Fear of Fire
Do not own YYH.
Closing the Book
Camping. Hiei recently discovered something else to hate. Stories by the fire, swimming, drinking, and singing. He could definitely live without it. Though, every time he looked at Botan, she was grinning and having fun. So was everyone else. Shiori, he deemed, was lucky that she was in a different campsite.
"Hiei!" Someone threw their arm around his shoulders and started breathing in his face with alcohol on his breath. Yuusuke's face was flushed and he was grinning like an idiot. "Why don't you join the party, buddy?" He offered his half-filled bottle to the koorime. The demon growled irritably before shoving the detective away.
"I would rather not." Hiei stated coldly, retreating up into the trees. He sat on the branch of the tree above him, watching his friends from above. Botan watched him with a slight frown. She wanted him to have fun, to join in and spend time with them.
"Hiei." He looked down, giving her a cold glance. "Come on. We're gonna go fishing!" The koorime didn't move. Giving him a fierce glare, she materialized her oar and held it threateningly. "You've looked so grumpy all morning. At least come down and attempt to have a good time."
"Hn." He returned her glare with one of his own before jumping down in front of her. They walked to a dock and sat together on the edge, preparing their fishing poles. Botan helped Hiei and told him the basics. He snorted before pulling out his katana, ready to try something similar to harpooning. Yuusuke laughed at him and slapped him on the back so hard that the koorime landed in the water with a splash.
"Yuusuke!" Botan chided, giving the detective a look. Hiei got out of the water and chased Yuusuke with the fishing pole, muttering something about using him as bait.
Hours later, they returned to camp. Hiei was dry, Yuusuke was wet, and everyone else was talking about how many fish they caught. On their way back, Botan took Hiei's arm and kissed his cheek.
"Want to take a walk with me? I want to talk to you." They put their things away and then left the campsite. "Hiei... Are you having any fun?" The koorime gave her an expressionless look before averting his gaze. "You have to try... I don't want you to be miserable." She was startled when he grabbed her around the waist.
"I am not miserable. But I don't know what fun is so, technically, I can't have any." His voice was calm and it soothed her. At least he wasn't pissed off. "It feels...odd. I am used to fighting, not having peaceful outings or drinking parties." The deity looked away, distressed by his lack of knowledge of fun. "What is fun to you?" She thought for a moment before smiling.
"I like spending time with the others, cheering all of you on, and being with you like this. I like learning new things about you. Camping, fishing, and amusement parks are fun." Her smile turned into a grin. "Having fun is easy. You just do what you enjoy and what brings you amusement."
"Fun is pleasing, then?" At her nod, he frowned and looked away, lost in his memories. Had he ever had fun? Had he ever done anything that he enjoyed, that he took pleasure in? Fighting was enjoyable. He liked training. Chasing Yuusuke with the fishing pole was quite entertaining. Were all of those things considered fun? "I suppose, then, that I have had fun before."
"Really? What do you like to do for fun?" Seeing Botan brighten over something so small was amusing to the fire demon.
"Fighting, training, chasing the idiot detective with a fishing pole, and picking on the imbecile." He felt kind of proud that she didn't have to ask who the imbecile was. That meant that he had done a good job of insulting Kuwabara. "I like this." A light flush erupted across the fair skin of her face.
"Hiei..." She took his hand in her own and they continued their walk in silence.
Botan opened her eyes to the sounds of hysterical laughter. Looking groggily at her watch, she groaned and pulled the blanket over her head. She didn't want to get up at six thirty in the morning! Were they insane? She had thought that they would sleep until noon. When the noise didn't stop, she decided to get up and investigate. Peering out the window of the tent, she could make out Yuusuke and Kuwabara. They were still snickering at whatever was so funny.
"What is their problem...?" She looked at the spot where Hiei had been sleeping. He wasn't there. Concerned, the deity stumbled out of the tent and looked around. "What's going on?" Yuusuke looked over and grinned.
