Title: A Healer's Kiss

Author: Reiko

Summary: Botan had no choice but to run away to save her and her unborn child's life. On the way to her new life, she stumbled upon Hiei who didn't really care whether she lives or dies. All alone and scared, she asked for his help. In exchange, she gave him an offer he couldn't refuse.

A/N: Tada! A Hiei/Botan fic for you H/B lovers out there! I swear, this couple rocks! I read one fiction and I totally got hooked. Now, this is my first attempt in writing a multi-chapter HB fic so please be kind… be rest assured though that I poured my best into this ;

Here's the first installment! I hope you like it!

Hiei: Baka! You forgot the disclaimers!

Reiko: Oh… ehehe… I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho or any of the characters here… don't know if I'm going to make OCs though…

A Healer's Kiss

Prologue – One Sleepless Night


She shivered as another loud clap of thunder echoed around the hollow cave. She hugged herself, feeling cold, the wet fabric of her pink kimono clinging onto her bake skin. Unconsciously, her teeth chattered as the terrible chill gnawed on her skin. Just then, a reassuring arm draped itself around her shoulders making her shiver again.

"Don't be afraid, Botan."

The gentle voice made her look up only to see tired, but warm, chocolate brown eyes staring at her. She shook her head.

"Iie," she whispered, her pink eyes already adjusting in the dark. "I'm okay. Just a little cold." For an added effect, she forced out another one of her cheerful smiles.

Despite the situation, the young man beside her chuckled.

"Liar," he said. Then he sighed, his head tilting from left to right as he scanned the area. "I guess we have to stay inside this cave for a while. From the looks of it, it'll be a very heavy downpour."

"Yeah," agreed Botan, looking around the gloomy cave as well. She just knew how terrible stormy weathers were in the Makai. Tropical rainstorms in Ningenkai were nothing compared to what the demon world sometimes experience. "Do you think the others are okay?" she asked.

As if on cue, his thoughts wandered to his friends. After that very long and tiring goose chase to capture some stupid but powerful youkai, the Rei Kai Tanties got separated. Kurama fell into a portal leading to God knows where while Hiei and Kuwabara got blasted off course when a sudden blast of youkai energy erupted in front of them while they were running. Due to the thick smoke and the heavy rain, he lost track of his two remaining friends only to leave him with Botan, who he was able to catch on time when a lightning struck her oar.

He shrugged. "They can take care of themselves," he replied surely. Suddenly he found himself snickering, the thought of Hiei and Kuwabara stuck together in some other cave or something, taking refuge, floated inside his head. "They are probably trying to kill each other as we speak," he thought with raw amusement.

"Oh dear, I wonder what's going on with Hiei and Kuwabara," she said worriedly.

"Nah, Hiei won't kill him," he said, shaking his head. "And I doubt KuwaBAKA would do something stupid to trigger Hiei's hatred."

"Just as long as he didn't mention Yukina's name, I think everything will be just fine," she seconded.

Then silence.

She was about to say something when another loud clap of thunder came once again. She nearly jumped with fright. Without thinking, she moved closer to the warm and strong body sitting beside her for security.

He laughed softly as he felt her almost snuggling against him. After a moment, he spoke, his face turning serious. "I'm sorry for dragging you into this, Botan. I know you're uncomfortable. You must be wishing for your warm, soft bed because I am now. Stupid Koenma!"

His voice was unusually soft.

She looked up and was surprised to see that he was staring at her in a way that she couldn't exactly explain. "No," she whispered. "It was Koenma-sama's doing. I'm going to beat the crap out of him if we get out of here alive."

The comment failed to make him smile.

Botan shivered again but this time not because of the cold. She was sitting too close to him, their bodies only inches apart. She stared at him, his brown eyes fascinating her. Tried as she might, she couldn't tear her eyes away from the brown pools that were making her warm.

"Are you cold?" He tightened his arms about her, bringing her closer to him till her face rested against his lean chest. Her eyes widened slightly when she felt his hands stroking her arm in an attempt to make her feel warm and comfy.

"No," she almost squeaked.

"Are you afraid, Botan?"

