A/N: My first YuYu Hakusho fanfic, a one-shot starring the fan-made pairing of Hiei/Botan. I hope you'll enjoy the story, I've tried to keep everyone in character. I haven't seen the end of the series yet, where Mukuro comes in, so I've just kinda winged it. I've also kept Hiei and Botan at their correct heights in this fic, I believe that the drastic height difference just adds to the appeal of the pairing.

Disclaimer: I don't own YuYu Hakusho or any of the characters from the series or manga. I do own this story though so don't plagiarize or sue me. Hn, on with the fic!

Soulmates: Death & Brimstone

By: Amanda/Artiste (Agent Di)

I don't know exactly how it started, or why, but still...I'm glad it did. I wouldn't have been the same ferry girl without this experience. Without knowing him and all the power he wields over my heart, my mind, my very being. It's not that I didn't know him before, but I never knew him this way until that fateful afternoon, up in the tree, where a bitter argument took an interesting turn...

"Look I'm just trying to tell you that with those gaping wounds and this chilly weather it's not a good idea for you to sit out here in a tree all night!" a red faced ferry girl shouted.

"Hn," came an all too anticipated response, "Why do you care onna? It's not as if my welfare is any of your concern."

"Ooo..." Botan fumed, still sitting atop her oar which she kept hovering alongside Hiei's tree branch. She was tired of losing arguments to him and all because of that stupid, single-syllable, irritating word!

The fire demon studied her from his sitting position, leaning against the sturdy trunk of 'his' tree. "Well, why are you still here onna? Don't you usually fly off back to Spirit World after losing to me?"

Holding a clenched hand high with her eyes squeezed shut Botan counted backwards from ten until she felt like she could reply without tackling Mr. Smart-Aleck right off his high branch. "First of all Hiei, you haven't won this banter yet so don't get ahead of yourself! And secondly, did you ever think that maybe the rest of us would worry about you if you stayed out here injured and freezing to death all night?!"

"I'm a youkai," Hiei explained as if it were the most natural thing in the world, "why should they worry?"

"Even demons have their limits," Botan stated seriously, "Why won't you at least let me finish healing those wounds?"

"Because I'll heal on my own baka onna!" Hiei was getting a bit agitated now, noticing that the ferry girl was drawing this argument out much longer than usual. "It's well before sunset here in the human world and it isn't all that cold out. I can stand the elements and my injuries so just go home already!"

"Hmph!" Botan huffed, Oh no you don't Hiei! I won't be driven off so easily. You just assume you can get your way anytime so long as you use intimidating tactics on your opponent. Well I'm not some bloodthirsty demon so you're just gonna have to try a little patience!

Grr...baka onna, why won't she leave?! Doesn't she realize that she's out of her league? I'm far superior to her in every way...so why isn't she backing down? Hiei continued to glare at Yusuke's assistant hoping to scare her away again. Unfortunately for him, Botan refused to so much as flinch under his intense gaze. What's more, she was returning his glare with just as much determination as the fire demon himself could muster.

They both continued to stare at one another in silence for several minutes until the sounds of children's voices could be heard fast approaching.

"Yasue!" a young boy around the age of six shouted as he followed a young girl who was running through the park, "Did you hear Yasue? They're saying on the news that it's getting cold enough for snow! Maybe we'll even get a few inches by tomorrow!"

"Yay no school!" the girl--Yasue--shouted happily as she ran round the tree where Hiei and Botan were hiding. "Want to go sledding near my house if we get enough snow Ling?"

Ling nodded from his current position, tying his shoe and the base of the tree. "I'll get my dad to help me find my sled in the garage."

"Okay," Yasue nodded then stopped running in circles when she heard her mom's voice off in the distance.

"Yasue! Ling! Where are you two?"

Ling quickly stood up and grabbed Yasue's hand pulling her towards the woman who was just beyond the sight of the observing ferry woman and fire demon.

Once the two children had darted out of sight Botan turned to find Hiei still staring intently at her. This didn't seem to faze in her in the least however, she just smirked in a triumphant fashion and placed her hands on her hips. "You see, those children have just proven my point."

Hiei cocked an eyebrow, "You had a point?"

Botan's left eyebrow twitched slightly as she explained, "Yes Hiei, there's a good chance that it'll be snowing later today. So you should definitely take shelter!"

"Hn," the fire demon crossed his arms over his chest and resumed his previous position of leaning against the tree, "I've slept out in the snow before onna. It's nothing new to me."

He was abruptly poked in the chest by a fair skinned finger, "OW!!" he nearly cursed, "What was THAT for?!"

Botan took the finger away and waved it at him reprimanding, "You see, you've got too many serious injuries to remain in good health out here in such weather. So you're just going to have to stay inside for a few days."

"And just where do you suggest I stay?!" Hiei demanded, rapidly losing his patience with the annoying messenger.

Botan thought for a minute, pressing her index finger against her chin. "Well...don't you usually stay with Kurama in such situations?"

Hiei slapped a hand to his forehead, "Kurama has relatives over visiting for 'the holidays'. All his spare rooms are occupied. He's even sharing his room with some cousin who lives on the other side of the country from here!"

"Hmm..." Botan considered his other options, "what about Yusuke?"

"Hn, spending the night with the dimwit and his drunken mother doesn't exactly appeal to me more than dozing off in the snow."

"There's always Kuwabara's house."

"I'd rather wake up a demon icicle." Hiei snarled.

