This takes place right after the fight with Team Masho. I have nothing else to say, save read and review, people!
Jin lay on his own hotel bed, musing over fighting. The whole Dark Tournament was nothing but fighting. His life had been nothing but fighting. He had had great fun in his brawl with Yusuke Urameshi, but he had lost. Normally, he wouldn't care about that, but his team counted on him, needed him. His team had probably lost too, since if he couldn't beat Yusuke than Risho didn't stand much of a chance either. He sighed. That would mean that he, Risho, and Touya, assuming they all had survived, would go back to the Makai, back to a life of fighting and hiding in shadows. That was what it all came back to! Fighting, fighting, and more fighting! Even a pure combat junkie like Jin was starting to get fed up with it all. A fight was great, but a pleasurable fistfight was not the same as being forced into fighting and killing every day of his life.
The elflike demon sighed again, placing his hands under his head. He didn't like it being this quiet. All he could hear were occasional rustling noises, like blankets being moved, and a noise from someone in another room every now and then. Other than that, all that was there was heavy, oppressive silence, and Jin hated every second of it. He liked noise, relished it, and felt sorely out of place without it. Sighing for the third time in less than five minutes, he sat up, looking around. He wanted to see what had become of his teammates.
Risho lay sprawled out on his bed, shirt off. Several nasty bruises covered his bare chest, shades of blues and blacks and purples, like a dark night. So…they had lost. Either that, or he had taken that severe a beating but still won. The latter's chance of being true was slim to none. The redhead sighed again. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately. Still, Risho would live. A pity, since he was a great big manipulating jerk, but as of now Jin didn't care; Risho was a familiar face, and the wind master needed all the assurance he could get. He looked the other way, trying to find his best friend. What he saw left him reeling, dumbstruck.
Touya seemed to be on his deathbed. Blood had soaked through his shirts, leaving them dripping with dark crimson. In his fight, Kurama's Deadly Vetch had ripped a hole clear through him, and the bloody puncture wound seemed to be paining the ice youkai, even in his sleep. Sweat coated his small body, mingling with his blood. It did not seem like the apparition would live to see the next day.
Jin pulled himself to his feet, ignoring his own injuries to tend to his friend's. He trotted over to Touya's bedside. The smaller demon's ki had been completely absorbed into his life energy, attempting to keep him alive, and even that was but a flicker. Jin wasn't skilled in healing; he hadn't been paying attention when his master had taught him how. Still, he knew how to give his aura to another, and that would help.
He laid his palms on the other's chest, above the horrible wound. He channeled some of his own energy into his hands, letting it become hungrily devoured by Touya's fleeting life energy. After he had lost almost all his ki, he pulled his hands away, not even grimacing at the warm, wet crimson on his hands. He realized that Touya's bandages would need to be changed. Jin couldn't actually see the dressings, but he figured that someone would've had to have done it. The redhead reached for the ice master's shirt, then paused. Touya was always so modest, so shy. Come to think of it, Jin had never seen Touya take off his shirt, not even when swimming or fighting. The wind demon was unsure.
"Aw, forget modesty," he declared. "'Sides, if he isn' alive then it doesn' matter if he's modest."
He reached for Touya' left shoulder, grabbing his quasi-toga. Figuring that the garment was ruined anyway, he literally ripped it off of his friend. Without a thought to the cleaning people, he tossed the bloody cloth aside. He then tore Touya's sleeveless shirt off, too, throwing it on top of the other.
The only thing separating Jin from seeing how serious the wound was was the insulated, long-sleeved shirt that Touya rather favored, and of course those bandages. It had been soaked a dark red, almost black. The wind youkai pulled it off, too, feeling how heavy it was. Part of the weight was due to the fabric, but the rest was because of how wet it was. Blood positively dripped off of it. Jin couldn't imagine that Touya had even a drop of blood left in him.
The smaller demon gasped with pain, shaking in his sleep. Jin stared down at where the bandages should have been, but there was nothing. No one had tended to Touya's injuries. Probably, no one else even cared.
A small puncture wound, so small and insignificant-looking, ran clear through is body. Even now, it bled. Caked, dried blood clung over his body; that is, where fresh scarlet wasn't flowing. Not yet paying attention to anything but the injury, he didn't bother to question why Touya never took his shirt off.
"Be right back, Touya," he announced, speeding off to the bathroom. He snagged a snow-white towel off of a bar, briefly wondering why kind of tournament hotel has white towels, considering the fact that most fighters would have been bloody. The sapphire-eyed demon wet it with warm water and grabbed a first aid kit from under the sink (put there for the very same bloody fighters. He was surprised that the staff had enough sense to include a well-stocked first aid kit but not to get black towels) before zooming back to his friend.
