A Moment of Weakness

By JD Fielding

A/N: This story takes place just before and after the Dark Tournament Finals and features both a Youko/Botan coupling and a Shuichi/Botan pairing as well. This is a gift to my beloved Vix, who all you K and B lovers know as Volpone.

Chapter 1–Feelings

She never imagined losing a friend would feel so bad.

Botan stood in front of the large window adorning the side wall of the hotel room she shared with Shizuru, Keiko and Yukina. She watched idly as the sun began to set in the western sky, the light casting a eerie red glow upon the expanse of ocean that surrounded Hanging Neck Island, home of the Dark Tournament. A tournament her friends had been forced to join. The strong man, Toguro, who Botan had thought was vanquished was quite alive and willing to slaughter Yusuke, his loved ones and his friends unless the detective formed a team and competed in the tournament, a brutal and bloody contest that took place every fifty years.

Yusuke had caved in to Toguro's demand, bringing with him Kuwabara, Hiei, Kurama and one final contestant, the mysterious small being called the masked fighter. The five of them had fought well, overcoming the odds stacked against them by a corrupt group of judges that sought to usurp them at each and every turn, making it all the way to the finals where Toguro's team would await them. But there was one Urameshi team member who would not be taking the final journey.

Genkai had been in disguise for most of the tournament, revealing herself as the masked fighter after the battle with team Masho. She had given Yusuke her spirit orb, the essence of her power. In doing so, she had sealed her doom. For Toguro, sensing her weakness, confronted Genkai deep in the forest surrounding the arena, seeking to end her life. Though alone and weakened considerably, Genkai fought bravely, holding her own for a brief moment before Toguro murdered her. Right in front of Yusuke who had arrived too late to help.

Botan closed her eyes, imagining the anguish her friend must have gone through. Racked with grief and loss, the deity could only fathom how confused he must have been. She had left him alone, with no one to guide his way. Right when he needed her most.

Why? Why did Genkai have to die?

Botan didn't understand. She could have asked for help. She didn't need to die alone.

Tears began to form in the deity's eyes but she held them back. Keiko and the others would be back soon. She didn't want them to see her pain. They would ask questions. Questions, Botan couldn't bring herself to answer. That Genkai was gone. That she had been the one who had escorted Genkai to spirit world.

It was the first time the ferry girl had ever grieved for her charge. It was so much easier to not know who you were taking to Reikai. The lack of personal attachments eased the reality of who and what Botan was.


No matter how bubbly her facade, no matter how cheerful and carefree she acted, Botan was in essence a deliverer of death. She had been existing in a lie, taking her friends safety for granted, believing them to be invincible. The loss of the wizened psychic had shattered that falsehood, revealing the truth. That no one lives forever. Not even beings as strong and brave as Genkai. And I had to be the one to take her away.

Botan lowered her head in shame, the guilt and sorrow becoming almost too much to bear.

So much pain. How did humans live with it? How would her friends look at her once they learned the truth. That Genkai was no longer among them? Would they hate her? Would they even blame her for taking Genkai away? A part of Botan knew she should be happy for the psychic. Free of her human body, Genkai no longer suffered. Her spirit had returned to it's youthful appearance, just as all old souls did upon leaving their bodies. Genkai had told the ferry girl she had no regrets. She died on her own terms and in her own way. The psychic had even scolded Botan for feeling sorry for her before ordering her to return back to Ningenkai.

The deity complied with Genkai's request. But despite the old psychic's nonchalant attitude about her death, the sadness would not abate from Botan's heart. The sound of a door opening brought Botan's attention back to the present. She opened her eyes, her ears picking up the chattering sounds of Keiko, Shizuru and Yukina entering the room.

Okay, Botan. The deity told herself as she straightened her frame and took in a deep breath. Time to put on the game face. Letting her breath out quickly but quietly, she turned around, flashing the approaching women the cheerful smile she was famous for. "Hey guys, what's up?"

Keiko, Shizuru and Yukina plopped down upon the pair of couches in the center of the room, exhausted sighs escaping their lips before they answered.

"We've been walking around this stupid hotel for over an hour looking for the boys." Keiko answered with an irritated growl. "And still no sign of Yusuke or the others."

"I'm a little worried about Kazuma," Yukina piped in softly, a look of great concern upon her countenance. "He seemed most upset the last time I saw him."

