A/N: Oh god, it's been awhile. So sorry to have kept you waiting for half a year. Shameful, really. But, I have a reason! After the seventh book came out, I was hit with a huge case of writer's block. So now, I have patched this chapter together with great difficulty. Just as a note…this story will most likely NOT stay true to J.K. Rowling's Deathly Hallows, what with the character deaths. So just consider this an 'alternate' ending to Harry Potter, with the YYH gang, of course.
Enough with the excuses. On with the story!
Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form do I claim ownership over Harry Potter and/or Yu Yu Hakusho.
Yusuke. It's clear now. Kurama's voice came through.
The detective brightened. "Come on! It's time to go!"
The humans glanced at each other, then began to run through the 'leafy' wall, one by one.
Once again, the group was together. The humans, along with Yusuke, looked around the area, expecting to see signs of a great struggle, yet all that met their eyes was the sight of Kurama and Hiei standing side by side, watching.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked anxiously. "They said you were in trouble."
Kurama smiled apologetically. "Forgive me. I was merely startled. Thank you for your concern."
The wizards and witch, accepting this answer, began to look curiously around. Yusuke, however, noticed the tear in Kurama's tunic that had not been there earlier, running from shoulder blade to collarbone.
What happened? He asked with narrowed eyes.
Kurama sighed wearily. Small scratch, nothing to worry about, Yusuke.Keep it quiet. We don't need others to concern themselves with this as well.
Yusuke was not easily deterred. Did you take care of it?
The kitsune could not resist a smile. Yes, Hiei assisted me in dressing it. How could I leave it, with you two mother hens fussing over me? He added teasingly.
Well, good thing we're here, Yusuke replied, rolling his eyes. You may be the smartest person I know, but sometimes, I get the feeling you'd go running off a cliff if we didn't watch you.
Good thing then. Kurama agreed, grinning wolfishly.
Hiei inspected the kitsune closely. When must you switch?
Kurama's grin faded slightly. Youko?Soon, by the looks of it. He's making quite a fuss.
Yeah. Yusuke smirked. We can tell.
Shaking his head, Kurama turned his attention back to the others.
"So," he said brightly. "Should we be going again?"
Noticing that he had caught their attention, Kurama proceeded to ask Snape and Draco a question that had been laying on his mind.
"Would you two happen to know the purpose of the maze? Where does it lead?"
The robed wizards exchanged a glance. "At the centre, should be the Dark lord, his snake, and the final demon he hired," Snape answered slowly.
"Yes," Draco agreed. "The demon was wrecking the inside of the house, and so he moved out here. But the Dark Lord has made it so that quite a few charms and spells do not work. The Lumos spell, for example, and that charm that Potter used in the Triwizard Tournament that could point to the centre of the maze."
"Yes," Snape said. The Dark Lord wished to make your journey to him as difficult as possible. He may even harbour the hope that Potter's companions are killed in this maze before you even catch a glimpse of him."
"So he tries to weaken us as much as possible before reaching him." Kurama mused. "Interesting. Well then, we must be prepared to spend some time in here. I must warn you all, though. We may be lacking in some basic necessities; food and drink will not be conjured up often. I know that we all need energy to face the Dark Lord, or Voldemort, and we will have to do the best we can."
Hermione cleared her throat. "I have some of the leftovers with me." From her rucksack, she pulled out three sticks of the bread-like food, wrapped loosely in leaves.
"Hermione! Wow, I never would have thought to bring those along. You just saved us all from starvation!" Ron said laughingly, as he nudged the pink-faced girl with his elbow.
"That should help us a bit. Only eat when you must; the more you eat, the more you thirst, and water is difficult to come by here." Kurama warned.
"We've made it all this way without any huge plans," Yusuke drawled. "Stop being such a worrywart, fox-boy. Let's just go."
"Hn. For once, the detective speaks logic. If you weren't so busy thinking about the ningens, you would have realized that we are wasting valuable time, Kurama. The sooner we move, the sooner I get to kill the reason I'm on this ridiculous mission."
"Of course, Hiei. I apologize for wasting your time. However, these ningens, as you put it, have quite a large role in your wish to kill the nuisances," the kitsune reasoned.
Hiei turned away. "Fine. But do not blame me when everything goes wrong."
As if on cue, a slight tremor was felt. Anxiously, everyone glanced at one another, confirming the movement was real. Hiei's eyes had widened slightly, as the only indication he was caught off-guard by the timing. Kurama's jaw was clenched, and his eyes narrowed. Yusuke had cocked his head to the side, and his whole body tensed, ready to spring. The rest of the wizards and witch warily drew out their wands, glancing around to find a sign; any sign of what was happening.
"Stand in a circle. This way, each of us will have our backs covered by another." Kurama instructed in a low voice.
The Tantei were already standing in their usual formation; a shape resembling a triangle. Between them stood the wizards, with Hermione in the middle.
They stood this way, unmoving, for what seemed like a long, long time, without another sign of danger. It had returned to the eerie stillness, interrupted only by the light breathing of the group. Finally, Ron couldn't resist but to speak up.
