Disclaimer: Not mine

Title: Deviations
Pairing: Hiei x Botan
Genre: Gen-fic / Romance
Words: 340
Warnings: OOC for both Botan and Hiei, TWT, over-speculation...the usual.
Summary: Botan considers the deviations in one, Hiei, wielder of the Darkness Flame.

He is an anomaly, thought Botan, blue hair whipping wildly around her, cotton-candy eyes narrowed in silent contemplation.

At once ruthless and honorable, Hiei was a contradiction in terms. He was stoic. His face barely twitched, even in the most difficult of battles, yet, there was passion in every slash of his sword. He was icy, and he emitted a "touch-me-and-die" attitude that so easily provoked the quick-tempered Kuwabara into challenging him to a brawl.

An...invitation, Botan noticed, Hiei never accepted.

That particular train of thought led her musings to his own unique code of honor.

Hiei lived by his own rules, that much was certain. As a former thief, living in a band of not-so-merry vagabonds, he had learned the hard way that it was a kill-or-be-killed world. The weak were meant to nourish his blade, and anyone who didn't live by his standards was quickly killed, probably out of compassion. After all, if he didn't do it, Botan thought ruefully, someone else would, and that someone else would not be as lenient an executioner.

One could say what one wanted about Hiei, but out of the four, he was definitely the quickest with his kills.

Ah...the four. The Spirit Detectives were a formidable team in any right. Along with Yukina, his beloved sister, Kurama, Kuwabara and Yuusuke were among the few people in any of the three worlds that he tolerated any weakness from. And even there, with the team, he had his limits. He had quickly and acurately identified Kuwabara's indignation before his fight with the Elder Toguro—and his mild irritation with the absent Genkai— for what it really was: agitation, nerves, the fear that he would fall. In his own way, Hiei had encouraged him, in that roundabout way he had of dishing out compliments. No pep talks, no pats on the back, just a gruff you'll pull your own weight from now on and that was it. When Yuusuke had been kidnapped by Sensui, Hiei's initial reaction had been smug. Yuusuke had been weak, he said, too cocky in his own ability to blindly punch his way out of any mess he got himself into. But with the right incentive, he had agreed to help, and then, their dismantled team was whole once more. Underneath the apathy, Botan couldn't really believe that Hiei would let Yuusuke down.

Indeed, Botan observed, the most noticeable deviation was the way he acted around the people he cared for.

Her hands loosened their death grip on the oar as she prepared to descend.

On one hand, he obviously cared enough about them to keep them safe. However, he tried his hardest to gently push them away every time he felt they got too close. It all ran back to his ridiculous idea about merit. He'd said —not so much in words, but in actions—that he was a murderer; a rogue, damned to a life of "shadedom"— seeing and feeling life, but doomed never to be a part of it.

It was something they'd argued about ever since the dynamic between them changed from "barely acquaintances" to "almost lovers."

Which brought her mind back to his most noticeable deviation.

His lips were not lush. They were thin, usually drawn in a straight, grim line. But when they kissed, it always surprised her; how gentle he was. The feeling of his breath hitting her mouth always made her lips open as a reflex; and before she knew it, he was in her, killing her softly before she even knew she was alive.

Which she was... sort of.

A kiss killing Death...the idea of it made Botan's lips curve into an uncharacteristically sardonic smile.

As she touched down in front of the Spirit World Palace, Botan wondered when she would die again.

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