"I wouldn't worry too much about him, Yukina," Shizuru offered as she reached inside the pocket of her suede coat. Withdrawing a pack of cigarettes, she flipped open the top a snatched out a cigarette, placing it between her lips. Tossing the pack on the table, she took out a lighter then lit up. "If I know my bro, he's off training hard for the finals tomorrow." She added between puffs.

"And the others?" Yukina asked. "Do you think they're training too?"

Shizuru nodded. "Wherever Yusuke is, Kuwabara can't be far behind. And Hiei and Kurama won't fall behind either. Trust me, their all out there, working hard so they can win and we can get the hell out of here."

At the mention of the spirit detectives, Botan bit her lip. She would have to see them soon. Besides Yusuke, she wasn't certain the others knew just what had happened. How would Kuwabara react? Would he yell at her? Hiei hardly said two words to her, his reaction would be nothing more than silence. And Kurama?

A wistful look took hold of her face. Despite the gravity of Genkai's death, Botan couldn't help but feel comforted by the idea of talking to Kurama. He was so different than anyone she had ever met. Besides being blessed with features that put other men to shame, he was also an intelligent person. And the more she grew to know him, the deeper her love grew.

Kurama was a true gentleman. Always so full of concern whenever she was in trouble or hurt. Botan knew he genuinely cared about people. And he was loyal to a fault. Never turning his back on a friend in need. He also loved his mother more than anything. She was his world and he had no qualms showing his feelings where she was concerned. Doing whatever it took to make sure she was safe. It was because of these traits, that Botan was enraptured. Still, she hid her feelings as best she could, though there were times she could have sworn there was a look of something akin to desire within the normally placid emerald pools of her friend's eyes. A feeling of shame rose within her heart, causing the deity to frown. She shouldn't be thinking about her own selfish wants. Not when so much depended on the detectives beating the Toguro team tomorrow.

But she couldn't help it. Ever since the beginning of the Dark Tournament, Botan and Kurama had grown closer. In between the fights, they had found time to sit and talk. Talk about all kinds of things. Things they liked and disliked. Their hopes and dreams. And for that Botan loved him. Not because he was simply the most beautiful man she had ever seen but because he treated her like a real person. Not some ditzy female from Reikai. How could her heart not be won by such a man as this?

And it was this love that had made watching Kurama's battles all the more agonizing. After being gravely injured during the battle against Team Masho, Botan wanted to run to his side to help him in the healing process. But the look in his eyes told her he wanted to do it on his own. That Kuwabara was more important to look after. Her heart nearly broke at his act of selflessness. Despite her concern over him, Botan let him be, attending to Kuwabara as best she could. Where was Kurama now? She wondered. Was he in pain again? Did he need help? Was he thinking about her as well?

"Hey Botan," Shizuru's voice broke through her thoughts, drawing the deity's attention over to her. "Are you daydreaming over there or what?"

Botan flinched. In her mental lapse, she had totally forgotten she wasn't the only one in the room. "Uh .. heh, heh. Sorry about that." She said sheepishly, hoping like hell no one caught on to what she might have been thinking about. "Were you trying to ask me something just now?"

Shizuru, however, was no dummy. Gifted with great insight in things both spiritual and behavioral, the tall brunette knew exactly what was going on in Botan's mind. She's thinking about Kurama again. Ever since the start of the tournament,Shizuru had observed the subtle body language both the ferry girl and the kitsune had engaged in. The way they stood close to each other, talked to each other. The signals were there. They just weren't acting on them. I may have to fix that. She thought with an inward smirk then asked her unheard question once more. "I was asking if you had seen any of the guys recently."

Botan shook her head slowly, a hint of sadness within her amethyst eyes. "No, I'm afraid I haven't." But I'm about to go find out where one of them is right now. Driving by a sudden urge to see Kurama, Botan walked over to the coat rack resting against the corner of the entrance hall of the room. Reaching out, the deity snatched a powder blue windbreaker and slid it on. She got halfway to the door when Shizuru called out,

"Where are you heading off to, Botan?"

The deity stopped. Her mind raced frantically for a viable excuse. After all, she didn't want them worrying about her. Especially since she was going off into the woods in search of Kurama. "I uh .. Just remembered there was something I had to discuss with Koenma. I'll be back in a few minutes." She said hurriedly, scooting out the door before anyone could ask another question.

"What's up with her?" Keiko asked, looking from the closed door to Shizuru.