"Genkai's temple?" Botan sweatdropped.

"Yukina would only be worried sick about me the whole time. Wanting to heal all my wounds, using up her energy, and staying up all night." Hiei said bluntly, "You know how she gets around people who've been injured."

Botan could understand Hiei's feelings on that, he didn't want to add any stress to his sister's life. Even if he wouldn't admit to Yukina that he was her long lost twin brother he still cared about her, especially in regards to her happiness and well being. Well...that only left one other option, and she was REALLY dreading it.

"Um...you could stay with me?" she reluctantly offered in a low tone.

"Nani?" Hiei knew he had heard her wrong.

"You could stay with me." she repeated, wasn't it bad enough that he made her say it once?

A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth as he closed his eyes and replied, "And why would I do a foolish thing like that onna?"

"B-because you need a place to stay and my apartment's really the only available option." Botan managed to answer.

"Hn, I don't think so." Hiei shook his head, the grin starting to show. "You and I aren't exactly ideal roommates, even for one night."

"Well, what've you got to lose by trying?" Botan forced herself to perk up, this was something she had to do to ensure the well being of a friend--well--an acquaintance. "It wouldn't be so bad. We wouldn't even have to see each other that often, I'd keep to my room mostly and you could take the fold-out couch!"

The onna makes a good point, Hiei admitted, It is starting to get cold out here and a warm place to sleep for the night would speed up my healing. Besides, I could always amuse myself by driving the stupid ferry onna insane in her own dwelling. I'd be the guest, and she'd go out of her way to be a 'proper human host'.

Hiei's half-grin had turned into a full mischievous smirk now. This caused Botan to sweat and rethink her offer. Oh great, Botan what has your big mouth gotten you into this time?!

Without another word Hiei vanished from his seat on the branch and reappeared a millisecond later behind Botan on her oar.

After a sudden gasp of surprise from the blue haired woman Hiei folded his arms and shrugged, "Well...aren't you going to fly back to that apartment of yours onna? It's starting to get late."

Botan gave a small nod and uneasily turned around, the oar rising out from amongst the branches of the tree and heading towards the sitting sun. It was odd, winning an argument with Hiei, and she had done it so easily too. That worried her, seriously worried her. Something was up, just what was that sneaky fire demon scheming in that crafty little head of his?

He knew he should have waited until they'd reached her apartment, but he just couldn't resist such a great opportunity to begin playing mind games with the clearly nervous ferry woman. It was chilly out, very chilly, the wind blew against their faces, cutting through their warm body temperatures as if it were the blade a recently sharpened katana. The woman clad in her pink kimono started to shiver as she picked up the pace at which she and her passenger flew towards her home. Hiei snaked his arms around her waist, just under her arms which were both grasping the tip of her oar tightly. His hands locked in front of her stomach like the buckle to a seatbelt.

Botan stiffened immediately and there was a slight jerk on the oar. Hiei chuckled silently to himself, his unexpected move had brought on the desired effect. Botan was beginning to panic, a delicious smell of fear and uncertainty emanated from her rigid body. Such a scent was irresistibly amusing to almost any demon.

He leaned forward, his face just barely rising over her shoulder as he did so, "What's wrong onna? I'm just making sure not to fall off before we reach your dwelling place. Is there a problem with that?"

"N-no," Botan stuttered in a squeaky voice.

The sound of deep laughter sent shivers down her spine as the strands of blue hair by her ear were moved slightly by his breath (now visible due to the low temperatures).

"Perhaps you'd prefer I just held on to your oar?" Hiei offered smugly removing his arms from around her waist.

Botan was about to nod when she felt his hands grip the oar dangerously close to her backside.

"H-Hiei!"

"Hm?"

"I-I think maybe y-you'd better just h-hold onto me." Botan gulped. "T-the updrafts at this elevation...they can be really strong."

"Hn whatever you say," Hiei shrugged innocently and returned his arms to their previous position. This will teach you to order me around foolish onna.


Thankfully, for Botan's sanity, they reached her apartment soon after the 'embracing' incident. Hiei hopped off Botan's oar as she pulled alongside her balcony. The doors weren't locked so the fire demon slid them open and stepped inside. The place was dark, due to Botan's absence and desire to conserve electricity. His eyes were accustomed to such dimness though so he was able to spot a light switch with little difficulty.

The tenant of the apartment soon followed him and dematerialized her oar as she headed for the kitchen. "Do you want anything to eat Hiei?"

Hiei was still glancing around her domicile, studying the pictures on her walls, noting the titles of the books on her shelves, any trinkets that happened to be lying around, etc.

"Hiei?"

His eyes fell on a small photo album she had lying open on her coffee table. There were pictures scattered all around it, the pages only partially filled as though she had left in the middle of putting the album together. There were photos of the whole gang, single pictures of Yukina, Shizuru, Keiko, and the Spirit Detectives. She even had a considerable number of him. One in which he was sitting in his favorite tree that past summer. Another were he was pigging out on ice cream ("sweet snow") with Kurama near a fountain by the boardwalk. He reached down and picked up one particular picture which Keiko had taken at the pier.

The group had gone out to the beach one lazy day in late spring and decided to walk out on the pier for a better view of the ocean. Keiko and Yusuke held hands as they walked to the end when Keiko and her ever trusty camera had spotted Botan and Hiei leaning against the railing of the pier staring at the sunset. They hadn't meant to stand so close together, at the time they probably hadn't even noticed each other's presence. But when Hiei had glanced up to see Keiko with the camera ready to snap a picture he had subconsciously backed into Botan (dreading the blinding flash). The ferry girl had squeaked in surprise grabbing Hiei's shoulders so as not to trip over her own feet. It was then that the flash had gone off, with Hiei and Botan staring at each other in mild embarrassment and surprise.

