Sherkoni: -sigh- Late again. At least it's not as long as the last time though, I suppose...

Be prepared for an extremely fluffy chapter. I smack myself for being such a romantic, but it couldn't be helped. Hopefully Hiei isn't too out of character, but we must remember that he is in love.

Chapter 9

Three More Days

He thought he was suffocating. This was very bad. He couldn't breathe. Was he dizzy? He couldn't tell... He felt wobbly, but everything was black, so he wouldn't know if his vision was swimming.

"What . . . what did you say?"

"I love you."

Yes. He was definitely dizzy.

"No . . . really?"

Botan was becoming frustrated. Placing her hands on her hips, she frowned and said, "I really love you. Really bad."

A long moment of silence.

And then finally, "But . . ."


She growled in exasperation and rolled her eyes. She grabbed his shoulder and began pulling him along in the dark, not knowing where they were going. Hopefully in the right direction. "Can you light the way for us? I don't really— Oof!"

She stumbled backwards, rubbing her nose in pain. Clearly not the right way. "Ow.."

She heard an amused snicker behind her. "You just ran into the wall, didn't you?"

Her cheeks heated embarrassedly. "No!"

"Okay. . ." His voice was smug.

How embarrassing. "I hate you."

"But you really love me."

"Shut up."

Hiei laughed to himself and raised a hand, creating a flame that lit the stone corridor in eery, orange shadows. He hadn't come in this way and so he couldn't even be sure they were heading the right direction. But anywhere was better than back to Dimitri's room.

If they were lucky, he hadn't moved and was slowly bleeding to death. He heard echoes of numerous footsteps above and around them. A raging, pained voice was heard, barely muffled by the stone walls. "Find the intruders!"

Obviously, they were not that lucky. Botan winced at his side, gripping his arm tightly. He could tell she was scared, but trying not to show it for his sake. He touched her hand comfortingly. "We'll be fine."

She gave him a soft smile. "I know."

Dimitri's voice was heard again. "They're in the right wing!"

Hiei tensed and drew his sword, straining his senses to find where the attack would come from. But he was jolted out of his reverie as the ground beneath them started to shift. He whipped his head down in surprise, teeth ground tersely. It felt like the ground was . . .

"Oh shit."

The ground beneath them suddenly opened up, revealing a large, dark hole. Botan screamed as they plunged into the darkness. Hiei tried to reach her, but his fingers only just grazed her own before he couldn't see her anymore.

But when she screamed his name, he growled determinedly used his youkai to push through the air, hoping he would be able to reach her. To his surprise, he ran right into her. He quickly clutched her to him and she wrapped her arms around his waist just as a light started to appear below them.

Hiei braced himself for a hard fall, trying to position his feet, but it was not solid ground that they connected with.

It was mud.

Botan spluttered and wiggled her way out of Hiei's arms. They were both completely drenched in thick, oozing brown mud. She sniffed. Or at least... she hoped it was mud. She wiped her bangs out of her face in disgust. "Gross. . ."

Suddenly, the mire around her started to warm up. Confused, she glanced up to see Hiei fuming, glaring down at his mud covered body. Heat was radiating off of him like an oven. Not a happy fire demon.

"That slimy, son of a–"


"I'm going back in there to kick his sorry little–"

"Hiei." She interrupted harshly, placing a hand on his own. He glanced at her, taken slightly by surprise. The second their hands connected, the heat receded. She smiled and shook her head. "Don't. Look, we're outside his castle. Let's just go."

"And let him get away with serving us out like animals?" His mud covered face was darkened into a vicious snarl.

"Just forget about it," she assured him softly. Slowly, his angry look fell away into one of resolve.

Finally, he sighed in defeat. "Fine, have it your way onna. . ." He offered her a languid smirk. "Happy?"

"Yes." She smiled.


Another set of Gizelle's words rose to her mind. Stubborn runt of a man and ugly as a toad. Didn't socialize with anyone, and anyone who tried to socialize with him got their heads bitten off. But one day he met a beautiful young lass. When they were together it was like he transformed - he smiled, he was polite, for the touch of her hand he would do anything for her.

