Disclaimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho. I do own all original characters used in this story as well as the plot.
Areia Heiwa-Meimu gleefully swung her three-year-old son around in a circle. The boy's laughter filled the room as he flew around.
"Ready, Gin? Here we go!" Areia yelled before tossing the black-and-blonde haired boy onto his blue blanketed bed.
Gin squealed and laughed as he flew through the air and landed bouncing on the bed. "More, mommy! More!" He yelled, throwing his hands up into the air.
Areia giggled at her sons antics. "Now, now baby. That's enough for tonight. It's time for mommy's little boy to go to sleep."
Gin pouted cutely, his aqua-marine eyes shimmering with tears.
"Don't give your mother that look." Ganko said as he walked into a the room. There was a smile on his face as he said it. "Get under those covers and we'll tell you a story." He said, wrapping his arms around his mate's slim waist.
Gin quickly crawled under his blankets and laid down, ready to hear one of his dad's funny stories. Areia softly laughed at his actions and Ganko grins.
"He's just like you." Areia whispered.
Ganko couldn't help but tease his mate. "And that's a bad thing?" He asked. "I've got the best mate in all three worlds, the greatest friends a guy could ask for, two wonderful baby sisters who spoil and look after me, and the most handsome baby boy." His kissed Areia's cheek. "I'm glad he's just like me. It mean's he'll have my undeniable kitsune charm and good looks."
Areia rolled her eyes at her childish mate. "Yes dear. Now, what story are we telling tonight?"
Ganko thought for a moment before grinning. "How about the time I learned that I was going to have to work with Kyoshi for the rest of my life?"
Gin laughed. "Yay! I wanna hear about Auntie Kyo!"
Ganko grinned at his son and then took a seat on the edge of the bed. "Lets see… well, Koenma had called me and your Aunts Hikari, Kitsume, and Sam into his office instead of sending Daisetsu after us for once. Little did we know that he had also called Kyoshi to his office as well."
Areia smiled and listened to Ganko and Gin's favorite story while she cleaned up her son's room a little. She laughed gently whenever Gin interrupted his dad to remind him of something. Unfortunately, halfway through the end of the story they were interrupted by the beeping of Areia's watch which signaled a call from Koenma. Areia quickly excused herself and left the room in order to talk to the now King of Reikai.
The cat demon flipped open the new, more discreet communication device, which is designed to look like a watch, once she got into the living room. "Hey, Koenma. What's up?" She asked.
A tired looking Koenma looks at the cat demon through the communi-vice (1). "Areia, I need you and Ganko to go out on a mission. There's an energy stealer close to your usual sectors. Normally I'd send Hiei or Sam, but Hiei's already on a mission and I can't risk Sam with her being pregnant."
Areia nodded. "Okay. Just tell us where this demon is at and we'll take off."
"It's sector 3b-2," Koenma told her. "in the forested section. Be careful with this one Areia. We haven't even been able to tell what level the demon is and you and Ganko are out of practice."
Areia sighed and sat down at the living table and opened her laptop. She quickly pulled up a program labeled 'sectors' and ran a search for sector 3b-2. "Sector 3b-2, located in the forest region. The demon will most likely be in a clearing otherwise it'd be overwhelmed by the plant energy. So he'll either be in the northwestern, central western clearing, or the south-eastern clearing. Any idea which one, Koenma?"
"We've got it narrowed down to the south-eastern one." Koenma said. "Do you want me to get ahold of Kurama and Kitsume and see if they can baby-sit Gin?"
"That would be wonderful, Koenma." Areia said politely. She quickly exited the program and shut the laptop. "Tell them they can bring Sakura. I'm sure Gin won't mind sharing his bed with his favorite cousin. Ganko and I will leave as soon as they get here. If there are any changes in the location contact me. I'll have my communi-vice with me."
Koenma nodded. "Good luck to both of you." He said before the communi-vice screen went blank.
Areia sighed and carefully strapped the watch to her wrist after closing it. "Ganko! We've got a breech in sector 3b-2 in the south-eastern clearing!"
Ganko's head appeared in the doorway. "Do I have time to finish the story? I'm about five minutes into telling Gin about the time you came to my school and everyone heard that you were my photographer."
