Captive: Chapter One by Dreaming of Everything

This work of fanfiction is dedicated to RitSuYue. Thank you very much for the idea for this fic, and for the reviews you've given me on It's Raining. She won this in my review contest. That's the only reason this exists.

A/N: Another Hiei/Botan fic! Yay! I'd like to note that italics indicate private thoughts not shared with anyone. It's all in someone's head... Bold indicates a mental conversation using Hiei's Jagan. This only applies to full sentences; bold and italic both will be used to indicate emphasis on a single word on occasion.

To anyone who might want this to be a Botan/Kurama fic: I'm afraid the central pairing is non-negotiable. Sorry. Botan will find Kurama attractive, but it's a light crush and they both know it, her most especially. Other pairings will probably not happen unless someone wants it really really badly and tells me so—nicely—in a review.

Disclaimer: This AU world belongs to me (somewhat,) as does the plot. Hiei, Botan, Genkai, Baba Yaga, Kurama and all other Yu Yu Hakusho characters are not, repeat not, owned by me. If I did own them, there would've been Hiei/Botan romance a long time ago...

It was not, thought Botan, a properly dramatic night. She had a sense for these sorts of things. It should be pitch dark and blowing a gale, the wind whipping raindrops into searing cold sheets.

It shouldn't be a nice warm evening with a mild breeze blowing, the sky still light, the sun having just dipped below the horizon a few minutes ago. A few birds were still singing in the trees, even.

It would have been the perfectly idyllic evening for sitting outside with a glass of lemonade and watching the fireflies. Instead she was fleeing for her life on her oar, chased by a mob of people who had known her since birth, all of them screaming anti-magic charms at her. Alone they wouldn't have done much, but the combined weight was slowing her down. This wasn't going to end well... she was flying close to the ground, unable to get any higher, and was struggling to keep her oar going faster than the running people behind her; normally it would have taken almost no effort to go two or three times this fast.

Her master, Genkai, had escaped, strong enough to be able to get away even with the charms; her mortar and pestle (1) were also more impressive than her own oar, which wasn't very sensible tool for flying. Oh well... We're not able to control how our energy manifests.

She jerked her mind off of her musings. I suppose it's the shock that's making it so hard to concentrate. She couldn't afford to lose concentration right now! Especially not seeing that tall tower looming in front of her... Odd, it didn't have a door. She could sense the magic that had sealed off where the opening had been. Holy magic, she thought, mental voice bitter. The difference between 'destroying a force of evil' and lynching 'a man of god' is the approval of Enma.

Maybe this tower could be her saving, though. She exerted all of her control, forcing a last burst of speed and angling upward. She crashed through the window, landing hard on the stone block floor that lay underneath her. She lay there, panting hard and sweating, the last of her reserve energy completely gone, utterly helpless.

A shadow, slightly darker than the ones that surrounded it, shifted, revealing a glint of red eyes.

I hope this isn't one of those frying pan-fire situations... was her last thought before she fell into unconsciousness. Maybe those charms had been more powerful than she had thought.

Hiei blinked.

A girl, looking utterly terrified, had just crashed through his window, in reality a glassless hole in the wall, and then passed out.

He moved to the window and looked down. A grumbling angry crowd was milling below. The smell of bloodlust was pouring off of them. Hiei wrinkled his nose in distaste. They were obviously not planning on helping the girl. If he ignored them they'd probably end up leaving; nobody other than a chosen few servants and the royal family knew he was here. Everybody knew who he was just not where he was.

He turned his attention to the more immediate problem of the girl. She was still unconscious. He couldn't get rid of her... Not when he was unable to leave and she was unconscious. He wasn't the sort of person who would just kill her, then incinerate the body, or simply toss her out the window. Not any more. He had changed, in the years he'd been locked in this tower.

She could have the bed; he always slept on the windowsill, anyway. It was as close to outside as he could get, now... But that was a closed subject. It wasn't like there was anything for him outside, anyways...

He easily lifted the girl, placing her on the bed, careful not to jostle her. He wasn't sure why he bothered.

Botan slept long and deep. She was still young, her magical strength still developing, and she had completely emptied herself of power the night before. Her body needed a 'recharge' period.

When she woke up it was nearly noon, and she was staring directly into two red eyes with a white bandanna above them. A few strands of black hair had strayed into her line of sight as well.

The effect was fairly instantaneous. Botan, having just woken up in situation strenuous enough to begin with, reacted with the expected startled scream. Hiei, who had been checking on the girl who had dropped through his window under mysterious circumstances (her oar had disappeared shortly before she had ended up on the floor) when she had suddenly woken up, was startled as well, especially considering the unexpected (on reflection it made a lot of sense) scream, had moved away quickly. To Botan it looked like he had disappeared from one side of the fairly small room to the other, his eyes slightly widened with shock.

Botan took a few deep breaths, calming herself and getting her adrenaline rush in control.

"I'm very sorry about all of this. I wasn't really thinking when I came through your window; I hadn't thought about whether the tower was occupied or not at the time. I'll leave immediately... Again, I'm very sorry." she said. This person--this demon--obviously enjoyed his privacy, if he had built a tower with no doors in the middle of a very empty forest.

Botan made to move, but was unable to carry through with the gesture. She got about halfway upright before collapsing back on the bed. She offered up a sheepish grin. "I'm afraid that I'm not really up to moving at the moment... I guess I over-taxed myself more than I had expected. Oh! By the way, my name's Botan."

"Hiei," offered the demon, voice and face both equally impassive.

There was a slightly awkward pause.

"You don't mind that I'm a witch, do you?" asked Botan, sounding troubled.

"No..."

