Here it is, the final installment to AMW. I know it took a while, but I've been suffering from a condition that zaps most of my strength. Despite this, I wanted to have this completed for my beloved Vix's birthday. So sweetheart this is for you. Happy Birthday and I love you. With all my heart.

This is the edited version. If you're looking for the complete er, love scene, you'll find it at the other site just like I did for chapter two. Anyway, onto the final chapter, shall we?

Chapter 4– A New Beginning

Yusuke, Hiei and Kuwabara stood waiting outside the hotel, their features as sober as their moods. None of them had been able to sleep well. The anticipation of the upcoming finals drawing too heavily on their minds to allow for any rest. At least so they thought. There was still one member missing. Kurama was usually a man of punctuality, but so far had failed to show up at their meeting point and that bothered Yusuke and Kuwabara immensely. The two detectives had tried to glean information from Hiei but all the fire demon would say was that Kurama was going to be delayed.

"I wonder what's taking him so long?" Kuwabara murmured, his dark eyes focused on the lobby doors expectantly.

Yusuke's features matched those of his best friend, his chocolate orbs shifting away from the doors over to where Hiei stood. There was something decidedly odd about the fire youkai's behavior. His smirk seemed different. More amused than irritated. Just what the hell was going on anyway? "Hey, Hiei. I know you said Kurama wasn't coming down right away but it's been ten minutes already. If fox boy doesn't move his ass, we're going to be late for the finals."

Hiei merely closed his eyes and continued to smirk. "I'm well aware of that, detective."

"So, don't you think you should tell us what the hell is taking him so damn long to come out here?"

"It's not my place to tell you." Hiei replied, his lips twitching in amusement at the ticked off look Yusuke threw at him.

The dark haired boy growled in annoyance. "I don't care if it's personal or not, I need to know, Dammit!"

Hiei opened his mouth, about to reply, only to turn when he sensed and saw the kitsune approach their group. "About time, Kurama." The fire demon said in his usual gruff tone. "Did you say your goodbyes to her?"

Kuwabara and Yusuke looked at each other than back at the two demons in confusion.

"Her?" They both murmured at the same time.

A perverse smirk lit up Yusuke's face. "Oh? Did someone get laid last night?"

"Urameshi!" Kuwabara admonished, disgusted at his best friend.. "What the hell kind of question is that to ask him!"

The dark haired detective growled and turned to the taller man. "An honest one, you freaking doofus!"

"Doofus!" Kuwabara shot back. "Who the hell you calling a doofus, moron!"

"You, doofus!" Yusuke snapped.

The two humans began to banter back an forth, much to the amusement of Hiei who watched with a devilish gleam in his eye.

Kurama paid no attention to them, his eyes shifting away from the escalating verbal conflict back to the hotel. He tilted his head back, focusing on a window on the tenth floor where a pair of amethyst eyes looked down upon him.

The kitsune had woke up early from his slumber, a pressing need consuming his heart. He had to talk to Botan before he left. Because there was still no certainty on the outcome today. The demons they were facing were very powerful. Very dangerous. It was naive to think that no harm would come to them. In his mind, he hoped he could convince the deity to not watch the match. But his heart knew she would refuse. Still, he had to try. . He didn't want her to see what he had to do. What he would become when faced with life or death. How cruel his Youko side could really be.

Kurama dressed quickly, noting with mild amusement that Hiei was asleep on the floor, curled up like a little kid. The kitsune let him sleep, knowing full well, upon awaking he'd simply use his Jagan to find him. And explain in his own way for the delay that might incur their departure.

With purposeful steps, the tall red head made his way down the hall, coming to a stop outside the door where the deity was sharing a room with the other girls. He tapped softly, smiling when he felt his lover's ki approach. The door cracked open, her pretty features peeking around the side, lighting up as her gaze met his. She opened her mouth to speak when Kurama lifted his index finger to his lips, signaling her to be quiet. The deity nodded, slipping out into the hall.

He studied her, smiling weakly as he noticed she was already dressed. They talked in hushed tones, her smiling falling when he attempted to convince her to stay away. She told him no way. She was going, whether he liked it or not. He didn't press the point any further, merely pulled her to him and held her. Whispering that he loved her and always would. She replied the same and they stood for the longest time, wrapped up in each others arms, enjoying the simple contact before the kitsune leaned in an kissed her. It was long, lingering, loving and perfect. He broke it off several seconds later, panting lightly, smiling at the blush forming on Botan's cheeks. Reaching up cupped her chin, caressing her lips with his thumb before pulling slowly and reluctantly away.

Turning, he walked away, smiling when the deity called out to him. "I love you!"

"And I love you." He sang softly over his shoulder as he looked at her before continuing on and down into the lobby.

"Kurama?"

The kitsune blinked drawn away from his thoughts by the insistant tone in Hiei's voice. "What is it Hiei?" He asked, turning to the side to face his best friend.

The fire demon pointed to his right, an amused yet irritated look on his face which Kurama mimicked when he followed the fire demon's gesture.

Yusuke and Kuwabara were wrapped up in a dust ball, a violent swirl of biting, hitting and kicking. Unintelligible swear words spewing constantly from their mouths.