"Well, Kuwabaka fell in the lake when we went fishing again this morning so he got this brilliant idea to skinny dip. So, we were coming back and we ran into Hiei. He didn't know what skinny dipping was so when we explained, he looked simply furious. I think it was because we wanted to talk you girls into going with us..." The detective looked questioningly at the fire koorime.
"They wanted you and Yukina to..." Botan sent a glare at the immature boys.
"You know Yukina would never do such a thing. Neither would me or Keiko." She knew Shizuru had less integrity and would probably do it if she were either dared or drunk.
"Yeah, okay! Damn, that's all you had to say. Wear bathing suits if you want." Yuusuke rolled his eyes as he went to wake Kurama. Botan raised a brow at Hiei.
"To even suggest such a thing as to prance around naked...in front of them, no less." He went on and on about the new information that he received. She smiled before walking back to their tent and pulling out her bathing suit. He would probably have a fit about that, too. The last time they went swimming, they were in their clothes because the boat they rented had tipped over. Hell of a lot of fun it was to get it turned back right side up. She had secretly bought him a pair of swim trunks along with a new bikini. She changed into it and pulled on a pair of jean shorts. Then she proceeded to exit her tent. Hiei almost immediately threw his cloak over her.
"You cannot walk around like that, onna." His fierce glare confirmed her earlier suspicion. She opened her mouth to protest when she saw Yukina, Keiko, and Shizuru emerge from their tents in similar bathing suits.
"Hiei..." He turned and followed her gaze before nearly passing out.
After the bathing suit ordeal, Botan made Hiei change into the trunks she got for him and then they all went swimming. It was oddly warm for that early but the weather had been predicted as such.
Which, of course, came as a surprise...
"Who wants S'mores?" Almost everyone raised their hands, wanting nothing more than to taste the chocolate and marshmallow mix. Hiei stared at Botan in confusion. She grabbed his arm and raised it in the air.
"Believe me, Hiei, you'll like it." With a shrug, the koorime received the stick with a small round white thing at the end. "Put it by the fire so you can toast it. Like this." She continued to take him through the steps until they had a completed experiment. "Go ahead. Try it." She bit into hers, trying to savor the taste.
"Onna..." He looked down at the S'more in his hand. Then he brought it to his mouth and hesitantly took a bite. Let's just say that it was around the same level as sweet snow. He really did like them.
Soon, the fire began dying down and they were all tired. Unfortunately, it was their last night camping. They were going to leave the next morning. Botan fell asleep against Hiei's shoulder so he nodded to everyone and picked her up, carrying her to their tent. He held her close, protecting her as she slept.
Botan loaded their last bag into the van. Shiori's friend had driven them all in her large family van. They climbed in and prepared for the long ride. Hiei would stare out the window. Yuusuke would attempt to get everyone to sing. Kurama would talk quietly with Shizuru. Keiko would yell at Yuusuke for being annoying. Kuwabara would flirt with Yukina. Hiei would get pissed. Botan would have to settle him down. What a trip that was. When they got home, they unpacked and settled in at Kurama's to spend the night, since it was quite late.
The next morning, they all ate breakfast together before leaving and bidding good bye. Botan walked down the street, hand-in-hand with Hiei. The smile on her face was returned by most of the people walking around. The koorime, on the other hand, looked like pure misery. As they arrived at her apartment, she gave him a light kiss on the lips. Hiei raised a brow at her.
"I had a lot of fun." The deity whispered, taking his bag from his shoulder as she left him standing in the doorway. "We should go on our own someday." Her voice drifted from the bathroom, where she was unloading the dirty laundry. "Maybe we should go somewhere tomorrow." He closed the door and removed his shoes. Thinking of the trip back, he was instantly exhausted. Kuwabara had gotten on his last nerve. "What do you say if I make something to eat?" The koorime looked up at her, a soft frown gracing his expression.
