Okay, peeps, so far the chapters of this fic have been non-sequential. That all changes here! This chapter is a followup to chapter one, Silk and Stone. Also, this is a light lemon. Which means the rating has officially gone up. Which means reader beware! Sexiness ahead!

The Thief

Ferrying souls of the dead was both a physically and emotionally taxing job. It took a certain kind of person – a certain kind of personality – to deal with everything the profession entailed: new souls were often sorrowful, or full of pain, or regret. Sometimes it was all three. It hurt to take them away from their families, from everything they had ever known. Even if it was for their own good. After all, an unferried soul became a ghost, which eventually became a wraith – an entity of pure emotion, no longer retaining any memory of its past or a sense of self.

Some souls were full of rage. They were angry that they had been torn away from life. They grasped at their mortal threads, unwilling to let go, unwilling to accept the reality that they no longer belonged in the realm of the living. They lashed out, taking their anger out on the ferrier – like what had happened to Botan earlier.

It had been a routine day up to that point. She had collected several souls in the morning -- peaceful souls that had lived full lives and were ready for death, prepared to meet the smiling deity and follow without complaint. Botan had been looking forward to the afternoon, because she had only one soul on her roster. After that, she would have the rest of the day to herself, and she had been looking forward to spending time with her friends. So it was with a cheerful smile that she had flown back to ningenkai to ferry her last soul of the day: one Sayako Morisotto, age 36, mother of three. Cause of death: car accident. She had been sideswiped by a drunk a driver and pushed off the road and into an embankment, the airbags had failed to deploy.

When Botan arrived to collect her, Sayako was in tears. The deity had tried to comfort her, explaining that there was reason to her death, and that she could expect fair judgment from Enma Diaoh and a peaceful afterlife or a chance at reincarnation. The woman had turned on her, furious.

"Reason?! What reason? You stole my life from me! You took everything! You are nothing but a thief!"

Though she had heard similar words before, Botan was stung. She had done nothing. The deity was not responsible for this woman's death. Fate was the culprit, not her! She was simply doing her job, picking up the pieces, ferrying the souls to Reikaii to receive judgment.

It took a certain kind of personality to be a ferry girl. One had to be thick skinned, resilient, and upbeat. Botan was all that and more, but even she had bad days.

Today was one of those days.

She had let the angry words of Sayako slip through her defenses and prick her heart. After she had delivered the silent, resentful soul, she had gone to Koenma to fill out all the necessary paperwork, and had then trudged out of the office.

Her geta clicked softly against the highly polished floors of the palace, and her bright pink kimono whispered against the air as she turned a corner. Botan's 10,000 watt smile was missing, and an unusually introspective expression had taken its place. Purple eyes gazed ahead, unseeing as she took another corner and began to walk up a curved staircase. A small frown had taken up residence on her soft lips, and her head tilted downward, blue hair hiding her features from the other ferry girls that she passed in the halls.

Her coworkers smiled in greeting, then blinked at Botan's unusually soft reply. What was wrong with bubbly deity?

Turning one last corner, Botan fished a keyring from her obi. This side of the palace was home to the ferry girls, and set up like an apartment building -- a really nice apartment building. With marble floors and fountains. Hey, working for Koenma had certain perks.

Each "apartment" had all the necessities: kitchen, living room, full bathroom, and bedroom. There was also a cafeteria that was open 24 hours (soul collecting was hardly a 9 to 5 job, after all) for those who did not have time to cook for themselves or were not culinarily inclined (Botan fell into the latter category). The blue-haired deity had stopped by on the way to her room and had grabbed a cupcake. She had hoped that the bright green frosting would cheer her up, but one bite had proven the confection to be stale. The frosting had been hard for goodness sake!

Needless to say, the cupcake did not improve Botan's sour mood.