Unwillingly, she brought her eyes to his. He was now looking at her intensely and she could feel the rapid rising and falling of his chest against her breasts. She could feel him hyperventilating even with the thick obi around her waist. At that moment, she knew what to expect from this madness, she knew what he wanted and she could've stopped him. But no, instead blood rose up to her cheeks, her mind fully aware that they were all alone. She swallowed hard, her heart hammering loudly against her chest.

She licked her lips. "No." Much to her surprise, her voice was husky.

His face inched closer to hers as if it was the normal thing to do. "Don't be afraid, Botan," he said, his voice dropping. He knew it was not right but it was too late. He was not thinking anymore. The lovely tints on her pale face threw whatever's left of his already thinning common sense out the window. "I'll protect you."

And he kissed her.

Maybe it was the only good thing to do at that time or maybe it was the comfortable but seething warmth his body gave hers making her melt. It could be how his lips had felt against hers for they were surprisingly soft and gentle that Botan couldn't bring herself to push him away. It could be other things—but-- Against her will, she responded willingly, the heavy storm outside intensifying the on going madness that befell them. She felt him pulling her closer, crushing her lips and taking whatever she could offer him hungrily.

She didn't know what happened next. All she knew was that his shirt came off, then her obi loosening under his fingers, her kimono slipping off from her shoulders… They kissed again… then a bit more…

And that simple kiss started it all…

She gave him her everything…


She gasped, her eyes snapping open.

Sweat trickled down her face as she desperately fought the image out of her head. When her eyes landed on the familiar night table beside her bed, she sighed with relief. Lips quivering, her hands automatically flying to her chest, she took several deep breaths to calm the loud thudding of her heart against her chest.

It was only a dream, the same familiar dream.

Groggily, she sat up, her hands settling themselves up to her face, all too surprised to feel it sweaty. She brought her eyes back to her night table to check the digital clock that Kurama gave her as a Christmas present. She groaned. It was 3'o clock in the morning, Ningenkai time. Suddenly, the desire to sleep again eluded her at the thought of having that dream again.

She was about to lie down again when she felt an almost painful churn inside her stomach. She groaned. It was a sign that throwing out the contents of her already empty stomach was needed. She wondered what was wrong with her. She had been vomiting for the past couple of weeks. Shrugging her thick covers aside, she decided to get out of bed and get herself some water instead, thinking that it would help. She donned on her robe and made for the door. Stepping outside, leaving it slightly ajar, she padded her way silently in the long, dimly lit hall towards the palace's small kitchen. This was the residential area in the Rei Kai palace where Koenma and his private staff were housed in lavish comfort and luxury. Rubbing the sleep off from her eyes, she turned right and dragged her feet towards the door situated beside the enormous entranceway to the dining hall.

"Can't sleep either?"

Botan nearly jumped upon hearing soft voice beside her. She turned to her right only to see Koenma, in his teenage form, dressed in his pajamas, without the pacifier stuck in his mouth for once, looking at her. She smothered a giggle when she noticed the Rei Kai prince looking disgruntled. His hair was sticking out on all ends and she could see, even with the faint lighting of the hall, that he had little stubbles on his chin. He was standing there, scratching the back of his head in the most unfashionable manner, his eyes a little dazed. The image he projected was nothing like the Rei Kai Prince inside his Royal Office that she was so used to seeing. This particular night, he looked like a— well, a normal, sleepy, being.

She shook her head. "No," she said as Koenma opened the door and motioned for her to go inside first. "I just woke up. Had a bad dream" She mentally frowned. Was dreaming about the affair that she had with him considered a bad dream? They both wanted it, right? But then, afterwards--

"Oh," Koenma murmured, interrupting her thoughts. He followed next, scratching his head again. They settled themselves on the kitchen stools just facing the small wooden table, both looking sleepy. "Same dream?" he asked although he didn't have any clue as to what the dream was. He noticed that Botan began acting weird after she was chosen as one of the three Healers in Rei Kai.

Botan promptly propped her chin against her right hand. At the mention of the word dream, her features darkened. "Yes," she replied.

Koenma looked at her, waiting for her to continue. When nothing came out of her lips, the young man let out a sigh. "What's wrong, Botan?" he asked softly.

"Nothing's wrong," she answered in a defensive tone.

