So...This is going to be the last chapter. 18 seems to be my story limit I guess...Maybe the next one'll be twenty...Honestly, I didn't plan to end it here, but I thought it'd be a great lead off to a sequel.

Speaking of which, please give me a couple weeks for that sequel. Today marks the end of midterms, so I had time, but next weekend is fall break and my friends enjoy kidnapping me for hours on end. I will do my best to get it up asap and continue with my weekly updates.

Hope you all enjoy this chapter, especially Fox Girl, Masgb, and all of my other random guests. If you have any ideas for the sequel, let me know. I'll totally take them to heart.

So until then, goodbye loves. Thanks for the reviewing, thanks for the 1200+ hits, thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate it. Buonasera, and leave one last review for the road.

Random tidbidy fact! I enjoy calling Hiei Chibi cause he reminds me of a friend of mine of similar height and demeanor, but calling Hiei "Puppy" just wouldn't fit.

Chapter 18

The next morning, Kaori opened her eyes. She saw a blur of brown before her eyes adjusted, telling her she was looking at Genkai's ceiling. She looked to her left and saw Hiei sitting in the window, already watching her. Kaori opened her mouth to speak but her throat was too dry and she coughed again.

In an instant he was by her side with a cup of water. She sat up a bit, nodded thankfully, and swallowed the water in one gulp. Hiei raised an eyebrow as she smile at him, not resembling the dying kitsune they had been working on all night.

"Thank you!" she said, voice returned. "Where's Kurama?"

Hiei's eyes flashed an emotion too quickly for her to catch, his mask in place once again. "Why do you ask? You should be sleeping," he said sternly.

"I wanted to make sure he was ok," she said defensively. "And I can't sense his energy, so I was wondering where he went." This time when his eyes softened, Kaori noticed it was sadness.

"He's one room over." Kaori blinked, then sat up fully and put her bare feet on the ground. She had been redressed in a sort of night gown that reached past her knees, much to her relief.

"If he's so close why is his energy unreadable?" she asked as she stood, using her tails and arms to keep herself upright. She looked up at Hiei to see his eyes on the floor. When he didn't answer she poked him, making him jump and glare at her.

"What's wrong, chibi?"

"Hn." Hiei's eyes fell again, then he sighed. "Kurama gave you a lot of his energy so you wouldn't die while Genkai was healing you. He gave you more than he should have and collapsed himself. I then gave you some of my energy to stabilize you, and Yukina did her best to heal Kurama so he could recover his own lost energy." When Hiei met Kaori's eyes, they were full of fear and worry.

After hesitating, Kaori turned and headed out of the room, stumbling slightly as she tried to run, and caught herself on the door frame. She turned and went into the next room, Kurama's room, and stopped a few steps inside.

He laid there, pale, looking frail in a bed that seemed two sizes too big. Kaori walked to the side and looked at his face. There was no pain on it, but no joy either. Just…peace…as if he was…

Tears streamed down Kaori's cheeks as she sat on the side of his bed. She laid her head onto his chest and continued to cry. Only then did she hear the soft, steady beat of his heart and notice the slight rise and fall of his ribs. Hope rose into her heart, but it was minimal as the shallowness of his breathing stung her ears.

"Why did you do this to yourself?" she asked him, choking on tears.

"He loves you." Kaori looked back at the door and saw Hiei and Yusuke. It was Yusuke who had spoken, looking tired but better than the previous night.

"So?!" she asked, half angry, half touched. "That doesn't mean he has to die to save me! I don't want him to!"

"Fox-boy's never met anyone like you," Yusuke said. "He cares about you as much as his human mother. We talked, before he gave out, and he wanted me to make sure you knew, no matter what, that he loves you. He didn't regret anything, going to save you or giving you his energy. He didn't want you to die while he was alive to help."

