He didn't know why he was here, standing on her doorstep in the pouring rain. Maybe it had something to do with the way she always welcomed him in, even though he dripped on her carpet.
It wasn't the first time he had ended up here. Every time it rained, he would always find himself staring at her stupid glass door. The curtains were always open, but standing there, you could see her empty living room. He never knocked. Somehow, she always knew when he was there and came out of her room with two large, lavender towels. She joked that for such a small man he sure did hold a lot of water.
She would offer her couch and he would only give her the usual noncommittal grunt. She would smile brightly and then she wouldn't leave him alone.
It was strange. When they first met, he would have found the fact that she sat and talked with him annoying and would have tried his hardest to push her away. Now, he didn't mind it so much. In fact, while he would never show it and would die before admitting it, he actually enjoyed it.
Sometimes they wouldn't talk. Sometimes she would put in a movie and sit and watch it with him. That was when he learned she loved samurai movies. Kill Bill was her favorite, both volumes. She also liked those sappy movies that appealed to women, but she also enjoyed the action ones where almost everything ended up getting blown to pieces.
Sometimes, she would play music while cooking for him. He wasn't surprised when she sang the ones about love, but he was astonished when she wailed along with the angry screaming songs. He also wasn't expecting some of the so-called punk rock songs to be some of her favorites.
Sometimes, she would just sit and watch the rainfall. That was when he learned she loved the rain. He asked her why once. She only said that it helped wash away loneliness. He still didn't know if she was including herself in that.
Sometimes, she fell asleep on the couch she had offered him. That was when he realized he liked watching her sleep. He liked it a lot. He couldn't help but wonder what it would be like waking up to her sleeping form instead of a hard tree limb and a lot of leaves.
It wasn't strange that he started to love the rain as much as she did. It wasn't strange that he would smirk whenever he saw thick, dark thunderclouds rolling in.
So here he was, standing in front of her door, not knocking while the rain soaked him to the bone. He wasn't left waiting long.
"Hiei!" he heard through the door.
There she was, that stupid smile shining on her face and two extra-large towels in her hands. She rushed to the door and motioned him in. As soon as he was inside, she threw a towel over his head and started to roughly rub his hair dry.
"Get off me, baka onna!"
He tried to push her away, but she wouldn't have any of it.
"I don't know why you wait till you're soaking wet to come in. The door's not locked. Next time just come in. I've told you over and over that you're always welcome here," Botan said, rubbing harder. "Or maybe you could even come in before the storm starts. That way I won't have to look for extra clothes for you."
He pushed her hands away with a growl and glared. When they first met, she would have been frightened, but now she just glared back.
There are dry clothes in my room. Go change," she said as she pushed the other towel into him.
He took the towel and followed her instructions. On the bed were men's clothes she had bought just for him. As he put them on and dropped the wet ones on the floor, he remembered the first time he had spent a rainy night in her apartment.
She hadn't had any clothes for him then and he had to stay wet most of the night. He still didn't remember what made him come to her to spend the night. Kurama's would have been a better idea. Hell, he would have spent the night under someone's awning if he needed to. But something had pulled him to her place. His instincts told him that the best place to spend the night would have been with her. His instincts hadn't been wrong. Even then, she had known he was standing outside her door right away. She hadn't rushed out with towels that time, but she had told him to quickly come in. The towels came later. She had felt bad that he had to spend the night in wet clothes and had taken a blow dryer to him for most of the night. That was when she started joking about the amount of water he retained. His clothes were still damp when he left the next morning.
The next time he showed up, she had rushed out with towels and had told him there were dry clothes for him. When he asked her where she got them, she had said that she had bought them. She told him she hadn't been expecting him to come back, but that it was better to be safe than sorry. She had bought him black and dark blues. He thought that might have been when he decided her place was the only place to go when it rains.
This time, she was cooking. He could smell it from the room. He kicked his wet clothes into her bathroom and went to see what she was making. Knowing her, it was one of his favorites. She was always stupidly doing everything she could for others. In his experience, that could get her killed. She was lucky she had people to protect her.
He was right. It was the strange human dish she had cooked for him once. She said it was prime rib and some simple asparagus and mashed potatoes with garlic and cheese. Nothing special.
He sat at her kitchen table and she set a glass of cranberry juice in front of him. He hadn't even asked.
"Hn. Baka onna," he said to the action, sipping on his favorite human drink.
She just smiled at him and returned to her cooking. She started chatting about the latest Reikai gossip, only some of which was interesting.
She was interrupted by a knock on her door. She went to answer it. It was the tantei. He was soaking wet and laughing guiltily. He didn't know why, but seeing the tantei dripping on her floor upset him.
Botan went to fetch him some towels and the tantei noticed him.
"Hiei?!" Yusuke wondered. The tantei looked like he was about to piss himself.
"No way. What are you doing here?" Yusuke asked with astonishment clearly written on his face.
"The same thing you are."
"You got caught in the rain, too?"
Hiei just glared at him.
"Oh right, you live in trees. Duh."
The tantei flashed him a disarming smile. Hiei just stared.
"Here are some towels, Yusuke," Botan offered when she came back.
"Thanks, Botan," Yusuke said with a smile as he started to dry himself off. "Hey, what smells so good?"
"Prime rib," Botan said with a smile as she went back to cooking.
"American food? Cool. What's the occasion?"
"Well, Hiei was over, so I thought I would cook something. I think he likes this dish, but I'm not sure," she said with a curious glance at him.
"What? But you never make me anything special when I come over!" Yusuke pouted.
He couldn't help but think that the tantei also had to knock. And he was still in wet clothes.
"Yes, well, you hardly ever come over anymore. How can I cook for you if you're never here?"
"Yeah, sorry about that, Botan. You know how the girlfriend can be," he said with an apologetic smile.