Kurama wanted to smack his forehead at their juvenile antics. He watched in exasperation for a few more seconds before his gaze traveled once more up to the window. Botan. He whispered silently, allowing his emotions to surface briefly on his face as he looked at her. He flashed her a tender smile then reluctantly turned his attention back on the antics of his two friends, a small sigh escaping his lips as he turned to Hiei and tossed his head to the side, gesturing him to follow. The two demons walked away from the scene, beginning to make their way towards the finals stadium. Getting a good fifty feet away from the hotel before the two human boys realized they no longer had an audience.

"Hey you guys, wait up, will ya!" Yusuke shouted as he raced to catch up with his companions, Kuwabara close behind.

High above, Botan watched her friends leave, disappearing into the woods as they headed off to the stadium. Possibly to die. The deity frowned. I shouldn't think like this. She scolded herself. The boys are strong. They'll win. They have to. They just have to. And what of Kurama. Even if he did survive, how did they go ahead with their relationship. Would they even be allowed one? The deity wanted to be with him. To love him and be loved in return. But was it even possible?

Kurama. She thought forlornly, already missing his touch. When he had spoke to her earlier, she had been annoyed yet touched at his insistence she stay away from the finals. Like hell she would. She wanted to see him in action. Wanted to cheer him on. Support him. Whatever he needed, she would willingly supply. Because she loved him so dearly. But her heart also know it could be the last time she would see him alive. If he died, it meant she would have to be the one to take him to Spirit world. And that thought chilled her too the bone. The gnawing fear that he could die made her want to cry. But I can't. I have to be strong. For him. And my friends.

"Botan, you okay?" Shizuru's concerned voice called out to her from behind.

The deity flinched, startled from her thoughts as she turned and gave her a smile. One that she used to hide the pain she felt. "Of course Shizuru, dear." She answered in her usual cheerful voice. "I'm always a-okay!" She added, humming a tune as she walked to then out the door of the hotel room.

The brown haired woman, watched her friend as she walked past, shaking her head as she lit up the cigarette in her mouth. You're certainly not a-okay, kiddo. She thought. Shizuru could sense the warring emotions of love and sadness within the deity. Though certain it had something to do with Kurama, she couldn't shake the feeling that more was involved than just the budding relationship between the kitsune and the ferry girl. I'll ask her about it later. She decided. Dragging in a puff from her cigarette, Shizuru moved to the window, idly watching the sun completely rise in the sky while she waited for the rest of the girls to finish getting dressed before heading out for the stadium.

XXXXXX

"So tell me Kurama," Yusuke began as the four spirit detectives stood outside the entrance door to the stadium, waiting for it to open. "Just who is this girl, you saw this morning? Is it someone we know of? A love struck groupie? Knowing your finicky tastes, she's got to really be something."

Inwardly, the kitsune sighed. For the entire walk to thier final destination, the younger boy kept sliding in the same question within their conversation. And each time, he deftly avoided the subject, switching topics with a slyness that would have impressed his demon side. But now, standing here, waiting to fight for their lives and all those they loved, Kurama decided to answer, albeit in his usual enigmatic manner. "You do know her in a way, Yusuke. As for her being something special, she is that indeed. I love her."

"Oh? You love her, huh?" Yusuke snickered and struck out a friendly elbow to his side. "I bet. So tell me, what's her name?"

"Honestly, detective, what does it matter who Kurama's seeing or not?" Hiei interjected from the kistune's left, highly annoyed at all the love talk. "I came here to fight, not stand around talking like a bunch of giggly school girls gossiping about their friends love lives."

The dark haired human turned to the fire demon, a smirk still on his face. "And how do you know what school girls talk about, Hiei, hmm?"

Hiei blink, his features becoming flustered. Truth be told, he would listen to conversations from time to time as he waited for Kurama to get out of school, snickering inwardly from most of the gossip revolving around his best friend. But damned if he was going to reveal that to this human boy in front of him. "I have ears, don't I?" He snapped. "I can't help what disgusting topics I pick up as I walk by, now can I?"

"Uh huh, sure." Yusuke retorted back, his voice and manners teasing as he added, "I think you're just jealous because we all have a girl and you don't."

Hiei curled up his lip. "I don't need anyone, especially some sniveling human girl that can't defend herself. If I ever decide to take up a mate, she'll be a demon and powerful at that. I don't like having to rescue people."

Yusuke and Kuwabara looked at each other for a few seconds before bursting with laughter. "Oh.. That's a good one, Hiei. You..Getting a girl... Whoo..."

The fire demon's eyebrow twitched. "Idiots." He murmured under his breath, but fought the impulse to take his katana and silence the two moronic humans forever. Instead he closed his eyes and crossed his arms in an attempt to brush them off.

Kurama held back a smile, studying the laughter induced tear streaked faces of his human friends and the pissed off one of Hiei. Just like old times. He thought chuckling to himself.

A loud creaking noise cut through the laughter, causing everyone to turn around. Light began to filter through as the doors opened, bathing them with it's intensity, fading as the entryway became viable for them to pass. Realizing the time had come, the four men grew serious, controlled and determined. They walked slowly inside, immediately greeted with a chorus of boos and taunts that echoed throughout the arena.

"Kill them! Kill the humans! Kill the traitors!"