Areia shook her head 'no'. "Ganko, we have just enough time to get ready before Kitsume and Kurama arrive with Sakura. I told Koenma we'd leave as soon as they get here."
Ganko pouted. "Can I finish it tomorrow?"
"Of course. I wouldn't have it any other way." Areia replied, walking over to her mate. She peered in the room to see her son watching her and Ganko curiously, his cat ears twitching slightly.
"What's wrong, mommy?" Gin asked.
"Your dad and I have to go on a short mission for Koenma. Your Aunt Kitsume and Uncle Kurama are coming over to watch you and they're bringing Sakura. We'll be back before morning." Areia tells him. "So be good for them like you always are."
"Do Sakura and I get to den together tonight?" Gin asked.
Ganko grinned at the word 'den'. "If you want to. Shall I get the blankets?" He asked before Areia could say anything.
Gin nodded and sprang up from his bed to help his father. Within seconds they have a huge pile of blankets on the floor along with several pillows. Gin buried himself in the blankets quickly so his mom wouldn't scold him.
Ganko was then dragged from the room by Areia so they could go get dressed. They couldn't very well go slay the demon in their pajama's, now could they?"
Areia was the first to exit her and Ganko's bedroom. She was dressed in a simple black long-sleeved shirt with a tie-dyed blue and purple vest over it and dark red pants. She quickly walked to the door and opened it, making sure to step back to let the family of fox demons in.
Ganko soon exited the room dressed in blue jeans and a black t-shirt.
All too soon it was time for the pair to leave for their mission. Sakura and Gin were tucked into their little den, although it was doubtful that they were sleeping. Before Ganko and Areia left, Kitsume spoke up.
"Be careful out there, guys." The black and green haired fox demon said. "Something's telling me that something bad is going to happen."
Ganko smiled and hugged his sister. "We'll be fine, sis. You worry too much."
"We'll be back before you know it." Areia said. "In the meantime, make yourselves comfortable. You both know where everything is and nothing has changed since your last visit."
With that said, the two left. Kitsume shivered as the door closed behind them.
Kurama noticed this and embraced his worried mate and laid his head on her shoulder. "Calm yourself, koi. They'll be just fine like they always are. You'll see. Those two will come back a little beat up and tired. Ganko will be complaining about how it was a waste of his precious sleeping hours while Areia says something witty and gets him to blush. Then the two will disappear into the bedroom with your brother saying things that could have perverted meanings to Areia. Areia will then tell him to shut up so that the children don't wake up. Just like always." He kissed his vixen on her cheek. "You'll see."
"Just like always…" Kitsume softly said, as if trying to convince herself. "Just like always." She repeated, more firmly this time. She turned and smiled at her handsome mate and kissed him on the lips. "Thanks."
Areia shivered as she and Ganko stood in the middle of the clearing looking around for any signs of the energy stealing demon.
"Maybe it's not here." Ganko suggested. He yawned immediately after saying that. "Man, this is a waste of time! We could be at home cuddled up in bed by now."
Areia rolled her stormy blue eyes at her immature mate's comments. "Ganko, has there ever been a time when Koenma has been wrong about a demon sighting?" She asked, trying to get him to focus.
Ganko had to think for almost a minute before he answered. "Well, no. But he's not always right about the area the demon is in. This energy stealer could in in one of the other two clearings."
Areia tiredly smirked. "Well, if that's the case…" She aimed her pointer finger up into the air, Spirit Gun style, and let loose a beam of her silver-blue energy. "There. Now the demon comes to us and we don't have to go through the process of finding the stupid thing."
"How did I ever find such a clever mate?" Ganko questioned, kissing Areia on the cheek.
"You got very lucky." Areia replied. Then she narrowed her eyes as the demon approaches. "It's here."
Ganko gathers some of his energy into his right hand and takes a few steps to Areia's left. Areia subconsciously extended her claws and drew a little electrical power to her fingertips.
"Well, looks like Koenma's little lackey's have come out to play." A dark voice said. "It's about time."
A small hiss escaped Areia's lips and her eyes flashed bright green briefly when the demon stepped into the clearing.