As Hiei studied the photo now he noted the slightly pink tinge to Botan's cheeks and shockingly his own too. Hopefully the others had attributed it to sunburn when they'd been flipping through the developed film.

"Um..." a soft voice from behind caught Hiei's attention. Botan had come over to see what had the fire demon so preoccupied. When she saw the picture he was looking at she blushed and placed a hand behind her head, "Oh, that's just a picture from last spring at the pier, you remember right? Keiko had her camera and was snapping pictures like crazy! She made double prints and gave me one..."

"Hn," Hiei handed the photograph to Botan and walked over to her fridge, "I remember, you nearly fell flat on your rear in front of the whole gang of idiots that day. You really ought to pay more attention to your surroundings."

Botan huffed and tossed the picture back down on top of the album, walking away indignantly trying to hide her flushed face. "Would it kill you to say something nice every once in a while?!"

"No..." Hiei said nonchalantly as he rummaged through Botan's freezer, pulling out a box of strawberry ice cream, "...but it wouldn't be half as much fun either."

"Jerk," Botan muttered under her breath.

"What was that?" Hiei's voice held a threatening edge.

"N-nothing," Botan put on her best kitty-face, "I didn't say a word!"

The cold natured fire demon stared at her a moment before plunging the spoon he'd found into the dessert, "Hn."

Why does he DO that? Botan wondered, Why does he snap and threaten EVERYONE who tries to strike up a civil conversation with him?! Albeit I was calling him a 'jerk' but that's only because of what he said earlier.

Five minutes, it'd been no more than five minutes and Hiei was already behaving as if he owned the place. Well, more like he was behaving as though he was too good for the apartment and merely gracing Botan with his presence.

"He eats ice cream straight from the box, doesn't put the soda back in the fridge when he's through gulping it down, throws his silverware in the sink without even rinsing it, and then slumps down on the couch with his filthy feet on the coffee table!" Botan grumbled to herself while washing dishes and tidying up her kitchen.

Hiei sat in the living room, his feet on her coffee table (more specifically, on the open album on her coffee table) with his ankles crossed gazing boredly into space.

His injuries were healing, but much slower than he'd anticipated. Maybe I should let the ferry onna finish healing my wounds?

Botan was still angrily scrubbing away at dirty dishes in her kitchen when she heard Hiei shout from her living room. "ONNA!"

Slinging the sponge down in the soapy water she stormed into the adjacent room. "BOTAN!! My name is BOTAN, not 'Onna'!"

The outburst didn't seem to disturb Hiei's mood one bit, "Hn, whatever. Didn't you want to finishing healing these scratches?"

The peeved ferry girl inspected Hiei's 'scratches' and carefully lifted his right arm so that it was level with her sparkling fuchsia eyes. "I think I'd better start with this one first." she said calmly.

Hiei watched as Botan's healing energy was concentrated on the deep gash across his lower arm. It would've surely been severed if Hiei hadn't dodged the blade of his foe a split second into the attack.

Botan was sitting on the table, next to the album where Hiei's feet were resting, preoccupied with closing the wounds. The blood had dried and caked up along each gash. With a sigh she got up and went back into the kitchen.

Where is she going? Hiei questioned inwardly, My wounds aren't healed yet.

His unspoken query was answered when Botan returned with a damp cloth, some bandages, and a bottle of disinfectant.

"What do you need those for?" Hiei chided, "Are these scrapes too difficult for you to tend to on your own?"

The blue haired woman shot him a look of annoyance but calmly explained, "Most of my spirit energy was drained when I healed the others. I didn't have all that much left when I finally got around to healing you. So if I use what's left along with a few non-spiritual healing techniques I should be able to take care of the last of your injuries."

Hiei pretended to lose interest halfway through the explanation and laid his head against the back of the sofa. He appeared to be resting soundly so Botan merely sighed and resumed the task before her.

Several minutes of silence passed between the two as Hiei 'snoozed' and Botan worked her healing magic. Most of his scrapes were gone now, a few here and there were so deep that they required bandaging. She was actually surprised that Hiei hadn't fidgeted at all when she's dabbed his injuries with the stinging disinfectant. Demons must have a higher threshold for pain than she had suspected.

The fire demon relaxed under the gentle caresses of the ferry woman as she traced his fading scars with her delicate fingers and softly wrapped any temporary scratches remaining in bandages. Every now and then she would dab the stinging liquid onto an open wound, it hurt, but he wasn't about to show her his pain. Besides, he could take it. He was a top class demon, pain was just a mere annoyance rather than a hindrance to him.

It was when he felt her attentions cease that he finally opened his eyes to find out why the soothing touches had stopped. He stared at her wordlessly for a moment. She had sat back on the coffee table, her cheeks tinged with pink, she was biting down slightly on her lower lip. It was obvious that she wanted to ask him something, something that made her extremely nervous to request.

Flashing his trademark smirk he spoke, "Well, what is it onna?"

"I-" Botan hesitated, Please don't let him take this the wrong way, she silently begged, "-I need you to take off your shirt."

Hiei's eyebrows shot up, disappearing beneath his bangs and white headband. "Nani?"