Oh nothing. She commented silently. Just a girl in love going out to look for her would be boyfriend. Holding back a knowing smile, the older woman shrugged her shoulders and lit another cigarette.. "Beats me. Must have needed some fresh air."

Just as Shizuru suspected, Botan was indeed searching for Kurama. Knowing that the kitsune was nowhere inside the hotel, the deity headed outside. Pushing open the glass doors, Botan exited the building. Her gaze swept along the line of trees that met her view. I know you're out there somewhere Kurama. The question is where. Closing her eyes, Botan concentrated, searching for some sign of the half demon's whereabouts until at last, she found what she was looking for. Opening her eyes, Botan held out her right hand, an oar materializing instantly before her. Without hesitation, she hopped on, guiding the oar high into the sky before taking off in the direction her heart told her to go.


Just as the girls suspected, the detectives were indeed out and about, each seeking a solitary path in which to train one last time before the start of the finals tomorrow. Kurama was no exception.

He sat upon a log deep within the forests of the island, his handsome features a mask of contemplation. Intelligent emerald eyes were cast slightly downward, focused upon the dark orange liquid within the small, clear glass jar cradled within his hands. The fruit of the past life potion was a gift from Suzuka, a method for which Kurama could return to his former self, the fox thief, Youko. But did he really want to? True, his youkai form was more suited for battle, being larger and stronger than his boyish human frame. But was the possibility of never returning to the body of Shuichi Minamino worth the risk of taking the potion? Did the defeat of Karasu mean that much to him.

Yes. He answered without hesitation. Kurama despised Karasu unlike any other creature he had ever met. The crow demon had invaded his personal space, taking liberties that the kitsune would allow no man to take. He was not of that ilk, despite his pretty boy features and that Karasu had done so smacked of a nearly sexual violation that would not go unpunished. Still, beneath his anger, there was another emotion that lingered. Something that Kurama had rarely felt before.


He feared Karasu and the power he wielded. That the crow demon was dangerous was certain. That he held some sort of sadistic fascination for the kitsune was also a certainty. Added to his trepidation was the promise of death that Karasu represented. Kurama had no doubt that Karasu intended to kill him. And enjoy each and every cut, bruise and blow he inflicted.

A look of disgust passed across the kitsune's face. I'll be damned before I give that perverted bastard the satisfaction of killing me. He vowed inwardly. He had to live on. He had to return home to his mother who was waiting for him. The only way to achieve that was to take on Karasu not as a human but as a demon. As his counterpart, Youko.

A surge of determination overrode any doubts he held about the potion and it's possible side effects. Rising to his feet, Kurama took one last look at the jar then opened it, taking a quick sip before replacing the cap and setting it on the grass laden ground below. At first nothing happened and the kitsune wondered if the potion was defective. But then a sudden pain erupted from deep within his stomach, signaling the start of his change. Kurama clenched his jaw, biting back the scream of pain that rocketed up his throat. A wave of nausea swept over him, causing the kitsune to double over. A black mist began to surround the red head, shrouding him from view. A few seconds later the mist had taken over several hundred feet. Black energy bolts erupted within the mass, An elemental expression for the storm raging within the center of black mist.

Despite knowing he had to do this, Kurama fought the change, dropping to his knees as the pain intensified. Never before had the kitsune experienced something so agonizing. The first time he had transformed, it was relatively painless, the mist of the Idonn box regressing him back to his demon form. But this. This was something entirely new. At last the pain became too much and Kurama succumbed to the change.

A hoarse cry emerged from his throat as his bones began to lengthen. Muscles and tendons stretched beyond their breaking point, tearing than reforming, becoming denser, stronger, as Youko began to take over. Human ears receded, fox ears sprouting atop the kitsune's crown. Unruly red hair straightened, taking on a silver hue while Shuichi's calm and expressive emerald orbs were replaced by the cold and deadly gold ones of the youkai thief.

At last the mist dissipated, the energy bolts fading into nothingness, revealing the tall form of Youko who smirked triumphantly. Raising his forearms level with his hips, the fox spirit looked down, clenching then unclenching his clawed hands, his smirk widening as he felt the power surging within him. Free at last! Now I'm the one in control!