"Lively crowd." Kurama commented dryly as his gaze swept around the crowd, hoping to catch some sign of the distinctive blue locks of Botan. She has to be here somewhere, but where?

"They'll be changing their tune when they see my new sword techniques!" Kuwabara boasted, puffing out his chest as he walked beside Yusuke. "It'll shut them right up!"

"More likely make them laugh." Hiei quipped, instantly earning him the street fighter's verbal wrath. "Clamp it, shorty! Nobody asked you!"

"Hn." Hiei sounded out, a smirk lighting up his face, looking up at the taller's man his voice taunting as he added, "Just stating the obvious."

"Hiei," Kurama said in a mild tone that held and undercurrent of warning. "Let's not fight each other. Our real enemies are in front of us."

Sure enough, standing on the opposite side of the ring, was Team Toguro.

Hostility was put to the side, reserving all their anger for the ones who had threatened them and all the people they loved.

A stare down began, the two sides glaring in equal hate and disdain for the other. Ki's flared, Yusuke's the most vibrant as his gaze met the man who had murdered his teacher. "Toguro." He murmured angrily.

Kurama meanwhile shifted his hate filled gaze from Karasu to the crowd at his right when a familiar ki entered his senses, his features softening for a brief second when he caught sight of Botan high in the stands. He allowed a smile, his sensitive hearing picking up her cheers along with the rest of their friends. His smile fell a second later when he saw Karasu step into the ring. Kuwabara volunteered to start off but the kitsune shook his head. "This one is mine to deal with, Kuwabara. Besides, we have a score to settle, he and I."

The tall man nodded. "What about that funky potion Suzuka gave you? Did you drink any of it?"

Kurama nodded. "I did. It should take effect soon." Without further words, the kitsune joined the crow demon up and onto the ring.

"Hmm..." Karasu said, his voice soft but full of malice. "Ready to die, beautiful?"

A blaze of controlled anger burned within the fox spirit's emerald eyes as the two circled each other, waiting for the signal to start from the female referee, Juri. "Not today, Karasu. And not by your hand. I have people to protect. And loved ones waiting for me. I will not let them down."

"Does that include that pretty little ferry girl you claimed last night?" Karasu countered, a look of delight and amusement brimming in his amethyst orbs as he studied the red head. "Quite a delicious morsel. I shall have fun devouring her once I finish with you here. Pity you have to go. Both of you together, my but how amusing that would be." He added, the sexual undertones in his voice unmistakable to the kitsune's ears.

"You will not touch her, you disgusting and pitiful excuse for a man." Kurama growled, his voice deepening to that of his youkai counterpart, though nothing else emerged. "I'll kill you first."

Karasu chuckled. "Such a threatening voice for a delicate boy. Then again, kind of sexy at the same time."

The fox spirit was becoming unnerved at his verbal advances. Fear and repulsion filled him but he forced it down. I don't have time for these emotions. I have to kill him. No matter what the cost.

Juri gave the signal to start.

Karasu slowly advanced towards Kurama who made no move, merely stood there, hand in the air and blew a series of rose petals into the air. The petals multiplied, swirling around him, offering him a bit of a defense as he thought of something else to do.

Up in the stands, Botan watched anxiously as the fight began. Her eyes were sore from crying earlier in the hall above. Shizuru had got her to talk about Genkai's death and it did feel good to tell someone else about why she was so depressed. But when she had also told Shizuru her fear of Kurama dying, the human woman seemed unsurprised. I can't believe she knew even before I did that Kurama loved me.

And now here I am, watching him fight. Oh Kurama, she pleaded silently, her troubled gaze following the battle below. Please make it. I don't want to take you to Spirit world. I won't.

The fight progressed quickly, Karasu deflecting anything Kurama had to offer then countering with a bomb that exploded with enough force to kill half of the people in the stands behind the red head and covering the entire bottom area in a dust cloud.

Botan stood up, fear filling her when she saw and felt no sign of her beloved. "Kurama!" She cried out only to gasp when a flash of familiar black lightning erupted within the cloud, a powerful ki flowing over her, letting her know the kitsune was more than fine. "Youko." She whispered in awe, settling back down, a gleeful look upon her face as the cloud cleared, revealing Kurama's demon form. Shuichi was strong, yes. But his youkai self was beyond powerful. In fact, his ki was by far the strongest she had sensed yet. Not even Toguro compared to it. That's it, Kurama. Show him what you can do.

"Hmm, interesting." Karasu commented, noting with mild amusement the new form of his obsession. "But you're still no match for me. Not really."

Youko's gaze remained fixed upon the crow demon, his features showing none of the disdain and anger laced within his voice. "You may have been able to beat Shuichi. But you willfail against me, Karasu. You are worthy enough to die by my hands. Especially after your disrespectful words about my ferry girl."

"Ah yes." Karasu sneered. "Botan, correct. I do remember it being you that was with her rather than your boyish human side. Makes sense that the real man took her first."

Youko's eyes narrowed. "Enough talking. Time to die, crow demon."

"Very funny." Karasu countered, lifting his hands, creating a series of bombs out of thin air. "Go ahead and try. If you dare."

The kitsune smirked. "As you wish." He replied, jumping and dodging gracefully each and every bomb that headed towards him until at last it became too many and he landed, surrounded. He turned his gaze to Karasu, shaking his head. "You should know better than to corner a fox, Karasu. We have a tendency to show our teeth."