Except, she thought to herself, Hiei was not as ugly as a toad. On the contrary, he was rather . . . she blushed . . . hot. She had to suppress a small giggle. Especially with all that mud smeared on his face...

He raised an eyebrow as he noticed her staring at him funny. "What?"

And then she pounced. She knocked him over into the mud, leaning smugly over his chest. He gave her an odd look. "What are–"

She cut him off, grinning as she placed her lips against his own, kissing him fervently. His eyes flew open in shock, before slowly fluttering close, the sweetness of the kiss taking over his senses.

Botan pulled back, giggling slightly because he left his eyes closed. "Is it alright that I kissed you?"

The corner of his lip twitched barely noticeable upwards. "Mm.."

She grinned. "Did it make your senses reel?"

He opened one eye, grinning in amusement. "A bit cocky, are we?"

She answered by leaning her face right above his. She smirked, whispering against his lips, "Would you rather be the judge?"

He opened both eyes now, eyes gazing upward as if in thought. He shifted his mouth from side to side. "Mm..." He shrugged carelessly. "Hm..." He finally looked at her, a wicked smirk playing on his lips. "Yes..." Then he closed the distance between their lips, kissing her again.

When they pulled apart again, Hiei pushed them both upwards, tired of the mud in his ears. He couldn't shake the feeling that something was seriously wrong with him. But he couldn't help it. She made him feel like this. As if he wanted to play these stupid kissing games. He was enjoying himself.

It was a little scary, and weird, to say the least, but he wouldn't deny it. It was addicting. But he didn't know if he could lower his pride enough to even think about doing this sort of thing in public. He shuddered. In front of the oaf and the detective. He gave her a sideways glance. "Will you mind if I don't kiss you in public?"

She gave him a confused look. "W-What?" She laughed. She paused, thinking. "No . . . I don't mind." It was an odd question, especially coming from him. But it was Hiei. Easily the most anti-social person she'd ever met.

"I don't mind," she repeated quietly, thinking to herself. It would be hard to keep it a secret. It was like she craved him. She wanted to know his thoughts on everything. She wanted his opinion, she wanted his touch, his smell... just his presence. This might be more difficult than she thought.

"Oh, bugger."

"What's wrong?" he asked flatly, beginning to pull himself from the mud. Unfortunately, the kiss still had him a bit shaken and so he slipped and fell back in the brown mess.

Resisting the urge to laugh at him, she answered quietly. "Nothing. It's just... it's only been twenty or so minutes since you told me you loved me, and I just want to be with you."

He didn't answer immediately, peering at her thoughtfully. Why did it give him an odd sort of pleasure-like pride to know she wanted to be with him?

"You know . . . only Koenma knows both of us are back." The brief encounter with Yusuke came to his mind, but you couldn't count on the Spirit Detective's memory that much anyway. "Technically, we still have three days left."

Her face brightened with recognition. "You clever, clever demon." She grinned and squeezed his cheek with her fingers, which he swatted away with an annoyed growl. She laughed and stood to her feet. "Let's get out of here then."

Hiei nodded and tried to get up, but ended up slipping and falling again. This time Botan did laugh and Hiei proceeded to drag her back into the mud with him.

"This is nice..." Botan murmured against his ear, languidly arriving back to the conscious world from sleep.

Hiei chuckled. "Honeymoon suite..."

It had been very late when they had finally gotten to the demon hotel. It only took their previous trick to get them another room. This time they didn't mind that there was only one bed.

"It's Wednesday morning, isn't it?"

"Yes." He sat up, rubbing his tired eyes. Was it possible to get too much sleep? That's what he felt like. In all reality, they had only gotten about seven hours of sleep, but he felt like this was the first time he'd really decently slept in his life. Probably due to who he was sleeping next to. Great. Now he was never going to be able to sleep again unless she was in his arms.

He smirked. So be it then. He glanced down at her. "What do you want to do for the next three days?"

She grinned mischievously. "Hiei," She held out her hand to him. He looked at it, then hesitantly took it.