The battle with Ura Urashima and the subsequent use of the Idonn box, had awakened the sleeping fox spirit from within Shuichi's mind, allowing his demon self to experience the freedom of the outside world, brief though it was. Youko never expected such freedom would be granted to him again. And yet, Shuichi had done so, releasing his true form. The fox spirit's senses were heightened, his sensitive olfactory nerves picking up not only the comforting smells of dirt and plant life but also the scent of sea air that fluttered through the thick boughs of the trees surrounding him. Youko watched in mild contentment, a small smile tugging at his lips, as the wind picked up momentum, tearing at the large, green masses of leaves shrouding the branches above. His smile soon fell, his features taking on hardened look as he remembered exactly where he was and what he was doing. They were fighting in a tournament. Against people that would sooner kill them as look at them. Youko held no delusions as to why Shuichi had chosen to release him. He'll need my strength to win against Karasu tomorrow.

Youko's lip curled up in disgust. Karasu. He growled inwardly, remembering the encounter with the crow demon in the arena hallway earlier. The look of desire reflected within the perverted bastard's eyes was unmistakable. And the ease with which Karasu had rattled his human half's mind was troubling. Oh he knew the reason, well enough. Shuichi had never dealt with a sadist before. Had never had any man dare to make such advances towards him. And that had unnerved his human half. So much so that Shuichi now doubted in his abilities. Foolish boy. Youko growled, disappointed with Shuichi's handling of the situation.

Beside the sexual overtones of Karasu's behavior, the fox spirit recognized the crow demon's tactics for what they were: A mind game. And guessing by Shuichi's rather angry reaction, Karasu was winning this little game. Well not for long. Youko vowed. He would make Karasu pay for not only bothering Shuichi but also for the mere fact he loathed the crow demon every bit as much as his human counterpart did. A cold smile lit up his features, a nearly manic gleam shining within his golden orbs. Before the contest is over, Karasu will be little more than fertilizer for my plants. With that thought in mind, Youko began to train, unaware that fate was about to play a game of it's own with him.

In the form of one beautiful girl from Reikai.


Botan flew high above the tree tops, the wind pulling lazily at the strands of sky blue hair that waved behind her. She scanned the ground intently, hoping for some sign of Kurama's whereabouts. She had been tracking the kitsune's ki only moments ago, but for some reason unknown to her, his energy signal had vanished, making it impossible for her to track him. And it worried her. What if he was hurt? What if one of Toguro's men had decided to attack, attempting to eliminate the competition before the start of the finals tomorrow? What if she had to escort him to Reikai too?

No! The deity thought with a violent shake of her head. I won't allow that to happen. I don't have the strength to take another person I care about to spirit world! She had to find Kurama.


Spurned on by the thought of the kitsune in trouble, Botan angled her oar downward, making a zooming descent, landing on the ground with practiced ease and began to call out his name repeatedly. "Kurama?! Kurama are you here?! Please answer me!" Botan kept her eyes and ears alert, hoping to see or hear something, anything to indicate the kitsune was nearby. In her eagerness to find Kurama, she had forgotten to take into account the fact that the island was crawling with demons. Demons that did not hold the morals and ideals that Kurama or even Hiei did.

Shrouded in darkness, two sets of eyes watched with anticipation and hunger as the deity moved past them, deeper into the woodland.

"Kurama?! Kurama, please answer me!"

A twig snapped suddenly from somewhere behind Botan, causing her to whirl around in surprise and even fear. Her frightened eyes saw nothing, but a warning was going off from in the back of her mind. Someone or something was following her. And it wasn't friendly. I've got to find Kurama. Another sound was heard, causing the hairs to rise off the back of her neck.

It was the sound of heavy breathing.

Right behind her.

Botan whirled around, eyes widening at the sight that met her gaze. It was a demon. A rather tall and imposing demon with red hued skin and equally red eyes. "Well look what we have here," He growled in a husky tone as his eyes roamed slowly up and down the lithe frame of Botan. "Quite a tasty little strumpet you are. Lost your way have you?" He added, licking his lips for emphasis.

The intensity and meaning behind the demon's lustful tone and gaze was not lost upon Botan. She shivered in revulsion, appalled at the idea of the foul creature even touching her. His continuous gaze really began to unnerve her. It made her feel violated and dirty. Crossing her arms protectively against her breasts, the deity glared defiantly back at the demon. "I'm not a strumpet and I'm not lost. So if you know what's good for you, you'll leave me alone before Kurama shows up and kills you."