"This may stin', 'kay?" Jin said. The ice demon was clearly asleep, to the extent that he probably would not wake up without serious medical help. But Jin still talked to him. The silence was getting to him.
He dabbed at the blood, cleaning off the other's chest. Touya groaned in pain, shifting slightly. The redhead winced; even such a negligible effort sapped the other's already minimal strength.
"Sh…calm down, Touya," he whispered, stroking the ice youkai's sweat-soaked hair. Some of the blood on his fingers got in the other's blue hair, but it was the thought that counted.
Once the blood had been cleaned from the smaller demon's skin, Jin could fully assess the damage. A yellow-green bruise lay right atop the gruesome wound, and for the life of him the redhead couldn't figure out how it had gotten there. Kurama's weapon had been a piercing one, and it would not have bruised.
"Well, I can always figure out how it got there later," the wind demon decided. Musing could wait until Touya had been helped.
Jin noticed just how small Touya seemed. The blue-haired apparition had always seemed rather petite, being slender enough to put an elf to shame and standing at scant inches over the five foot mark. Still, he seemed much thinner without those layers of clothes he always wore. In fact, the usually happy-go-lucky demon could clearly see the other's ribs. He made a mental note to talk to Touya about his eating habits later, stubbornly ignoring the part of him that wasn't sure if his best friend would even live to talk later. Jin found the other's muscle tone to be rather odd. Being a fighter as well, Touya should have had the same rippling muscles as the rest of them. Rather, he seemed delicate. He had taut stomach muscles and an undeniably strong build, but it was more of a wiry look than a powerful one. If it weren't for the other's lack of breasts, Jin would have said that Touya had a female fighter's body. Shrugging, he turned his attention back to the wound.
The puncture itself would not have been enough to kill the ice master, he was sure. It had missed all vital organs and only incapacitated Touya, or at least it should have. Without someone attending to it, he had continuously bled, something preventing his blood from clotting. Jin assumed that it was poisonous or something, and without any real knowledge of botany, he didn't know otherwise. So, the wound would not kill him on its own. Blood loss, though, might. Jin opened the first aid kit, staring at the human things inside it, pulling them out one by one.
"Cough syrup—for curin' sore throats. No," he decided, throwing that behind him. It hit the wall and broke, purpely fluid dripping onto the floor. "Ne- Neos- Neosporin. For preventin' infection. Yeah! Okay…just spread this stuff over the wound."
He pulled the cap off of the tube, squeezing a clear paste out on his fingers. The wind apparition's nose wrinkled up at the odd smell, but he ignored it after a second.
"Sorry, boyo," he murmured, smearing the goo over Touya's wound. The youkai whimpered, grimacing, before settling back into full sleep.
Next, the redhead removed a roll of bandages. He gently lifted the other's body off of the bed, wrapping them tightly around the ice demon's chest in an effort to stop the bleeding. The smaller demon cried out with pain, and Jin was sure he'd woken him up. Then Touya loosened up, falling back into silence. It was only then that he realized that Touya's ribs were broken. He withdrew his hand as though bitten. He hadn't even realized that, and he had been jerking the other around!
Now he knew something was wrong. Kurama's plant-sword had slipped right between his ribs, or, at most, snapped one. There was no way that the leafy weapon had smashed that many bones. From his earlier observations, he guessed that four or five of them had been broken. And that bruise…Jin was confused. How had all that happened?He'd figure it out later, though. Right now, Touya mattered first and foremost.
"Sorry," he said again, before continuing to bandage his friend's wound.
The ice demon gasped, a low, pained moan escaping his lips. It bothered Jin, to see his friend in such pain, but he knew that this bit of hurt was infinitely preferable to the slow death he would suffer otherwise.
He pulled out another bottle from the case, finding it to be filled with white tablets. It said that it was a painkiller, though, and he knew that Touya could use all the pain relief he could get right now.
Jin again darted to the bathroom, filling up a cup of water. He knew that trying to get the sleeping demon to eat would be impossible, but he might just be able to drink. At least, that was what Jin had hoped. He smashed the small pills, dropping them into the water. They fizzed and bubbled on contact with the liquid, but he didn't even notice. The redhead ran back into the main room, too drained to fly.
"C'mon, drink this," the redhead coaxed, pouring some of the drugged water between the ice demon's half-open lips. The other immediately coughed up the medication, and Jin understood that the task was a futile one. Touya could not swallow it in his sleep, and attempting to try might make it worse.