Keys jingling, the deity slid into her room and closed the door softly behind her. The mid-afternoon sun peeked through her yellow curtains, casting her living room in a cheerful glow. The deity paused, looking out the large, bay window. Right outside her rooms was the palace garden, and the flowers were in full bloom. Lilies, daisies, violets, daffodils, and, of course, peonies all grew together in a symphony of gorgeous colors. The sight finally brought a smile to her lips and Botan set the keys on the kitchen counter before heading down the hall into her room.

The smell of roses drifted like perfume through her apartment and Botan breathed it in, her smile widening. The light scent reminded her of spring, and of long ago days spent in the sun – and of more recent times, spent with her friends, happy and carefree in this rare, peaceful period.

A light breeze teased through her hair, bringing with it another whiff of fresh roses. Botan's smiled faltered. Breeze? Why would there be a breeze in her hallway? Come to think of it, why did her apartment smell like roses?

Curiously, the deity stepped into her bedroom. Cream and lace curtains danced around as another cool gust of air whispered by them and ruffled her kimono. Botan blinked, staring at the open window. Had she left it open? That wasn't like her. She might be a bit forgetful at times, but she knew she had closed her window last night. Hadn't she?

With a mental shrug, Botan slipped off her geta and walked across the plush carpet to latch the panes shut. The blue-haired girl paused at the windowsill, smiling as the smell of flowers became stronger. She glanced down, surprised to find red and pink roses waving merrily up at her. She hadn't realized that they were growing so close to her room! The gardeners must have gotten lazy, this years the roses had begun to grow up the palace walls and right under her window. Smiling, Botan reached down, lightly stroking the silky petals of one of the red blooms, giggling softly as it seemed to lean into her hand, brushing against her skin as the wind gently pushed it closer.

Feeling cheered up, the ferry girl carefully closed the window and drew the curtains, humming softly to herself. She walked toward her closet, laying one hand against the wall and bracing herself as she leaned down to pull off her white socks.

Strange. With the window closed her room seemed... humid? Warm, and the air was damp, as if she had just run a very hot shower. And the room still smelled strongly of roses.

Botan paused, glancing up toward her bathroom. She might have left the window open, but surely she hadn't left the water running too? The door was closed, and the room was quiet – she didn't hear the tap. Shaking her head, the deity began to loosen her obi and turn toward the bed.

A pair of molten eyes peered back at her.

Covering her mouth to stifle a scream, Botan stumbled back against the closet. She tripped over her geta and threw out her arms to regain her balance – but to no avail. The deity tumbled backward gracelessly, landing with an "oof!" on her backside.

A low chuckle drifted toward her from across the room and Botan winced. Slowly, she looked up, purple eyes going wide at the sight that greeted her.

Youko, stripped to the waist, was lounging across her bed like he owned it. One clawed hand was under his chin, the other rested against the comforter. Long, delicate fingers tapped out a careless rhythm against the cream colored sheets as he leered at her, golden eyes bright and fixed on her in a most intimidating way. His ears swiveled back and forth on his head before finally perking in her direction and his silvery tail thumped lazily against her mattress. Long, starlit hair fell over his shoulder and down his back, framing his pale, beautiful face. Sensuous lips pulled back to reveal pointed, bone-white teeth as he shot her a lecherous grin.

Botan's heart tried to jump right out of her chest, but found it couldn't quite make it. So it decided to relocate itself to her throat instead, and thumped so fast and so loud that any demon in a 100 mile radius was sure to hear it.

As it happened, Youko was the only demon in a 100 mile radius and, being so close to the source, could hear the deity's frantically beating heart quite distinctly. The sound amused him and he let out another low-pitched chuckle. It rumbled through the room like thunder, and Botan trembled as the sound seemed to wrap itself around her, holding her in place as effectively as one of Kurama's vines.

The last time she had seen Youko was during the mission two months ago, when they had been trapped in an underground cell together. Boredom had lead to foolish thoughts which had lead to foolish actions and Botan had ended up scratching the youkai's ears as though he were her pet doggie.