"Hey, guys? May be whatever was coming here has turned around and left…I don't hear anything approaching…" the wizard offered hopefully.
Nobody answered, being focused on the smallest noise, the slightest movement. When the wizards and witch finally began relaxing, it came again. The tremble; a warning of something far away.
No. Kurama corrected himself as a horrifying revelation came to him. Not far away…He glanced around, suppressing the worry welling up within him. His eyes met Hiei's behind Harry's head; their expression mirroring the other's look of shocked understanding. Whatever it is, it's close…too close to have moved. That means it has been here all along…but where?
Kurama.Hiei's deep voice resonated in the redhead's mind. Could we be looking at this the wrong way? I have felt no traces of energy moving towards us. Perhaps it is not a living creature. Perhaps…
Kurama gave a quick intake of breath. A trap! Not a creature! Hiei, we must get them all away!
The former thief turned immediately to Yusuke, on his other side.
"Yusuke," the fox said in an eerily calm voice. "You need to get Master Malfoy, Ron, and Hermione away. Move slowly and carefully away from myself and Hiei. Go!"
The detective obeyed without question. He had heard this tone used by the redhead before. It was to be obeyed immediately, without question. Moving as the demon ordered, the four slowly began working their way away from the area.
While he was following Kurama's instructions, the kitsune turned back to the hiyoukai.
"Hiei. If you would be so kind as to taking Harry with you and moving the opposite direction as Yusuke and the others?"
"Hn," The fire demon grabbed the collar of the boy-who-lived, and all but dragged him in the direction as stated by the kitsune.
Seeing Hiei was already a distance from hi, Kurama turned to Snape.
"Shall we be going?"
The two took a few steps towards Hiei and Harry, when several things happened at once.
A roaring, ear-splitting noise came cutting through the air as the group felt the ground beneath them begin to tremble. The earth beneath their feet seemed to be loosening, collapsing lower and lower with each second that passed. Right where the group was standing before, the ground fell away with a thud, with the surrounding land being dragged into the ever-growing hole, like an avalanche of grass and dirt.
Scrambling away with the three others in front of him, Yusuke risked a glance back to the rest of the group. He noticed that Hiei and Harry were already far enough from the now gaping hole, probably due to the hiyoukai's lightning quickness. Kurama though…The demon and wizard were sprinting side by side towards the other two. For a minute, it looked as if they would outrun the expanding gap in the ground. Then, Yusuke's brown eyes widened in horror as he saw Snape stumble, then fall hard onto the ground. As he stood with the other three standing behind him, staring, transfixed at the scene, he opened his mouth.
"Kurama!" The detective screamed. "Whatever you do, you'd better sure as hell do it fast!"
The others saw Kurama glance at the approaching hole, then at Snape. Then, the redhead bent down and dragged the gasping professor up, pushed him forward, and began running alongside the stumbling wizard.
"Kurama! You're not running fast enough!" Yusuke bellowed. "Hurry!"
Indeed, the widening hole was at their heels, chasing them like a fire hungrily devouring the ground beneath it. But then, the group saw something that made them hope. The speed that the ground was falling away at was slowly decreasing, slowing down. However, as the pace diminished they saw something bursting out of the pit.
Wooden stakes. Each sharpened to a point, they popped out of the ground like weeds. Falling into the pit now meant inevitable death; being impaled on wooden spikes.
Kurama nearly laughed out loud at the irony. Finally, when the hole was about to stop widening, finally, when it had slowed enough to be avoided, he was about to get caught in it because of some human who couldn't run.
No. This will not be the end…not for any of us. Not here!
In a final act of desperation, Kurama grabbed the back of the terrified wizard's robes, sprinted forwards with two long strides, and took a huge leap as the hole gave it's final spurt of speed.
Hiei, who had been watching the whole time, albeit with his hand still gripping Harry's collar, ready for instant flight, suddenly pushed him away. The boy stumbled, fell back, and stared up at Hiei in confusion.
Kurama! Hiei gave a forceful mental call. Whip!
He unsheathed his katana, and in a blur of movement, plunged it deep in the ground in front of him. The others merely watched in surprise as Hiei pulled Harry back with him, away from his weapon.
Instantly, a thin green vine flew through the air to wind itself tightly around Hiei's katana. By now, the two had disappeared into the shadows of the hole, and the group waited with bated breath to see what would happen.
Out of nowhere, a shaking hand reached out of the pit. Time seemed to stand still as everyone watched the shadowed figure haul himself out of the hole and kneel, gasping, on the edge.
KuramaYusuke bit his lip in a mixture of worry and confusion as he stared at the one drunkenly stumble to his feet and stagger towards Hiei, who was tensed, and Harry, who had his gaze alternating between the katana, the hole, and the figure.
In the twilight, they could now see from the silhouette that the features of his profile weren't the delicate, refined look of Kurama, and the unsteady gait not the kitsune's soft, graceful steps.
It wasn't Kurama. It was Snape.