The demon could have easily passed as a human if it hadn't been for his blood red eyes and claws. He had gray hair, pale skin, and slightly pointed ears which made him a classic example of an energy stealer. However, that made it impossible for Areia and Ganko to determine what type of energy stealer he was.
"Well, are you going to attack?" Asked the amused demon. "Or are you just going to sit there and make this even easier for me?"
Ganko and Areia exchanged glances before nodding. Areia then closed her eyes and focused her energy into casting an invisible illusion on Ganko. Ganko meanwhile focused his own energy on creating his original twisted ice staff/sword.
Meanwhile, the demon just stood there. Yes, you read correctly. He's just standing there with a weird all-knowing smirk.
Soon the illusion was put up around Ganko to make him invisible and already Areia was panting, a few small beads of sweat leaving trails down her face.
Ganko sensed that his mate wouldn't be able to hold it very long and quickly darted forward while creating a second twisted ice staff/sword. Then he did a spin, aiming one staff/sword high and the other low.
Ganko and Areia gasped in shock as the demon drew his own two swords and blocked the attack. Because of the shock, Areia's unstable illusion completely fell apart. That left Ganko wide open.
A scream ripped from Ganko's throat as the demon created a whip made of energy and used it to slam Ganko into a tree.
"GANKO!" Areia screamed.
Ganko coughed heavily and sat up, clutching at his side. "I'm fine! Just stay back Areia!" He yelled as he eyes slowly changed to an icy silver-blue, which signaled he was about to use a powerful ice or snow attack.
"Be careful!" Areia yelled back, wishing she could do something to help. She shivered as the clearing began to frost over. 'Waist. Frost plus cold plus Ganko's powers equals a blinding snow attack! If I can form my ice daggers-' She cut off her thoughts as the demon's whip shot out of nowhere in Ganko's direction. "GANKO! BEHIND YOU!" Areia screamed.
Ganko reacted a little too late as the whip tightly wrapped around him and slammed him into another tree. At this point Areia began to see red, so when Ganko was slammed into another tree she snapped and released her aura in a large colorful blast.
When the light faded away Areia had freed Ganko from the whip and was helping him stay on his feet.
The demon smirked at them. "Well, I guess this will be a challenge. And I also get the honor of killing one of the last of the true Unknown cat demons!"
"As if we'll really let you kill us." Areia hissed. "We're stronger than that!"
"Ah," The demon said, his smirk growing larger. "but you have been considerably weakened by your little whelp. What do you call him? Ah yes, Gin. Rather feminine, isn't it?"
Since she was the only thing supporting Ganko, Areia had to settle for growling and hissing at the energy stealer. Ganko settled for directing a menacing glare at the energy stealer while he manipulates his fallen ice staff/sword into breaking apart to form small ice daggers.
'Dammit.' Areia fiercely thought. 'That jerk is right. We haven't fought any really tough opponents for years because Gin's still young and we can't leave him alone for long. We were just starting to regain some of our old strength back recently.' She cast a glance at her communi-vice. 'If I could call Kit and Kurama then we could team up and get rid of this guy… but then there would be nobody to watch the kids.' She frowned. 'I'll tell Kit to call Botan.' "Will you be alright?" Areia whispered to Ganko, discreetly gesturing to the communi-vice.
Ganko nodded and continued to focus on making the ice shards sharp enough while the energy stealer continued on about how weak they had become.
Areia quickly flipped open the device and pressed the green button with the symbol for 'illusion' on it. "Kit! We need you-"
Areia jumped at the sudden noise and hissed when the communi-vice snapped in half.
"Now, you very well know that I can't let you call in back up. Not that it'd make much of a difference seeing as how you're going to die anyway. It's a pity though. I'll have to kill you sooner now.
Areia's eyes narrowed in hatred and she formed a ball of wind behind her back.
"And the half breed is first."
Ganko and Areia both yelp as the demon's energy whip came between them and roughly shoved them apart. Areia hissed upon hitting the ground and looked up in time to see Ganko crashing into a tree so hard that the tree fell over. Her eyes widened fearfully when he landed in a crumpled head.
"G-Ganko?" She asked hoarsely. "Ganko!" She cried a little louder. "GANKO!" Areia frantically screamed, scrambling to her feet.
