"To Die Again"

Kurama sighed with contentment as he stepped through the door of his home.  Withdrawing his key he shut the door behind him.  He sniffed the air and listened.  No, she wasn't home.  She had told him she would probably be a little late tonight.  He put away his things and went to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water.  As he passed the door of the study a vague feeling of unease passed through him.  He sniffed again.  He didn't smell anything unusual, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched.  Just to be certain he ducked his head into the study.

        "Hello?" he inquired calmly.

        There was not so much as a creak in response.  He shrugged and moved back into the kitchen, opening the cupboard he reached for a glass.  Why did she put his favorite one on the very top shelf?  Not that it was important, it was just interesting.  He turned back toward the sink and had the oddest impression of something rushing past and out of sight just as he did so.  Uneasy, he set down the glass and decided to search the whole house.  

        Just to put my mind at ease he assured himself.  There couldn't possibly be anything there.

        He searched the house room by room, shutting the doors of the rooms he had finished searching.  Surely he would hear if they were opened.  Several times he had the feeling someone was behind him, but he found nothing out of the ordinary.  Everything was in its place.

        Returning to the kitchen he filled his glass with cold water and walked toward the living room.  He set his glass down on a coaster and sat in his chair.  It was good to be home.  Closing his eyes he breathed in deeply letting out a soft sigh of contentment.

        A sigh that was cut short as his mind registered a familiar and disturbing scent.  His body stiffened automatically as he shot up and stepped forward, and his eyes widened as he tried to place it.  Then a hand clamped over his mouth and he was pulled back into something hard.  A second arm snaked around his waist and he could feel breathing in his ear.

        "Hello Kurama." A familiar voice whispered in his ear.

        It took everything in him not to flinch.  


        Karasu continued to speak low into his ear, "I'll release your mouth if you promise not to scream." He made it sound so generous.

        Kurama gave a curt nod.

        Slowly Karasu removed the hand from Kurama's mouth. Kurama remained silent.  "There's a good fox." Karasu practically purred.  Kurama's nose wrinkled in disgust, but he forced his breathing to remain regular – deep and even.  

        There were two things on his mind right now.  The first, and most important, was how to get free of Karasu.  The second was to discover how Karasu could possibly be here.  The man was dead after all.  He had killed him himself.

        As he had encountered no resistance Karasu began to relax.  He brought one hand up to Kurama's hair and caressed a single lock.  Seizing the opportunity Kurama brought his free elbow up into Karasu's stomach.  The other demon released him as he grabbed his mid section in pain.  He looked up at Kurama, from his doubled over position, with pain in his eyes that went beyond physical.  He looked betrayed.  He reached one hand weakly toward Kurama, who was now across the room eyeing him suspiciously.

        "Kurama…" he pleaded.

        Kurama had obtained a rose from somewhere, and, though he had not yet summoned his whip, his stance showed that he was prepared. When he spoke his voice was harsh, biting. "You're dead.  What are you doing here?"

        Karasu finally regained his composure and straightened.  "Death could not separate us." He stated, taking a step toward Kurama.  The red head lifted the rose warningly and Karasu stopped.

        "I see you still refuse to accept the truth." He said sadly.

        Kurama's eyes flashed, "No, it is you who refuses to accept the truth."

        "Kurama." Karasu pleaded again.

        "Stay away from me." Kurama commanded.  "It's only fair to warn you that I am not so weak as I was the last time we met.  Yoko and I are truly one again.  I can transform at will."

        Karasu's eyes lit up causing Kurama to shift uncomfortably.  That had been meant as a threat.

        "Yoko." Karasu whispered happily. "Oh, Kurama."  He took two steps forward and Kurama summoned his whip, startled.

        Karasu frowned.  "Nothing has changed has it?"

        Kurama shook his head.

        "Then I will have to content myself with killing you. I had hoped things would be different this time."

        Kurama remembered the Dark Tournament.  Karasu had told him that he enjoyed destroying that which he held most dear.  The man was truly insane, and being dead hadn't improved him much.

        "Then let's do this." He said firmly, bringing his whip up.

        Karasu focused his energy, causing a small glowing sphere to appear on the tip of his right index finger.

