Kiss of Poison
personal rating: 7/10
Part Two: The Kochou no Otome
Hiei stood in a world of solid white, framed of pearl-smooth walls that dipped and curved in waves that somehow mimicked froth-laced waves curling over in their peaks to slid back down, easing to the glass-clear floor. That delicate, pristine beauty was tainted as a thick droplet of red - deeper, darker than any other having at once felt along the crystal - fell to gather in tiny, ragged tear-like pools at his feet. Blood . . . not enough to betray any deadly wound, yet still dripping, proof of the slash across one upper arm and shoulder. His clothes were slightly ripped and shaded in sweat and dust from the battle he had just foregone; a faint bruise marked the lower line of his jaw, reflective of the hard, narrow wariness of his eyes.
His katana was still out and poised, the edge still lined in blood and dirt; only the sight of his left arm cradled against his waist, coupled with the vague, near non-existent favoring of his left ankle gave explanation for the blood, as there his shirt was ripped open and stained. No other sign of weakness was revealed; not even the set of his jaw gave hint to the fact that he may or may not have felt the pain of such a wound.
He glanced one way and then another with the utmost in caution, advancing step upon step in silence, his senses expanded to their fullest in which to encompass all sight, sound, or warning given them. The vague sluggishness to his left ankle drew the droplets of blood that had fallen to small, smearing lines, leaving a trail of determination behind as he moved; his focus was pure and narrowed upon his intent alone.
The explanations had been simple and brief; Genkai's cryptic message of 'not so much a where, as to a how' had been received with a little less than the utmost in enthusiasm, and her complete explanation even more so. The Kochou no Otome was not to be found in any easy manner, it seemed, for not only was she a god who chose not to normally interact with either the world of the humans or the demons - rather, she couldn't. Thousands of years ago she had separated herself from all three of the worlds, for she found she could not bear to feel the pain, the hurt, the anguish, in any - however slight, or excessive. She locked herself away in a realm of her own creation, and only the most worthy could pass into it.
The 'most worthy' were chosen by way of skill, honesty, and desperation. Each soul which dared to try and approach her realm were tried by three tests in a place beyond Genkai's temple, yet not quite in another world. The first test, was that of one in battle. Yuusuke, Kuwabara, and Hiei accepted this challenge without so much as a back-glance, in the off-chance that it might mean saving their friend. They tore into the insubstantial demons that came at them, watching as the cold, ice-marble floor grew dark and slick with blood. They had fought as usual; each separated and yet allied. And then Kuwabara had need Yuusuke's help, and Yuusuke found his rei gun barred from offering such, for some vague power blocked his own from interfering. It was the same for Hiei - neither could help one another in the proving of their skill against the demons. And thus, Kuwabara had been the first to fall.
The second test was that of honesty; how well did Yuusuke and Hiei, in all truth, know themselves - and know the creature that they struggled so valiantly to save? That was where Yuusuke fell - not because he was dishonest in how he knew and viewed Kurama, but because was not honest in how he thought of himself.
It was left to Hiei, then, to face the third and final test; how desperate was he, to have Kurama back - safe, and well?
Whatever answer that was found within him, it must have been the correct one, for he had suddenly found himself here, within this world of marble and glass, his wounds still fresh from a battle that could have commenced no more than twenty minutes before. Before him the flowing, white hallway turned a corner; cautiously it was upon this that he advanced, glancing around the turn before making his way beyond.
In waves the white hallway folded out upon itself, opening into a chamber of cream and froth-softened color that eased the pains of the eye. Silently his eyes narrowed as he looked this way and that before allowing his gaze to settle upon the only item within.
At first, all he could make out was what appeared to be an upraised level of the floor, piled high with white and cream silken blankets and pillows, creating a large, plush nest that would have come as high as his chest had he stood beside it. He turned his head a bit, studying the mass of blankets and pillows . . . until it shifted and a beautiful young woman pushed herself up to sit, the long, flowing locks of sun-blonde hair slipping down her shoulders to lay like a cloak about her form.
She was an exact replica of the sketch Genkai had shown them; her gown was layer upon layer of sparkling beauty, pooling around in like the tears of a summer's rain, such that it was near impossible to state where they ended and the blankets of her nest began. Her skin was soft and porcelain-like, pale, yet sustained by the faintest touches of dawn's blush, adding life to beauty. She was slim and graceful - every movement was like the flow of water against the wind, the caress of a breathy whisper - her face heart-shaped, yet delicate. Her lips were lined and colored in a shimmering golden shade, as were her eyelids and the outlying corners of her eyes, magnifying the soft, sparkling intensity of the shear golden-blue of her gaze. A single circlet of gold held back the curling locks of hair from her face; below, fastened about the smooth flesh of her throat lay a single ribbon of pale, cream-lace, from which glimmer a single, white-gold spider.
She was the embodiment of every whispering hope, every flicker of a dream that ever came to touch any heart with hands as gentle as down. She was beauty incarnate.