"Are you tired?" The question made the ferry girl halt in her steps toward the kitchen. She had just come from down the hall to hear his softly spoken words.
"A little. Why?" He didn't answer either of her questions. "Hiei?" Botan grew curious at his odd behavior. "Are you okay?" He stood and went to the kitchen, rattling some things enough to make her follow him. "What are you..." Upon discovery, Hiei glared at her and continued what he was doing. When he was finished, the koorime plopped a plate in front of her with a sandwich, chips, and half a pickle. His plate contained the same ingredients. Then he set down a glass of milk in front of the both of them.
"Why bother cooking? This is easier." A small smile tugged at her lips. She laughed and thanked him as she began eating.
Television was about as exciting as slitting his own throat. Hiei turned it off five seconds after he finished channel surfing, which took about fifteen seconds. He ventured into his onna's room and stopped in the doorway when he heard her humming quietly as she folded laundry. She was dressed in shorts and a tank top with her hair tied back at her neck.
I am getting too soft. I need to mark her before anything bad happens. Before my past catches up to me again.
However, he was exhausted.
Tomorrow night, onna. I will make you mine.
The koorime walked to his room and rested on the bed. He rather disliked the room. Or was it the fact that the ferry girl was not in there next to him? Nearly snarling at himself, he rolled over onto his side. It pissed him off that he was so soft towards a woman. As he stared at the wall, he remembered when she painted the apartment.
Seems like so long ago.
His fingers ran over the smooth paint job. Had she not painted it because he was there? Or had she been planning it before he had stayed? His life was going by too quickly for his liking. Ever since he had dealt with the emotion situation, time just flew.
I will train tomorrow. I have been neglecting my schedules.
His mind ran to when he had had the fight with Botan about his training. She had brought up some very sensitive and dangerous subjects with him. Yukina being one of them. The ice maiden was his only relative and one of the very few people he truly loved. Her acceptance of him gave him an elation that he thought he would never experience. But...what would his relationship with Botan lead to? Sure, she was important to him. Of course he loved her. But would things change after he made her his? The koorime was certain that she would become his mate. He had chosen her and that was that.
I had her picked out for a long time. Long before I knew what these emotions were.
Perhaps if his father had not been an asshole then he would have made her his mate sooner. Then maybe he wouldn't be what he was. Cold, ignorant, and irritable. He noticed when the light shut off and the door closed. Did she care that he wasn't with her? Or did she think that he had merely fallen asleep while waiting for her to finish her things? He knew she wasn't mad at him. In fact, she proved it when she entered his room a few moments later and kissed him on the cheek before pulling a sheet up over his body.
You are too caring, onna. You care too much for your own good.
Botan got up quite early and checked around the apartment. Hiei was nowhere to be found. Which meant only one thing.
"Back to training, huh?" She asked the empty apartment. "Oh well. I can get some work done in Reikai then." After dressing in her kimono and getting on her oar, she soared up to Reikai. Her paperwork wasn't too bad, considering. In fact, it only took her a couple of hours. Which left time for lunch and then time to clean the apartment. Koenma seemed a little out of it and he complained that she wasn't around enough. "Well, I can't just work full time anymore, Koenma-sama! Besides, I'm Yuusuke's assistant now. Not to mention that I guard Ningenkai from demons left and right. Speaking of which, I meant to tell you that there haven't been any outbursts at all."
"Fine, fine. You can go. I just wanted to be sure that all of your things were done." She nodded eagerly, an energetic grin on her face.
"It is! I'll see you tomorrow!" Koenma didn't bother to wave, as the next thing he knew she had slammed his doors closed behind her.
Hiei must be back to training.
The godling wasn't fond of their relationship but he had no place to protest. Besides, he didn't want to die. As long as Botan was happy and unharmed, then he really didn't care what consisted in her love life.
I have never seen her like this before. Sure, she's always been bubbly and cheerful but...she seems truly happy now.