"I don't think so, cat."
Areia sharply exhaled when something pierced her midsection and went straight through her. She glared at the demon in front of her as her breathing became heavier. The demon merely smirked and jerked the sword out of her, jumping away as the cat demon feebly swipes at him.
Areia slowly sank to the ground, her eyes clenched tightly shut due to the pain. One arm was wrapped around her stomach in an attempt to slow the blood loss.
"Aww, the poor little kitten can't play anymore." The demon remarked. The he began laughing
Areia trembled as her power began to break the wards she has always had placed on her to contain her explosive power. Swirls of rainbow colored light began to swirl around her as one-by-one her necklaces snapped off her neck and the two stripes on her cheek appeared. "Egyptian goddess, Lady Bast, please hear my plea. Take my hate, take my courage, take my love, take my spirit, and help me find enough strength to defeat this foe. And please watch over my beloved son in my absence." She frantically whispered. Then her powers exploded out of control.
Her eyes swirled with every color associated with the different elements and she raised her hand and pointed it Shot Gun style at the demon. Then, while the crazy demon was still laughing, she let loose all of her energy in the final attack.
The light from her attack flooded the entire area, making it impossible to see anything. Slowly the light faded away and only Ganko and Areia were left in the clearing.
"AREIA!" Kitsume's frantic scream could be heard. "Areia! Ganko!" The female fox demon darted out into the clearing and stopped short at the sight. "Oh kami…" She noticed Areia crawling over to Ganko and took note of the blood staining the cat demon's clothing.
Kitsume's breath caught in her throat when she saw her older brother's beaten and unmoving form. "Ganko…!" She hoarsely whispered. She quickly ran over to the two, as Areia had reached her beloved mate's side and collapsed there.
Areia didn't even move to look up at Kitsume. "Kit… you made it."
Kitsume kneeled down. "What happened…" She started but then shook her head. "Nevermind. Lets get you two out of here and to Spirit World. You need serious medical attention."
Kitsume stared at Areia aghast. "What? But why?"
"I used my life energy in that last attack… Please…. Take care of Gin."
Kitsume's eyes widened. "What? No! Areia, you'll be fine! You- you have to get better. Gin still needs you."
Areia erupted into a coughing fit and her entire body shook from the force. "I know… please take care… of him. Please, Kit." She begged.
Kitsume sadly nodded her head, her eyes filling with tears. "Okay… I promise that I'll take care of Gin the best I can. Kurama and I will raise him with Sakura and he'll never forget that his parents were heroes."
Areia smiled painfully. "Th-thank you…" She closed her eyes and took a final breath. Then she laid still.
Tears poured from Kitsume's eyes and she let out a mournful howl that could be heard in all three worlds.
In the Makai, Alex awakened with a start and rushed outside, ignoring the questioning calls of his own mate. Once outside he looked up at the poll that had a bunch of brightly colored bells hanging from it. His heart skipped a beat when Areia's pure white spirit bell (2) shattered into a million pieces.
The pride of griffins looked up as one and all of the other creatures living in the forest listened as a soft chiming noise filled the air. Somewhere in the forest a phoenix burst into flames and was soon reborn from the ashes. (3)
(1) Combination of 'communication' and 'device'. It was named by Yusuke and Kyoshi's oldest and only son, Kaiiten.
(2) The spirit bells are a creation of Alex and Areia's that they came up with when they were kids. They each had a bell and the bells hold a small, teeny tiny piece of their spirit. The idea was that the bell would ring when one of them was in trouble and obviously if one of them were to die the bell would shatter.
(3) In Illusion it was mentioned that Areia swore she had seen a phoenix before.
Shiro: Please don't kill me! (runs off and hides)
Bast, Kyle, Keitaro, and Damian: (all sweatdrop)
Kaze: (rolls her eyes)
Bast: Well, I'm going to go drag Shiro out from wherever she's hiding. She's got more work to do. (runs off)
Damian: How come she gets to escape the wrath of the readers?
Kaze: Are you a man or are you a mouse?
Damian: (grins) And if I choose mouse?
Everyone else: (sweatdrops)
Damian: (still grinning) Squeak, squeak.