Title: The Challenge
Author: Tsubasa Kya
Disclaimer: I was presented this story as a challenge and simply given the idea for it. Credit for the idea goes to "Double A". I do not own characters used herein, but rather am just borrowing them for the duration of the story.

Chapter three: The Sanest Crazy Person… ever.

The spirit detectives were confused. The only thing they could see about Kagome to even hint that she wasn't in her right mind was simply because she kept calling herself by a name completely opposite from what seemed to be her real name. This led them to the conclusion that she had to be the sanest crazy person they'd ever met.

They stood there for several hours, wishing they had the nerve to sit down, listening to her tell stories about demons and half-breeds and humans. Most of them revolved around a priestess named Kikyou and some of them spoke of a human bandit named Onigumo. Kagome talked of a magical jewel known to have disappeared five hundred years ago.

She seemed to have absolutely no problem remembering what the false names for the four were; that was more on their part and remembering who was who. When she'd addressed 'Masakazu', Kuwabara had accidentally answered. She'd giggled at that and called him silly.

By the end of the night and when the time came to leave—they heard the clanking of the locks in the door—they had convinced themselves that Kagome wasn't really insane, but that for some reason she was inside this place for protection instead. She was equally nice to them all and recognized the demons for demons and the humans for humans.

"Do come visit again, sometime!" Kagome said in her strangely ethereal voice. "It was very nice to meet you all. Jaken, you take care of them."

Once they were out of the chamber and it was closed and locked, Jaken said, "You will find your items at the front desk. Come tomorrow morning at six o'clock."

They left the spirit world psyche ward and made their way into the human world. Yawning, Kurama said, "Too bad I have school tomorrow. Being human has its benefits."

Yusuke grinned. "Yep. I must have some sort of report to do for some sort of class."

"I know I won't be able to make it tomorrow," Kuwabara added. "My sister is chaperoning me and Yukina-chan to the zoo! Oh I'm so excited I could burst!" Hiei frowned, but Kuwabara didn't notice that the small demon was irritated.

Though it was likely for more than one reason that Hiei was irritated. One, his sister would be going somewhere with an idiot who hardly knew a frying pan from a stock pot, and two, his supposed companions were pawning a job off on him simply because he had no real obligations to complete.

And their excuses to get out of it were lame anyway.

He opened his mouth to object to their antics of making him do the babysitting job alone but Kurama said, "It's nothing you can't handle, I'm sure, Hiei. And I'm sure if you need help, you won't hesitate to stamp down your pride and call for it. We'll all have our communicators with us, won't we guys?"

Yusuke stuck his hands in his pockets and crossed his fingers. "Uh huh."

"What do you mean? I'm not taking my communicator on my da"—Yusuke stepped forcefully and obviously on Kurama's foot.

"Ow, Yusuke!" Kurama hissed.

Yusuke stepped on Kuwabara's foot. "Oops," he apologized in a low whisper that Hiei did hear.

"Oh!" Kuwabara snapped his mouth shut.

Hiei sighed almost visibly. "I should end my problems now and kill you all." He grumbled, but he left them as quickly as possible. He felt if he didn't leave, he would just murder them all and plead insanity. Then he could be locked away in a cozy room with tasty meals served daily.

He tried to sleep that night, but the lack of activity lately had him in a fit and instead he ended up going for a jog in the demon world. He killed a few demons that bothered him and maimed the rest that he saw, and then when daylight came he went to report to the Psyche Ward in the Spirit World.

Hiei met the toady again in the entrance. It was amusing to think that someone could possibly be shorter than even old Genkai had been. The toady looked about as if expecting the others to pop out of the air and Hiei said, "Let's get this over with, toad."

"But where are the others?" The toady was surprised they hadn't come. Then he shrugged his shoulders and turned and began waddling his way toward the room that the girl was in. "Oh well. They'll be the ones responsible for your death then." He warned. He didn't elaborate on that, and Hiei didn't feel like poking into the toady's mind to find out what that meant.

He figured he did like a good surprise from time to time. Once more as they neared, a quick-fingered nurse came and snatched away Hiei's weapons before he could do anything about it. Jaken let Hiei into the room and food was brought in. Kagome was sitting in the rocking chair, humming a lullaby when he entered.

"Ah! Zen!" Kagome cooed. "Have you come to hear more stories?" She wrapped her shawl closer to her thin figure and smiled as if she were a simple being with no thoughts of sadness. "Please, have a seat!" She waved her hand to the floor at her feet, but he stood once more against the wall.