The demon let out a deep chuckle, unaffected by Botan's threat. "Hah, that's a good one girlie." He scoffed, his gaze lifting away from the deity to something just over her shoulder. "Wouldn't you say so, Moritai?"

Botan frowned. Who was he talking to? Her frown turned into a look of fear as a new voice met her ears. The ferry girl chanced a glance over her shoulder, dismay filling her as she spied another demon of equal size and form coming towards her.

"Indeed it is Lorodon." The second demon answered, watching with gleeful malice the way in which Botan began to shake. "That traitor to Makai is too weak to deal with full blooded demons such as ourselves. Isn't that right, dear brother."

Lorodon nodded before addressing Botan who had turned her attention back to him. "And since that worthless excuse for a demon is no where around, I say we have a little fun with her."

Botan paled. Oh God! She cried silently, a chill of complete dread and horror filling her heart. They're going to rape me! Her eyes darted about frantically, searching for a way to escape. In desperation, she materialized her oar and held it up all the while backing to the side and then against the trunk of a large maple tree. "Stay away from me!" She shouted at them , swinging the oar in wide arcs when the demons began to advance towards her.

The two creatures let out a barking laugh, highly amused by her pitiful attempts to defend herself. With one quick move, Lorodon's arm snaked out, his hand wrapping around the handle of the oar. With a powerful yank, the demon snatched the oar from Botan's hands, snapping it in two before tossing it haphazardly over his shoulder. "So much spirit for a ferry girl," Lorodon whispered, lust upon his face as he reached out and grabbed Botan roughly by the arms and pulled her to him. "I'm going to enjoy breaking you." He added. Opening his mouth, his tongue extended, licking along the deity's jaw then her neck.

Botan whimpered, feigning submission, allowing Lorodon to think he had won. Fooled by her behavior, the demon loosened his hold. Instantly, the deity's knee shot up, solidly connecting between Lorodon's legs. A smile of satisfaction crossed the ferry girl's face as the assaulting demon howled in pain and let her go. His hands gravitated quickly to his wounded manhood which he cupped before dropping like dead weight onto the grass laden ground, all the while groaning and writhing in absolute agony.

Moritai looked on in shock, too surprised at the change in events to notice Botan slipping away. Rushing to Lorodon's side, he crouched down and gingerly touched his shoulder. "Hey, you all rightr?"

Lorodon opened his eyes, his glare as heated and deadly as the tone of his voice as he hissed vehemently. "Go get that stupid bitch and bring her back here!"

Moritai nodded then took off after the deity, leaving Lorodon to deal with his pain.

Botan meanwhile, was running for her life. She didn't know where she was going or how she was going to escape, all she knew was that she had to get away. Her survival instinct kicked in, not allowing her to think. Had she been better trained, she would have realized to create another oar and fly away. But she was too scared to think. So she continued to crash through the bush, twigs and branches snapping in her wake, tearing at her clothing, splitting her skin open with each move that she made. She didn't care. She needed to get out of the woods as quickly as possible.

She burst through a batch of trees and into an small open field. She raced across the area, nearly reaching the next section of woods before her feet were suddenly yanked out from under her. She clawed at the ground, fighting desperately as something began to drag her backwards. But whatever was pulling her was too strong. Flipping onto her back, her frightened eyes widened in disgust. It was the other demon, Moritai. His mouth was extended, his now snakelike tongue wrapped tightly around the deity's ankle. He glared at her in open maliciousness, all the while dragging her closer to him. But Botan wasn't going to be taken so easily. Smiling back in equal malice, Botan raised her free foot and swung downward as hard as she could, the heel smashing into the tender flesh of Moritai's tongue.

The demon squealed in pain, releasing his hold and allowing Botan to rise to her feet. Without hesitation, Botan ran off once more only to suddenly scream out in pain when something struck her from behind.


Youko sat perched high within a giant maple tree, a look of surprise upon his features as his ears picked up the sound of his name traveling upon the night air. Someone was searching for him. Judging by the pitch, a female someone. Interesting. Youko thought, a smirk tugging at his lips. His ears twitching, the fox spirit focused, isolating the sound, opening his senses until he found the source. Though in his demon form, Kurama recognized the owner of the voice as belonging to the ferry girl, Botan. A friend to Shuichi. But what was she doing here?