"Good. I don't know what I'd do then... My village just got a Priest, and they decided that they didn't need me or my Master, Genkai, anymore." Her voice sounded slightly bitter. "Ever since King Enma decreed that only Holy Magic was allowed, and he was the only one who could appoint those who could use it, any person who uses magic and is considered 'unsuitable' for Priesthood has been in trouble."

"Why were you being followed?" asked the fire demon.

"King Enma decreed that it was fine to burn anyone who practiced 'unholy' magic. They were the people from my village, the ones I've grown up with," said Botan, deeply troubled. "I've known them my entire life! Long before Genkai started training me! They ignored everything we did until they got the priest; I guess we were just expendable." She sighed after she finished speaking, a deeply sad sound.

"It happens," said Hiei. Damn. He didn't do comforting; he had never been good with people. Especially not bubbly girls who talked too much. Especially not pretty girls with long blue hair who talked too much. I think I'll just ignore that last thought... He said mentally. She'll get better, leave, and things will be back to normal. No need to get attached. Why would I get attached in the first place? Emotions are weaknesses. Even if he knew that wasn't true any more; he cared for his friends, that was emotion, it wasn't a weakness. Face it, weak or not doesn't matter any more. I'm locked in this tower until King Enma can find a reason to kill me. Or an accident that might feasibly kill me...

"I know..." sighed the girl, shoulders slumped forwards, tears beginning to form in melancholy purple eyes.

Double damn. Hiei walked, slower, this time, so she could see the movement (no need to frighten her again) to stand by the bed. He patted her awkwardly on the shoulder, increasingly uncomfortable as her tears started to fall. He could smell the salt in the air.

A (mostly) muffled snort in the window alerted their attention. Botan, tears still falling, turned to look; all she saw was a body outlined against the bright window; whoever it was had long hair. Other than that the person was just a black cut-out shape.

"Erm, good afternoon, Hiei. May I require who your visitor is?" asked the person, jumping to the floor, revealing himself to have absolutely gorgeous red hair, a gentle smile and green eyes with a spark of intensely curious gold in them.

"Uh, uhm, my name's Botan," she managed to get out, blushing heavily. Kurama had that affect on people, and he knew it. I have that effect on people until they find out I'm not demon or human and even less natural than a hanyou, he thought.

Another girl falling for the fox, thought Hiei, attempting to layer contempt into his mental voice. More importantly, he was trying to dismiss her out of hand for shallow behavior and stupidity. It wasn't working.

"Botan? A beautiful name. I'm Kurama. I bring Hiei his meals, every noon. It's very nice to meet you."

Mentally, to Hiei alone, using a link constructed for private conversations using the Jagan, he said She's very beautiful, isn't she? He was careful to keep his tone neutral.

Hiei refused to answer, instead glowering across the room at the kitsune.

I knew you'd agree.

The glare intensified to steps-away-from-killing-something,-specifically-you level.

"How did you find your way here?" Kurama said out loud.

"I, erm, was trying to escape from a mob."

Kurama raised an expressive eyebrow.

"I'm, uh, a witch. In training."

Botan was to the point where her blush was heavy enough it made her look like she was fluorescing neon red-pink.

"I would have thought that a person with access to so much power would have other things to be doing than sitting in a tower," said Kurama smoothly, scruples about making her feel comfortable being pushed away by the force of his curiosity.

"I used up too much energy last night, and now I'm completely drained," said the girl. "I can barely move. I think the priest had cast energy-drains on me, as well, because I'm not replenishing quickly enough." It looked almost like the next step in her blush would have to involve her bursting into flames.

Would you go? 'said' Hiei silently and pointedly. She's going to combust otherwise.

She seems like a very nice person; you're in luck. I'm sure she'll make a lovely mate.

Hiei snapped the mental link shut, blushing slightly, an extremely rare sight on the normally controlled demon.

I'm surprised, thought Kurama. His reactions are strong enough that he might actually like her. This could work out well. I'll have to see what happens...

Out loud he said, "I'm afraid that I have to go now, but I will send somebody with some medicinal plants that should help later." That will give Yusuke a chance to see what he thinks...

He returned to the window, a branch reaching out to take his weight. "Um...?" asked Botan.

"Kurama has a kitsune spirit in a human body. He can control plants."

"Oh. He must be very lonely, then."

Hiei glanced over at her. That was a remarkably insightful comment, one that didn't match the non-stop-talker who had been so easily embarrassed by Kurama.

Botan noticed the glance and misinterpreted it as a 'what-the-hell-are-you-thinking?' glance instead of a 'I'm-startled-you're-that-perceptive' glance.

"I mean, he's sort of caught in the middle. Not human or demon. Sort of a half-demon, except not."

"Yes, that's right. He is... lonely." Hiei hadn't applied that term to him before, but once he said it he realized how accurate it was.

"That must be very hard."

"Yes." Hiei picked up the package Kurama had left, unnoticed, in the corner, opening it and liberating some bread, salted meat and a few leaves of oak-leaf lettuce. "You should eat something." He handed her the food, which Botan accepted happily. She formed a rough sandwich and began eating. Silence filled the small room.

(1) I'm afraid that I was unable to resist the image of Genkai as Baba Yaga... Special cookies to anyone who gets this reference!

A/N: Before anyone flames me for having an out-of-character Hiei, I'd like to point out a few details: this is an AU fic, and he doesn't have a hatred for humans as 'contemptible.' because, put simply, that just doesn't exist in this reality. He has also been close friends with Yusuke and Kurama during this period of time, who are either human or in a human body, and both of them are closely attached to humans. He's also been locked in a tower with virtually no human contact for just as long, which starts to affect anyone, no matter how independent, eventually. To put it simply, he's also lonely. Therefore, he wants to connect well with any and everyone he can.

Please honor this unworthy writer with your reviews.