The redhead realized that he had done all that he could to help Touya with the healing process. Now, all he could do was sit, wait, and try to comfort the wounded demon. His own bruises were nothing compared to the potentially fatal injuries the ice master had sustained, and Jin was willing to forego some much-needed rest to make him feel better.
The wind apparition softly stroked Touya's powder-blue hair, staring at the smaller demon's face.
"It'll be okay, Touya," he whispered. "I got yer wound all nice an' cleaned up, an' yeh're goin' ta be fine. Yeh have ta!"
There was no answer, but Jin hadn't expected one.
He sat and watched for over an hour, staring at his teammate before the ice youkai slowly woke up. Narrow, glacial blue eyes sleepily fluttered open. Although some thought that his slanted, almond-shaped eyes appeared threatening, Jin didn't think so. He thought that they were interesting and not the least bit menacing. The ice demon struggled a bit, before sitting up.
"Touya!" he exclaimed. "Thank everyone yeh're alive!"
"Why wouldn't I be?" he asked, his voice coming out raspy, as opposed to his usual smooth, soft tones. Jin assumed that he had a bruised diaphragm from whatever had snapped his ribs, and didn't question him.
He stepped over to the corner, picking up the blood-drenched shirt.
"Ah," the ice master wheezed. "I suppose I shouldn't try to move, either."
"Right yeh are," the redhead chuckled lightly, before his expression changed to a more somber one. "Yeh almost died, Touya. I was so worried. Kurama barely missed yer heart, an' we all know he could've hit that too if he wanted. An' after that, yeh almost bled ta death… "
"Maybe I wanted to," he quietly replied. Touya seemed so fragile right then, with his voice weak, and his small body broken. Even his energy was but a tiny spark.
"Don' yeh ever say that!" he yelled, barely keeping himself from hoisting Touya up by the scruff of his neck. "Yeh are not goin' ta die!"
"Why are you-" He broke off in a fit of coughing, wincing and clutching his chest. Blood flecked his lips, and Jin worriedly stared. It subsided in a minute, though, and Touya licked his lips and tried again. "Why are you surprised?"
Jin snarled, baring his sharp fangs.
"My best friend is not goin' ta try an' kill himself! Yeh can', Touya, yeh can'!"
"Why not?" he bitterly replied. "There's already an angel of death here."
"What do yeh mean? Yeh think there' someone waitin' ta take yer soul right now?" he asked.
Touya faintly chuckled at that, although he immediately regretted it, scowling in pain, his injured chest hurting him.
"No," the blue-haired youkai replied. "That girl who waits with Team Urameshi. She was an angel of death, I could sense it."
"But why do yeh want ta die? Why didn' I get any warnin'?"
"You did," he rasped. "Remember? I asked Kurama to finish me off."
"Touya…" he begged. "Why?"
"I lost my chance at anything," he sighed, although it came out as more of a croak than a sigh. "You know I wanted the light, and badly. We lost our chance at it."
"No we didn'! We can always try again an' again!"
"Yes. It's final. And now, with nothing to live for, I'd rather die. Please, Jin…from a friend to a friend. Please, just make it as painless as you can."
A tear trickled down Jin's face, falling on Touya's bed.
"Yeh can' die. Yeh can'."
He blinked in confusion.
"Why do you care so much?" he finally asked, curious. "You weren't even paying attention to my fight."
"Yeah I was! I watched a little, but mostly just listened, seein' it all in my mind. Yeh know that I can literally hear yer every move. I could hear yer footsteps an' Kurama's heavier, booted ones, an' that was more than enough to tell me where yeh were an' how yeh were movin'. Plus, I could sense yer auras, even with Kurama's bound, so I got a vague picture, too. I could hear that pretty whistle o' yer Shards o' Winter, an' that distinct noise they make as they cut through the air. I control the air, yeh know, so I also got a sort o' sketchy image o' the whole thin'. I could hear the sound o' fresh blood spillin', an' Kurama's moans an' gasps o' pain. O' course, I could also hear yer words, Touya, so I knew that, too. I love how yeh talk. So pretty, yer words, an' I always have liked yer voice. I could hear as yeh formed yer ice sword, hear the slight rustle o' cloth as Kurama fidgeted, an' hear as he grew that plant. I looked at that point, yeh know. But, seein' it sproutin' out o' his wound, cuttin' through yeh…I couldn' look any more. I couldn'. I could hear yer sharp intake of breath. Most hauntin' o' all, though, was that I could hear the steady drip-drop o' yer blood hittin' the floor. I knew everythin' that happened from my ears alone, an' lookin' only made it a tiny bit clearer. So, I paid perfect attention."