Up in the stands, Botan watched in amazement as the ground burst from underneath Youko, plants sprouting, destroying the bombs in an instant then chasing after the evading Karasu, finally catching and squeezing the life out of him. Yes! She thought silently, hope filling her. He's going to win. Her hopes were dashed several seconds later when the plants all exploded and a blond Karasu emerged, breathing in a lot of air until he rose and then charged straight into the fox spirit. "No!" She screamed, watching in horror as a huge explosion went off, engulfing Kurama and sending the rest of the detectives spiraling backwards. "Don't you die, Kurama! You can't die on me!"

As if hearing her, the cloud of dust parted, the large debris of rock moving, a shaky but alive Kurama emerging from underneath it, albeit in his human form. The kitsune looked around in surprise, as if unsure for a moment as to where he was. His eyes cleared the second he noticed the new form of Karasu in front of him.

"Oh dear. Back to that form, eh. Pity. I was having fun with Youko. Oh well, I must say I do prefer your fiery hair and disposition." He said with a smirk, his mask no longer on his face. "I do hope your ready to meet your maker, boy. Because you're going to see him really soon."

Kurama glared, trying to draw on his spirit energy but to no avail. Frustrated at his lack of power and in need of buying time, the kitsune jump onto the ring, attacking aggressively with every martial art trick he knew. Managing to cut a bit of his hair and wound him with a death seed. Karasu however saw through his trick and removed the seed before it could take root. "Amusing. But all for naught I'm afraid."

"What?"

The crow demon smirked as a bomb emerged from the ground and clamped around the kistsune's left calf. Kurama looked down in fear as the bomb went off, ripping open the flesh and muscle, blood spurting out everywhere, knocking him to the ground. He struggled to rise, freezing when he saw all the other bombs around him.

"Hmm.. Quite a dilemma you're in, beautiful. You've fought well for a human, but in the end I have to kill you. Just like everything else I love. Though I'll make sure to leave that wonderful face of yours unharmed." He paused, raising his hand once again. "And now for a little fun."

Screams filled the air as Kurama's body was hit over and over again with the bombs. Blood covered him from head to toe, his clothing was in shreds, skin and muscle blown apart by the impact of each explosion.

Botan covered her ears and shook her head. No. This wasn't happening. Kurama was strong, he was going to win. He had to.

"I don't think he's going to make it." Shizuru commented with a sad shake of her head.

Botan's features grew angry. Lowering her hands from her ears, she turned towards the taller girl. "Don't you dare say that! Kurama will make it. He'll win, he has to!"

Keiko looked at the deity in shock but Shizuru gave her a knowing smile. Because you love him, Botan. She thought silently before returning her attention to the ring. I hope you're right.

Kurama was on his knees, his body failing him. Weak and bloodied, the life force fading from his body, the kitsune knew he didn't have much time left. I have to do something, but what. How can I stop him. How.. Realization came to him then. The wound from the death seed. Close to the crow demon's heart. A blood sucking plant would do the trick.

"Well, it's been fun, Kurama. And I do hate to say goodbye.. I'd much prefer having my way with you firstbut I admit the ferry girl will make a worth consolation prize, don't you agree?" He said, laughing as he slowly approached to finish off the kitsune's life.

Kurama had other ideas. "Like.. Hell you will. I'll kill you.. First." He said between labored breaths. He drew in the last of his ki. His life force flaring a soft shade of red and he slammed his palm down on the ring, roaring as he released his last attack. A plant sprang forward, moving too quickly for Karasu to dodge.

The crow demon watched in horror as the plant struck him in the chest, past his bone and straight to his heart, rapidly sucking out his blood. How.. How is this possible. Where.. Did he get this power?

Kurama watched as Karasu fell over, dead, the plant absorbing his energy and blood, turning into a beautiful plant right in front of his eyes. "That was for Botan and..my friends..you sadistic..bastard..." Consciousness left him and he crashed face first onto the ring, motionless.

Botan watched from high above, her heart pounding in fear as she felt his life force fading. No, no, no.. no! She screamed mentally, hoping and praying for him to get up. "Come on, Kurama. Get up. You can do it. Please. You have to get up. For me. For us. For everyone. Please.." She whispered, tears falling down her face when her lover remained still.

Then slowly and to her great relief, Kurama began to move, slowly rising to his feet.

"Yeah! He's alive!" Botan yelled in relief and joy. The fear leaving her as she watched him join his friends ringside. Though he lost on a technicality, Botan didn't care. So long as he was alive. Then there was hope.

The rest of the matches were stressful to watch and provided a small bit of destraction from her main concern, which was Kurama's bodily state. She could see his wounds all the way up in the stands. His ki was weak. His body torn and bruised. Though the bleeding had stopped, there was a lot of healing to be done before he was back to normal, and the deity planned on being the one to do it later. If their was a later. The rest of the team had to win. And win they did. When Toguro was finally defeated by Yusuke, she let out a whoop of triumph, joining in the celebration with her friends only to frown when the stadium began to shake. They proceeded to run for their lives, the boys helping them and they managed to escape just before the stadium exploded.