She was every child's last innocent wish.
Her gaze, although soft and compassionate, held only innocent curiosity in sight of him. There was no revulsion, no fear, and no worry in view of his stained katana, torn clothes, nor the blood that dripped from his wound to splatter - the only movement, the only sound - upon the floor. She, too, tilted her head, contemplating his presence in her realm, even as he stared back, immobile and silent.
After a moment of gazing deeply into the solid crimson of his eyes, she appeared to find what she had been searching for, and a look of understanding replaced most of the curiosity.
"Oh. I see, now . . ." she whispered, her voice a thin, echoing chime that resonated easily within the chamber, yet remained quiet, soft, insubstantial. "Come, Hiei . . ."
One tiny hand lifted and beckoned to him; with a firm line to his jaw, his hand clenched upon the hilt of his blade. He moved closer, the dirt, the blood upon his clothes and the slight limp to his step somehow pronounced all the more in the sight of her grace. When he spoke, his tone was harsh and gruff, yet more subdued than it should have been - than it would have been, had he not been standing before her. "Tell me how to cure Kurama. What do I have to do?"
"You would do anything to save him . . ." She reached out, her fingers trailing down the turn of his cheek in a bare caress as she smiled. Hiei said nothing and remained still, his muscles coiled and tight as she leaned closer. Her hand slid farther to cup the back of his neck, teasing the short, course black hair there as she breathed soft promises in his ear. "Silence holds my kiss, Hiei, to seal the promises not yet spoken aloud."
He began to pull away, grimacing - and found himself drawn closer instead as the woman drew back just enough to bring her lips to meet his. He had only a second to realize what she was doing - before he found his mouth opened beneath her own. A sound escaped him - a sound of indignation, anger - yet in a moment he stilled, his crimson gaze widening in sudden realization. He held silent then, bearing her kiss as he would bear any of his sister's kindly hugs, with discomfort, patience - however strained - until she ended the kiss as she had begun it. She smiled, her fingers curling in his hair before she gave him another quick, innocent kiss and released him.
Only her eyes lay locked to his as she lay down, reclining once more upon her blankets and pillows. "Go to him now, Hiei. And remember -" the tips of her fingers traced his lower lip; he scowled, yet said nothing. "Silence . . ."
He stopped, his dark eyes taking in and accepting all sight they were given of the fox - his fox - before he kneeled beside him, reaching out to touch Kurama's pale cheek. Carefully he touched his thumb to the youko's lower lip, bidding his mouth to open and then . . . he kissed him.
The effect was immediate; the second Hiei's lips parted, releasing the golden poison the Kochou had given him, Kurama reacted. A tiny, chirp-like whimper sounded in the back of his throat as he shifted beneath Hiei, his arms wrapping around the fire-demon, one curling around his neck, drawing him closer. Hiei held himself up by one hand, his other still set almost tenderly upon Kurama's jaw as he willingly gave into the fox's desperate need to take all the antidote he could. It was instinctive, this first reaction - one Hiei had only partially expected. Kurama was acting solely upon the physical needs of his ningen form as it struggled to preserve its own life.
It was only when the antidote was mostly gone, that the reasoning for such actions was forgotten. It was only when Kurama's lips slowly, hesitantly began moving against his in a more purposeful manner, that Hiei gave into his need to truly taste the beauty he had always watched from afar. Unnoticed, the last of the golden poison escaped their lips and slid down Kurama's cheek, yet neither gave it any the least of their thoughts, as the fox himself was far too occupied at the moment, the drugged coma of the Kumo's kiss falling away at the touch of Hiei's.
The kiss was ended; Hiei teased his lips up and free from Kurama's and lifted his head. He made as if to move away then, yet Kurama's arms allowed him no more movement than that. His breathing was uneven, faint, a warmth of moist air against Hiei's throat. "Onegai . . ."
Hiei looked down, his eyes to slits of crimson-red, open just enough for him to see the rosy flush to Kurama's cheeks, to be witness to the youko's need that mirrored his own. He huffed a brief laugh as the youko's touch became like velvet steel against his back, drawing him to the floor once more, straining the arm that held him up such that it folded, his fore-arm and elbow connecting dully with the wooden floor. His voice, when he managed to gather enough control to speak, was low and husky, breathy and breathless in a way he had never imagined his voice could sound. "Please what, fox?"
"Onegai, Hiei . . ." Kurama's wrist curled around the back of his neck once more, drawing him lower until the last word was spoken in a brush of their lips. "More . . ."
He kissed him then, a true kiss, as the other two were meant to have been - as they should have been. Wild, fierce, and yet delicate and gentle, laced with nips and bites and teasing, flickering tongues. Dominance and submission, ferocity and gentleness . . . between them it was both and yet all. Everything beyond the two of them was forgotten - all the past, all the future, all the present - all fears, all intimidation's, all hopes and all dreams - all, forgotten in light, in lieu, of a single kiss . . .