Youko, of course, was no pet. He was an infamous and greatly feared Youkai -- and dangerous to the core. He had been very angry at Botan's intrusive touch – at first. For some reason unknown to Botan, he had quickly succumbed to her nimble fingers and had actually... asked for more. And had gotten some rather... frightening ideas on how to pass the rest of their captivity. Thank goodness they had been rescued quickly afterward, or who knew what the youkai would have done!

After that mission, Youko went back to being the dormant personality of Shuichi Minamino, the handsome, flame-haired member of the tantei. Botan had not seen him since the mission, either, and had the sneaking suspicion he had been avoiding her. Kurama kept his demon side tightly under wraps – trapping him deep within the recesses of his mind.

Seeing Youko in the flesh meant that either Kurama had intentionally released him (which she had never known him to do) or that he had lost control. She was afraid it might be the latter. And she was even more afraid of the reason why the kitsune had come to her.

Revenge, her mind whispered, conjuring up mental pictures of Youko's deadliest weapon, his man-eating plant, gobbling the deity up while the silver-haired youkai laughed maniacally.

I should never have scratched his ears!

Youko and the ferry girl regarded each other silently.

The youkai, who had not had anyone cower so dramatically in his presence for quite some time, was relishing the moment. But after several minutes, when he had obviously made no move to attack her, he began to grow bored.

"Please stop cringing, ferry girl," he drawled, his ears laying flat against his head, "Adorable as it is, I didn't come here to watch you tremble." His eyes flashed, and his lips slowly stretched into a lazy smirk. "Or maybe I did?"

Botan squeaked and tried to sit up straighter, her back against the wall.

"How... Um... How did you get in?" She mumbled, her hand inching into her obi to grab her communicator and call for backup. Youko on the loose meant trouble for all three realms.

The demon cocked an eyebrow at her. "Your window was unlocked. I know you live in a safe neighborhood, little deity, but don't you know how dangerous that is? Anyone could break in." He smirked and wagged one clawed finger in her direction. "And I wouldn't want anyone to sneak up on you, Botan-chan. Only I'm allowed to do that."

Botan gulped. "Oh, ah... I'll... keep that in mind..."

"See that you do," Youko replied, tugging disinterestedly at a loose thread in her comforter, his fiery eyes still fixed unnervingly on her.

She knew she shouldn't ask, but curiosity was gnawing at her stomach, overpowering even the fear. "So, er... How did you... get loose?"

The demon narrowed his eyes at her -- his captivity inside the mind and body of a human was something of a touchy subject for him.

"Shuichi, brilliant as he is, decided to go to Makai. He's had... a lot on his mind lately and decided to relieve the stress in lieu of... How to put this delicately? Eradicating some of the demons in the area."

Botan blinked, then frowned. "What? That doesn't sound like him..."

Youko gave her a naughty grin. "Oh, you're right. I was the one who did the eradicating after Shuichi was attacked by several youkai. The boy wasn't paying attention to his surroundings and ended up trespassing onto some other demon's territory. I tried to warn him, but he never listens to me." Youko snorted and rolled his eyes before returning his attention back to Botan. "So after he lost consciousness I took control and fed those presumptuous demons to my precious death plant."

Botan stared up at the beautiful youkai, a horrified expression on her face. Youko stared back at her, losing his smirk.

"Don't look at me like that," he huffed, suddenly defensive. "If it hadn't been for me, your wonderful Shuichi would be taking a dirt nap!"

"But did you have to kill --" Botan began, a frown on her face.

"Oh, stop," Youko interrupted, his features darkening. "That's how it works in Makai. You kill or you get killed. Have you heard of the humans 'laws of the jungle'? That's what Makai is – one big, nasty jungle. Of course I killed them. And, yes, I enjoyed it." His golden eyes pinned her to the spot, slowly raking over her face, taking in her reaction.

"Tell me Botan," he continued, his voice suddenly soft, whispering like silk against her skin and sending shivers down her spine, "does knowing that I like killing disgust you? Does it frighten you?"

Botan's wide purple eyes locked onto the demon's molten gaze. Her mouth felt parched and she slowly licked her lips. Youko watched, smirking.