Everyone watched as the building collapsed. All thankful to have survived. In the morning, they would leave. Return to their everyday lives. But tonight they would rest and recover. And no one needed it more than Kurama. Botan stood beside the kitsune, her saddened gaze focused on the pitiful state of his body. The dried blood was unnerving enough, but the wounds she could see through the ripped fabric made her heart ache.

The red head sensed her looking at him and turned, adjusting the still weak Yusuke in his one arm, giving her a loving smile reserved only for her. As if to tell her he was all right.

No you're not. She wanted to tell him but kept quiet. There was time later to talk about things.

Without words, the two lovers turned and followed the rest of the crowd, heading back to the hotel for some much needed clean up and recovery.

XXXXX

Kurama sat in his blue boxers on the end of the bed, his eyes scrutinizing the healing wounds on his legs. The muscle had been reconnected and restored, the skin nearly back to it's normal tone. But it had taken up most of his remaining ki and his plants could only do so much in his current state. Hmm.. Perhaps I should have taken Yusuke's advice and went to visit the nurse aides here at the hotel. He thought as he rose and slid on a pair of black sweat pants. His eyes shifted to the open window, idly staring at the night sky. He could hardly believe what had happened. They had won. Free to go home. Back to his mother. For this he was thankful. But there was something else he looked forward to. A certain someone he wanted to get to know better. And to love.

A knock on the door broke him from his thoughts. He turned and began to move, a smile lighting up his face as he recognized the all too familiar ki. "Coming." He whispered softly as he made his way over, reaching out and gently opening the door to reveal the smiling form of Botan.

"Hey there, Kurama. I was just walking by and I.. " She started, her voice fading at the site of him half naked in front of her. She blushed, the sudden arousal she felt tempered when she studied the deep wounds and scrapes on his chest and arms. The deity bit her lip, a saddened look coming over her features as she whispered, "I wanted to help heal you. If you'll let me."

The kitsune was amused at first by her reaction to his state of dress then grew somber at her words. Of course. He thought. Botan was a healer as well. It only made sense for her to help him. Besides, it was an excuse to be close to her. Not that he needed one. He could sense and smell her desire for him beneath the more pressing concern she felt. For he felt the same towards her. Perhaps tonight, she'll even allow me to show her just how much I deeply love and want her. Excited by this prospect and in need of her help, he nodded, turning to the side to allow her entry into the room. "By all means, Botan. I welcome any assistance you can give me."

The ferry girl gave him a shy smile then walked inside, eyeing the softly lit room as she came to a stop by the bed, turning to face him as he closed the door and joined her. "So uh, you're sharing a room with Hiei, right?"

Kurama nodded, trying hard to not reach out and touch her. He wanted it to be right for her. It was her choice, not his to make. "Yes." He answered in a soft tone as he studied her. "But he told me he was going to stay in the trees tonight. Seems modern conveniences don't appeal to his drifter like tendencies."

Inwardly, Botan cheered. That means we have the room to ourselves! Only to frown at her thoughts. I shouldn't be thinking like this. Kurama's obviously in pain and in need of help and all I can think about is pouncing on him like an animal in heat. What the hell is wrong with me! She shook her head, trying to clear the images in her head from the other night. True, her first time with Youko had been enjoyable but her curiosity as how different Shuichi was from his youkai counterpart was becoming more and more of a distraction, especially with him so close to her and in such a state of dress.

Kurama caught her staring at him and held back a smile. He knew what she was thinking. Her eyes told him as much. But being the fox spirit that he was, he did enjoy teasing. Even when his human side had control. "Is something wrong, Botan?" He asked, moving slightly closer to her.

The ferry girl flinched, blushing as she spoke stammered. "Er..no.. nothing's wrong. What would make you think that, silly?"

A smile graced the red head's lips as he cocked his head to the side to study her. "I don't know. You seem awfully flustered to me."

"I'm not flustered," Botan shot back in a soft tone. "I just.. It's just.."

"Yes," Kurama murmured as he moved closer to her, his skin nearly touching her clothing as he leaned down slightly to nuzzle his nose against her cheek. "Tell me, love. What is it?"

Botan leaned into him, closing her eyes gently at the contact. "I.."

A sudden noise startled them both and they jumped, each of them looking around.

For Botan, it was the thought that maybe Koenma was spying on her. After all, this was a relationship she wasn't sure was even legal by Reikai rules. She didn't want to jeopardize a future with him if it meant he had to go to jail for her actions. Because she wanted and loved him.

For Kurama it was the thought that maybe Hiei had returned. If he shows up now, I'll kill him, he growled inwardly. Not that he really would, but the threat felt good nonetheless. Marching over to the window, the kitsune studied the surroundings, looking for some sign of the fire demon but saw nothing. "Hmm.." He sounded as he turned back to face the deity. "I wonder what..." His voice trailed off at the pained look on his beloved's face. "Botan? What's wrong?"

"Your back.. " She began but stopped, her eyes misty with tears as she looked at him.

Kurama frowned, going over to her. "What about my back, love?"

Botan shook her head and moved to stand in front of him. "Turn around please." She spoke in a pained whisper. "And let me heal you."

He studied her for a few seconds then relented to her request, turning around to expose his back to her.