"Stories would be good," Hiei said in what he hoped wasn't a bored tone of voice. He couldn't imagine how Jaken thought this estranged woman to be crazy or dangerous. She seemed to live with her bottom glued to the chair.

His days took on a routine. He would see Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Kurama in the evenings at first, as they would all stop by his meager apartment to make lame excuses as to why they wouldn't be able to make it to the Psyche Ward the following day, but even that ended quickly. After three days of excuses, they stopped coming and he stopped seeing them.

He learned quickly that Kagome seemed to be under the impression that she was a priestess from the feudal era. He had already known she thought she was a priestess, but there were priestesses still around. None of them had power, but they were there.

For the first week that he was alone with Kagome, he stood against the wall, but standing for sixteen hours of a day—he had to be there during all of Kagome's waking hours apparently—got tiring and after a week he requested that Jaken give him a chair. Kagome spent hours telling him stories of demons she had killed as Lady Priestess Kikyou.

Before he realized it, a month had passed and he learned to tune out Kagome's ramblings. The stories were fascinating only the first six times he'd heard them and she'd fast run out of stories to tell. Just sitting in peace and quiet seemed like something she was unable to do. Her mouth was constantly moving.

So when he woke up on a morning one month prior to the assignment start date, he expected the day would be as dull as the last. He'd even learned to crochet in Kagome's tiny cell block, though smuggling in yarn was difficult and all he could make was lumpy GI Joe sized clothes.

He left his sword at his tiny apartment since he knew they'd take it away otherwise, and he made his way to his duties as a babysitter. He hadn't seen the other spirit detectives for a long while, so he supposed they had abandoned him to do this supposed mission alone and it wasn't worth their time to make up excuses they all knew were lame anyway.

Jaken greeted him with a squeaky hello and led him to Kagome's cell block. The door creaked open and Jaken said, "Have a great time!" When the door slammed behind him, Hiei looked to the rocking chair for Kagome. She wasn't there. She was laying on the bed with a look of pleasure on her face as she poked constantly at her breast.

"What on earth are you doing?" Hiei asked her.

"What?" Kagome asked, looking at Hiei guiltily. He noticed she didn't have that imperial, ethereal air about her today. Her eyes showed no hint of recognition when she looked at Hiei, though she'd definitely known who he was yesterday or at least who he told her she was. "Who are you?"

He watched as she began to rub her thigh with one hand in an almost sensual manner and he finally realized that she really did have multiple personalities. Obviously this one was gay and had a thing for the body it resided in. "I'm Zen," Hiei said. "And you are?"

Kagome stood up and held out a hand. She wasn't wearing the shawl today. Instead she wore a long sleeved cotton shirt. "I'm Miroku. Hey, check this out. I've got breasts!" She poked her breasts and giggled, stared at her chest for a moment, then sat on the bed again and resumed her perverted game.

Hiei was only glad to have some yarn today. Since killing himself with it was out of the question, and killing Kagome was probably frowned upon by his peers, he figured at least he could practice crocheting. It was the best option he had at the moment, as no other option was quite feasible. They were brought four light meals to eat by an attendant. Hiei had to hide his crochet project momentarily at those times.

Kagome was like that for a month, perverted and constantly giggling. Just when he was ready to strangle her with his yarn and exactly thirty days from the last personality change, Kikyou was back. She sat in her chair all day and told stories, but at least she wasn't being perverted with her own body.

He left and came back the next day. He'd had a thought just before he fell asleep the night before. What was Kagome like if she had a perverted personality named Miroku and an ethereal personality named Kikyou?

He was bored for two more months with the ethereal personality. She told stories and retold stories and he wanted to strangle her for it. He managed to keep from doing it, but barely. He was sure he was beginning to see why she needed protection. It wasn't actually from herself as they claimed, but it was from her caretakers as they grew unendingly annoyed by her.

He finally got a day off after sitting with Kagome for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. He had been planning to spend it in a fun way. Go to the demon realm, kill a few demons, kill a few more… and perhaps by breakfast he would have sated his irritation. Then he could get to the fun part of the day: killing demons for fun.

Unfortunately he didn't get to spend his day that way. "Hiei!" Botan yawned, catching Hiei in the demon realm before he could even start his day. "Don't you," she tried to hide her exhaustion, "know it's not even day yet?"