"Yes," She finally answered, her voice just as soft. "Yes."

Youko's smirk widened and he tilted his head in her direction. "An honest answer. I appreciate that, Botan-chan."

Botan's fingers inched closer to the communicator inside her obi. All she had to do was press the button and alert Koenma --

"I wouldn't do that, ferry girl," Youko spoke up, his golden eyes narrowing. Botan froze, licking her lips again nervously. The youkai held out one long fingered hand – tipped with razor sharp claws. "Give it here."

Botan gave him her most innocent look, fluttering her lashes and tilting her head to the side. "What?" She tried. Youko chuckled darkly and smirked wider, showing her his dangerously pointed teeth.

"Tsk, tsk. And we were doing so well about the honesty just a moment ago." He crooked his finger at her. "Come here and give me the communicator, Botan."

She made no move toward him, but clutched her obi in a white-knuckled grip.

Youko's teeth glinted in the dim light of the room, his voice becoming so soft she had to strain to hear it.

"Now, Botan, if you don't give me the communicator, I'm going to feel as though I can't trust you. And if I feel I can't trust you, then I'm going to have to bring my vines into this. I've been a gentleman so far, little peony, but if you force my hand then I will show you just how much of a scoundrel I can be." He held out his hand. "Now, the communicator if you please."

Squeaking, Botan leaned forward and crawled slowly toward the bed, her limbs trembling. Youko's eyes seemed to burn through her as they stayed fixed on her pale face. Finally, she reached the foot of the bed. The youkai stretched his hand out toward her, waiting. After a silent, tense moment, Botan finally reached up and slowly lay the communicator in his palm.

Youko grinned and pulled his hand back, looking down at the communicator and then back at the deity. "Good girl." He reached over, setting the communicator on the bedside table. "That wasn't so hard, hmm?"

Personally, Botan had found handing over her only source of salvation quite difficult, but decided not to say anything.

Suddenly, Youko had wrapped his hand around her wrist and was tugging her up onto the bed. Botan quickly tried to resist, gasping and trying to squirm away, but the demon was much too strong. He pulled her over the edge and up onto the mattress, right up against him with such force that they both fell back against the pillows.

Panicked, Botan thrashed. He was going to kill her, he was going to kill her, he was going to kill her! She wanted to scream, but her breath seamed to be trapped in her throat. She bit her lip – so hard that blood spilled onto her tongue. Clawed hands grabbed her arms, and a large, heavy, and very warm body rolled over her and pinned her to the bed. She shook her head, blinded by silvery hair that fell around her face like a curtain.

"Stop," Youko hissed quietly as she continued to thrash, "Stop. Do I have to summon my vines?"

Those words sent a chill through her and Botan let out a strangled whimper but slowly forced herself to stop moving. She panted, looking up fearfully.

Youko sat over her, straddling her waist and pinning her arms with his knees. His arms were crossed over his toned, alabaster chest and his molten eyes were staring down at her.

"That's better," He breathed. His usually pale face was slightly flushed as he gazed down at her, his arms uncrossing slowly. Botan gazed distrustfully up at him.

"Don't look at me like that," he repeated his earlier demand, but this time his voice was softer. "I'm not here to hurt you." His hands drifted toward her face and she flinched, eliciting a snort from Youko.

"We're going to have to work on your trust issues," he chuckled, his fingers brushing over her cheek and forehead before sliding into her long, blue hair.

Botan was of the opinion that the only one in the room with issues was the silver kitsune, but she wisely kept her mouth shut.

Youko, finding the hairband in the deity's hair a hindrance, wasted no time in shredding it with his claws. Immediately, Botan's long, unbound hair fell down against her flushed face and the pillows, making the ferry girl look even more delectable than usual. He ran his hands through it again, gently. It seemed to elict no reaction from the girl. He looked curiously down at her, only to find her staring up at him with apprehensive look on her face – as if she expected him to cut her throat at any second. He frowned, tracing his claws carefully along her scalp. The woman shivered under him and he fixed her with his golden stare.