"Your shirt," Botan repeated, "I need you to take it off...so I can work on the injuries to your chest and back."

Hiei studied her for a moment, it was a reasonable enough request. His cloak and long sleeved black top had already been removed and tossed over the back of Botan's recliner. Shrugging he sat up and pulled off his black top with the torn off sleeves. "Satisfied?" he asked while lying back against the sofa, a clear sign for her to continue.

Without bothering to reply Botan poured a bit more disinfectant onto a clean bandage and started dabbing at a gash across Hiei's chest. The diagonal wound ran from the lower corner of the fire demon's right bottom rib all the way up to the corner just above his heart. Botan winced as she patted across the painful looking cut. Hiei suddenly jerked. "I'm sorry!" Botan exclaimed pulling back.

"It's nothing," Hiei quickly replied, "the liquid's just cold is all. You must've dabbed a sensitive nerve or something."

Botan barely managed to stifle a laugh at this.

"What?"

"Nothing," she smirked, I just didn't think you had a sensitive spot in your whole body. Well, except for...

She looked up to find Hiei glaring at her venomously. His Jagan Eye was emitting a threatening crimson glow.

"Were you reading my thoughts?" she asked the obvious.

"Not funny baka onna," Hiei scowled, "you know that I'm no sensitive weakling. And if you ever slip up and let my secret out to Yukina I'll..."

"I know," Botan snapped up with her hands raised in surrender, "you'll kill whoever tells Yukina that you're her brother. I promise I won't tell Hiei. I was just thinking to myself...and when did I think that sensitivity would make you weak?"

"Hn, everyone knows that emotions only hinder a true warrior." Hiei scoffed, "The more a demon allows himself to be distracted by pointless human emotions the weaker he becomes."

The ferry girl just sat there gazing at him for a moment before shaking her head and unraveling some more gauze, "Well I'm sorry you feel that way Hiei. I personally think it takes a very strong person to show their sensitive side in front of others. And you're always the most admirable to me when you're protecting your sister."

"And since when do I care what you think?" Hiei huffed slouching down, making it difficult for Botan to wrap the gauze around his chest. He smirked as she leaned further towards him, sliding her hands behind his back, handing the material from one hand to the other in order to bind up the chest wound. "You and the Fox are a lot alike. Always wanting me to be more expressive and tell Yukina the truth. Even though it's none of your business what I do or don't do."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Botan grunted, shoving the gauze behind his back for the fifth time.

"Baka onna, it means you and Kurama deserve each other." Hiei almost spat the words out, "You'd certainly have a fine time meddling in the lives of everyone else around you, giving advice that no one wants."

Botan tied off the gauze, tugging it far too tight for the fire demon's comfort. She did that on purpose! he sneered.

"For your information I don't like Kurama that way!" Botan snapped.

"Oh really?" Hiei inquired, his voice dripping with sarcasm and doubt.

"Really!" Botan stated angrily. Nothing personal against Kurama, but Shizuru had eyes for him long before me. And while he is the picture perfect boyfriend...I don't know...I just see a good friend in him. But it's still not Hiei's place to go making such assumptions! Talk about meddling, the presumptuous little demon!!

"So who are you chasing after then?" Hiei was starting to enjoy this little game, 'How to Make Botan's Blood Boil', "Koenma?"

"KOENMA?!?!" Botan shrill scream echoed all throughout her floor of the apartment building.

"Stop screeching onna!" Hiei had his hands clamped over his ears.

"Hiei I think of Koenma as a boss and loyal friend." Botan informed his haughtily, "And if you really knew half as much as you THINK you know then you'd be aware that Koenma and Ayame have had a crush on one another since the first day she became a ferry girl!"

"So someone actually does like that idiotic toddler?"

Botan nodded, "And I expect you to keep that information to yourself. They'll get together on their own, when they're ready. They don't need any rumors flying around in the meantime."

Hiei gave Botan a look of disgust, "You're one of those 'hopeless romantics' aren't you?"

Botan's cheeks flushed again, "So what if I am?"

Rolling his eyes Hiei moved so that he was lying down with his head resting on the arm of the sofa farthest from the blue haired woman. "I despise romance."

Botan's expression took on a mischievous appearance. "Oh you do? Why is that Hiei? Haven't you ever had a crush on someone?"

"No."

"Oh c'mon, there must've been someone."

"No."

"Well did anyone ever have a crush on you?"

"No."

"Are you sure?"

"Drop it onna!"

"Why are you blushing?"

"I'm NOT blushing now go away!"

"This is MY apartment."

"Fine," Hiei hopped up and headed towards her balcony doors, "then I'LL leave!"

"Hiei Jaganeshi you get back here!" she snapped, jumping to her feet and chasing after him, "You still haven't recovered enough to be out all night in snowy weather!"

"I'd rather freeze to death than stay here another minute with you!" the still shirtless demon shouted over his shoulder while yanking open the sliding door.

"HIEI!"

"HN!!"

He had one foot out the door when he heard her start to whimper. The sound was faint at first, barely distinguishable, even to his sensitive ears. Then it grew a bit louder. A few seconds later Botan was sobbing quite audibly behind him.

Hiei froze in mid step, he couldn't stand it. The sound women made when they cried. It was so desperate and helpless. Not like the pleading cries of his opponents right before he delivered his death blow but...like the soft crying of his dear sister Yukina when she was forced to watch her forest creature companions killed by the merciless Toguro brothers.