        He smiled, "Yes, let's."

        Karasu took another step forward and would have taken more, but something stopped him.  Between Kurama and himself, where once had been empty space, was now a shimmering wall.  Karasu blinked in surprise and reached out to touch it.  He could see through it, it didn't hurt him when he touched it, but he could not pass through it.  His brow furrowed and he glanced inquisitively at Kurama who was now smiling up at the entry way.  In the entry stood a young woman.  She was tall, though almost a head shorter than Kurama, and slim.  Her dark blue hair curled softly over her shoulders and deep brown eyes showed amusement.  Her right hand was slightly extended toward the two men and her eyes were focused on the barrier.  

        She darted her eyes briefly to Kurama, a smile playing on her full lips.  "Kurama, I thought I asked you and your demon friends to keep your rough housing outside." She scolded playfully.

         Kurama chuckled and responded in kind, "I keep trying, but they're always so eager!"

        "We'll have to work on that."

        Karasu watched in amazement as Kurama's whole attitude changed.  It was as though, with the entrance of this woman, his presence no longer mattered. It was unthinkable.

        "Kurama." He kept his voice even and low.  "Who is this girl?  She cannot be allowed to interfere."

        Kurama eyed Karasu a moment, considering, "She's a friend I met through Yusuke." He answered.  The woman's brow arched up at this, as though in surprise, but she said nothing. "She's certainly of no concern to you, Karasu." He spoke the name deliberately and the woman's other brow arched up as well.  Clearly she recognized the name.  Her eyes narrowed as she scrutinized the black haired demon with new interest.  She walked down the three steps from the entry to the living room and peered at him curiously.   

     "Amazing," she murmured, "I understood that one could only return from Spirit World if one was wished back-" she looked back at Kurama, "and I can't imagine who would wish him back."  

        Karasu interrupted her with a growl, "I don't know who you are, or what your connection to Kurama is – but this is a lovers' quarrel, so I suggest you leave now."  

        Kurama looked disgusted.  

        "Really?" She moved forward at a leisurely pace, "In order for a fight to be classified as a lover's quarrel I understand that the combatants must first be lovers," she locked her eyes with his, "and you are not." She stated flatly.         

     "And why do you say that?" Karasu asked angrily.  

        The woman laughed lightly, "aside from the way he's looking at you, you mean?" she paused, "I know all about Kurama's lover – after all, I am his wife."

        Karasu jerked back as though struck at this statement.  His eyes narrowed as they darted to Kurama.  He placed a hand over his heart and when he spoke his voice was hoarse and strained, "Kurama, how could you betray me like this?" he asked in a raspy voice.

        Kurama gave him a look of disgust, mingled with pity.  

        Karasu drew himself up, "I don't care, I forgive you, Kurama," he stretched a hand toward Kurama (making the redhead very glad for the barrier between them) "and I still want desperately to destroy you."

        The woman's eyes narrowed, "If you blow up my husband I'll do worse than kill you." she warned, taking another step forward.  Karasu looked at Kurama in question.  

        "Don't think for a moment she can't, or won't.  It would only take a thought." Kurama assured him.  

        "No demon is that powerful." Karasu said pointedly.

        "No," Kurama shook his head, "But she is not a demon.  Not really. And she truly has that power."        

     Karasu's eyes widened briefly, then, with a recklessness born of having already died once, he rushed Kurama – only to fall dead in his tracks.

     Kurama looked at his wife in amusement, "Why don't you do things like that to protect yourself?" he asked.

        She shrugged casually, "I'm not angry enough.  Besides, I've always got you to protect me."

        "Yes, you do." Kurama drew her into his arms.

        She smiled and gave a contented sigh, "Good.  Now…" she eyed Karasu distastefully, "will you please take out the trash?"


A/N: Just a short little Kurama fic.  I know I didn't give his wife a name.  Rest assured, she has one.  In fact, I have lots of stories about them ^_^  This is the first one I wrote, but it is last chronologically.  In a few days I'll post the prequel.  It's called "The Least Likely Places" and it's about how they meet.  It's already up on my website so… if you want to read it now…  I'm not sure when I'll get around to finishing and editing the in between stories.  I have summaries for five or so.  Keep checking!