The deity bit her lip, her heart breaking at the state of his body. His chest had been bad but nothing compared to the deep cuts on his back. She reached out gently, her fingers hovering then touching the reddened and bruised skin near his left shoulder, a white aura surrounding her hand as she willed the muscle to reconnect and grow and the skin to mend. It was a slow process and it was draining her ki quickly but Botan didn't care. Whatever he needed her to do, she would. And gladly.

Kurama stood still, closing his eyes and enjoying the warmth and the touch of her hands on his skin. It didn't matter that it wasn't sexual. It was comforting. And welcomed. He felt her hands slowly move downward then felt her pull away. He pouted inwardly at the loss of contact but kept it to himself, about to turn around and offer his thanks when he felt her lips press gently against his shoulder blade and slowly up to his shoulder. "Botan?" He whispered softly, his body beginning to react. How could such a simple little thing make him react so easily. Because I want her. Badly. He answered himself.

The ferry girl smiled against his skin, enjoying the sound of his voice as she whispered in a seductive tone, "Yes, Kurama? What is it?" She asked, snaking her tongue out to tease the skin along his muscle up to his neck. God, how she wanted him. She couldn't explain the sudden urge that took her to kiss his back, but now that she had started it. She wanted more. Wanted him to return to favor. To touch her and make her feel as alive and loved as Youko had done the night before. And to see just how really different Shuichi was from the fox spirit within him.

The red head shivered in excitement from her ministrations. This was certainly different from the first time she had with Youko. She was becoming down right aggressive. And he loved every minute of it. "Mmm.. I like that, love." He replied, turning around to face her.

Botan pouted at him but didn't have a chance to protest as the kitsune seized her lips into a bruising kiss, delving a tongue past her surprised lips and teeth and claimed her mouth, moaning at the taste and the feel of her tongue tangling against his. Hands on her shoulders, they continued to kiss, neither willing to break it off as he walked her over to the bed then gently pushed her forward and landed on top of her in the center of the bed.

Botan gasped then moaned into his mouth as he pushed her down, wrapping her arms around his neck and arching into him when his weight landed on her.

The red head's hands roamed down her sides, stopping briefly at her hips before reaching up to tug the striped dress shirt up and out of his lover's jeans. Sliding his hands underneath the fabric, his let his fingers trail slowly along and up her skin, finally breaking off the kiss as the need to breath became too great to ignore. "Botan," He moaned needily, tilting his head and leaning in to kiss the skin along the right side of her neck as he settled more of his weight on her. "I need to touch you, sweetheart.. I need to see you, all of you." He whispered in mild frustration.

"Then touch me, Kurama. Show me how much you..need me." She panted in response.

Kurama pulled back to look at her, hands coming out of her shirt. He quickly unbuttoned it, lifting her up slightly to pull it off her, licking his lips at the sight of her in a lacy black bra. "Beautiful," He whispered, coming to rest against her again, leaning in to kiss the top of each breast as his hands slid up to pull the straps down of Botan's shoulders.

Botan rose upward, pushing him off slightly. Reaching back, she quickly unclasped the bra and tossed it to the side, grabbing hold of Kurama's neck to drag him back down to her.

Both of them groaned at the contact of flesh against flesh.

The deity found her lover's lips and crushed her against his, her right hand tangling into his hair as she deepened it, while her left teased the skin along his back.

Kurama groaned in response, grinding his hips against hers, his covered arousal bumping into the apex of her thighs, causing the deity to arch and break off the kiss, "Oh.. Ku.. Kurama.."

"Call.. Me Shuichi, please, my love." He whispered into her ear, his lips trailing down her neck and along her collar bone, his hands teasing her sides as he moved slowly downward, nuzzling then kissing the valley between her breasts.

"Sh.. Shuichi.. Ahh!" Botan gasped, biting her lip at the burning ache erupting low in her belly and between her legs when his heated breath and lips reached her breasts. Her skin was on fire, her heart was pounding so loud in her ears she could barely hear his words above the roar. The pain was unbearable. She needed relief. She needed him to fill her. To take the deep ache away. But Kurama was taking his time. The pleasurable torture was mind numbing. A sudden urge to show him how he was making her feel overcame her and in a surprise move she wrapped her arms around his back and rolled him over, her lips kissing his feverishly as she rocked against the bulge in his sweat pants, then broke it off, staring down at him heatedly.

Kurama looked up at her in shock only to gasp and arch at the feel of her bumping up against his erection. "Bo..Botan.." He whispered needily, trying to rise up but was pushed back down by the deity's hands.

She leaned down, close to his ear, whispering in a voice that sent a tantalizing shiver down the kitsune's back. "Let.. Me .. Love you in return .. For a bit, Shuichi.."

Kurama felt his throat go dry but complied, relaxing and watching her in excitement and curiosity.

Botan smiled at him, kissing slowly down his neck, her tongue trailing over the healing scars of his chest, aroused and pleased at the moans she elicited from him by her actions. "Do.. You like that, lover?" She asked, teasing his right nipple with her lips then tongue before doing the same to his left one.