"Does that feel good?" He asked curiously.

Botan blinked up at him. Did it feel good? It felt as if she were inches from death! "I... I guess." She murmured. The youkai frowned again, still running his fingers through her hair.

"You guess?" He bit, apparently frustrated. "Doesn't it feel like -- shouldn't it feel like..." He growled, his hands slipping from her hair as he crossed his arms over his chest again and stared down at the deity.

"I came here to get you back for what happened in that cell two months ago," he growled at her (I knew it! Her mind screamed), "But my touch does not appear to have the same effect on you as yours did on... Hmm..." He reached down, wiping the blood off her lower lip with his thumb and then bringing it to his mouth, licking at the red liquid thoughtfully while he gazed down at the pale, frightened woman.

They stared at each other, golden eyes thoughtful and purple eyes filled with trepidation. Finally, the youkai smirked and slowly got off of her, nimbly catching her wrist before she could move away and tugging her up into a sitting a position. He grinned at her, white teeth glinting in a feral display as he held up her hand.

"What are you -- " Botan squeaked as he bowed his head, tugging her closer as he lightly lay her hand against his head, shivering as he guided her fingers along the soft fur of his left ear. Botan choked on her words, staring in disbelief at the demon who was now leaning into her hand like a attention starved house cat.

"Scratch," he purred, releasing her hand and gazing up at her with molten eyes. Hesitantly, Botan obliged, running her nails lightly along the base of his ear, right where it met his scalp. Immediately, Youko tilted his head into her hand, letting out that earth shaking purr that she remembered from before. The vibrations rumbled through her, and she quickly moved her other hand up scratch the opposite ear. Youko murmured something breathlessly, then reached out and caught the deity by her waist, dragging her closer – and right into his lap.

Botan froze, uncomfortable with her proximity to the ruthless, murdering youkai. She tried to scoot away and snatch her hands back from his head, but his fingers dug rather painfully into her hips and he looked sharply up at her through silver bangs.

"Don't stop, Botan-chan," He growled, showing her his teeth. Botan whimpered as he dragged her back against him, reaching up to quickly scratch his ears. The youkai sighed contentedly and let his head droop forward, his silver ears twitching in delight.

After a moment, she realized something... odd... Botan paused again, blinking. Youko looked sharply up at her, a growl rising in his throat. "Botan..." He warned.

"I'm sorry!" She squeaked, "It's just... um... your hair... is damp..."

Youko's eyes cleared slightly and cocked an eyebrow at her. "I was covered with blood when I arrived. I used your shower. You don't mind do you?" He smirked and tugged her closer.

Botan laughed nervously. "No, no... not at all... Um... you smell like my shampoo..."

Youko's eye twitched. "Yes... I used your shampoo, too." He tilted his head into her hand. "Scratch!" He demanded. Botan quickly went back to her task, scratching behind the youkai's ear, then running her fingers through his long, silky hair.

Youko's silver tail wagged excitedly behind him and he moaned softly, pulling the ferry girl closer, until he could feel her curves against him. He tilted his head to the side, brushing his lips against her pale neck. He felt the girl shiver in his arms and smirked. Her fingers slowed and she tensed as if about to struggle.

"Don't stop," He warned again, nuzzling down her neck, his teeth lightly grazing her skin. Botan gasped softly and trembled, unsure of what to do. Tentatively, her fingers continued to scratch at Youko's ears and the demon purred against her skin. Clawed hands left her waist, traveling up her back , then downward again to grip her hips and tug her closer until she was straddling hips. Smirking, Youko rocked the deity against him, reveling in her breathy gasp as she felt his hardness for her through her kimono.

Teeth grazed her neck this time and Botan felt a warmth begin to pool in her belly, mechanically, her fingers weaved through Youko's hair even as his warm breath against her skin sent shivers down her spine. One of his hands gripped her hips, the other cradled the small of her back as he moved her against him once more. Botan arched, biting her lip so hard that it began to bleed again.