"What are you talking about?" Hiei asked her, sending her a look that spoke only severe annoyance. He had liked not having to see her in the past four months. But then again, seeing her now sparked a little hope in him. Maybe he would be taken off the mission? Or maybe the mission—if it could indeed be called a mission—was over? "It's well after three AM."

Botan pulled her jacket sleeve up and groaned. 3:02, the clock read. "You're insane," Botan concluded decisively.

"But not suffering for it," Hiei speculated. "Always a plus side. Now shoo. I've got places to go and demons to kill. You're cutting into daylight hours."

She raised her hands to the darkened sky. "Heavens know I hadn't noticed!" she grumbled. "Let the sky open up and pour dead souls on me if I care."

Hiei said, "Are you sure you should be making wishes like that? I would think the commander of the gate of death would know better than to request a downpour of souls." He tapped his foot impatiently, his fingers drumming on the hilt of his sword. She needed to realize that he'd practically just spent the last four months cooped up with a crazy lady.

He needed a release of some kind, and he wasn't getting it while she held him up.

Botan glared at him and said, "Koenma wants you all to report to him on the mission and how its going." Instantly Hiei felt a very wicked smile cross his face. She grimaced. "The others are already waiting."

Oh yes, now Hiei would be able to mention rather casually that the entire crappy mission had been pawned off on him and they had used his pride against him so he wouldn't make them sit with her. It was thanks to them that he could make sweaters for GI Joe.

"Then open a portal," Hiei said, his eyes alight with cruel humor. Ah, justice would feel so nice. Again she grimaced. He stared at her, but his eyes were seeing what was sure to be the future. The other three would be tortured, maimed, maybe even killed for their indiscretion.

Botan waved her oar and in the wake of it followed a black rip. He stepped through it into the Spirit World then followed her down the hall to Koenma's office. Hiei was unfortunately pulled out of his thoughts as they neared the room.

"Well, some things came up." Koenma was saying. "Now where's that blood thirsty fire apparition anyway?"

Kurama said, "I would think Botan had found him by now. Wasn't it her idea to put a tracer on Hiei's communicator?"

Hiei's eyes went to the Lady Death and all color rushed from her face, leaving her a ghostly white. She looked like she wished they were closer to Koenma's room so she could run, but the hall was deserted and the voices were echoing all the way down the hall. Hiei backed her into a corner of the hall, his short stature seeming to loom over her taller figure as she nervously hunched and fidgeted with her jacket.

She was definitely awake now. He had no doubt about that. "A tracer?" Hiei questioned in such a quiet voice that she almost felt she was only reading his lips. "I had been curious how you constantly happened upon me."

"Well," Botan murmured, looking at everything but him. She looked fearful of her life. After all, she was just a demon. When she died, another would inherit the power to be the transporter of souls. "Well, I, um, Hiei," she gulped.

"And what did I do to merit my every movement being traced?" Hiei wanted to know.

She gulped again and tried to sink into the wall. "Well, you did kill all those humans," she pointed out, "and you attacked Yusuke's woman-friend, not to mention Yusuke…"

"I was requited of those crimes after the Dark Tournament," Hiei added.

Botan kept wringing her hands in her jacket. Her ponytail quivered in tune with the strange humor building inside him. "But without that, we'd never find you when we need you," she said hesitantly. He had to force himself not to laugh. What useful information to know!

He took out the communicator and looked at it for a moment. Botan kept speaking, as if by doing so she would be able to somehow make things better. "And how embarrassing would it have been for us to tell you, 'By the way, we've been tracking your movements since you joined on the Spirit Team,' so we couldn't tell you or you would have gotten mad and then since it was my idea you would have killed me and I don't like to be killed though I can't say living and watching people die is much of a life but it is something of a life and I don't want to die!"

She heaved in great gulps of air through her nose as he put his hand over her mouth. He could feel her quivering against him as she tried to soak into the wall. He simply moved even closer to further instill her feelings of foreboding that were undoubtedly growing in her gut. He made sure she knew what he was doing as he reached into her jacket pocket and dropped the communicator inside.

"I will say this only once," he told her, and looked deep into her fear filled eyes to be sure she comprehended him. "You will remove the tracer from the communicator or get me a new one, or else I will kill you and simply disappear."

She couldn't seem to nod fast enough. He pat her shoulder, smirking as he released her. He turned, positive his point had been received, and began to walk the rest of the way to Koenma's office. Behind him was a clattering noise as Botan dropped her oar and sunk to her knees. He could smell the faintest tinge of salt on the air.

It made his smile widen.