Koenma shook his head and stared at her. He noticed her frowning as his golden eyes settled on her pink ones. When she abruptly turned away, he knew something was wrong. His instincts told him so. That nagging feeling never did leave him ever since she sent her out with Yusuke and the rest of the Tanteis on a mission four months ago. He couldn't help but notice the sudden changes in Botan's behavior when they got back. Her head was always in the clouds and she would always look dazed, oftentimes confused. Sure, she was still the noisy and cheerful ferry girl he had hired before but most of the time, she would have that glazed and blank look in her eyes as if she was lost in a dream or something. Then she would be jumpy and irritable at the slight mention of Yusuke's name. He noticed the amounting excuses Botan would often give him not to deliver messages or accompany the Tanteis on missions. Another thing that worried him was after Botan, along with Ayame and Miki, was chosen and was given the Mark, she never stopped feeling sick. She would often complain of dizziness then throwing up later. Plus the recurring dreams… To be honest, Koenma believed that the imprinting of the Mark was not the sole reason for her erratic behavior. Ayame and Miki sure had a share of this unpredictable effects but they did not last that long. He had this nagging feeling that it had something to with that mission… with Yusuke… Did something happen in the cave and---

His eyes widened as a "thought" suddenly wheezed inside his mind. Yusuke, Botan, cave, alone, rain…"Masaka," he thought, mentally shaking his head. No, Botan could never do something like that, he said to himself. She's a sensible girl and she knew the risks—

"Yeah, she's a sensible girl but what about Yusuke?" his insides argued. With that realization, he gulped and turned to Botan. He decided to rephrase his question and get to the point. "What exactly did happen between you and Yusuke?"

At the mention of his name, Botan's eyes widened in surprise and shock. She hadn't expected that question from him lest for him to mention his name out of nowhere. But before she could gather her wits together, it was already too late. Koenma had a look on his face that encompasses both the words "stubborn and annoyingly persistent"

"Nothing happened, okay?" she replied testily. "I just had the same bad dream, that's all."

"Well, you've been having those dreams ever since you were chosen for the Mark," he retorted. When Botan gave him a stony look, he turned away and sighed. "I'm just worried, you know. The Halo's Mark is not something that you joke around with or ignore for that matter. I've heard that the bearer would undergo certain changes and having recurring dreams is certainly one of those changes."

"Well, if it's normal I don't see the big fuss about it," Botan said, her voice getting back to its normal, cheerful lilt. Actually, she felt a little guilty for snapping at Koenma a while ago, considering that her employer was concerned and all. Then she sighed. "Look, Koenma-sama, I just think it's a side-effect. I mean, Ayame and Miki—"

"But they didn't complain of vomiting and dizziness," pressed Koenma as he rubbed his forehead tiredly. This time, Botan decided to stand up and make them some sandwiches. He took a deep breath as his eyes followed Botan who was currently opening the fridge and rummaging the cabinets for her much needed ingredients. Now he was beginning to feel sorry for letting Botan be one of the Chosen ones for the Mark. "Did you ever regret it, Botan?" he found himself asking as Botan plopped herself down next to him, scattering the bread and the ingredients at the table.

"Regret what?" she asked as she took one loaf of bread. She frowned slightly while spreading mayonnaise on it.

"Having been chosen," said Koenma.

Botan looked at him and frowned as if he had just said that pink was an awful color. "Now, why would I regret it?" she replied, as she placed the lettuce leaf in her sandwich. "If there's something to feel about it, then it would be honor. I'm honored to protect you or Enma Daiou if the need calls for it," she added nonchalantly.

The Mark, as the High Officials would call it, was actually a term used for the Rei Kai Elite Healers which was usually composed of three chosen deities. The Mark, shaped like an angel's halo, gave the bearers the power to heal. There came a time when Koenma, in secret, explained to them how special that mark was. It was called the Healer's Kiss. It could heal almost anything, even someone who was seriously injured and at the brink of death and if the bearer was exceptionally strong, it could even bring someone back to life. And all it would take was a kiss… so she came to understood why Koenma told her how "special" that mark was. It was meant to be given only once… and that spot was reserved only for Enma Daiou and his son. Although a god in nature, there are just some things that could kill even a deity. Certainly, the youkai and the powerful demon in the Mekai, who tried once to take over Rei Kai, knew what to use if they suddenly decided to subdue them once again. That's the sole reason why the chosen Healers are often single. Although not forbidden, they were discouraged to fall in love with someone else. In this kind of game, where their loyalty lies would really make a big difference.

