DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything EXCEPT…and this is kind of a big except…the plot.

Characters: Mostly Hiei/Kurama, but there are also guest appearances by the rest of the Tentei, of course—plus Koenma. Sorry about that.

Setting: Pretty much…any time…doesn't matter…

Warnings: Character death, shounen-ai. Have a problem? Then go away. I'm sorry, but I'm cranky.


Author's Note: I'm back again! Sorry this took so long to get up, but I've been really busy ever since I finished Red and didn't have time to start a new story. But it's the weekend now, so I had a chance to write some!

Anyway, on the subject of this story: it's not exactly like my other stories. Basically, I'm just taking some things that happened in the show and changing them around, or adding to them, for most of the story, until the end, which is my own. I'm sorry if that kind of thing bores you, but it's what I wanted to write and no one is making you read it…although I'd appreciate it if you did, and reviewed.


Prologue

Put your faith in what you most believe in.

Two worlds, one family.

Trust your heart.

Let fate decide

To guide these lives we see.

The Koorime land was a desolate place. Lonely. There were very few who could survive here for long, and of those, fewer wanted to set foot in the territory. All knew that coming here usually meant death. After all, the Koorime were…famous.

However, tonight, there was one who took that risk. He would be in great peril if he was discovered…not that he was safe even if he wasn't seen.

But all the same, he had to come. Though he hated this place and its people with a vengeance, though he longed to destroy every single thing within its bounds, he couldn't stay away.

Damn her. Damn the woman for her lie.

Of course, she wasn't entirely to blame, and he wasn't above admitting his part in the thing. But she was far more at fault. She had been in disguise, and she could have tried to fight him off. It wouldn't have worked for most, but she was Koorime. If he had known, he would have left her alone.

Anyone would have. You didn't mess with Koorime. They were…famous.

A paradise untouched by man.

Within this world blessed with love,

A simple life, they live in peace.

Fire demons don't get hot. That is obvious. But to make up for it, it seems, they are very vulnerable to the cold.

Normally, the demon would have simply used his—rather enormous—power to warm himself, and he had tried, but this cursed place didn't simply resist heat—he could have easily dealt with simple resistance—but banished it.

Which made it pretty much the worse and most dangerous place the demon had ever been.

Best get this over with fast, then.

Softly tread the sand below your feet, now.

Two worlds, one family.

Trust your heart.

Let fate decide

To guide these lives we see.

It felt as if he had been walking around for hours. If he hadn't been so physically strong when he came, he'd probably be dead already. Gods, he hated it here. But if it meant that he could finally do what he had been thinking of for so long, then…it was good.

He came, at last, to the spot. He had never been here, never been told to come, but all the same, he knew that he was supposed to wait right here, because this was where she would come.

The demon found a spot under the tangle of evergreen trees—the only tree that could survive in this bone-cracking cold—and settled down to wait.

Beneath the shelter of the trees,

Only love can enter here.

A simple life, they live in peace.

At long last, she came. He had not heard her, seen her, or sensed her, but he hadn't expected to, and aside from a slight twitch, he showed no surprise at her sudden appearance. He didn't even look up, and waited for her to speak first.

"I knew you would come."

He didn't look, still. "Undoubtedly. But not for the reason you think."

She laughed, and there was no humor in the sound. "Oh, I know exactly why you are here."

He believed her. But despite the fact that she knew what he was going to do, she showed no fear, and sat down next to him. She was not cold, and so had no discomfort to contend with, which put her one up on him.

They sat in silence for some time before she said, "Twins."

He looked at her then, and despite himself, his breath caught. She was beautiful, and like all men, he had a difficult time seeing past the long hair that swirled gently in the cutting wind, the wide, innocent eyes, the pale, pale skin, and the soft features. But if you looked long enough, you realized that a Koorime's beauty is a cold, brittle thing. Her heart is too cold to be truly beautiful.

He turned away. "You know that this is your own fault."

"Yes. And I am willing to accent the punishment, whether it be exile or death." The disdain in her voice made him stiffen for a moment, but then he laughed, harshly.

"You speak of punishment, but what race would punish a man for following his body's will, when he can't know the grave outcome of his actions? Only yours. I remind you, I didn't know what you were until too late. You have no excuse."

"You would not have held back."

He grunted noncommittally. Yes, I would. Then, "Do they know?"

"Not yet. I wanted to meet with you first."

"What if I hadn't come?"

"I knew you would. I will tell them tonight."

"You say this even knowing why I'm here?"

She didn't so much as twitch when she heard his sword slide out of its sheath in a hiss of steel. It was time to end the confining courtesy.

She looked up as the blade began to fall, and their eyes met. Hers showed no anger, only the coldness of her kind. "I do."

Raise your head up.

Lift high the load.

Take strength from those that need you.