His crimson eyes opened wide when he felt hot tears dampen his bare back as Botan buried her face into its curve begging him not to go. She was a healer of sorts and didn't like to see people--especially her friends--putting their lives in jeopardy when it wasn't absolutely necessary. She was sorry, he could tell. Her arms were wrapped firmly around his waist from behind and she had fallen down on her knees, slumping against him.

Why...? Why does he do this?! Doesn't he realize that people actually DO care about him?! Botan anguished from her position leaning against Hiei, holding on to him for dear life. She couldn't let him go. Not now, not when he was drained of most of his energy from battle, still recovering from serious injuries, and trying to go out in frigid temperatures to possibly be buried under inches or even feet of snow! "Hiei..." she whispered, "...please stay. I'm sorry...don't go."

Hiei shut his eyes, just standing there like that trying to decide on his next move. Should he shove her aside and leap away? It wouldn't take that much effort really, she was just a weak over-emotional ferry girl. Then again, he opened his eyes and stared up into the gray sky above, it did look like snow would be falling soon. It was night now, the sun was gone and the temperatures were rapidly plunging. His breath swirled about his face visible now as he continued his inner debate.

Onna...Botan...why are you making such a big deal about this? I've survived worse. I know to you it must seem foolhardy for me to prefer to take shelter in a tree rather than your warm dwelling during such weather and bearing these injuries but...I am a demon. We are two very different people as well. It's pointless to think we could ever tolerate each other to an extent beyond distant alliance. You must understand...not all allies are meant to be friends.

Regardless, Hiei did step back inside the apartment and slid the door shut again. Botan lifted her face from the warm curve of his back thankful that her pleas had worked. She had suspected that it would take a lot to get Hiei to listen to reason but she had hoped that it wouldn't come to her having to cry and guilt him into taking better care of himself. Oh well...the important thing is that Hiei get better and stay safe here until he's had time to recuperate.

Walking past her without so much as a glance Hiei returned to the living room and pulled his shirt back over his head. "One night woman, and I think it's best we didn't speak."

Giving him a slight nod Botan got up and headed to her linen closet in the short hallway. She figured Hiei would know soon enough that she was planning on taking a shower. She seriously doubted that she would have to worry about Hiei sneaking in on her. He seemed to just want to be left alone for the remainder of the night.

The fire demon sighed when the sound of running water was heard in the room just down the hall. Botan was bathing. He would have at least a half hour of peace then. Note to self, he grumbled, once I'm out of this mess I'm going to build up an immunity to that foolish onna's tears.


A half hour after her bath Botan had come out still drying her flowing sky blue hair with a white fluffy towel. She glanced at Hiei then turned back down the hall, opening the linen closet she pulled out another towel and washcloth. Hiei threw her a sideways glance when she offered him the items. He made no move to accept them. With a sigh Botan sat the towel and washcloth down beside him then went to her bedroom where she intended to spend the rest of the night.

Her hair was dry and slightly wavy from not being completely brushed out when she heard the water cut on. She assumed that Kurama had explained to Hiei the art of operating a shower sometime prior to this moment since she didn't hear any strings of muttered curses once the curtain was slid aside and footsteps were heard inside the tub.

Botan sprawled out across her bed, the dim light of a reading lamp on her nightstand illuminated her porcelain toned face. Hiei was beginning to consume all her thoughts as of late. And why was that exactly? She wished she knew. At least that way she'd stand some hope of getting over it. His cold nature and sarcastic remarks did get her cross, but she could never remain angry at him. No matter how many times he referred to her as "baka onna", no matter how badly he insulted her, jilted her, threatened her, or found a way to spoil all her good moods she couldn't suppress the feeling that maybe...just maybe...there was something more to the fire demon. This 'something more' might even make him worth all the trouble of attempting to tolerate. She wanted--no HAD--to believe that there was some good in him, beyond that of simply being protective of his younger twin sister.

"Oh Hiei," she moaned, half asleep, exhausted from all her overtaxing thoughts, "what I wouldn't give to know what you're really thinking right now."

BAKA ONNA!!!

Botan's eyes flew open and she jumped up so fast she nearly fell off the bed. "W-who's there? H-Hiei?!"

A string of muttered curses answered her.

Hiei? she tried again without using words. I thought you said we shouldn't speak to each other again tonight?

Hn, this isn't speaking onna, it's telepathy. Hiei's voice corrected grumpily inside her mind, Now get in here and fix this so called 'fold-out' sofa of yours!

Botan giggled to herself as she got up and walked back down the hall. When she reached the living room she couldn't restrain herself from laughing out loud at the sight of Hiei struggling against the sofa. He had managed to remove the top cushions but couldn't figure out how to make the bed fold out. His feet were currently pressed against the front of the couch and he was yanking frantically on a corner by the armrest.

"Stupid, moronic, ningen-made contraption!" he growled in frustration.

"H-Hiei!" Botan chuckled before a chilling glare from the fire demon reminded her about their pact. I'm sorry! she smiled, Okay just...grab the center part of the fold out mattress. Yes, like that, now pull back towards yourself like so--grr...Hiei you're tugging it to the side...no not that way! Ugh--here--let me show you!

Botan had forced Hiei to scoot over a bit so she could grip the center of the couch as well. Together they both started tugging on the stubborn piece of furniture until suddenly...

FLICKER!!

Huh??

FLASH!!

What was that?!

How should I know?!

CLICK!

AAAHH!!!

HEY! Watch it onna!