And with that, Botan decided to busy herself with the sandwich by putting the slice of ham in it. Koenma decided to stand up and get some milk from the fridge. It was already clear to him that Botan was intending to have a midnight snack.

"Well, I'm glad to hear that from you," said Koenma as he sat back on his stool. Botan smiled at him and handed him his sandwich. He accepted it without a word as she went back to make another one for herself. He took a bite as he poured their glasses with milk with his free hand. "Just promise me one thing though," he said after swallowing.

Botan turned to him, her eyebrows raised. "What?" she asked, taking a bite of her sandwich as well. For some reason, she was feeling ravenous now.

"First thing tomorrow morning go to the medic and please have yourself checked," he said.

She smiled at him. "Okay," she replied, taking the glass he offered her. She thought about arguing with Koenma but from the tone of his voice, she knew he was serious. Well, if that would make him stop his irritating questions, then so be it. Then after downing her milk, she gave him a toothy grin, changing the subject. "So what's bothering you, Koenma-sama?"

"What do you mean?" he asked, filling her glass once again.

"Well, it's not like you to get up in the middle of the night and raid the kitchen," she promptly replied. "Usually, you would end up dead tired after a long day's work in the office, you know. That often gave you a good night's sleep."

He cleared his throat. "Well, I just received news that my father suddenly wishes to see me," he answered truthfully. "And you know what that means, right? He wouldn't call on me unless something really important came up."

Botan nodded. "You're right," she said thoughtfully. It was very seldom for Enma Daiou to require his son's presence. "Do you think something's wrong?" she asked, a little worried.

He shook his head. "I don't know," he replied, taking a last bite of his sandwich. "I hope its just one of my father's crazy antics." He then took his own glass and drained its contents. Placing it on the table, he stood up, stretching and yawning.

"Well, that's it for me. I'm already feeling sleepy." He looked at her who was currently making her second sandwich. "How about you, Botan?" he asked.

She looked up. "Nah, I'm still hungry. I'll stay here and clean up, you go right ahead," she replied.

"Suit yourself," Koenma shrugged and was about to walk his way towards the door when suddenly Botan called him. He stopped and turned to her questioningly. He frowned upon seeing the mischievous glint on her eyes. "Yes, Botan?"

"Don't tell me that Enma Daiou's pestering you again to get married," she said, giggling. With that, Koenma took a double take, his eyes widening. Botan found herself laughing. She had hit a delicate nerve. Grinning, she looked at his already blushing face. "Am I right or am I right?" she asked in a teasing tone.

"That is not your concern, Botan," Koenma huffed, placing his hands on hips.

"Ooh, touché," said Botan, forcing herself to stop laughing. "So tell me," she began as she propped her elbows on the table. She rested her chin against her hands, warming up to her subject. "Have you chosen someone already?"

Koenma's face reddened. "I— I— no, I simply refuse to answer that question," he declared, frowning.

"Hmm, so why are you blushing?" she asked knowingly. When Koenma looked away from her, she giggled. "Oh come on, Koenma-sama, there's no need for you to hide it from me. You'd be stupid to think that I don't notice anything lately."

He faltered. Was he that obvious? "No— notice what?" he stuttered.

"Well, for once, I've noticed that you rarely change into your toddler form," she said, looking up thoughtfully. "In fact, you don't change into your chibi form anymore!" She exclaimed. "Secondly, you don't have that ridiculous pacifier stuck in your mouth anymore and—"

"I found some other way of storing my powers, thank you," interrupted Koenma. Then he frowned at her. "So you think it was ridiculous?" he asked sharply.

"Well, it's not everyday you see a grown and good-looking young man sucking a pacifier, right?" she said wrinkling her nose. There, she finally got to tell him what she thought about that pacifier thing that bothered her the first time she saw him.

"But you see me everyday," Koenma cried indignantly. If she thought it looked ridiculous then what could--- with that, he mumbled something incoherent as the object of his affections suddenly popped inside his head.