"Botan." Youko whispered, pleased at how readily the name rolled off his tongue. Her name meant peony. A beautiful name for a beautiful woman. He thought, a wistful look taking hold of his features. Youko knew much about the blue haired beauty. After all, he was part of Shuichi, and it was Shuichi's memories that gave insight to just how deeply the red head cared for her.

His human side was enamored with her. So unlike any woman he had ever met. Carefree and happy, she complemented Shuichi's more serious nature quite nicely, driving out the loneliness that had ruled his heart for so long. Yet, the red head guarded his heart fiercely, not allowing anyone, not even those he cared about, to see how much he longed to love someone and to be loved in return. Youko feared this was partly his fault. After all, the fox spirit had never been in love before. His relationships with women revolved strictly around the act of sex itself. A mating instinct that was satisfied on a regular basis but without any sort of bond. Youko didn't like attachments. They only dragged him down.

And yet, Youko was curious to see Botan with his own eyes. To take in her scent as Shuichi had done many times. To touch her skin, like Shuichi wanted to but never did. Youko's smile became lecherous as he remembered the less than pure thoughts his human counterpart had imagined involving the deity. Hmm .. May just have to make those dreams a reality, eh Shuichi?

Rising to his feet, Youko leaped from tree bough to tree bough, his movements graceful and fluid until at last he reached the lowest bough and jumped off, landing silently upon the grass laden ground below. No sooner did he land than did a piercing scream fill the air, causing his ears to flatten back in pain.

What the hell?! Youko snarled inwardly. It was coming from the same direction as Botan's voice earlier. Was she in trouble? As if in answer, the kitsune felt a sharp drop in the ferry girl's ki. Genuine concern replaced Youko's usually cool and detached demeanor. For a brief second, he pondered whether or not such a reaction was due to his human side or if he too harbored emotions for Botan. He shook off such thoughts. If Botan was in trouble and he didn't help, Shuichi would never forgive him. Without further delay, Youko shot forward, his golden orbs reflecting the determination he felt.


Botan stumbled from the force of the blow to her back, a gasp escaping her throat as an intense pain flared along the entirety of her right side. She peered downward, her features tightening in abject horror. There, just above her right breast, the tip of something animate could be seen. Botan paled in both disgust and disbelief. It was the tip of Moritai's tongue. A slurping sound echoed along the night wind as the demon retracted the tongue. A gush of crimson fluid erupted out from the gaping hole. Botan looked on in shock. She fell to her knees, clasping at the wound which instantly stained the deity's delicate hand red. She tried to fight off the wave of nausea that swept over her but it was too strong. Her breathing labored, Botan teetered to the side, her lean frame crashing into the now blood slick ground, coating her clothing a deep shade of red. "Ku .. rama. Where ... are you ... " She whispered, wondering if she would ever see him again. Wondering if he would ever truly know what she felt for him. Her vision grew hazy, each beat of her heart growing slower and slower. Until at last darkness took her and she felt no more.

Moritai stalked slowly over to the deity as he retracted the last part of his tongue. A look of intense pleasure crossed his features as he tasted the blood. "Mmm .. So sweet. Lorodon is going to enjoy tearing you apart." He crouched down low, a leer upon his lips as he reached out, his fingers pressing against the wound, until the tips were were coated with blood. He retracted his fingers, stuffing them into his mouth and licking them clean. "Yes, sweet indeed." Moritai looked around, making sure his brother hadn't recovered before looking hungrily down at the prone form of Botan. Why should his brother get first dibs on her. After all, hadn't he been the one to catch her. Excited at the prospect of having his way with her first, Moritai rose to his feet and began to undo his pants.

Unbeknownst to the foul creature, Youko had made his way to the edge of the forest, his concerned features morphing instantly into rage. The scent of blood was in the air.

Botan's blood.

His eyes narrowed at the sight that met his gaze. There, near the opposing edge of the forest, stood the nearly naked form of a demon. Near his feet, the unmoving form of Botan could be seen. Youko had no doubt what the demon planned on doing. The very idea of the bastard even touching his deity made the fox spirit's blood boil. Youko frowned briefly. My deity? Where in the hell did that come from?

Had Shuichi's feelings suddenly risen to the surface or had the fox spirit become ensnared by the deity's beauty and personality as well? The kitsune shook off his thoughts. I don't have time for this. He growled. Reaching into the hair resting upon the back of his neck, Kurama withdrew a simple seed and fed it his power. A dark green plant sprouted from the seed, wrapping quickly around his right forearm before growing in size. A small head appeared, the plant like creature opening it's mouth to reveal a rather strange series of massive needle like thorns in the center. Youko brought his arm in front of him, allowing the creature to see what he saw and in a deep whisper he gave a command to attack.