OW!!!

The struggling pair toppled backwards over the coffee table (which Hiei had neglected to move out of the way) and landed with a loud THUD! on the carpet as the couch folded out, knocking the coffee table over as well, on top of them. Pictures went flying everywhere, not that they could see them, the power had gone out thanks to the rapidly accumulating snow that both had failed to notice.

"What just happened?" Botan grumbled, trying to sit up, shoving the coffee table off her lap.

"I don't know but would you mind getting OFF of me?!" Hiei barked.

"You don't have to shout Hiei," Botan hissed, "I'm right here!"

"You shouldn't be talking anyway, remember?" Hiei countered, trying to sit up, not willing to wait for Botan to haul herself off his back.

The fuchsia eyed spirit messenger tried to stand as Hiei forced himself up but lost her footing when she slipped on a picture causing her to fall backwards knocking Hiei back down with her.

"Could you BE any CLUMSIER?" he demanded.

"Could YOU be any GROUCHIER?!" she huffed.

It took a moment and a few more exchanges of heated banter between the two before they finally managed to get up, slipping slightly on a stray photograph every now and then as they made their way to the kitchen.

"What are we looking for?" Hiei grumbled. He'd just randomly started rummaging through drawers, following Botan's lead.

"The power's obviously gone out." Botan said matter-of-factly, "We're going to need a flashlight, some candles, matches, and batteries."

"Hn, why not just call someone to turn it back on?" Hiei snorted, "Isn't that what you ningens pay those pole-climbing workers to do?"

"Yes but there's probably been quite a few power outages in this area alone since the snow started." Botan answered, "My landlord's most likely already called the power company anyway. He's very prompt about these things."

Hiei yanked a cylindrical device from what he identified as a 'drawer of junk' and held it out curiously, "What's this?"

"The flashlight!" Botan exclaimed happily, "You found it!"

"How does it work?"

"You just push that little slider up the side and light shines out."

Hiei did as instructed, only he had the thing pointed straight at his face. He was nearly blinded by the sudden burst of light. This caused Botan to laugh again at his naivety of basic human devices.

"Okay Hiei, now come stand over here with the flashlight so I can see." she motioned him over, "We'll find the other supplies a lot faster this way."

With an annoyed glare at the contraption Hiei walked over to where Botan was hunched on the floor and held the light over her shoulder so she could see into the bottom drawer.

Once they'd gathered everything together Botan went over to her fireplace, turning on the gas logs, then went back to the linen closet and pulled down the extra blankets. The soft glow from several small candles lit the living room and kitchen. The light from the tiny flames dancing along the walls, casting beautiful warm reds, oranges, and deep yellows against everything. It created a very cozy atmosphere that the ferry girl quite enjoyed. It was just like a Christmas card, what with the snow falling outside her glass balcony doors, covering the outside world in a shimmering layer of white. Sighing contently she handed the fire demon an extra blanket before plopping down beside him in front of the radiant fire.

Hiei eyed her suspiciously, "It's getting late."

Fuchsia eyes met scarlet, "Yeah, so?"

"So shouldn't you be going to bed now?" Hiei pressed, "You said you'd be in your room and I'd be here in the living room, we wouldn't have to see each other for the rest of the night."

Turning back to the fire Botan exhaled tiredly, "Well the power's out now, the best source of heat is from this fire, it'll be too cold back in my bedroom. So it looks like I'm going to have to sleep in here too."

The only male koorime didn't seem to like this one bit, "Hn, then I'll go sleep in the bedroom and you can take the sofa. Ningens, you're so ridiculously needy."

He made a move to get up but Botan grabbed his arm and pulled him back down with a strength that even she didn't know she possessed. Hiei stared at her questionably, a bit shocked, waiting for an explanation. Hiding a blush from her actions she whipped her head back towards the fire, "You can't go back there, it'd be almost as bad as you sleeping out in the cold. It's warm in here, the fireplace is small so it won't heat the whole apartment that well. We'll just have to share this room tonight. The fold-out couch is big enough for both of us anyway."

"I am not sharing a bed with you," Hiei declared, "not even a fold-out bed."

Five minutes later...

The cozy little fire roared on, casting warm colors and thin shadows on the cross figures lying atop the fold-out bed. Only their heads where visible due to the fact that they were both tightly wrapped in blankets to keep warm. Apparently the fold-out bed wasn't as big as Botan had last remembered it to be...

Stupid, idiotic ferry onna... Hiei was muttering to himself, ...! She's touching me again!! "Move over, you're on MY SIDE!"

Botan jerked at her half of the blankets, "It's not that big of a couch okay?! And I wouldn't have to scoot so close to you if you weren't such a blanket hog!"

"You're the one with twice as many blankets!"

"You're HALF MY SIZE!!!" Botan yelled, "How much blanket do you need?!"

She realized her mistake a split second too late, "Are you calling me SHORT?!?!"

"Are you calling me FAT?!" she tried to sound offended.

"Nani?!"

"Ooo..."

"Baka onna."

"Ungrateful youkai."

Hiei rolled to face her, further entangling himself in the blankets. "Bossy ferry wench!"

Botan turned over and locked eyes with him, "Cold hearted hot head!"

"Loud mouth nuisance!"

"Ill tempered coward!"

"COWARD?!" now Hiei was really mad, no one, and that means NO ONE, called him a coward...and lived.

Botan gulped, now that she'd crossed the line there was no turning back. May as well get a few more words in before Hiei ran her through with his katana.

