Chapter 4: Botan's Past
Botan, after an hour of restlessness, suddenly stopped moving. The bedding around her was crinkled and mangled from her previous tossing and turning in her sleep.
"What happened?" Kuwabara asked, not used to the sudden stillness. "Is she dead?"
"No stupid, she is just resting, finally," Yusuke said.
'That's strange,' Yusuke thought. 'Kurama said that in all her blackouts she stirs uncontrollably, but now she suddenly stopped.'
"Do you think Botan is remembering her past yet. She looks like she is in really deep thought."
"As if you two would know anything about what is going on."
Yusuke and Kuwabara both jumped up at once as Hiei stepped out from the shadows of the room.
"Jeeze, Shorty, can't you knock like normal people?" Kuwabara yelled.
"Hn," he turned to Yusuke. "So, how is the girl doing?"
"We don't know," Yusuke answered. "She stopped moving."
Hiei walked past Yusuke and Kuwabara, and looked at Botan.
"Hey, Hiei?" Yusuke asked.
"Do you think you could read her mind and see if she is remembering her past?"
"Can he really do that?" Kuwabara asked.
"Of course I can you fool," Hiei answered annoyed. "I fail to see why I should, however."
"Oh, come on, Hiei," Yusuke said slyly. "Don't you want to find out why and how Botan punched through that 5' thick stone wall?"
"Hn, curiosity is a stupid reason. I'll do it for Kurama. He will want to know what is going on."
Yusuke and Kuwabara watched Hiei eagerly. He sat in a chair next to Botan's bed, folded his arms, and closed his eyes. Now he saw what she was seeing.
"It all began when she was five years old . . ."
"What began?" Kurama asked uncertain.
"Her pain began. You see, thousands of years ago there was an all out war between humans and demons. The demon armies were ruthless. They would destroy human families without mercy, taking the children and possessing them to fight for their twisted cause, to bring suffering to the world of men. There were many secret human resistance leaders. Two of which were Botan's parents; Atsuhiko and Hana Hiratasuka. The resistance warriors worked in smaller groups, apart from the army. They did the more dangerous missions.
After ten years of war, there was peace declared between demons and humans. Atsuhiko and Hana had a child. They named her Haruko. Though there was now "peace" in the world, Atsuhiko and Hana didn't believe the war was truly over. As soon as Haruko was old enough, they began to train her to fight. Having Botan's nature, Haruko never liked fighting. She preferred healing people. Though they did allow her to study the art of healing, she still had to train on the side.
They began to teach her when she was four. They started teaching defense maneuvers, deciding it was best to teach her attacks when she was older. Still, she never took training seriously.
Now, when she was five years old, she was away training with her mother . . ."
Botan's past (as she is remembering it):
It was the end of a long hot day. Hana and a very little Haruko stood in the middle of a grassy field, blowing in the wind from the afternoon breeze.
"You are learning very quickly, Haruko. You are very good with defense techniques."
Haruko looked up at her beautiful mother. Her blue hair was up in a pony tail, with a couple of loose strands of hair in her face. Her golden eyes looking warmly into Haruko's purple ones, which were just like her father's. Both Haruko's parents were half demons, but chose to live the more peaceful life of humans.
"Can we go home now, Mama? We have been here all day."
Hana laughed as she picked up Haruko and hugged her.
"Of course, sweety. We can go now."
She began to through Haruko playfully in the air and catch her at the last second. She giggled and squealed happily, she loved when her mother played with her like that. Even though times were hard, Hana understood that Haruko was still a child.
When Hana finally let her go, Haruko spun around.
"I'll race you home, Mama."
"Last one to hug Daddy loses," Hana said enthusiastically.
They both ran towards the forest at the end of the field. In the forest, they ran laughing as they hopped over logs and made their way through the maze of trees. Haruko knew a shortcut that she would take to beat her mother. She was about to head for it when her mother grabbed her arm and she jerked to a sudden stop. Haruko looked back at her mom in shock.
"Mom," she whined. When she saw the serious expression on her mothers face, she fell silent. Hana didn't move, but scanned the area around them with suspicious eyes. Then Haruko felt something she had never felt before. She didn't know how to describe it, but it made her feel sick inside. She shivered at this new feeling as it made the hairs on her neck to stand up.
"Haruko," her mother said quietly, but urgently as she picked up her daughter. Then Haruko saw it. Her and her mother were surrounded by glowing red eyes. This made her gasp as her mother squeezed her comfortingly. She could sense her daughters fear, which angered her.
"Why are you here?" Hana asked, obviously not happy with their sudden appearance. Then, fast as lightning, the eyes were gone and the sound of things moving quickly through bushes was heard. Haruko was terrified. She berried her face in her mothers neck trying to hide her whimpering. Hana held her hand on the back of Haruko's neck to secure it as she jumped high into the trees and began to leap from branch to branch. To both their fear, the eyes followed them and began to close in. Hana dropped to the ground, ran for a bit, then put Haruko down and turned to face the oncoming threat, with her daughter safely behind her.