By now, the initial anxiety that the two Tantei felt had progressed to full-blown terror.
"Hiei…" Yusuke called, mouth dry. "Where is Kurama?"
The look he received said clearly, Shut up before I throw you in there.
Before any of them could say another word, a red blur shot out of the pit. Heart in his throat, Yusuke could barely contain his excitement when he identified it as crimson hair. Holding his breath, he watched as the red-haired flipped twice in his jump to land solidly on his feet. Red hair. Kurama.
Letting loose a strangled cheer, the spirit detective rushed as close to the edge as he dared, the other three close behind.
"Kurama!" Yusuke shouted, much relieved. "What the hell are you trying to pull? I already died twice, you know!"
The redhead had coiled the vine and was grasping it loosely in his hand, like a rope. "I apologize, Yusuke." He walked towards Hiei, Snape, and Harry, and upon reaching them, turned towards the spirit detective.
"Odd." He stated with a raised eyebrow. "A simple trap that I had not foreseen. I really must be slipping. Hiei, when all this is over and done with, remind me to go back to the Makai for a spell. I can think of a few who's vast treasure troves really must be pining for me by now."
"Tch." Hiei turned around with a grunt. "Baka kitsune." However, he turned his head back when he felt a light hand fall upon his shoulders.
"Thank you, Hiei," the redhead said with a warm, sincere smile. "I am in your debt."
The hiyoukai gently eased himself out of the kitsune's soft grip. However, he turned to gift the former thief a light smirk.
"It wasn't me with the whip, Kurama."
The kitsune dropped his hand and looked at Hiei, surprised. Then, a beautiful, breathtaking smile lit his face.
"Thank you," he repeated.
"Oi!" Yusuke called. "Now that you're all safe, can we keep moving?" The detective shook his head affectionately. "Seriously, you two. It wasn't me complaining about being slow."
Hiei turned around again, striding to Harry, still gaping at Kurama in astonishment, and Shape, who kneeled, hunched over, hair falling around his face in limp strands.
"Get up," he ordered harshly. "Unless you wish to stay behind alone, move."
Meanwhile, Kurama had made his way over once again to the edge of the pit. Dropping to one knee, he lay his palms flat on the grassy floor. With a burst of his youki, grass burst from either side of the pit and grew longer and wider to overlap in the middle and plunge into the other side, forming a long, green bridge.
"If you will," Kurama gave a small bow and gestured towards the gently swaying green path.
Rising unsteadily, the wizards made their way to cross the treacherous pit. The two stepped slowly and carefully, under the watchful gazes of Kurama and Hiei, who were bringing up the rear.
Anxiously, the others watched as the members of the group made their way across the makeshift bridge, each step placed with the precision of a diamond cutter.
The last one to cross, Kurama gracefully stepped down to the ground. Flexing his ki, he retraced the grass bridge.
"So nobody may follow," he explained, with a meaningful glance towards Hiei and Yusuke.
They understood. Not only could no one follow, but any deserters would be hindered by the trap.
"Pretty slick, fox-boy." Yusuke said with a smirk.
Hiei resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "It seems like both your memories are quite short. What have we discussed about wasting time?"
"Chill, Hiei. No need to get your panties in a twist," Yusuke drawled.
The fire demon's glare turned dangerous. "My what, detective?"
"Never mind, Hiei," Kurama interrupted, holding back a grin. "Shall we be on our way?"
Giving one final warning glare to Yusuke, who was holding his stomach and laughing, the hiyoukai turned, with the wizards and witch all following closely behind.
Looking up, Yusuke let out another shriek of laughter. "K-Kurama!" he said, breathing hard. "Look! It's just like you said! Hiei's the mother hen, and look! Look at all those baby chicks following him!"
Kurama had to laugh. "Oh, Yusuke. You know that's not what I had in mind when I accused the two of you of being mother hens."
The fire demon could take no more. Red-faced, he turned furiously to the other two Tantei.
"Kurama, hurry up. If the detective wished to talk incessantly of inane subjects, he can stay behind." Hiei snarled.
Quickly walking to stand beside the other demon, Kurama gave a light grin.
"But Hiei, I am already here."
With a snort, Hiei stalked off, with the humans alternating their gazes between the fire demon, Kurama, and the still snickering Yusuke.
Taking a few steps in Hiei's direction, Kurama stopped, then turned.
"Let's go, everybody."
A/N: And there we have it! The incredibly bad chapter that had no real purpose, except to be a chapter. I left the story for so long that when I tried to rewrite it, I accidentally wrote Kuwabara into it for three pages before realizing what I was doing. So, hopefully, there will be a new update soon.
Thank you so much, to all of the reviewers. It is always so exciting to receive a new review, no matter how short. So to all of those who dropped by and left a note, I love you guys!
Oh, and for future plot development purposes, does anyone happen to know details of Hiei and Kurama's partnership (Kurama's agreement), and the laws of the Reikai and such? It would be a great help! Thanks to all!
Like it? Hate it? Won't know if you don't tell me!