He remembered the fact that Hiei had asked for his assistance about a matter of emotion. The koorime had asked about Botan. Perhaps he did love her.
Botan sped toward Ningenkai, toward her apartment. She would change and clean the apartment. As soon as she was inside, she threw off her kimono and got into a pair of shorts and an older t-shirt. Then she put a bandanna over her hair and began in the kitchen. She cleaned out the refrigerator, finding some old stuff that she forgot was in there. After that, she cleaned the counters and did all of the dishes before mopping the tiled floor.
"One down..." The deity grinned in success before starting on the living room. She dusted and moved some of the furniture so she could vacuum the carpet. Her bright eyes scanned the windows before she cleaned those, too. She did her room and then Hiei's. What didn't really surprise her was that the bed wasn't made. Walking over, the ferry girl picked up the sheet and folded it, placing at the bottom of the bed. His room was pretty much in order but she vacuumed and did the tedious stuff. Hopefully, they would do something together when he got home from training.
Hiei opened the door later on the afternoon to see a spotless living room. Clean scents flooded his senses. Not to mention food, as well. He went out into the kitchen to see Botan over the stove and counter top, singing to herself as she cooked their dinner.
"How did your training go?" She turned to smile at him. The koorime merely shrugged before going back towards the bathroom. "I just cleaned house so put your dirty clothes in the hamper, okay?" Hearing no response, the deity just grinned and continued what she was doing.
I feel a little tired after all of that cleaning and paperwork. But it felt good to do it. I think the place needed it.
When Hiei got out of the shower and came out in a pair of lounge pants. His chest was toned and she took that moment to realize what a perfect tan he had.
"It's done. I was just setting it on the table." The koorime nodded before taking his seat. If only she knew... "I got a lot done today, Hiei. Did you make up for lost time?"
"Yes." He found it hard to concentrate on the meal. Throughout the entire dinner, that was all that happened. She asked questions and he responded with the shortest answers possible. After they finished, she took a shower and he waited for her in her room. She wasn't very long but somehow, the time dragged painfully for the fire demon. He closed his eyes and tried to think about what he had to do. Of course, he was painfully aware of the possibility of rejection. It was not the greatest thing he'd ever felt.
"Hiei?" She entered, closing the door slightly. A concerned look was etched on her pretty face. Her cerulean hair was down, framing her face and brushing her shoulders and lower back. This time she was wearing a nightgown. "Are you okay?" He waited until she was closer before reaching for her. She rested in his arms for a brief moment before he kissed her. He started out a little slow but then upped the heat just a bit.
"Botan..." He hesitantly began to lift her nightgown. "I want to make you mine." The deity felt her eyes sting. She had been expecting it sooner or later but she wasn't sure if she preferred later. It seemed that it was her decision to make. Of course, she wanted to become his. She loved him so much that it hurt her to see him in pain. She loved him enough to give him everything. But...was she really ready for that step? It was one of great importance. Would she regret it?
"Hiei..." He could see the indecisiveness in her eyes. She didn't know what she wanted. At first thought, she would jump to answering in the positive. But...did she really want that? Would things change? "Why so suddenly?" He paused, as if he didn't understand the question.
"I don't want to date you any longer. I want this to end. I want to move on so that we can be more." The koorime's lips nearly drove her over the edge. His body temperature was naturally hot so, of course, his lips were hot against her skin. He trailed gentle, flaming kisses down her neck then back up to her lips. "Don't you?" She wrapped her arms around him, trying to pull him closer. It was what she wanted. Plus, the feelings that he was igniting within her; the passion he was beginning to awaken basically made up her mind.
"Hiei-" He cut her off by placing a fierce kiss to her lips. That was it. She gave herself up willingly to the demon that she loved. To the koorime that she would belong to forever. When he placed that mark on her neck, she would forever be bound to him.
And I couldn't have asked for anything more...
"No! Don't do that!" Botan took off running, attempting to stop some senseless action performed by someone that was even more mischievous than Yuusuke. If that were at all possible.