Botan waited for the right timing. Then seeing Koenma all silent, too preoccupied with his own thoughts, she decided to pounce. "Is it Ayame?"

At the mention of the name, Koenma's breath got caught in his throat. It was clear that he wasn't expecting that. He choked as he felt himself blushing five different shades of red. Seeing that was enough to confirm Botan's suspicions. She laughed and decided to concentrate on her sandwich.

By that time, Koenma suddenly found his voice. "You cunning, wretched, little—"

She turned to him innocently. "Come on, Koenma-sama," she lamented, rolling her eyes. She momentarily took a bite of her food. "Cursing me won't help, you know." She swallowed. "So, have you told her already?"

He shook his head. "Good night, Botan," he said with forced patience. He turned around and made for the door, leaving Botan chuckling behind him. Against his will, a soft smile grazed his lips. Now that she knew, it was somewhat like a relief, like a heavy burden was lifted off from his shoulders. And he couldn't help but feel glad that it was Botan who knew since he trusted her. He placed his hand on the door knob and was about to turn it when he turned to her once again. "Don't tell her just yet, okay? I have to do this on my own."

She raised her right hand. "You have my word, Koenma-sama," she said in a mocking fashion. She smiled brightly at him and couldn't help but feel happy for his employer. Well, honestly there was nothing to worry about. She knew Ayame was feeling the same way. It would undoubtedly be a happy ending for the two them. "What about my happy ending?" her insides couldn't help but ask.

"Whatever," replied Koenma as he rolled his eyes. Wishing Botan another good night, he stepped out of the kitchen, leaving her alone to enjoy her third sandwich.

"You called for me, father?"

Enma Daiou merely grunted as his eyes scanned the paperwork one of his onnis gave him for inspection. Koenma took a deep breath as he stood before the huge built of his father who was currently sitting on his throne with an indifferent look on his face. He licked his lips and fought the urge to yawn. Sure, he found some sleep after that midnight snack that he had with Botan but it left him with a few hours of rest as well. After this meeting, he would go to his room for a quick nap, he finally decided. He shoved his hands inside his pockets and wondered if his father even knew that he was already there. He was about to call his attentions again, when Enma Daiou finally closed the folder and placed it on his lap. He swallowed as his father's hard stare landed on him.

"I'll make this short and direct, boy," his father finally began. Koenma tried his best not to cower away in fright. Sure, it was his father's normal speaking tone but from where and what he was, it was a booming and angry sound to his ears. Ignoring the wince his son displayed, the ruler of Rei Kai cleared his throat. "What made you think that you could hide something of importance to me?"

Koenma's jaw dropped. "Wha— what do you mean, father?" he stuttered, clearly confused.

Botan blinked as the news slowly donned on her, her mind finally digesting the new piece of information the medic told her a while ago.

She was now sitting on her bed, inside her room, her hands on her lap. She knew she was trembling but she couldn't help it. She had just walked out of the infirmary and it took all of her willpower to make it to her room without fainting or feeling ill.

She couldn't believe it.

She was pregnant with Yusuke's child.

The thought brought unexpected tears in her eyes as her lips began to quiver. Her right hand shot up to cover her mouth while her left hand instinctively went to her stomach. Naturally, the first question in a situation like this popped inside her head.


Then she remembered the incident in the cave four months ago. She closed her eyes as another set of fresh tears spilled from them. It only happened once and how could she even be— she's a deity, for crying out loud! She was practically dead and— then she remembered the medic's explanation about her condition.

"Remember, Botan, being a deity gives you something that no normal dead human being has. You may be dead but you have a living body and as far as that body is functioning, it will take its natural course of action as would a living woman's body would do…"

She shook her head as she brought her hands to cover her face. She couldn't say that she regretted it, actually, when she heard the results of her check-up, she felt happy at the thought of being a mother, at the thought carrying a child inside her belly. But then, that happiness was short-lived. Now she felt confused and most especially terrified. Never, in the course of history, did a deity get herself impregnated by a half-demon, a strong, class-S half-demon at that. Surely, this matter would cause an uproar in the Rei Kai. She sniffed. She knew she had to tell Yusuke but— she shook her head. No, it wouldn't be wise. After what happened, things were never the same again. It was like an invisible wall had been put between them that Botan couldn't stand being alone with him for a second. It was embarrassing and awkward and judging from Yusuke's silent behavior, she knew that the Tantei was quite relieved when she decided not to mention the sudden change in their relationship. She once had this faint idea that Yusuke merely treated that incident as a one-night stand and nothing more. Yes, the thought hurt but she couldn't blame anybody but herself. And then there's Keiko—

She cried again.