Kaori's heart ached as fresh tears poured down. She laid her head back on his chest and let them all fall. Hiei nudged Yusuke, and the two walked back to the main room where everyone else was waiting to hear how the two kitsunes were doing.

"I didn't want you to die for me too," Kaori whispered to Kurama. "You're the most wonderful fox I've ever met in my life, and you had a heart big enough for family and friends and even me…I never wanted you to abandon them to try and spare me. I'd rather…I'd rather I died to protect you." She sat her head up and looked at his face. Kaori brushed a few strands of hair from his face, letting her fingers trace his cheek.

"I love you too," she said determinedly. "There's no way I'm going to let you leave me here without a fight. If you go, I'm going with you. But if I have to stay, then for God's sake you're staying with me." Kaori leaned over and placed a kiss on his lips. Nothing too forceful, just enough to taste him once more. She looked at his face once more, took a deep breath, then kissed him again, this time pouring her energy into him as she exhaled into his mouth.

Kurama gasped as the air filled his lungs and the energy filled his body. His eyes shot open as Kaori sat up to look at him with a smile. He stared at her in amazement, not of the sudden strength he felt in his body, but by the fact that she was alive and looking at him, joyful despite her tear-streaked face.

"Hey stranger," she said softly, loving the shocked expression on his face. "Bet you thought you'd never have to look at this face again, huh?" Kurama was in too much shock, joy, and relief to come up with a valid response.

So he pulled her down on top of him into the most passionate kiss her either of their lives. Kaori slid her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss, as she was laid on his belly. His arms held her waist firmly, not allowing her to so much as move from his hold. Eventually, he let her pull back for air and stared into her face.

"I thought I'd never see you again," he panted, overcome with joy.

"Same here," she said. "Why did you give me so much energy? You could've died."

"You would have if I didn't," he said, much calmer than he truly felt. "I knew Genkai and Hiei didn't have enough, and if I stopped short you would've died on that bed and I would not have been able to live with myself."

Kaori shook her head in mock anger. "You're so selfish," she scolded, making him raise an eyebrow. "How did you expect me to live without you? You think I would've moved on without you here? Next time think before you put your life at risk, mister." Kurama couldn't help but smile. In an instant he had rolled over, taking her with him, and she now laid half beside, half under him, staring up in surprise at how quickly he moved her.

"I promise I'll never put you through that again," he said softly. Kaori put a finger to his lips to stop him from kissing her once again.

"Don't make promises you can't keep, Spirit Detective," she said, looking deep into his eyes. "I know you're gonna go risk your life a billion times. Just promise that you won't move on without me, ok?"

"I swear," he said, before crashing his lips down onto hers once again. This time Kaori let him, reveling in the feeling of him being with her and loving her as much as she loved him.

"Nice to see you're well."

Kaori and Kurama jumped, both sitting up with blushes on their cheeks. Hiei smirked from the doorway, arms folded across his chest. Neither looked higher than his boots.

"You're lucky I got here first," he said, flitting to the window as the rest of the group and Botan came to the doorway.

"I'm glad to see he's alright," Yukina said. "We were worried about both of you."

"Yeah, you really gave us a scare last night," Yusuke nodded.

"And Koenma nearly had a fit when he heart Kurama nearly killed himself," Botan said. "I can't believe he still doesn't trust Kaori."

"What do you know about his true intentions?" Kurama asked, sitting up straighter and facing the Deity of Death.

She was quiet a moment, then sighed. "I know he was worried about Kaori's powers and what she would do if she knew that he allowed the demons to raid her village."

"So it was true," Kaori said sadly. Kurama took her hand and gave it a small squeeze, though he knew it wasn't enough to ease her concern.

"But he did not order the execution of your family," Botan said quickly. "I was the one to escort them to the other side. Your father was outraged, especially knowing that Konajiru was still after you. Koenma promised that under no circumstances would you be allowed to join him."

"But she never wanted to, so why would he want to leave her behind?" Yusuke asked. "That's what doesn't make sense."