Now completely naked, Moritai made a move to begin stripping the deity only to stop when a whizzing sound met his ears, he tried to turn around to see what it was but a sudden pain along the entirety of his spine prevented him from doing so. He tried to move his head, his hands and his legs but found himself unable to move. What the hell?

"Taking advantage of unconscious women I see," A voice, low and deadly, growled from somewhere behind him, causing Moritai's heart to beat frantically in fear. "That's not very sporting is it?"

Moritai frowned, his voice quavering as he asked, "What .. What did you do to me?"

A small intake of breath was heard before the voice answered. "You were attacked with a paralysis plant. There are currently twelve thorns imbedded along the nerve centers of your spine. That's why you can't move."

Moritai paled. A brief surge of anger filled him and he shouted out, "Who ... who are you?! Show yourself!"

A form appeared before him, causing the demon's eyes to nearly bulge out of their sockets. It was a kitsune demon. And sensing his enormous ki, a rather powerful one at that.

"Here I am." Youko replied coldly before his eyes drifted down to Botan. The coldness of his features softened to concern as he crouched down and quickly examined the deity's body.

Fear began to flow through Moritai as he watched the kitsune's behavior. At last he understood just who was in front of him. "She was looking .. For you?" He commented in disbelief. "But you can't be him. You can't be Kurama. He's a human now."

Youko tore his gaze away from Botan to the foul low life who had dared harm his friend. "I'm also a demon, fool!" He growled darkly. Rising to his feet, his left hand shot out and clutched the jaw of Moritai. "You dare touch someone I care about? You dare mock me while she's bleeding to death?!" He snarled in open rage. Jerking the demon's face towards Botan, Youko pointed a clawed finger down at the deity. "What the hell did you do to her?! Answer me!"

Moritai tried to answer but his jaw was still within Youko's grasp.

Realizing this, Youko let him go. "Answer me or I'll kill you where you stand!"

"It .. It wasn't my fault!" the red skinned demon replied in quick bursts. "It was all Lorodon's idea. He's the one who wanted her. I swear it."

Youko's features grew calm and detached. "And is he nearby?"


Youko turned away from the demon, his focus now upon Botan who still lay unconscious. Crouching down, the fox spirit gently slid his arms underneath her back then pulled her up. Cradling Botan against his chest, Youko rose then began to walk away.

"Wait! You aren't going to leave me like this are you?!"

Youko stopped. Turning slowly around, he gave Moritai an evil smile. "No. My plants will take care of you just fine."

Moritai frowned. Plants? What plants? His confusion gave way to fear as a series of plants hued a shade of red and adorned with several heads slithered around him. Their jaws opened, revealing two nasty rows of razor sharp teeth, a strange saliva dripping from the gaping maws. A hissing sound, like water burning in a frying pan, erupted when the saliva splashed onto the ground. "Oh shit." Moritai murmured.

The plants began to attack him, the acid from their jaws melting flesh as they tore into the demon, stripping him slowly down to the bone, blood and body parts flying in their wake.

Youko continued to smile, the screams of his victim ringing triumphantly in his ears long after he had disappeared into the woods. It wasn't until sometime later, that Youko relaxed his smile, a frown marring his handsome visage as looked down at the unconcious ferry girl cradled within his arms. He could sense her fading energy and it worried him.

She's lost a lot of blood. If he didn't heal her soon, she could possibly die. Looking for a suitable place in which to inspect the wound, he found it under the cover of a massive pine. The droopy boughs nearly touched the ground, offering adequate protection from the wind that started to swell around them. Using his ability to manipulate plants, Youko commanded the branches to part way, offering him space in which to enter. The kitsune stepped inside, making sure to hold Botan protectively against him. The branches fell back down the moment he was clear, cutting off a rather fierce wind that had erupted only seconds before. Youko kneeled down upon the softened dirt and loosened his hold, placing Botan gently down onto the ground. He studied her for a few moments, taking in at last the features of the deity. She was every bit as beautiful as his human counterpart had thought her to be. His gaze traveled slowly away from her face to her nubile body. Yes, quite beautiful indeed. A sense of shame filled him and Youko shook his head. He shouldn't be thinking about such things right now. Botan was Shuichi's friend. She needed help. And he was going to do whatever it took to make her better.