"Oh, don't even try to give me that. Keiko would be thrilled to come over here too and we both know it. You just want to stay home and make lovey-dovey eyes at each other," she teased. "Admit it."
"It's a little more than just lovey-dovey eyes, Bo-chan," he said with a mischievous smile.
"Ugh. Have a little more decency, please," Botan said. "There are some things I'd rather not hear about, thanks. Pervert."
"Aw, you know you love me. Hey, do you have anything I can change into? It's kinda cold in here."
"Not unless you can fit into the stuff Hiei can wear," she said.
"She keeps clothes for you, Hiei? Just what are you two doing that you need a change of clothes? Hmm?" Yusuke asked with a suggestive wiggle of his eyebrows.
"Yusuke, you pervert!" she yelled, throwing a spatula that left a neat pattern on his face.
"Hn. Baka tantei."
"Ow. Now I'm cold and my face hurts," Yusuke whined.
The onna sighed in frustration. "Hiei, will you make sure the prime rib doesn't burn. I'm going to see if I can't find this big baby a shirt that isn't too girly.
He nodded his assent. The tantei grinned in triumph and he wished the onna had thrown the spatula harder. The tantei followed her into her room. He didn't like the two of them being alone in her bedroom like that. It was upsetting him. He was relieved when she came out a few moments later and went back to cooking after giving him a smile.
The tantei soon came out wearing one of the onna's baggier long-sleeved shirts. He couldn't help but be upset at the sit of the tantei in one of her shirts. When the tantei came to sit next to him, he couldn't help but glare at the tantei. This close, he could smell the onna's scent mingling with the tantei's. It made him angry. The tantei needed to leave soon if he knew what was good for him.
The tantei noticed his glare and started to fidget nervously.
"So, Hiei, how's it been?"
His glare didn't change and the tantei started to sweat.
"Heh. Is it hot in here or is it just me?" Yusuke asked, tugging at the collar of the shirt.
"If you're hot, just take off the shirt," Hiei said. "Or you could step outside."
And stay there.
The tantei's eyes lit with understanding and he nodded at Hiei. The onna chose that moment to place her done meal on the table.
"Hey, Botan, I've got to go. Keiko's waiting for me at home."
"Are you sure?" she asked with concern. "It's still raining outside."
"I'll be fine," Yusuke said as he got up from the table. "Do you have an umbrella or anything?"
"I think I might have one somewhere. Hold on."
She wondered off to her room to find an umbrella. He continued to glare at the tantei.
"Heh. Hey, Hiei, you know I was just joking about the her loving me thing, right?" Yusuke said with a weak laugh.
"Seriously, we're just friends."
"I know, baka tantei.
The smell of her on the tantei was still making him angry, though.
"Right. Just making sure."
There was a crash from her room and they heard her yell that she had found the umbrella.
"Heh, that girl," Yusuke said fondly.
"We have a totally platonic relationship," the tantei added quickly after noticing his glare.
The onna came back and handed over the umbrella. The tantei thanked here and she showed him to the door. He followed to watch. The onna tried to hug him goodbye, but the tantei patted her on the head instead and almost ran out the door, apologizing and saying his girlfriend would kill him if he were any later.
The onna looked a little sad at not receiving a hug.
"Hn. Come eat, onna."
She smiled at him and the two ate the meal in peace. The food was excellent and he was no longer upset.
After the meal, she put a movie on. Kill Bill. Her favorite. They had already seen it, but that didn't matter.
As they watched she talked about the long day she had. She was tired, he noticed. After the first volume ended, he was the one to put in the second because she was almost asleep. When he sat back down on the couch, she leaned onto his arm, eyes closed and breathing deep. She wasn't asleep, yet. He could push her off. She would stutter and apologize and lean on the armrest instead, where she would fall asleep.
But then he remembered how upset he was when Yusuke was dripping on her floor and when he was wearing her shirt. It wasn't like this could go on forever. Someday, someone would take her away. Because she was beautiful and kind and loving. It wouldn't be the tantei. That much he would see to. If he had his way, no man would ever take her away. The only scent he wanted to mingle with hers was his own.
So instead of pushing her off, he wrapped an arm around her. She snuggled close to him. He took the opportunity to lay down and make them both more comfortable.
"Hey, Hiei, can we maybe do this again when it isn't raining?" she asked sleepily.
"Hn. What are you talking about, onna?"
"There's an extra room I don't use."
"You don't have to stay here only when it rains. You can, you know…stay here all the time."
She was stiff in his arms as she waited for his answer. Stay with the annoying baka onna? The same onna who always welcomes him with a smile and open arms? It wouldn't be so bad. And he could make sure someone else dripping on her carpet never upset him again. No one would even think about doing so if he stayed here.
"Hn. Baka onna," he said, finding amusement in the way he could feel her sadden at what she thought was his rejection. "You'll have to start locking the door. Even on rainy nights. I don't care who could be stuck out there."
She pushed herself up off his chest to look in his eyes.
"Will you make prime rib every night?"
Her eyes widened in surprise, but she was smiling.
"No way. Prime rib is way too expensive to have every night."
"I thought you said it was nothing special."
"Compared to some things it's not," she said as she hugged his middle, burying her face into his chest.
He wasn't used to the touching, but he wasn't opposed to it. Maybe there would be more now that he was staying here.
"Hn. Goodnight, onna."
She sighed and almost instantly fell asleep on top of him. Her favorite movie was still playing. Beyond the noise of the movie, he could hear the steady pounding of the rain. He felt at peace knowing he never had to be out in the rain again if he didn't want to.
He didn't know how he ended up here of all places, laying on her couch listening to the rain and her rhythmic breathing as she slept in his arms. Maybe it had something to do with the way she always welcomed him in, even though he dripped on her carpet.