Suddenly, Youko's mouth was on hers, his tongue softly caressing her lips, then slipping into her mouth to tease her. He tilted her back until she was laying against the pillows again, and he was over her, his body flush against her. Slowly, he ended the kiss, his eyes – hotter than ever – fixing her in place.

"Don't do that," He murmured to her, his voice husky as he reached up and gently rubbed his thumb over her bottom lip. Botan, feeling warm and heady, kissed it, the fear draining from her as Youko smiled, pulling his hand away and replacing it with his mouth once again.

He rocked against her, making the deity whimper into the kiss, her hands sliding through his hair and making him groan. He sat up slowly, pulling away from her hands and grinning naughtily down at her. Botan looked up at him, her kissed bruised mouth sending a jolt of possessiveness through the youkai.

The blue-haired woman frowned up at him, confused, then blinking as she felt her kimono sliding off her shoulder. She reached up, trying to hold the fabric in place, her purple eyes suddenly darting to the kitsune, who was now holding up her obi and grinning.

"You!" Botan sputtered, trying to hold her Kimono together. "You give that back right now!"

Youko chuckled and sat back, enjoying the view of his woman trying to maintain her modesty.

"Sorry, Botan-chan," He smirked, "It had to go... And so does the rest..." He reached out, taking hold of her sleeve and tugging. Botan squeaked and tugged back, feeling the fabric slipping down her arm. Youko distracted her by then reaching down and sliding his free hand through the slit at her hips and tracing his warm fingers against her delicately rounded thigh. Botan jerked in surprise, forgetting about the kimono sleeve. Youko laughed, tugging it down and watching in triumph as the pink fabric fell away from her shoulders, baring the deity's chest and flat stomach to him.

Botan, feeling the cool air against her skin, looked up and shrieked, quickly wrapping her arms around herself and glaring balefully at the demon. Youko smirked and leaned down, kissing her again.

"Botan," He murmured against her lips, "don't hide from me... let me see you, lovely..."

She shook her head stubbornly, turning away from his kisses. Youko growled and nipped her lithe little neck in warning. "Vines," He whispered threateningly, and Botan paled, shrinking even further away. Youko followed, sighing against her skin. He loved when she cowered, but he had a feeling this would go so much more smoothly if she willingly participated. And he did so want to see her. All of her.

"No vines, then." He amended, kissing her collarbone. The hand against her thigh slid teasingly upward, brushing against her panties.

Botan gasped and trembled weakly, giving him an apprehensive look. "That's not fair," She murmured. Youko kissed her again, gently sucking on her bottom lip.

"I don't play fair, precious," he smirked, kissing under her chin. His hand slid further up against her panties and pushed lightly against her, eliciting a whimper from his ferry girl. She arched against his fingers and his free hand gripped her hips, keeping her against the bed, stopping her from moving closer to him.

"Let me see," he whispered, his lips brushing against her ear and making her tremble even more. Botan bit her lip and he leaned down, stopping her with another kiss. "I told you not to do that," he chided softly. The deity lost the will to refuse him, and weakly let her arms fall to the side.

Youko sat up, eying his deity appreciatively. Her skin was pale – though not as pale as his own. Right now she was flushed a slight pink color, and he leaned down to lick her shoulder, smirking when she arched against him. Her breasts were bared to him, and he moved down, taking one pink nipple into his mouth and laving it with his tongue. His deity sighed softly and reached up, tangling her fingers in his hair. Youko closed his eyes in pleasure, purring again. He pulled back a bit, smirking and kissing further down, dipping his tongue teasingly into her navel. His free hand pulled at her kimono, letting it finally fall completely to the side so he could see his intended mate in all her glory.

Botan looked down at him uncertainly, flushed, her breath coming in short, excited gasps. He grinned up at her, his hands sliding up her thighs, pushing her legs slowly apart. He kissed the inside of her thigh before gently nipping the tender flesh there, his eyes on hers. Botan whimpered, her hand still in his hair, her fingers brushing against his silver ears. He shivered, wanting nothing more than to take her hard, right at that moment, to rut with her and bite her, mark her as his own, as his territory, as a warning to all other males that this woman was claimed by Youko Kurama.