"Yes COWARD!" she shouted, her voice wavering, "I'm not the one hiding the truth from my own sister!"

"I'm not hiding!" Hiei insisted.

"Oh please!" Botan felt slightly confident that she might come out of this with less than critical injuries, "The only reason you won't tell her who you really are is because you're afraid that she won't accept you!"

"Well my past isn't exactly something she'd want to be associated with!" Hiei shot back.

"Well who's fault is that?!" Botan demanded.

"I-" Hiei paused, he really didn't have a good excuse for his past deeds. In fact, despite the loneliness that had always been present in his life since the day he'd been cast out from the island of the koorimes he had chosen to pursue a life of thievery. In fact, he also quite enjoyed the thrill of being an assassin. There was nothing quite like the dying cry of one's targeted enemy right before he collapsed into a bloody heap, his life-force dripping from the tip of the dark natured fire demon's sword.

The ferry girl gave Hiei a quizzical look. It wasn't like him to just give up in the middle of an argument. He'd been countering her so vehemently just a moment ago, why had he stopped? Then she realized, Maybe I went too far with that last comment?

"Hiei..." her gentle voice brought him out of his sorrowful thoughts. She awaited acknowledgement to come into his crimson pools before she continued, "I'm sorry Hiei, I shouldn't have said all that. It really is none of my business."

He watched her gaze drop to the wad of blankets that she held clenched in her hand. She twisted the fabric around nervously, not knowing what else to say.

"It's okay."

The reply was unexpected, so soft and full of somber understanding. Her breath caught in her throat when she once again locked eyes with the mysterious demon. "Really? Y-you're not mad at me?"

"No," a small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, "I...I guess I did kind of bring all this on myself. It's just, Yukina is all I have left in the world, I don't want to lose her. I especially don't want to see her driven away from me by my past." It felt so good to finally be saying this to someone, for once it was out in the open instead of eating him up inside.

"Hiei..." Botan murmured sympathetically.

"She deserves better than me," he continued, he had wanted to get this off his chest for the longest time. To just confide in someone, yet he was hesitant to trust anyone. Why not tell the ferry girl? Wasn't she trustworthy? Despite his unspoken concerns to the contrary she had kept his secret regarding his relation to Yukina. Didn't that prove her loyalty to her word? "She deserves a good brother, someone like her, not a ruthless outlaw like me."

"But you've changed," Botan protested gently, "you're so much more than a criminal now Hiei. You're a spirit detective, one of the team."

"Hn," he found himself grinning at her words, "I'm only a spirit detective because I was caught stealing the Artifacts of Darkness. It's my punishment to be a member of this team, not my choice."

"Still..." Botan said thoughtfully, "...I'm sure your record's been wiped clean by now. I think it's more than just for Yukina's sake that you stay with us. I think...you choose to do the right thing."

"Why would I do that?" Hiei asked in disbelief of her statement.

"Because, you're a good person Hiei." she tried to explain, her cheeks growing redder with every word, "Deep down, you're not so bad. In fact, at moments like these, you're actually pretty decent company."

He laughed a little at that, "At moments like these? And how many of these moments have we ever had?"

Botan smiled, "Not just between us, between anyone. Like when you discuss strategies with Yusuke, chat with Kurama, and I've even seen worried looks on your face during tournament fights when it seems as though Kuwabara has gotten in over his head and might be killed."

"Hn, you think I care about what happens to that moron?"

"I think you care about what happens to your teammates...your friends."

Unnoticed by either Hiei or Botan the fire demon's hand was slowly creeping out from beneath the blankets, steadily making its way towards the ferry woman's face. "You read too much into things onna."

"And you're far too stubborn to acknowledge your emotions," she giggled.

The laughter stopped when she felt his hand shyly grace her cheek. It gently rested against her temple, then flowed back a bit, pushing her bangs aside. The back of his hand continued to trail down alongside her face. He seemed mesmerized by his own movements as he kept tenderly stroking the ferry girl's cheek. He'd never been so forward with anyone before. Never had the desire to reach out and touch a person, and then acted upon it. There were several times when he just wanted to hug his sister tight and tell her everything, but he didn't dare. Now it seemed that with Botan, he didn't have much say in the matter. He simply had to touch her, to feel her soft skin, to elicit some sort of desirable reaction from his caresses.

Botan certainly wasn't complaining. There were a lot of confusing thoughts racing around in her head though. What in the three worlds is Hiei thinking?! Isn't he supposed to hate ningens? He does know that I'm a NINGEN spirit right?

She didn't have time to ponder the matter further because of Hiei's next move. It was entirely unanticipated, by the both of them. Hiei leaned forward, his lips seemingly having a mind of their own went to cover hers. The ferry girl was shocked beyond words yet she certainly wasn't complaining. Whatever had possessed Hiei to carry out such an impulsive thought had now gripped her own body, causing her to react and deepen the kiss. His tongue darted out, tracing over her slightly parted lips, when she permitted him full access he delved into her moist mouth and explored with renewed vigor. The sheer passion was enough to leave them both utterly breathless yet they pressed on in their mind-blowing actions.

The fire demon's hands crept around her body, one hand cupped her bottom beneath the tangled sheets while the other pressed the back of her head so that she was forced all the closer against his hungry mouth. Botan had her arms wrapped around Hiei's neck, their height difference was obsolete while they were both lying down. As her head became more clouded with the fiery sensations Hiei was sending her, she wound her legs tightly around his waist desperate for more physical contact with the scarlet eyed demon.