Build high the walls.

Build strong the beams.

A new life is waiting.

But danger's no stranger here.

The young Koorime woman walked slowly through the white, unmarked snow. Though she wore only sandals and an ankle-length, thin kimono, she did not feel the cold. Not on the outside.

But inside, she was chilled. She wanted so badly to be different from her frozen-hearted kin. Had wanted it all her life. But apparently, she was just like them, no matter what she said or how she protested.

And now she had to go and tell them. She knew what the outcome was likely to be: death. That or exile. Those were the prices of defying Koorime law, and she held no illusions that they would make an exception. If anything, they would be crueler to her. And one thing was certain in this sea of confusion: there would be no love lost between her and the other Koorime over this. That which does not exist cannot be lost. She only hoped that she could find someone to care for her children before she went.

There were no lights anywhere before her, but she did not have to see to find her way. She walked as slowly as she could toward the largest "house" in the village, feeling and not feeling the snow beneath her feet and the touch of wind upon her face. She heard nothing because there was no sound and saw little because there were no lamps. Hers was a life of darkness and silence, and she had never known that she loved the peace until this moment, when she knew that this was probably her last night to feel it.

"I must see the Old One."

A figure moved, black against black, when she spoke. She did not start; she had known the person was there. "It is late." The woman paused, as if expecting some reply. None came. "You must come back tomorrow."

"No. I need to see her now." If I do not, I will lose my courage.

It was dim inside the large "house", which was really a hut, with the only illumination being a single candle in its brass holder on the wall. In its yellow light sat an old, old woman. Her face was so lined with wrinkles that her features could hardly be made out. Her hair had gone from green to blue-gray. Her arms were like twigs, the bones brittle, but her hands appeared strong. Her eyes were clouded over—she was blind.

But appearances were deceiving. This was the most powerful person in the Ice World, though her physical form was frail.

"Speak."

The voice was harsh and raspy, but clearly used to giving orders and having them followed.

"I have done something, Old One," the young Koorime said, choosing each word carefully. "I have need of council." Or punishment.

The Old One was silent, clearly not intending to say anything until the story was told.

"I have broken many of our laws in doing what I have done. I left the Koorime lands, if only for less than a night. I was aware of what I was doing when I left. I was aware of the laws and the consequences of breaking them. I was under no influence but my own. I left for no reason other than that I wanted to. I think that…part of me wanted to break this rule."

This was bad enough, but the worst was yet to come. She wished that the Old One would stop her, but she didn't so much as shift on the mat she sat on.

"That is not the worst. I…when I left…I laid…with a man."

She thought she detected a slight change in the Old One's position, but there was still no sound. Speaking quickly now, as if hurrying to finish sucking poison from a wound, she finished. "And now I am pregnant. With…with twins." That last part was nearly impossible to get out. Koorime woman had only one child at a time.

There was a long silence, during which the old one sat and the young one stood uncertainly in front of her. Then…

"Who is the father?"

"A hiyoukai, Old One."

"One born of fire. And why does he not come for judgment?"

"He…is dead, Old One."

"An accident?" It was not a real question, but still required an answer.

"No, Old One. I killed him." This, at least, she was not afraid to admit. Killing was no crime anywhere in Makai. Nevertheless, she felt deeply ashamed, and sad. True, she had done what she had to do to protect her life and the lives inside her, but she still thought it wrong to kill in cold blood. That was one thing that set her apart from her kind.

"And you come to seek judgment now. I know this. Leave me and I will think upon the matter."

No words describe a mother's tears.

No words can heal a broken heart.

A dream is gone, but where there's hope…

The view from the edge of the Ice World, a mile up in the air, was usually beautiful. That was one thing anyone would have agreed upon, if anyone in Makai cared about beauty. You could see miles and miles in any direction, and the sunrises and sunsets viewed from here were a sight to behold.

But though the sun rose this morning, its beauty was lost upon one person or more. These people stood in a cluster near the very edge of the Ice World. Two of them held babies in their arms, but the fact that only one of them was a mother could be easily seen in the way they held the children. One cradled the baby she held very carefully, as if it were the most precious thing in existence. The other held her child as if it would burn her, as if she longed to throw it away.

The former was also sobbing, pleading frantically for something, while the latter looked stonily at her. Then the old woman barked a command, and the mother fell silent, though it obviously cost her a great deal in willpower. Once she was stifled, the old one turned and walked slowly, carefully, toward the edge of the island in their air, ignoring the renewed pleas behind her.

As the sun crested over the horizon directly in front of the small group, a little bundle fell over the cliffs, down, down, down into oblivion, and screaming sobs echoed over the quiet-looking Makai.

Somewhere, something is calling for you.

Two worlds, one family.

Trust your heart.

Let fate decide

To guide these lives we see.