of her motions was cut short by her fall. The soft crunch of crusted snow under her cheek never interrupted her new pattern. "I'm tired....one more step." she crawled forward on her hands and knees. One hand was fisted around the sheath of a sword and the other was wrapped around a bow. The harsh particles of ice began to collect in the wounds on her back, which had long since stopped bleeding. Now the new red of her blood flowed sluggishly from her torn knuckles and her scraped legs. The vivid color against all that white made her giggle in delight.
"One more...another step..."
She lost her focus again and one arm collapsed under her. She thought she heard a snap, but the sound was muffled and unimportant. "Tired." She buried her face in the soft white blanket, her only thought now was one of rest. Did she close her eyes? She wasn't sure...it all looked the same. It was all an empty blank canvas, painted only with her blood and body. She was the only mark in this perfect pristine landscape. "Tired..."
Then, all the white turned black.
"There is nothing out here," Yusuke complained. "Koenma doesn't know what he's talking about."
"Perhaps we should wait out this storm," Kurama agreed. "We won't be able to keep moving if it snows any harder." The fox demon heard the almost non-existent scoffing sound with his tuned senses. "Not everyone is as cold proof as you are, Hiei."
"Hn." Hiei watched the slush around his feet melt without comment. Being a fire apparition had it's uses. Being half ice apparition didn't hurt in this case either. He liked the way that his immunity to the weather gave him a freedom that others did not have.
"Look over there," Kuwabara pointed. He was easily the tallest one in the group and the next rise of snow came to his thighs. He shoved the snow out of his way, unconsciously clearing a path that the others where only too happy to take advantage of. "I think I see something."
"Another rock?" Yusuke grumbled.
"No. It's...I don't know, but it's moving." The others shoved around him, trying to see the form through the thick fall of snow. A hazy dark shape was about fifty feet ahead of them.
"It's not moving." Yusuke sighed.
"It was." Kuwabara insisted.
"Let us go and investigate, shall we?" Kurama calmly prodded the others into moving again. He waited patiently for Kuwabara and Yusuke to move on before returning to his place, third in the line of spirit detectives, trekking across the frozen waste land of the northern demon realm, looking for a mysterious blot of energy that appeared and disappeared on Spirit Worlds' sensors that watched the barriers between the worlds.
"What is that?" Kuwabara hesitated to go any closer.
"It is not moving," Yusuke stubbornly repeated. He wanted no part in this mission to begin with, but Koenma had insisted on the importance of it. He would rather be back in the human world, sitting on his butt, watching bad TV programs and ignoring his drunk mother. Not much of a life, but at least it was warm. Even bundled up until he resembled a walking marshmallow was not enough to keep the numbing cold from crawling in and nipping at his extremities.
They approached the dark figure, making out little, except that it was just beginning to cover over with snow and that it's general outline was lumpy, unlike them in their puffed out white suits that Koenma had provided when he rushed them out on this case, about two hours ago.
"Kick it," Yusuke urged the giant in front of him.
"No way. I kicked the last rock and my toes still sting. You kick it." Kuwabara sniffled and wiped at his nose with a gloved hand.
"I thought you said it wasn't a rock?"
"Hn." Hiei walked around the huddled humans and the fox to inspect what was sure to be another rock in this frozen hell hole. The snow around him started to melt again as soon as he stopped moving. A soft hiss escaped as steam and fog swirled around him. He waited for the snow to clear and blinked in surprise at the thing he had revealed in the concealing white mantle.
"It's a girl!" Kurama exclaimed rushing forward, as best he could though the deep snow.
She started to sink into the slush, inching down bit by bit. "Step back, Hiei!"
Hiei obliged and took a few paces back. The new snow around him immediately hissed and steamed again. He watched, interested about their peculiar find. "She's human."
"A human girl? Here?" Yusuke looked at her in amazement. "What is a human girl doing here in the Makia, much less in the frozen north?...dressed in a school uniform. Well, half a school uniform anyway..."
Kurama tried to rouse her, wrapping her up the best he could in his arms.
"Don't bother," Hiei said. "I can't even feel her living energy. You can't save this one, fox."
"She's still breathing, Hiei. That means that there is still hope." Kurama tried to think of some way to warm the stiff girl. He decided to roll her over better so he could lift her out of the killing snow. She turned slowly, her hands clutching two long objects with a death grip. He ignored the things, pulling her close to him and rubbing her arms quickly, trying in vain to get her blood flowing better.
"What good is that gonna do?" Kuwabara asked him.
"Not much, I'm afraid. We have to warm her up." He replied. "The only source of heat we have is...." Kurama turned his vivid green eyes to the ruby red ones of the fire demon standing nonchalantly in the snow in nothing more then the short sleeve black outfit he always wore.
"I don't know what you are planning, fox, but count me out if it." Hiei narrowed his eyes at the red haired boy clutching the half dead girl in his arms. He watched Kurama stand up, pulling the human with him, and walk over to where he was standing. "We are looking for a break in the barrier. We are not here to take care of some stupid human girl."
"Take her." Kurama calmly thrust the girl into Hiei's arms. Against his wishes, Hiei found himself standing there with a frigid woman against his chest. The snow and ice on her melted swiftly, soaking him in the water and slush.
"Damn it, Kurama. I don't want her." He thought about just dropping her back into the snow.
"You are the only one that can keep her alive until we can get out of here." The foxes logical explanation gave him little choice.
"Hn. Warming a human up this fast will kill her anyway, after being frozen as she was." Hiei said, losing patience with the other demon.
Kurama paused and waited for Yusuke and Kuwabara to begin walking again. "We will have to take that chance. It is her best hope until we can find shelter."
"What do you mean "we"?" Hiei sighed. He followed after them, shifting the girl's slight weight until he reached a more comfortable position. He looked down at her, surprised to find that her hair and face were dark with matted blood. Her torn and ripped shirt and skirt were also similarly colored and in her hands she clutched..."She has a sword." he announced loudly. "And a bow."
Kurama turned back around and walked over to the shorter demon. "A sword?" He pushed the stiffened hair away from the girls hands and inspected the weapon. A beaten and worn sheath with a sword and a broken bow were in her clenched fists. Her fingers were white from both the weather and the tight hold she had on the two objects. Kurama wrapped his hands around the hilt and tugged gently. Her fingers never budged. "I think it is frozen to her hands. We will have to take a closer look at it later."
Hiei looked at the girl, curiously.
"Do you think she is the one that broke though the barrier?" Kuwabara asked.
"No way. I can't sense any power on her. She's barely alive, as it is," Yusuke pointed out.
"She is probably a casualty to whatever did get through the barrier, judging by her condition. Whatever broke though must have got away, but it dragged her in behind them." Kurama hypothesized.
"What about the sword?"
"We'll have to wait and see if we will get the chance to ask her."
"Do you think we should head back?" Kuwabara nudged the team leader with a pointed elbow covered in three inches of padding.
"Nah," Yusuke blew into his hands. "We best find shelter for the night or we'll be in the same condition as that girl. We couldn't make it back tonight if we wanted to."
Kuwabara nodded and shoveled his way through another drift. "We could go over to there. I bet there are caves..." he pointed to the west.
A steep cliff, just on the horizon rose up from the white sheet under it. Its shadow was long and thick, testifying to its size and potential for shelter. The team waddled ungainly westward, two human boys, two male demons, and their newly acquired companion, a half frozen girl.