What was she supposed to do now?

She was so confused, terrified and scared. Actually, one emotion superseded another that she couldn't do anything but cry.

"I have to tell Koenma-sama," she thought after a moment, standing up and wiping her eyes dry. That seemed to be the only logical thing to do right now. There was no sense in crying at a time like this. She had to think of a way out of this. "Koenma-sama would know what to do," she said aloud. She silently opened her door and stepped out. She was determined to find Koenma and was about to make her way towards his office when she suddenly remembered that he was meeting with his father. Turning around, she decided to make her way towards Enma Daiou's chambers instead.

It seemed to take forever. She was walking aimlessly, her feet dragging her blindly. She met several ferry girls and onnis on the way but surprisingly, she couldn't see them. It was like she was in a limbo as she remained deaf and blind to the bustling activity around her. Then she blinked as common sense jolted her. She had already reached the big wooden doors that led to the Ruler's chambers. She decided to stand there and wait when suddenly she heard her name. She knew it was wrong but her curiosity winning, she looked around and finding no one, she pressed her ear against the door and listened.

"Wha- what do you mean, father?"

Enma Daiou looked unimpressed. "Don't tell me you don't know something, boy," he said, his voice rising.

Koenma shook his head vehemently while his brain furiously tried its best remembering what he did to anger his father. Finding nothing, he gulped and struggled to remain passive and calm. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, as he stood straighter. "Just tell me what's wrong and I'll fix it." His voice was impatient.

With that, his father shook his head. "You're ferry onna— what's her name again?" he stopped, frowning thoughtfully.

"Who? Ayame? Botan?" Koenma asked, getting rather nervous. Did his father find out his decision to ask for Ayame's hand? Well, surely it was allowed, right? Although Ayame was a ferry girl and not a member of royalty, surely she had already proven her loyalty and her worth of being the future queen of Rei Kai and— at that, Koenma racked his brain for some possible speech in her defense should his father question his decision.

"Yes, Botan, that ferry girl of yours," said Enma, interrupting his thoughts.

Koenma stopped upon hearing the name. "Oh," He sighed with relief. "So, what about Botan?" he asked.

"She's carrying your Tantei's child," his father replied simply.

Koenma's jaw dropped again then it closed then it dropped again. Enma studied his son's reaction and came to a sudden conclusion that Koenma was probably stating the truth when he told him that he had no idea about what was going on. He smirked. Really now, how could they even think that he wouldn't know? He was after all, the highest Ruler in this realm.

"Wha— but— how--" Koenma stuttered when he finally found his voice. Then he remembered his suspicions. So he was right all along! Something did happen with Botan and Yusuke. Crap! How could he have taken Botan's behavior lightly?

"It's not our business to know how or when," replied Enma. "Our only business is to make sure that she never bore the child."

The prince's eyes widened. "What are you saying?" he asked. Deep inside, he knew what his father was referring to but— he shook his head. It was a horrifying thought and Botan was actually not just some ferry girl, she was his friend, his best friend. He couldn't do that to his best friend! When his father gave him a knowing look, he shook his head as he slowly backed away. "No! I refuse! Father— maybe—"

"That child is a threat. If it lived, it would be a walking catastrophe," Enma Daiou said as a matter-of-factly. "In its vein will flow the blood of an S-class demon and the immortal blood of a deity, a being one step from being an angel. It's a mixture for disaster, Koenma. When it grows older, it will become more powerful, stronger that its father, so strong that nobody would be able to subdue it." Then he took a deep breath. "And that is what we have to prevent, do you understand?"

"But how could you even tell?" Koenma argued. "The child hasn't even been born yet and who knows, maybe it wouldn't even inherit Yusuke's power! Maybe we can—"

"I'm not taking any chances!"