"Botan?" His face was almost comical.. But she restrained her smile.

"I want you to court me." she said succinctly.

His jaw dropped and his eyes widened.


"I want you to court me. I think that it's the best way for us to get to know each other. I mean . . . we've known each other for awhile, in all technicality, but we've only really gotten to know each other in the last four days. And we weren't really enjoying each other's pleasant company."

"You want us to court?" he asked once more, just to insure he had heard her correctly. Did she realize she'd just asked a grumpy, old recluse wanted for murder and thievery to dance attendance on her?

She nodded. He frowned. Her soft mouth was set in lines of determination. He'd seen that expression before. And it usually meant she was digging in her heels, girding herself for a battle. Difficult woman!

"My dear, you are going to have to explain to me why you want badly. Because I cannot see reason for even entertaining the idea."

She frowned and pushed herself upwards. "Because, Hiei. It's the best way to make the most out of the short time we have left."

He raised an eyebrow. "I hope you know I'm not giving you up after this week is over."

Across from him, Botan's eyes widened, her mouth falling open. And she laughed! The damn woman had the audacity to laugh at him! With a growl he lunged at her, pulling her roughly to him and kissed her giggling mouth until he silenced her mirth.

God, would he ever grow tired of her taste? He cupped her jaw and kissed her until she was breathless, his lips forming a smile against her own. When she could no longer take a breath to snort with her glee against his lips, he released her, pressing a last kiss to her nose.

"Fine," he grumbled, frowning. She patted his cheek like she would a child and told him not to pout. He glared at her and mumbled that he did not pout. She only laughed. As he looked at her smiling face, he knew he would do anything to keep her near him. The look in her eyes said she knew as much as well.

"So . . . . I guess this means . . ."

"Yes." She placed a hand on his cheek to soften the blow. "No physical contact."

He growled to himself, but if he wanted to argue any opinions, he held it to himself. He pushed himself off the bed and searched around for his sword. Botan followed his movements in confusion. "Where are you going?"

"If I am to be forced to court you, I need a little planning."

She couldn't help the mischievous smile that crawled across her lips. "Oh? What are you planning?"

He gave her that slow, aggravating smirk that he had mastered too well and shrugged his shoulders. Lord, the man could make even the simplest gestures ones of grace.

"That is for me to know and you to find out."

It was her that pouted this time. "Fine. When will I meet you?"

"Six thirty, human time."

Then he was gone. She struggled with his absence, much to her surprise. Maybe she shouldn't have suggested the courtship. She would have been content to stay snuggled in his arms for the entire 72 hours.

Six thirty? She glanced at the clock. It was a little after noon. They had slept in long, having gotten here so late. Six hours. How would she wait that long?

At 6:20, she removed herself from the bathroom, satisfied enough with her looks. She never would have guessed she would ever be dressing up to impress Hiei.

On the bed was a note. He was sneaky, she thought bemused to herself. Picking it up, she unfolded it and read: On the roof.

The roof? Her eyes sparkled with unsuppressed excitement. Hiei, reclusive fire demon, could not have planned a romantic candle light dinner, could he?

Unable to stop the smile growing on her lips, she hurried out of the room and to the stairs. She only had to climb a few stories to get to the roof, but she was in such a hurry to get there, her cheeks were flushed and she was out of breath by the time she arrived.

When she got on the roof, it seemed relatively empty, but it was hard to tell for sure. Many gargoyles and other top decorations elaborated the building top. She searched around curiously for Hiei, but didn't see him.

She was almost beginning to worry that he had changed his mind, when a cloth was placed gently over her eyes. Her skin tingled as she felt Hiei's breath on the back of her neck. "You look lovely."

"Thank you. May I ask why I'm being blindfolded?"

"You may ask. But I won't answer. That's the whole point of the term, 'surprise', if I'm remembering correctly."

She sighed in frustration. "Alright."

He took hold of her shoulders and guided her along the rooftops, her steps clumsy and uncertain. She kept tripping and having to grip Hiei's arm for balance. After the third time, she heard him growl in exasperation. "This is taking too long."