Youko studied her injuries, noting with some relief that most of the scrapes were minor. But the wound to her chest was not. He gave a hard look at the now bloodied clothing, trying to find the wound. Unable to see the severity of the injury, he decided to remove her jacket and then her green and blue sweatshirt. I only hope she doesn't wake up while I'm doing this. He thought. The last thing he needed was for the ferry girl to think he was trying to take advantage of her. Slowly and with great care, Youko removed each item of clothing, a look of relief flashing across his features.

The wound, though wide, had lessened in it's blood flow. This was good news. The blood smeared across her skin however, was not. He wanted to clean her up but not until her wound was healed. Youko leaned down for a closer look, his nose crinkling when he picked up the scent of something strange coming from the wound. His brow furrowed as he realized what it was. She's been poisoned. He needed to remove the foul substance before it spread. Drawing back, he fought against the surge of desire that flooded his veins to reach out and touch her exposed skin.

Reaching up, Youko quickly removed a seed from his hair and gave it life. A plant with oval shaped leaves sprouted . Youko plucked the leaves and stuffed them into his mouth. He chewed quickly then removed the mashed plants. With a gentle motion, Youko placed the makeshift salve onto the wound then pressed his hand down. A flash of light erupted underneath, causing the leaves to react, leeching the poison out of Botan system. Color began to return to the deity's face, her breathing returned to normal. Satisfied the leaves had done their job, Youko removed the salve then continued to heal the wound. Muscle mended, skin rebuilt itself, until at last Botan was completely healed.

Youko sat back on his haunches, watching with satisfaction as the deity's heart rate grew steady and her appearance grew more healthy. She shivered slightly and the kitsune frowned in realization. He had left her exposed to the elements. But he couldn't very well put her ruined clothing back on her. Thinking quickly, he fed the medicinal plant more energy, taking off all the leaves produced and using his plant manipulation formed a tightly knit blanket of leaves. The fox spirit covered the deity and tucked it around her. His eyes spied a few strands of damp hair plastered against the deity's cheek and in a reflexive motion, reached out and brushed the strands away.

A look of surprise flittered across his face when he felt Botan's hand suddenly upon his own.. "Ku ..rama." She whispered in a dreamlike voice. "Don't .. Leave me .. ." Her voice trailed off, growing silent as she drifted back to sleep. Though she lay sleeping, the tone in her voice was not lost on Youko. The love he could hear within her voice was so pure, so true, that the kitsune's heart jumped. He dared not move, afraid he might wake her. After several pain staking minutes, Youko slowly and reluctantly pulled his hand away from Botan's, catching her arm then tucking it back under the organic blanket.

A confused look was upon his face as he studied the sleeping beauty before him. Did she really care that much for him? Or was it merely Shuichi she was fantasizing over. A tinge of jealously struck his heart but he quickly squashed it. How in the hell could he be jealous of himself? The idea itself was absurd. But still, Botan had yet to see his demon form. How would she take it? Would she run away? Would she embrace him? And dare I take the chance of losing her by revealing my true form?

As confused as he was over his emotions, Youko knew he couldn't keep her under the pine tree for long and yet he couldn't take her back to the hotel either. Not as long as he remained as Youko. And there was another matter to attend to. Someone else tried to kill Botan. A demon called Lorodon. Angered at the thought of what the two demons had planned to do to the deity, Youko's ire rose. I'll make him pay for even thinking of touching her.

Rising to his feet, Youko withdrew a few more seeds and quickly buried them in a circle around the outside of the pine. Stepping beyond the circle, the kitsune rose his arm and fed the seeds his energy. A series of man eating plants erupted from the ground, forming a protective cocoon around the entirety of the tree. He commanded the plants to attack anyone other than him who tried to get inside and to leave the ferry girl unharmed before backing slowly away. "I'll be back in a moment, Botan." Then maybe I can explain who and what I really am. He added silently before turning around and heading off in search of Lorodon.

Okay, I know this is a weird start but I did promise to begin this story for Vix and so I shall. Now for those of you wondering about After the Fall, don't worry. I'm working on that next. But it will take awhile since I've been so sick recently. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this beginning. We'll see how far I take this. Review if you feel up to it. Reviews would be nice. And the rating will go up next chapter as I attempt to write something rather naughty for a change.