Frustrated, he ground his hips into the bed, his silver tail lashing behind him. This woman was driving him crazy! He could smell her scent – it drenched the small room and teased at his senses, awakening his mating instincts. Botan was damn lucky that Youko had such fastidious control over himself, or she would have found herself bent over the bed and being taken like a bitch in heat.

Youko growled low in his throat at the delicious mental image, then stored it away for later. Next time, he promised himself. Now that would only frighten the deity and he didn't want that. He wanted her willing, writhing, and wanting beneath him. Pale hands tore the ferry girl's panties away. She gasped, trying to close her legs, blushing hotly, but he refused to let her. He tilted his head closer, breathing her in, darting his warm, soft tongue out to taste...

Botan gripped the pillow with one hand, and tugged at Youko's hair with the other. She couldn't quite remember how things had gotten this far – her mind was foggy – but she knew that she couldn't stop him at his point. And she didn't want to. It felt so good and she wanted more and... and... When had she stopped being afraid? Shouldn't she be screaming her head off and trying to alert everyone in the palace right now?

Another stroke of Youko's tongue sent her thoughts spiraling into the abyss. Botan arched, trying to push him away and pull him closer all at once. It was too much – too much! Too good, she was too sensitive -- !

The Youkai pulled slowly away, sitting up and staring down at his intended mate with eyes brighter than the sun. Botan stared back at him, her purple eyes lidded and dark. Youko unhurriedly stripped off his pants – the only clothing left that separated him from his deity. He was already hard – painfully so – and aching to join with the beautiful woman beneath him.

The demon moved over her, one clawed hand taking hers, the other holding her hips. He leaned in, his lips hovering over hers.

"Botan-chan," he purred, finally claiming what had always been rightfully his.

The sky was dusted with stars when Botan first woke, wrapped around something warm. She blinked sleepily, trying to stretch only to find herself stopped by a rather tight grip on her waist. Memories rushed back to the deity and she gazed down, cheeks flushed but a smile on her lips as she saw Youko. The demon's cheek was pressed to her stomach, his arms wrapped possessively around her hips. His ears twitched every now and again in his sleep and he snuggled closer when she tried to extract herself from his grip.

Botan sighed, laying back against the pillows and closing her eyes, stroking the youkai's silver hair until his purring lulled her back to sleep.

In the morning she woke up alone. Body sore and vision fuzzy from sleep, she tumbled out of bed and cried out when she stepped on something sharp. Pain shook the vestiges of sleep from her and the deity looked down, finding that she had stepped on a long-stemmed rose and managed to prick her heel on a thorn.

Grumbling, the ferry girl picked up the flower, finding a note tied under the bloom.

Something to remember me by until next time.

And there will be a next time, Botan-chan.


Botan blushed, wondering why she didn't feel at all frightened by the not-so subtle promise in the note. Humming, the blue haired deity stumbled into the bathroom, smiling to herself.

The smile vanished ten minutes later when she found her panty drawer had been completely emptied – except for another long stemmed rose.

"That jerk!"

Botan's indignant shriek was so loud that any demon within a 100 mile radius could hear it. As it happened, Youko was the only demon in a 100 mile radius, and he heard it quite clearly.

The youkai's golden eyes sparkled mischievously, one clawed hand wrapped around a very risque pair of pink lace panties. Who knew the deity had such refined tastes?! A dark chuckle rumbled through the demon, and he raced back to Makaii.

This started out a little darker than I had intended, but I think I managed to turn it around in the end.

Oh, by the way, if you want a hilarious mental image... Imagine this: Youko Kurama, in the shower, singing Pocket Full Of Sunshine by Natasha Beddingfield at the top of his lungs. That was my inspiration for this chapter. Seriously.

And now for the real reason I write: reviews! :)