"So, how have you two been doing?" Kurama asked quietly, his emerald eyes glinting with knowledge. "By the looks of things, you're pretty cozy." Hiei snarled at his best friend, crimson eyes snapping.
"Shut up, kitsune. At least I have a woman." Ooh, burn. The koorime crossed his arms, relaxing his stance since they first arrived at the gathering. "So, what's this actually all about? No one bit the dust so why tell me it was an emergency?" Genkai had passed a year prior, leaving the temple to Yukina to do with it what she would. She invited her brother and his mate, Botan, to live with her. They took her up on the offer only after finding out news that would change their lives thereafter. Botan was pregnant.
"I wanted to see everyone again. Call me soft all you want. After Koenma took us off the missions, I had no spare time to spend with you." Kurama had gone to college to become a doctor and was doing a spectacular job of it. In fact, he had been the one to deliver Botan's child.
"Kantana, wait!" Yuusuke laughed as he caught the little troublemaker.
"I'll be handing you over to your mother, Kantana-chan." The ex-detective grinned as Botan stopped and caught her breath. "Try and be good, okay? You can't be too hard on your poor old mother-" Before he could say anything more, Urameshi Yuusuke was hit right in the head with a wooden oar. Kantana laughed gleefully until she was lifted into the arms of her frowning mother.
"Okaa-san..." Kantana pouted, her large crimson eyes wide and pleading. The ferry girl sighed set the girl on her feet.
"Be a good girl, okay? I'll forgive you on one condition, understand?" The young demon nodded her head. "Never call your mother old."
"Okay, Okaa-san!" She ran off to find Yukina and play hide-and-seek or something of the sort. Shiori had mentioned how pretty the little girl was growing up to be. Of course, the little mischief maker was turning out to look like Yukina and Hiei. Hardly a shred of Botan besides the sunny disposition and known reputation as a chatterbox.
"Well, it appears that you two have your hands full."
"No kidding, fox. I feel ready to pull my hair out. You think she's bad, try her brother." Suoh was more than just a mischief maker. He was pure evil; the shadow of his father. The little demon was always getting into trouble. "He is currently in the house with Keiko, having a conversation on time-out."
"You certainly gave Botan more than she bargained for, huh?" Kurama's sly remark was taken in stride, however.
"At least I have a pretty active life." Hiei was being pretty nasty with the insults, the kitsune miserably noted. Yuusuke walked over to join the two after recovering from his blow to the head.
"Out of all of the demons that I've fought off and killed, your mate has to have one of the hardest hits my face has ever known. She's right alongside Keiko in the standings." The detective grinned. "Bet you're awfully proud, right? A beautiful girl, twins, a beautiful girl, a life of luxury..."
"Luxury?" The koorime shrugged. "I wouldn't call it that, exactly." Not with the child-infested temple, anyway. How could two children be so much of a pain? Botan had told him before that it was because they were his kids. He had retaliated and told her that it was because they had her mouth.
"Why not? Fairytale life too much for Shorty?" Kuwabara idiotically butted in. He had been standing close enough to hear them, which irritated the hell out of the koorime.
"At least I have a life."
"You dirty little-"
"Break it up!" Botan was suddenly in the middle of the group with her hands on her hips and a condescending frown on her face. "This is the reason my children don't listen. You guys are such bad examples."
"Now don't go blaming bad disciplinary skills on us!" Yuusuke glared at her. That is, until she began furiously beating on him with her oar again.
"You little rotten smart-mouthing-" Hiei rolled his eyes. If that wasn't a daily occurrence, then he didn't know what one was.
"Onna." The deity stopped her torture of the ex-detective only to look at her mate with a questioning stare. "I am going to Kurama's for a while after this 'party' is over. We have things to settle."
"That's fine. Just try to be home before the children have to go to bed. You know how much they look forward to saying good night to you." Her words brought back recent memories which made the statement ring true. Kantana and Suoh admired their father. In fact, they adored his attention so much that they caused trouble in order to be noticed by him.