Heads turned to him as he entered. All of them looked extremely surprised for a moment, and then Yusuke said, "What's your problem?"

Hiei blinked. "Problem?" he asked, smiling still, "I just had my morning ruined. I don't have a problem, and I am not bitter."

"Shorty's lying," Kuwabara stated in the affirmative.

Kurama said, "Hiei, you're smiling."

"No, I'm not." Hiei said immediately. Then he realized he was indeed grinning like he had caught the infectious peppy-disease. "I'm simply exercising my cheek muscles. It is supposedly a very healthy activity, and favorable amongst humans."

"What next?" Koenma inquired. "Will you try yellow sundresses because it is also favorable among the humans? They're all the rage, you know."

Hiei glared at the prince toddler. "I'm not sure you realize how close you are to death."

The prince toddler rose up to his full impressive two-foot height and said, "Oh yeah?"

"Now, now, children," Kurama said with a sigh. "Let us be civil."

"He started it," both Hiei and Koenma said in unison. They glared at each other.

"The meeting?" Kurama urged.

Hiei felt a grim sort of satisfaction that Koenma looked away first. Koenma began pacing on his desk. "Before you came, Hiei, we were discussing a sort of situation that came up in the demon realm." He paused and noticed Botan's absence. "Where's Botan?"

Hiei shrugged. "She said she had other things to take care of." He got a suspicious look from nearly everyone in the room. "Was I supposed to force her to come here?"

"No," Koenma said slowly.

"Then continue. I haven't got time to mess around here." Hiei felt like his day had turned from bad to worse. It would take a hundred demons' lives just to make him feel better at this rate. Maybe even a hundred human lives.

Koenma returned to his pacing and rambled on about some something that Hiei didn't quite hear. He was too busy paying attention to creating a list of thousands of things he could do to demons and humans alike to make them suffer. He had a lot of frustration to vent at the moment.

Then Koenma's voice caught Hiei's attention once more. "So I'm going to send Yusuke, Kurama, and Kuwabara to investigate the matter, and since you've got the least obligations, I want you to apologize for me to Lord Sesshoumaru and tell him that an emergency came up that required attention and you'll be the only one watching over his patients."

"Well, then it's settled," Kurama smiled grimly. "Good luck with the girl, Hiei."

Yusuke grumbled, "Why do I always get the murder cases?"

Koenma stopped pacing and looked at Yusuke with a scowl on his face. "I didn't give you a choice in the matter. You wanted to be brought back to life, so I brought you back. Now you obey every order I give you, or I have Botan escort you to the other side!"

Hiei said, "Wait," and thought for a moment. It might not have been the best idea not to pay attention to what was going on. "You're not making me baby-sit her." He said it more as a fact than anything, because he wouldn't continue the stupid mission. The woman was harmless. She was crazy and perverted, but she couldn't harm a fly.

"If you want to put it that way," Koenma said, "then yes. Yes I do believe I am."

Kurama, Yusuke, and Kuwabara filed out of the office. Some friends, Hiei thought. He wondered what had Koenma's underwear in a bunch. He had threatened death to Yusuke and that just didn't seem like him. Something frustrating must have been going on.

"The woman doesn't need protection." Hiei said. "She lives in a padded room. No one could possibly hurt her!" He was arguing his case instead of telling Koenma that the others had forced him into taking the mission solo.

Koenma said, "Lord Sesshoumaru has the details and proof that she is a dangerous threat to society when freed, and that she is a danger to herself as well. You would do best to take care around her. Now go do your job already. I'm paying you enough."

"Pay?" Hiei scoffed. "Pay is non-existent and the only benefit for working for you is the free ticket back and forth to the demon realm and human realm. I don't think you have the right to speak of pay until you actually do it."

Hiei turned and left Koenma seething there. He was fairly mad himself. He'd spent four months with that woman and she was only the most boring creature he'd ever met. Repeated stories all the time or maybe she was perverted. She wasn't a danger though. Hiei couldn't imagine that scrawny, underfed woman being a danger to anyone at all, much less with the thought of self-mutilation in her mind.

"Just great," he muttered. "My morning was ruined for this?" Then he remembered his apartment's monthly rent was due in a few days. Who could he rob this time? "Wonderful. I get to spend my morning picking pockets instead of creating mass destruction and mayhem." He jammed his hands in his pockets and made his way from the Spirit World the long way since Botan was nowhere in sight.

Well, let me know what you think, oh great crazy people of the fanfiction realm!