And then -
"Oi, Hiei! - what was the big idea just -"
Kurama reared up, grasping at only air as Hiei flittered out of his grip and out of sight; he was left to sprawl upon the ground, his hand clawing into a fist, a snarl upon his lips, death flaring within his eyes as he looked up . . . to see a completely oblivious Yuusuke grinning down upon him.
"Hey, Kurama! Man, you're awake! Wow, you wouldn't believe -"
"Yuusuke . . ."
"You. Shall. Die."
"What? Woa . . . listen, Kurama, you know you don't have to start glowing like . . . that . . . Kurama? Wait - no - what - AAAHHH!"
"What are they doing now?" the maiden whispered, her face tilted up to the heavens, her golden-blue eyes wandering across the ceiling of her chamber-realm, a tiny smile wavering in sight upon her golden lips.
"The red-head is trying to kill one of the humans." A low, husky purr of a voice replied, laced with the makings of sensuous laughter. "He is chasing it through the old one's temple."
The maiden smiled again, a sigh escaping her as she closed her eyes. A hand lifted to press gently against her chest, right over her heart. "Did you feel it, Kumo? Did you feel . . ."
"Aa." The spider-woman shifted to lay upon her back where she was lazily wading in the silken white blankets of the maiden's nest. Her dusky silver eyes lifted to watch the grace of the maiden's smile in silent, appraising attention. "I felt it." She reached up, fingering one long, curling lock of sun-blonde hair, causing the maiden to open her eyes and return her gaze. The maiden smiled again, a radiant smile warmer, more welcoming than the dawn itself. "Although why you insist upon playing these games with mortals, and yet refuse to watch the outcome, I shall never know."
The maiden looked away. Her smile did not falter; if possible, it softened. "There is a satisfaction in hearing of two creatures over-coming their fears and discovering their love for one another. Especially," she looked back, her gaze warm as she looked upon the spider-woman. "If the voice that speaks of it is yours."
"Kochou, you . . ." Kumo sat up slowly, her voice a seductive purr as she drew closer, drawing the maiden in her arms. "You are a foolish romantic."
Kochou glowed, her fingers towing with the butterfly charm upon the spider-woman's collar. "Perhaps." She whispered, accepting the kiss her lover gave her. "But it was you who agreed to my proposal."
"Mm. Which one?"
The Kochou laughed softly at the muffled quality to Kumo's voice - and tilted her jaw, allowing the goddess better access as her kisses trailed down her throat. "Both, love. But I was speaking of the proposal to help me make others realize the truth of their feelings for one another." The only response she was given was a second, more muffled reply, followed by:
"I had no choice; it was either do as you asked or put up with that damned disappointed look you get when I say no."
"Aa. But you enjoy it as well."
" . . . perhaps."
"Kumo . . . what are they doing now?"
Kumo lifted her head, her metallic eyes flaring that molten silver shade briefly as she transitioned her gaze from one realm and world to another. "It looks as if the red-head's calmed down, now. The human is still alive."
"And the other one - the little one?"
"He is running."
"Iie. Just . . . running."
"Ah." The Kochou smiled, curling into her lover's embrace, sighing as she settled. "The little one will return to him. . . . They will have much to over-come, those two. Just one kiss will not erase all that separates them but . . ." She shifted, snuggling closer as the Kumo's arms wrapped around her. ". . . . it is the beginning."
~ End? ~
 Kumo no Onna - "Spider Woman"
 Kochou no Otome - "Butterfly Maiden"
~~~~~ A Quick Note: ~~~~~~~~~~~
No, this is not spider woman, the super-hero. ^^;; These are real goddesses.
 Spider Woman is a southwestern Native American goddess, who "no matter what problems or obstacles you face . . . creates the right network of energy to put you on the road toward accomplishment."
 Butterfly Maiden is a kachina (spirit) of spring in the Hopi tradition. She is said to help us "rediscover that graceful butterfly within each of us - the one that effortlessly rises above problems, making the world its flower."
These excerpts and definitions were taken from "365 Goddess" by Patricia Telesco. The descriptions of the two goddesses (as *ahem* Ami-chan calls them; "The Butterfly Maiden and her slut"), are solely my own. I don't know if either are portrayed as I have here. Probably not, since both are from Indian traditions, and neither have Indian blood (in my fic). ^^;;
 Koinu: puppy
 Hotaru: firefly
 Eien: Eternal
By the By: Amiko had a fit when I sent this to her for proof-reading. She started fussing at me and asking where the rest was. As it turned out, this is it. ^^;; I only wanted a two part fic (I wrote this before "Orphans of Silence" - so it was my first short fic. The only problem is, my koi got attached to the two goddesses and wants me to write another story with them in it. Well, it's up to you guys, the reviewers. Should I, or should I not? Let me know, minna. ^_^