"Ye..yes.." Kurama replied shakily, the sensations overwhelming and highly arousing. His throbbing groin twitched in need at her continued teasing of his skin. If she keeps this up, I won't last enough to take her. He felt her lips trail lower, gasping at the way her hands touched the skin on his side, arching at the sensation of her tongue around his navel. "Bo.. Botan.." He moaned, his neck muscles tensing when her hands grabbed hold of the waistline of his sweats. He snapped his head up, watching her in surprise as she slowly tugged them down over his hips, kissing his stomach and meeting his gaze heatedly before moving down to press her lips against his strained arousal. The kitsune gasped, his head falling back into the pillows, his body shaking in desire and frustration. He had never been so aroused in all his life. How in the hell did she learn to do this in one day? He wondered.

Botan smiled at his reaction, heat filling her as she continued to pull his sweats down then off her lover's legs, but before she could continue, Kurama suddenly sat up and pulled her to him, pressing his lips hard against hers and his hands moving down to unbutton then unzip his mate's jeans, his fingers sliding in, teasing her intimately, smiling against her lips at the wetness he felt. Without a word, he flipped her onto her back, regaining control, resting on his knees as he tugged Botan's jeans over her hips and off her legs, tossing them haphazardly to the side before leaning in to kiss her stomach.

"Mmm.. Shuichi.." She purred, her fingers running through his hair, moaning when his lips strayed further down, his breath hot against her panties, her hips moving instinctively upward at his continued teasing. "Shuichi.. Please.. I ..can't..take much more.."

"Neither..can I.." Kurama groaned. His hands drifted up to the band in her underwear, tugging them slowly down and off, his fingers caressing the skin on her legs, causing Botan to shiver and pant in need.

Tossing her underwear to the side, his boxers soon followed, with languid caresses, the kitsune teased the skin inside his lover's legs, pushing them gently apart before moving up to claim her.


When they had finished, Botan collapsed down upon Kurama, body flushed with sweat, panting as heavily as her lover. Chests heaving, they lay still for several seconds, too spent to even move. At last, Kurama lifted his hand and brushed the hair away from Botan's eyes, craning his neck downward to kiss her lightly on her forehead. "Stay with me, tonight, Botan. I want to hold you for a while longer."

"Hmm.. I like that idea." Botan whispered in a slightly shaky voice, snuggling against him.

Kurama smiled and slowly rolled to his side, taking her with him as he pulled the blanket around them, his arms wrapped around her as they fell into a peaceful slumber.

XXXXX

Morning found everyone preparing for departure from Hanging Neck Island. The detectives met in the café, waiting for the girls in their group to return. After several comical words between Shizuru and Kuwabara, they headed for the last boat, stopping in surprise when the familiar ki of Genkai entered their senses.

Yusuke, who had been hiding his grief at his teacher's death, was over joyed at her return. As was Botan, who ran to the old woman's side, crying in her joy.

Kurama watched the display with a smile. Happy to see Botan returned completely to her old self. His smile fell as he thought about what the future would hold for them. Would he be allowed to pursue a relationship with her? Or would he be arrested by the very men he called friends?

No one noticed his change in mood as they all made their way and boarded the boat. The group stood at different points throughout the top deck of the ship. The kitsune stood next to Hiei who smirked as they talked in soft tones.

"Are you bonded to the ferry girl, now?"

Kurama gave a subtle nod of his head. "But I fear what the future will bring. What if someone comes after her to get to me, what if I fail to save her in time? What if I'm not allowed to be with her?"

Hiei shook his head and snorted. "Playing the what if game will get you nowhere kitsune. Follow your heart. Tell her you love her. Makes lots of babies and be happy. You deserve it."

Kurama blinked, watching Hiei move off, smiling at her words. He was right. Fear wouldn't stop how he felt. It would only make him more protective.

He felt a hand rest over his on the railing and he turned, allowing a tender smile to tug at his lips as his gaze fell upon Botan's.

"So?" The ferry girl, started then stopped, fighting to put into words what she felt. "About last night.."

"What about last night?" Kurama interjected softly, hiding his sudden fear he had upset her in some manner.

"I was wondering if, we..could do that again sometime soon." She finished, blushing deeply as the memories of how she felt, rising to the surface.

Kurama smiled and chuckled before leaning in to whisper into her ear. "Being as I chose you as my lifemate, Botan. We can do that again. As many times as you want. When ever you want."

Botan's blushed deepened, her features turning troubled as she whispered back, "I'd like that Kurama but our future together is so uncertain, what if.."

The kitsune shook his head and shifted to kiss the deity on the lips briefly before pulling away. "Let's not worry about that right now, okay. Right now, it's just you and me and our love. Okay?"

A smile lit up Botan's face and she nodded, hugging him, her features happy as she held onto him. "Sounds like a plan to me." She replied, closing her eyes as she rested against him only to snap them open when Yusuke shouted out,

"Oh my God! Botan is the girl you got lucky with! I don't believe it!"

"Yusuke!" Keiko chided her boyfriend, "You don't go running around shouting stuff like that!"

The detective was about to make a smart ass reply only to suddenly drop hard to the ground, a grapefruit size lump emerging on the top of his head. Beside him, a peeved off, gave him a glare, her oar clasped tightly in her right hand. "Serves you right, you pervert!" The blue haired woman snapped before return to Kurama's side, smiling sweetly up at him.

The red head smiled, chuckling lightly, wrapping his arm around Botan's waist, holding her close as the boat continued on it's way towards civilization and a new beginning for them both.

