Angels and Devils, Part One: The Angel's Heart

Prologue

The end had come at last. The tournament was nearing its completion, with only two teams left to face each other in the final rounds. Team Toguro facing off against Team Urameshi, in a four-round, technically five though neither team had a true fifth member, winner take all. Those she had come to know as her friends would now risk their lives, fighting, perhaps even dying, in a fight they had been forced to partake, against an enemy that may simply be too strong for them.

Her name was Botan. She had naturally blue hair, which she kept back in a ponytail behind her. Not a color commonly found in the world of the living, but where she came from, the world of Reikai, it wasn't all uncommon. She stood at 5'8, and had a nice, ladylike build beneath the loose articles she always wore. In this case, a magenta button-up shirt with pinstripes on it, and a pair of dark blue slacks. Not the gorgeous pink kimono she was notorious for, but casual enough to fit in. She was not one of the fighters here in the tournament, and a part of her was grateful for that. She had watched these boys fight, watched them get stronger, and seen the amazing things they were capable of, and she knew she couldn't match that. They had dedicated their lives to fighting, something she could definitely not boast, and it certainly showed in the way they fought. She was here technically on business, though she would have come anyway. These were her friends, as she knew them. The leader, Yusuke Urameshi, the brave if a little dimwitted Kozuma Kuwabara, the mysterious Kurama, and yes, even the dark, demon warrior, Hiei. She was concerned for all of them, and even moreso, now that her boss had stepped into the ring.

But to understand her concern, one must first understand her circumstances. At her old job, she had ferried the dead across the realms, to the land of Reikai. There, they would be judged, for good or ill, and an afterlife would be granted to them. Her last ferried soul had been Yusuke Urameshi, the boy whose team was fighting now in this horrifying tournament. His death had been a surprise, taking the government of Reikai by surprise, when this arrogant punk gave his life to shove a small child out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. Not knowing what to do with him, they restored Yusuke to life, and he eventually found himself playing Spirit Detective and hunting down the deadlier criminals, of psychics and of demons. Botan had been appointed his assistant when this happened, his liaison to her boss and now his, Lord Koenma of Reikai. In his time as Spirit Detective, Yusuke had made several allies, including his former rival Kuwabara, the reformed fox demon Kurama, and Hiei, another demon, one whose loyalties were questionable.

This tournament had been the beginning of very dark times. A mountain of a warrior, by the name of Toguro, had forced Yusuke to enter his team in a demonic competition, potentially to the death, between savage teams of demons from the dark, hellish realm of Makai, the home to savage demons, and of psychics from the realm of mortals. As a spirit of Reikai, Botan felt a little out of place. Though, she couldn't help but notice, the demon Hiei seemed to be in his element here. This was his environment more than anyone else's. And his turn had come, in the tournament. She watched, a blend of nervous anxiety and terrified excitement filling her body, because she knew what he intended to do.

At a mere 4'10, Hiei aroused Botan's curiosity, as something she couldn't quite understand. His black hair stood up, and made up about half a foot of his height, ending in little black spikes at the end. Just above his forehead dwelled a seven-pointed top half of what looked to be a star. Hiei dressed all in black, black pants, black boots, with a black, sleeveless shirt over his chest, the black accentuated by a white belt around his waist, which was usually matched by a white headband around his forehead. This time, however, the headband was gone, revealing his most dangerous weapon: embedded within his forehead was a third eye, with a violet iris reminiscent of a cat. This mysterious third eye was known as the Jigan Eye, and was not a natural growth. He had gone to great length to procure it, and weathered indescribable pain to take it into his forehead. Botan couldn't even begin to imagine the pain it must have given him.

As he stepped into the ring, she found herself wondering why. Why was he here? Hiei had commonly shown a dislike for every one of them. He had even threatened Botan with death, the day before the tournament began. He was cold, outright mean, to every member of the team. He was even disrespectful to Koenma, the princeling ruler of Reikai! What possible reason could he have for being here? Only Kurama would know for certain, as the reformed fox demon seemed to know Hiei better than anyone. And she had listened to his words, and tried to make sense of them, but it was difficult to understand. The more she thought about it, the more she began to wonder. When he'd witnessed a thousand opportunities to escape his service to Koenma, and well more opportunities to take his revenge against Yusuke, the man who had arrested him, why did Hiei not take them? He gave a harsh, cruel overtone of not caring for any of them, but now, she had begun to really wonder...could there be more meaning to Kurama's words? Was there really that much more to Hiei than meets the eye? He was an enigma, that much was certain. This was something she had to wonder.

When the fight began, she was met only with more questions. To win the match, to ensure that their team would not fail the tournament, that Yusuke's mission would not fail and that Yusuke could bring justice to Toguro, Hiei had unleashed his most devastating power. With the help of his Jigan Eye, he had summoned the most powerful, most vicious, and most uncontrollable demon of Makai into the ring, an enormous dragon composed entirely of black hellfire. This technique, known only as the Black Dragon Hellfire, was both dangerous and uncontrollable. The last time Hiei had used it, his entire arm had been consumed in the blaze, burned to a devastating crisp, and leaving him to spend hours, even days in solitude, forcing it to heal. Another pain that Botan couldn't begin to imagine. Why had he done this? He had taken on the Eye to find his lost sister, Yukina, but the Dragon? What reason could he have to take such a gamble? It was simply another enigma that Botan found herself trying to understand. Hiei had risked his life, perhaps even his soul, for the sake of Yusuke's mission. Why? What possible reason could he have for taking such a risk? Unless he really did care.

That revelation hit her like a flash. She struggled with the thought, and suddenly Kurama's words made sense. There really was more to Hiei than meets the eye. Behind that cold, careless facade, there was something deeper. She couldn't discern what, couldn't make it out yet. He was not a hero, that much was certain. He was not a noble hero, like Yusuke, nor was he a sweetheart, like Kuwabara. And he certainly wasn't a poetic soul like Kurama. But there was something, something that piqued her curiosity further. There were so many questions this fight had raised, so many questions she now wondered about Hiei. And she had no way of knowing, but she would have a lifetime ahead of her to find the answers.

------------------------------------------------------------------

I know that in the English dub, they call it "Dragon of the Darkness Flame". However, in the translated manga, they call it "Black Dragon Hellfire". I had to pick a name to go with, and frankly, Black Dragon Hellfire just sounds a hell of a lot cooler. So that's what I'm going with.