Koenma licked his lips nervously as he hung his head, getting silent for a moment. He knew what his father was referring to. Wasn't it that he ordered him to kill Yusuke before when his demon blood got awakened? But then— they were able to find a way and Yusuke was not an evil person. Surely, something coming from him wouldn't turn out evil or wicked, right? He knew Yusuke! Apparently, the Rei Kai prince was busy contemplating about the baby that he failed to be shocked at Botan's sudden pregnancy.

"Do you understand me, Koenma?" his father said, shattering his thoughts. He looked up only to see the grimness in his father's eyes. "I will not tolerate disobedience again."

He didn't answer.

"I said do you understand me, Koenma?" Enma repeated, this time sternly.

As his only reply, Koenma shook his head and slowly backed away from his father. He had to talk to Botan first before taking the next course of action. There has got to be a way, he thought as he slowly made his way towards the door.

Surprisingly, Enma Daiou didn't stop the retreating form of his son in anger. Instead, the Ruler of the Rei Kai summoned one of his trusted guards to carry out a secret mission for him. After the sham his son created with Raizen's son years ago, disobeying and defying his orders, he didn't trust Koenma's judgment anymore. He finally came to a sudden conclusion that his son was weak.

His so-called friends were his weaknesses.

"It's not our business to know how or when. Our only business is to make sure that she never bore the child."

Botan froze at the words.

Was Enma Daiou implying-- she found herself swallowing hard as she found herself too shock to react. She was glued on the spot, his words floating inside her head.

"What are you standing there for, idiot? They're going to kill your unborn child!" her insides suddenly screamed.

She blinked, already panicking.

No, she couldn't let that happen!

Taking a step back, she turned around and quickly made her way towards her chamber. She had to get away from here! She had to get away from this place as soon as possible. With that, she ran, forcing herself not to cry. If they could do that to her baby and they could also do something to her! The thought hurt her. After those long centuries of loyal service, obeying without question— she couldn't help but feel betrayed. A tear escaped her eyes as she turned right at the corner. She was about to run again when she suddenly collided with Ayame. She stumbled backwards.

"Oh my goodness! Botan why are you running?" Ayame asked seeing the familiar pink and blue apparition before her.

Seeing a friendly and familiar face, Botan lost the fight and cried. Ayame, clearly agitated, stared at her at first. Then as if waking up from a trance, she took her friend with her and guided her silently towards her (Botan's) chambers (since it was the nearest). Once inside, she locked the door and helped her friend sit on her bed.

"Ayame, I'm sorry—I—" Botan started between sobs.

"Tell me what happened," Ayame coaxed gently.

She momentarily looked at the other woman, silently contemplating whether to trust her or not. But then, she had nobody now. Koenma was probably on his way here now to deliver the awful news to her and no doubt to take some action. Taking a deep breath, she told Ayame everything. From what happened with Yusuke to the news of her pregnancy. Then she told what she overheard from Enma Daiou's chambers and her plans to run away. And all through-out the tale, Ayame was silent.

"I have to get away from here, Ayame," she said, feeling all drained and exhausted. "I cannot let them kill my child."

Ayame looked at her first then after a moment of silence, she nodded. "Come on, Botan. We have work to do," she said, pulling the surprised girl up from the bed. Ignoring Botan, Ayame walked to her closet, opening it. She began taking clothes from it and laying them on the bed. Getting the message, Botan nodded and proceeded taking her suitcase from under her bed.

"We have to hurry," said Ayame as Botan quickly stuffed all the clothes Ayame laid on the bed. "After all, nothing gets unnoticed under Enma Daiou's nose, you know."

Botan just nodded as she finished packing. After the task, she sat on her bed and heaved a deep sigh, looking around with a bitter sweet smile on her face. This will be the last time she would set foot in her room or in Rei Kai. It was a shame, actually, since she really put an effort decorating it. Then as if on cue, she jumped up and pulled something from her night tables drawers.

Smiling, she opened her suitcase once again and threw the bunch of photo albums inside it. She had a sudden sinking feeling that she wouldn't see her friends ever again. At that thought, a pang of pain sliced within her. The photo album would be her sole reminder of them. With those, she could always remember them. After all, the best time of her afterlife was spent with the gang. It would also serve as a way to let her baby know who his father was when he grew up.

"Here, Botan, you should take this."