The End

Okay. Now, I'm sorry if this wasn't up to snuff but it's been awhile since I've written anything. If you don't like, I apologize. Anyway, onto the reviews shall we?

Kazen ne Tsuki: Yes, neesan, a short story from me and completed as well. I'm doing a bit better, though my body aches constantly. I hope to write more. (Blushes) You think I'm expressive? Thank you, Tsuki-san. And I thank you for your prayers as well. I hope you're doing better, too. Love ya, neesan!

Shizu Kuwabara: (Blinks) You know how I feel about that musume. Karasu was a creepy bastard to be sure. But he sure got what was coming to him. As to the intimate moment, you only see the partial here. The unedited one is on and I went on a slight smut fest at the end there. Hope you like it anyway! Love ya, musume!

Tigerhw114: I'm glad you enjoyed it and I thank you for your concern.

Jadzia 31: (Beams) Thank you! I'm happy you like what I did. Karasu is creepy and I'm thrilled I captured him to your satisfaction. My problems continue, though I am better mentally. Thanks for the review!

John Cena's Basketball Star: (Smiles) I'm glad you liked it. Hope you enjoyed this chaper as well.

Magus Black: Kurama can be very determined and protective of his loved ones. I'm glad you liked it. And enjoyed this story as well. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a few lines!

Steph-chan: (Beams) Thanks! How are you by the way, Steph? Any better? I'll have to look into that. I hope this finds you well and I'll pray for you too, okay? Thanks for reviewing!

Quirkyslayer: I shouldn't be hard on myself but it's my self loathing nature to be so. (Beams) You honor me with your praise. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I enjoyed it.

Kittyluv: Thank you for your kind words. Hope you enjoyed this chapter as well. This one was happy for the review. Yes indeedy!

Volpone: Hey there, sweet! How's my birthday girl? (Grins) It was intentional my love, as you well know. (Smirks) Why did I know you'd say something like that about Karasu? Happy Birthday, koishii, I hope you enjoyed this final chapter. My gift to you is complete. The lemon awaits at the other site. Do forgive me if I went a little too long with it. Ashiteru, my beloved.

ChibiBotan88: I'm glad you loved it! K and B is a great couple, I agree. Hope you liked this as well!

Botan Urameshi: (Beams) Thanks! Hop you likeed how this final chapter went as well.

Hirul: (Smiles) The initial confusion between Kurama and Botan was fun to do. I wanted them to be flustered. Because I find it amusing. Toguro and Karasu certainly don't take well to each other do they? Sadly, this story is ended but After the Fall has yet to be completed so look for more K and B fluff from me in the near future. Thanks for reviewing!

A lilmatchgirl: Nope! One chapter left! This one! I hope you liked it! (Smirks) Yes, the jealousy issue was fun to bring up. Karasu wasn't as difficult to write as I thought he would be. Still, I hate the guy. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and reviewing. I love reviews!

Madam Spooky: Hey there! I'm glad you liked the K and B interaction. They're a great couple, aren't they? And I"m flattered you approve of Kurama and Botan's characterization. Karasu, the perv, wasn't too hard to write despite the fact that I hate the guy. Thanks for leaving me a review! I love it!

Crimson Breeze: Glad you liked it! Hope you liked this as well and thanks for reviewing!

Disturbed Vixen: Karasu is very sadistic. I loathe the guy but it's okay if you don't. My koishii finds him very er.. Interesting to say the least. I like the scene with Toguro and the Hiei and Kurama scene as well. Just little things added into the story to give it a bit more life. Hope you found this to your liking as well. Thanks for the review!

Meiko M: Hey there! Good to hear from you again! My illness sucks but I'm doing a bit better which is good. I hate feeling weak, (Blushes)Meiko.. Thank you. I'm flattered you think so highly of me. (Smiles) I'm glad you like the last chapter. I've always related to Kurama which helps when I write his character. And Karasu did indeed get his just reward. Nice to have you around again and thanks for reviewing!

Ryukotsusei: (Smiles) So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reviewing and I hope you liked this one as well!

FortySeventhLight: Hey there, Miss Telle! Really? You liked the K and B fluff? I'm pleased I made you smile. I like when people are happy. Detail wears me down but sometimes it necessary. (Laughs) Thanks for the mental image of Karasu blowing himself up! Very amusing! (Blushes) Thank you, Telle. I hope you find this installment was decent as well. Thanks for the review!

Dark Huntress: (Beams) Thanks! I like writing K and B stories. Makes perfect sense to m. As to the unedited scene, I'm glad it wasn't bad. My illness is better still very tired though. Thank for the concern and the review!

Cristina Gomez: Cool! I'm thrilled you find it well written. (Nods) Karasu must die and so he does! (Grins) Thanks for reviewing!

Kitsune of Darkness: (Blushes) Your hero? Oro? Really? Wow! I don't know what to say. I do try my best and I hope to be a writer someday. Thanks for the review!

Shy-LilDreamer: Kurama and Botan do love each other, sure enough. Hope this meets your satisfaction and thanks for leaving me a few kind words!

Royal Blue Kitsune: Here's your update. The final one. I'm glad you find my story super. It was fun to write. Thanks for the review!