"I'm sorry," he murmured. "But without the light-"
"Touya, yeh thickheaded idiot!" Jin yelled. "That was one little try ta get it. Do yeh honestly think that we'll lost the light because we failed one chance ta get it?"
"Well, no, but-"
"But then why're yeh tryin' ta kill yourself?"
Touya was silent for a minute.
"You're right," he admitted. "I wasn't thinking rationally."
"Good! Yeh dumb bunny," he affectionately added. He saw them as better than brothers, because, as he put it, "Brothers are close because they were born that way. We're close because we care about each other." He generally put Touya before himself, and the other did the same for him.
"Touya? How'd yet get that bruise an' those broken ribs?" he asked.
Touya looked fearful, and he shrank back, as if afraid of Jin. He looked as if he wanted to talk but couldn't for some reason.
"It's okay, boyo," he reassured.
"Risho," he admitted, coughing again.
"What? How dare he, the son o' a-… He's yer teammate! How could he!"
"Jin…well, after your fight with Yusuke, he wasn't sure that we could win. So…he bribed the judges to disqualify Yusuke. I tried to stop him, reminding him that it wasn't the honorable path. He told me that it didn't matter so long as we won, and when I argued… He created a gauntlet out of stone and slammed his fist into my chest. I couldn't do anything…"
Jin could imagine it. Poor, wounded Touya, bleeding from that vicious wound, staggering up onto the stage, leaning on the earth master for support, and giving a great and noble speech about chivalry and the right thing to do.
"But, Touya, I'm not sayin' that I disagree with yeh, 'cause I don', but if honor means so much ta yeh, why didn' yeh argue when Hiei an' that masked fighter got trapped in the medical tent?" he asked.
Touya looked ashamed.
"I…I knew it was wrong. I knew that that was the wrong thing to do, and I knew that I shouldn't have let them. But…I wanted the light so badly… I was blinded by my desire for it. And so I made the wrong choice. After seeing you fall, I knew that we had no chance. So I tried to make up for my actions earlier…" he admitted, feebly coughing again. "I was a fool."
"Yeh weren' the only one. If I had stuck with what I knew ta be right, then I would've stood up for them, too. But I didn'! I'm equally at fault. We both know Gama would've spoken out too if it weren' for his belief in followin' whatever the team leader said, an' Risho clearly said that that was what was goin' ta happen. I'm goin' ta punish that bastard for what he did ta yeh!" he exclaimed.
Touya swallowed, before slowly shaking his head. The mention of the now-dead Gama saddened him, but he tried to be strong. He had to stop Jin from attacking Risho.
"You can't," he said.
"Why the hell not? He hurt yeh for no reason!"
"Please don't. Just…don't."
In truth, Touya was afraid. He had lived in constant fear of Risho ever since he had first become a shinobi. He was so afraid of the other that he wouldn't even stand for having the threat eliminated. It was too weird, and if Jin had known, he would only strike out at Risho anyway, saying that it was "for yer own good."
Jin could hear the scared tone in his voice, and he decided not to do anything. He knew better than to try and understand Touya. The ice demon's mind was rather interesting. It was like a complex maze made up each floor of a large parking garage, and that it would take forever to pull one's way through those mazes. He had tried before to decipher the intricacies of his friend's thoughts, but he gave up. No, he knew better.
"Okay, but only 'cause yeh asked," he relented. Touya knew that the wind demon would pressure him about it later anyway.
"I'm so tired," he murmured.
"Me too," Jin agreed, yawning widely. A weak smile spread over the smaller apparition's lips at that.
Before Touya had a chance to protest, the redhead cuddled up next to him.
"It's too damn cold in these beds anyway."
"No," he argued. "I like the cold."
Both looked at each other, and then laughed.
"Okay, fine. I'd just rather sleep alone. I like a lot of space while I sleep, and these beds are small enough as is," he said.
"True, true," Jin agreed.
"Are yeh sure yeh're okay?" Jin asked.
"I will be."
Touya nodded. The wind demon softly padded over to his bed, lying down.
"I'll see yeh tomorrow," he said.
"As will I," the ice youkai agreed.
Both softly smiled at each other, before shutting their eyes, both blue, yet so different, and going to sleep. Tomorrow would be a fine day, and they would start to look for the light again. Even Touya's usually pessimistic attitude was brightened by the hope, and each was looking forward to the coming day, and all the great things that it could contain.