Both ferry girl and fire demon were now hopelessly entangled amongst the sheets and each others' limbs. Panting they parted for air staring at each other, trying to make sense out of their current situation.

"H-Hiei..." the sky blue haired woman finally managed.

"Onna..." he breathed, unable to order his thoughts. Did I just willingly kiss a ningen?!

Swallowing hard she began again, "Hiei, wh-what are we doing?"

The spiky haired male just looked at her in puzzlement before speaking, "We were--that is--weren't we about to--?"

A laugh escaped her throat, seeing Hiei at a loss for words was a priceless thing. He was so adorable, so cute, so...Whoa Botan, what are you thinking?! This is HIEI for crying out loud! He'd slit your throat for even saying his name and 'adorable' or 'cute' in the same sentence! she scolded herself.

She stopped when she felt his hand leave the back of her head and saw him use it to pull off his white headband. "W-what are you doing?" she stammered nervously.

"I want to know what you're thinking." he answered nonchalantly.

Botan's fuchsia eyes enlarged, "WHY?!"

In lieu of a reply the Jagan Eye started to redden and glow.

The poor ferry girl was a nervous wreck, frantically scrambling to collect her thoughts before Hiei's Jagan Eye picked up on one that she REALLY didn't want him reading.

Get a grip Botan! she squealed in her head, You don't want Hiei to find out you've been thinking of him as adorable!

The small stature fire demon glared at her with crimson orbs on the verge of boring through her skull.

Eep! Too late! she panicked. Don't worry, just think about something else, or nothing! Yeah, nothing at all. Hm, hm, hm...I'm not thinking, I'm not thinking...my but his eyes are gorgeous. OH SHOOT!

Instead of staring into another of Hiei's intimidating glares she found that the fire demon was now smirking. So I have gorgeous eyes do I? he teased her telepathically.

Botan's cheeks reddened, "Hiei Jaganeshi you stop reading my mind this instant! This is embarrassing and it's not fair since you know I can't read yours!"

Placing his hand back on her cheek he grinned, "Do you want me to tell you what I'm thinking right now?"

"Um..." Botan studied him uneasily, did she really want to know? She was a bit curious.

"I'm thinking about that kiss we shared," he continued, not waiting for her response, "And how I'd like to have another."

Their lips were a mere half inch apart when she pulled back, "B-but I'm a ningen." she murmured, "And you don't like ningens."

He softly took the tip of her chin in his fingers and pulled her in for the kiss, "I might be persuaded to learn to." and with that he held her to him refusing her an escape as the gap between them was closed again. I don't know what you've done to me onna, or how you managed to do it in just one night, Hiei contemplated after eliciting a moan of pleasure from the dazed ferry woman, but you're mine now and I intend to keep it that way.

Botan had a relaxed and dreamy smile plastered on her face when they broke their second kiss. I could do this all night. she sighed.

Hn, it's not like I've got anywhere else to be. Hiei's cocky voice rang out in her mind, reminding her that his Jagan Eye was still in use.

"You can stop reading my thoughts now." her eyes were pleading, it was humiliating having her face turning all shades of pink and red.

Shaking his head slightly he drew her close, planting kisses along her neck, all the way up to her chin and down to her collar bone again. Botan just moaned in delight at his pleasing attention to her soft and sensitive skin. She kept her head arched back, silently begging for him to continue.

With a sly smirk he kissed along her collar bone until he reached the junction between her neck and shoulder. Having reached his desired destination he opened his mouth wide, revealing fangs hungry for the woman's blood. Botan gasped as he plunged the incisors into her delicate skin. His teeth sank deep into her flesh and caused her body to reflexively arch against him...this action he particularly enjoyed.

Onna you're going to drive me insane before the night is spent! he mentally groaned in ecstasy, a low growl emanated from deep within his throat.

It was Botan's turn to smirk. She knew what was happening. It wasn't as if she'd just become a ferry girl yesterday. She'd spent enough time traveling across the three worlds, working with Ayame doing all sorts of research for Koenma, that she knew demons claimed their mates by giving them permanent bite marks between their neck and shoulder. The wound would scare, representing an eternal bond between them. She suddenly found herself desperate to strengthen that bond, to lay claim to Hiei as he had done to her, proving to everyone that he was her lifelong mate.

Crimson eyes opened wide when she mimicked his previous actions of kissing up and down his neck only to stop at the juncture between his neck and shoulder. Her teeth were nowhere near as sharp as his fangs yet they did manage to penetrate his skin, leaving small yet visible puncture wounds in the form of a half circle.

"Botan..." he gasped, pride swelling within his pounding heart.

"Hiei," she smiled lovingly, giving him a bite on the ear before sliding beneath him, "I love you, stubborn youkai."

Smirking down at her mischievously he prepared to join with his new and only lover, "Hn, fine then baka onna, I love you too."

He took her swiftly, ravishing her body with his. The snow continued to fall just outside her glass balcony doors while the little fire blazed behind them. The cheerful, compassionate ferry girl and the distant, mysterious Forbidden Child. Neither lover knew what tomorrow would bring. Only that it would find them there the next morning--warm and happy--lying within each others' arms.

The End


Hope you enjoyed the story. Please take a minute to review, no flames. I will post chapter one of my first multi-chapter YYH fic soon. "Dark & Light: Her Night, His Day". Thanks for reading, later!