Before she could apologize, she was swept up in his arms, now being carried to their destination. Strong arms... After a moment, he placed her down. She held his arm. She could feel the breeze across her cheeks.

"Ready?" he asked stoically, sounding as if she was getting this surprise whether she wanted it or not.

She nodded silently. Carefully, he untied the blindfold and removed it from her face, allowing her to behold the vision before her. Her eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat.

"Oh Hiei..."

In front of her eyes was the most beautiful sunset she had ever seen. She could see the many lush forests of the Makai forests, spread out in varying colors of green foliage, all harkened with a soft glow from the sinking sun. With the sun directly against the mountains, they no longer looked steep and ominous. They looked proud and majestic, silhouetted beautifully in creative patterns. And the sky, she felt her heart swell, was magnificent. At the rim of the mountains a splay of pink burst out shyly, quickly followed by swirling colors of purple and orange. A crimson color of red lined the sun and splayed like water into the other bright colors. Backgrounded against the glorious paints were swirls of crystalline clouds, causing the colors to vary in shade.

It was a scene that would remain forever in her memory.

"Not bad for your first Makai sunset."

She whirled about to face him and he fell silent as she flung her arms about his neck and hugged him fiercely. With a soft laugh he returned the embrace, enfolding her in his soft, warm cloak.

"Not bad at all," she whispered against his neck.

He pulled away and smirked. "Shall we eat?"

She grinned and followed him to the center of the roof where a tent was set up. Where he had gotten a tent, she would never know. He held the flap of it open for her and she went inside without hesitation.

She had been right about the candlelight dinner. It was beautifully arranged. She had underestimated him, to say the least. Even throughout their dinner, he was the perfect gentlemen, displaying the exact mannerisms of a perfect courtship.

She was mildly surprised, but also a little disappointed. If she was recalling correctly, no physical contact meant no kissing. And no flirtatious movements. He seemed to be handling it fairly well. Just like she'd asked.

Then what was her problem? By the time that they had finished their first course, she was inwardly cursing herself for making the rules.

As he wrapped up what was left of the cheese and bread before tucking it away, she studied him surreptitiously. He looked so...enticing...sitting there in his usual fighting outfit, his hair feathered looking and falling casually in his face over the stark white bandanna. And he smelled so good. It didn't take a far leap of the imagination to imagine pressing him back amongst those cushions, taking that suit off him piece by piece and ravishing him in this sensual atmosphere he'd created. Ravishing him? Dear Lord, how the mighty had fallen! Were these really the thoughts of a woman who had been raised to be a lady? Contained and modest?


Her head snapped up and she found Hiei staring at her, his left brow arched quizzically. She must have drifted off.

"Sorry," she laughed. "Simply lost in my thoughts." Her cheeks felt as if they were on fire. What was wrong with her? She needed to get her mind to think on other things. Right now.

He gave her a slow, devastating smirk that made heat curl in her lower belly, and she shifted uncomfortably. Damn that smile of his!

She growled to herself and focused on eating the fruit on her plate. She was being ridiculous. Enjoy his company. With that mantra repeated in her head, she was able to somewhat get her mind off him.

Hiei watched the frustrated look pass over her face, and she suddenly seemed to find her plate very interesting because that was all she would look at. He observed her for a few more moments as she raised a grape to her mouth and bit into it, her white teeth breaking the skin, her lips closing over the tips of her fingers as she sucked the half into her mouth. The tip of her tongue darted out and caught a droplet of juice beading at the broken edge of the half that remained.

He had to stop watching. He was really degrading himself if he was becoming jealous of a fruit. Hn. Stupid fruit. In one lightning fast motion, he stole the grapes from her plate. He took one off and held it between his fingers. Frowning, she made to pluck it from his fingers, but he held it out of her reach with a tsking sound, then moved it toward her mouth.

She blushed hotly, but allowed him to place the grape in her mouth. Then in a bold movement he didn't expect, she plucked one of the grapes off of the stolen bunch. Keeping her eyes on his, she bit into it carefully, slowly. His eyes darkened to the shade of blood spilt across the embers of fire.