"I'll ask you one last time," she said with a stern voice. "Why are you here?"
Then, finally, one pair of eyes took a shape and stepped forward. Without answering it lunged at her quick as lightning with long sharp claws. Hana ducked just in time to save her head from being sliced off. Then, just as fast, she raised her hand to the demon's chest and fired an energy blast through it.
Haruko took a few steps back till her back was against a tree as Her mother took steps forward to distant her daughter from the fight.
"You are as quick as we heard you were, Hana Hiratasuka," a chilling voice stated.
"Who sent you here?"
Again, without an answer, three demons attacked from all sides. Hana couldn't defend herself from all three at once. She handled two of them, but the third was able to make a deep gash in her upper right arm, making it extremely painful to move. She hissed in pain as she stepped back to steady herself. Without hesitation, more demons leaped forward to attack.
"Mom," Haruko screamed, her voice full of fear.
Hana reacted as quickly as possible, but with her right arm injured, her attacks were weakened. She coughed up blood as a pair of claws pierced through her stomach. Hana knew she couldn't win this fight. Her only hope was to take Haruko and find Atsuhiko. When her chance came, as the demons backed away to start another attack, she sprinted and grabbed Haruko in her arms, once again, and headed to the end of the forest. Haruko cuddled close to her mom, her hands covering her face, hoping that this was all a bad dream.
Suddenly her mother stopped running. Haruko looked up at her mom, but she just stared straight ahead, her eyes wide with shock. That is when Haruko felt something on her hand. She looked at her hand to find drops of blood. Terrified, she then, slowly, looked to see where the blood was coming from. What she saw stopped her heart and froze her blood. An arrow was pierced right through her mother's heart. Looking back up at her face, Haruko knew the terrible truth; her mother was dead. Hana fell to the ground, still clutching Haruko in her arms.
Haruko was so traumatized, she went into shock. She couldn't move or speak, but she was still able to hear the demon voices as a pair of disgusting green feet came into view.
"Now, take care of the brat, and then we will find the other former resistance leader, Atsuhiko Hiratasuka."
Haruko then heard the sound of blood spattering and bodies falling to the ground, but she was still too paralyzed with fear to look up. After about five minutes of struggling, the forest was suddenly silent. Then, she heard foot step coming towards her. Tears were flowing freely now. When she felt hands picking her up, she screamed but was hushed by her face being pressed against a familiar chest.
"Daddy," she cried, wrapping her arms around his neck, never wanting to let go. She just sat in his arms and openly cried as her father stroked her hair to consol her. When Haruko's eyes burned and were unable to cry anymore, she looked up at her father and saw his tear-stained face as he looked down at his lover's stiff body. He set her down and went to Hana's side and turned her body around, touching her cold face with his warm fingers.
"Hana," her dad whispered in a weak and painful voice.
Guilt rushed through Haruko at once. Why didn't she try to help her mother? She fell to her knees and began to whimper.
"I am so sorry, Mama," she whispered. "I didn't help you, I am so sorry. I didn't try, I didn't do anything. Please forgive me Mama . . ."
Suddenly she was in her father's arms.
"No, Haruko," he said, "Do not blame yourself for this. Your mother would never have wanted you to help her. She would want you to be safe from the danger."
"What were those things that did that to her, Daddy?"
"They were demon assassins from the war. I knew it was not over yet," he said mostly to himself, in anger.
Atsuhiko carried his wife's body, with Haruko closely by his side, back to their home to burry her. When Hana was finally rested in the ground, the sun began to rise. They both stood in-front of her grave in silence. As Haruko watched the sunrise, she vowed to become the best fighter, so she could rid the world of all demons.
"Oh man, Now Hiei is out of it," Kuwabara said. "I am tired of being left in dark about all of this."
"Yeah," Yusuke said looking out the window. Then something caught his eye. Hikitsu was standing outside, staring at Botan. Yusuke wondered if he had just imagined what he saw, and when he looked back, sure enough, no one was there.
"Well that's creepy," Yusuke said half curious. "Hey, Kuwabara, if we can't do any help here, I say we should follow Hikitsu and see if he has anything to do with what is happening to Botan."
"Well, I am pretty sure I saw him outside a second ago, staring strangely at Botan."
"Really?" Kuwabara thought to himself. "Well he does act kind of weird around her. Do you really think he has anything to do with Botan's condition?"
"I don't know, but I am tired of waiting here and doing nothing."
Yusuke and Kuwabara made a plan to confront Hikitsu and find out his story. They left the room to find him, leaving Botan unprotected from the unseen danger that lingered around her.
Wow, this chapter took a while to write. The next chapter will continue Botan's past as she grows older and gets experienced in battles against demon forces. She continues her peaceful personality outside of the war, but will another tragedy leave a permanent scar on the cheerful soul we all know and love? Ha ha ha, I know, I know, it's cheesy!