Botan blinked from her reverie and turned to Ayame, who in turn, handed her a necklace with an almost crystal-like phial as its pendant. Frowning, she turned to Ayame. "What's this?"

"Well, considering you're a deity, they can find you by tracking your spirit energy," the other woman explained while slipping the pendant around her neck. "That necklace will conceal whatever spirit energy you have, making it impossible for them to find you."

"How do you use this?" Then Botan frowned. "How did you even get this?"

Ayame smiled at her. "It just came today. I was actually on my way to store it in the—"

"Ayame, are you crazy? You could get into trouble!" Botan cried incredulously. She knew it would be useful but she couldn't get Ayame into trouble. She had already helped her enough and besides, if she got caught, it would ruin her chances with Koenma. She was about to take the necklace off her neck, when Ayame gently placed her hand on top of hers, stopping her.

"You need it more than anybody else here, Botan," she said, shaking her head. "And besides, what good would it do if we let something as useful as this be stored inside some musty, old vault." Then she cleared her throat, purposely dropping the subject. "You have to focus all your energy into this phial, okay, like trapping it. It's easy. Do that the first moment you set foot in Ningenkai. Now, I will summon a portal for you and," she paused momentarily as she handed the other woman a small compact-like device, "use this communicator since it has a direct line only to me. Use it sparingly, okay? Only for emergencies."

With that, Botan's lips quivered. "Ayame, I don't know how—"

"Shh, Botan you don't have much time," she said, as she concentrated her energy in one corner. Not long after that, a green patch of light appeared against the wall. Ayame looked at her and gestured for her to go through.

Botan nodded. Suitcase in hand, she walked towards the portal, taking one last look around her room. Then turning to Ayame, she smiled. "Thank you, Ayame," she said, bowing low.

Ayame smiled and hugged her. "I know you would do the same for me, Botan," she murmured against the younger girl's blue hair. She was going to miss Botan and her silly laughter. Then letting go of her, she smiled, trying her best to conceal her tears. "Take care of yourself, you here?"

Botan nodded. Now she fully understood why Koenma chose Ayame to be his future queen. The woman worked wonders even under pressure. And again, Ayame had a kind and understanding heart. This woman was really suited for a prince, she thought. She smiled mentally, wishing them good luck, hoping for their happiness. Then taking a deep, brave breath, she stepped into the portal. She was on her way to a new life. What it was, she didn't know. But one thing's for sure: She had to be careful. She wouldn't be taking orders anymore. A small ripple of excitement rushed through her at that thought. She was definitely on her own now. But then, everything would be different. She would have a baby to take care of, to love… the thought brought her a strange comfort as she felt herself floating… floating…

All alone at last, Ayame knew she did the right thing.

To be continued…

A/N: So what do you think? Should I continue? Was it interesting? Just tell me, okay? I know it lacks the HB fluff that everybody's crazy about but as what the title says, it's only the prologue… got that? Hehehehe… Hiei would make his appearance on the first chapter…

Another thing, I'm sorry if some people find the grammar and sentence construction a little bit annoying. English is my second language and I'm still looking for a beta-reader. So if anybody's interested, just drop me a note.

I'm not even sure if I remembered it right. I really think Enma Daiou ordered to have Yusuke killed in the Sensui Arc but then again, I may be wrong. It was a long time ago… ;

I just made the Healer's Mark thing… ; it's essential for this fic… in the later chapters, that is…

Hiei: Baka, onna! Shut up! I want her now!

Reiko: ::sweatdrops:: Now where did you come from?

Hiei: You don't need to know! ::looks around for Botan:: where's the ferry onna?

Reiko: Whoa! Calm down boy! Is it mating season already? In the later chapters, you'll get to have her. And it will be legal… you can have s-- until you're blue in the face and—

Botan: Do you even have to say that? You suit each other well, you know?

Reiko and Hiei: ::looking at each other first:: Blech!

Reiko: How could you even say that? I mean, no offense, Hiei, you're cute and all and I find you hot but—

Botan: You're both hentai.

Hiei: ::smiles evilly:: you'll see how hentai I can get, onna…

Botan: Eep! ::runs away::

Reiko: ehehe… ; I'm crazy now… too much sugar… just please read and review… thanks!!!