She felt a shiver go down her spine. She held out the other half for him.

With a movement so fast she didn't even catch it, he had captured her wrist and closed his mouth over the fruit, and flicked the grape away and swallowed, but kept his lips on her fingers. He drew each one into his mouth and sucked, slowly and rhythmically, swirling his tongue about each tip, his teeth nipping gently.

She moaned softly, unconsciously. The lips on my fingers grew still.

Why had he stopped? She gasped as in one savage moment she was pressed to the ground, his lips ravishing her own fiercely. The rules fled her mind in a hurry.

Her nose wrinkled. He went still above her. She furrowed her brow. He lifted his head and looked past them.

"Fire!" he exclaimed, jumping off of her.

With a cry, Botan sat up and leapt to her feet, whirling towards the acrid smell of smoke. The rear side of the curtain was in flames, one of candles having slipped from its candelabra and setting the material alight.

Hiei moved like lightning and had his cloak out as he began to beat back the flames. Botan joined him and they both coughed and choked as the dying flames caused the smoke to envelop them in the small confined space. He realized would have to use his youkai to expire it completely, but it might hurt Botan. He flung his cloak over his shoulder, scooped her up in his arms and dashed outside of the tent. He set her back on her feet, then ran back inside. She cried out and grabbed his arm, but he turned with a fierce growl and ordered her to stay put. He ran back between the curtains.

She didn't obey. Picking up his discarded cloak, she ran in after him, afraid that the smoke might suffocate him.

Inside he had beaten out the flames and smoke completely and was blowing out all the other candles. She rushed to the opposite side and began blowing out the candelabra set there as well.

"Botan!" he snapped harshly. "I thought I had told you to wait outside, you stupid woman!"

She whirled on him as she blew out the last candle.

"Stupid! You foolish, egoistical jerk , you could have choked to death in here!"

"I would not have, because I had the situation under control!" He grabbed my arms and shouted in my face. "When I give an order, you are to obey it!"

"I'm not yours!"


She paused in her tirade and stared up at him. She blinked sullenly and cupped his jaw that was rock hard with tension.

"Oh, darling..."

His eyes suddenly went wide, and he flung her about, turning her from him with a sudden motion. She yelped in surprise, but then she caught the sight of flames out of the corner of her eye. His cloak had been smoldering and caught her dress on fire!

She screamed in terror and began frantically trying to get the flames out, but Hiei yelled at her to remain still. She was nearly jerked off her feet as he turned her back toward him and ripped her dress from her in one tearing motion down the front. She stared down at her slip and chemise, her jaw hanging open as he lifted her from the pool of torn fabric and set her back on her feet.

He stomped upon the dress until the flames were dead, leaving only a black, smoking mess that consumed almost all of the silk material.

She was dumbfounded. "Thank you . . . for saving my life."

He only chuckled dismally, pulling her closer to him. "You should have seen your face when I ripped that gown from you. Your mouth just hung open and your eyes were huge. You looked like Kuwabara."

She rolled her eyes and shoved him from her. Looking about the now dark tent, she smiled softly. "At least the night was pleasant." she offered, knowing that he felt badly about the aborted evening. He sighed and gave her a half smile.

Thunder rolled overhead and one moment later, the tent was soaked with rain, the ends bowing in upon themselves under the weight. They had no time to run. The material fell upon us with a wet sound and they tumbled to their hands and feet under the waterlogged curtain.

Beneath the soggy tent, Hiei wrapped one arm about Botan's waist and pulled her to his chest, kissing her gently, a cool smirk across his lips.

"Let's do this again sometime."

Sherkoni: Woo... that was a longer one then we're used to. Kudos to M. the O for the date idea. I'm having a very large spout of the opposite of writer's block. I've updated two stories and started a new one. In one day. O.o -prays it doesn't go away-

You've all got a lot of reading to do... Haven't you? -pokes insistently- Right? RIGHT? -.-;;