Daylight was drawing to a close and Botan was giving the children their baths, with Yukina's help, of course.
"Today was so much fun. I can't wait until next month, when we have another one." Botan almost cried when she saw how much everyone had changed. Of course, Yuusuke and Kuwabara were always stopping by and sometimes Keiko and Shizuru would stay over but Kurama was a different story. Even though her heart belonged to Hiei, the ferry girl still had to admit that the kitsune was a very charming and handsome man. His face had hardly aged but she could see his demonic features blending with his human appearance. Amber now resided within emerald and his gorgeous red hair shone with a few silver streaks, which had nothing to do with age. "Yukina-chan, don't you think that Kurama-kun looked absolutely gorgeous? I can't believe how much he's changed." The koorime laughed before nodding as she attempted to dry Suoh.
"I agree. He is very handsome." Suoh growled and bit at the ice maiden's towel-covered hands, bringing a smirk to both of their faces. Kantana got out and allowed her mother to towel her off, acting quite tame.
"Okaa-san, when is Otou-san coming?" The little girl's voice could have been described as a whine. Botan smiled slightly.
"He'll be home before you go to bed. How about we go downstairs and have a snack, hm?" Suoh instantly began tugging on his pajamas. He looked up eagerly.
"Okaa-san, can we watch TV, too?" The little boy looked so remarkably like his father that Botan almost laughed. Hiei had never once worn an eagerly happy look like that. Though, she secretly wished he had.
"I don't see why not. But only if you behave the rest of the night." They tore out of the room and ran down the hall toward the kitchen. "I'll go after them before they break something. Thank you, Yukina-chan."
"It is no trouble, Botan-chan." The koorime loved her relationship with the deity. They spent so much time taking care of the children together that they bonded and were close enough to be actual sisters. Hiei was even content with it, telling her that it was better that way than if she had hated Botan. But Yukina could never hate anyone from their group. And she had to admit that it was a little sad to her that she didn't have a family. Kuwabara had calmed on his love declarations and she was afraid to admit that she was beginning to miss them. Of course, she was hesitant to accept him because of the way her brother behaved but, in the end, she knew she would end up giving the big oaf a chance.
Yukina knew beyond a doubt that Botan would support her decision, even if Hiei never would. Finishing up in the bathroom, the koorime got to her feet and met her little family out in the living room. Perhaps someday, their family would be bigger. Perhaps instead of staring at her brother's children, she would be staring at her own.
"Botan-chan, he is close." But, of course, Botan already knew that. The serene smile that graced the deity's lips told her so.
"I know." The instant Hiei was through the door, he had two children hugging his legs.
"This has got to end somewhere." Botan laughed and told him to take them to their room. "Hn." His eyes were narrowed down at the two and both of the girls knew that those children were in for a lecture.
"I've got to be the in-between tonight. See you in the morning, okay, Yukina-chan? I'm really tired so I'll just go to bed after they're settled."
"That's fine. Good night, Botan-chan. Sweet dreams."
"Same to you." And so, the ferry girl ran down the hallway to join her family in the ritual of bedtime stories and lullabies. That was how it would be until the children grew older.
Then they would miss those times. Just like they missed their times alone. Until they closed the book on their existence within that realm. Before they began a new book within a different one.
Hey, all. This is a pretty long chapter, ne? Well, I hope like this chapter, as it is the closing chapter to this HB fanfiction. I rather like it. Not really a surprise. Things were starting to become really calm and such in the last chapter. So, as things wind down, you know they must be coming to an end. I hope I ended it well and you can let me know what you think.
Thank you all for your outstanding support throughout this entire adventure. May the future bring many more great HB fics!
Thank you again and I hope you enjoyed!
Watch out for my next HB Echoes! You can find the summary in my profile, if you're interested. It'll be coming soon!