"Yeah, it's like he had it in for her from the start," Kuwabara added.

"…You met my family?" Kaori asked softly. All fell silent as Botan nodded. "How was my mother?"

"She was sad that she wasn't able to save your family, but happy that you survived," Botan said. "She knew that you were stronger than the rest, ever since you were born, and she was glad she gave you a chance to reach your potential." Kaori's eyes filled with tears as she remembered her mother's smiling face when she formed her first rose.

"You need to go speak to Koenma," Genkai said. "You need to get everything on the table and out of the way before any of you can move on." Kaori nodded and returned to her room to get dressed. She put on a purple t-shirt with a black hoodie and long purple skirt that faded black by the base. The length his the fact that her normally excited tails now hung limp in sadness. She returned to the living room where everyone was assembled and nodded to Botan. She formed a portal and the group filed through, Kurama and Kaori the last to enter.

Koenma sat at his desk, in his teenage form, waiting for everyone to enter his office. He was still boiling over Kurama's disobedience the night before, but he had hunched that the kitsunes would've trusted each other to make sure Kaori wouldn't run off. But now Konajiru spilled the beans and his once loyal Spirit Detectives were taking the side of this fire kitsune they hardly even knew! Did he have so choice words for Yusuke…

The large double doors were thrown in and the head spirit detective in question came stomping in, followed by the other three, Kaori and Botan.

"You got a lot of nerve, ya know that?!" Yusuke yelled, slamming his fists on the desk. "I should-"

"QUIET!!" Koenma yelled, angrier than they'd ever seen him. Yusuke took a couple of steps back when Koenma stood, glaring daggers at them all. "Do any of you understand what was at stake with that mission?! You could have doomed us all!"

"You act like we're the bad guys," Kuwabara spoke up.

"You act like she isn't!" Koenma yelled, gesturing to Kaori. "In the years we've been tailing Konajiru, he's been planting resentment in her about taking the worlds because her father did not join him. They had a truce, before her father was betrayed, that his strongest child would help him take over."

Everyone stared at him in silence as he sat back down, the scowl never leaving his face. "One of the sons were supposed to be the strongest, but then she was born and the plan changed entirely. "Her father, Naito, did not want his daughter to be blood thirsty, so they came up with another truce; she was to marry Konajiru's son, but he never had an heir."

"Which is why he wanted to marry you," Kurama said to Kaori, following along quite well. Koenma nodded before continuing.

"We in Spirit World knew this plan, which is why we attacked to catch her, because she was more powerful than Konajiru," he continued. "Kaori, your father agreed to hand you over as long as you weren't hurt, and then we were to go after Konajiru. However, he found out in some way we don't know and killed your family and kept you, knowing that we needed you to stop his plot."

Kaori's eyes were locked on the floor in front of her and her ears drooped. "So I was just a way for you to find him?" she asked softly.

"We knew his whereabouts, but we had to stop him from taking over, and you were the most powerful option we had," Koenma said with a nod.

"So we didn't save her to save her? Just to use her?" Yusuke asked.

"Not exactly," Koenma began.

"But that is precisely what you said," Kurama said, anger beginning to fill him again. "You had us rescue her so we could take away his ability to get to Spirit World. He was strong enough for the demon world, but that didn't matter. You wanted to keep the Human and Spirit World's safe by manipulating a young girl. We only went after him because she was kidnapped. Other than that, you could've cared less about her safety."

"That's low," Yusuke said, shaking his head.

"It was necessary!" Koenma shouted. "I could not lose all of my spirit detectives staving off an invasion when-"

"You could just sacrifice my life in their stead," Kaori finished. Koenma opened his mouth to speak but couldn't find the words to say. She smiled sadly at him. "It's ok, you don't have to defend yourself. You're the prince of Spirit World. What do you want me to do then?"

"Ahem," Koenma said, regaining his calm composure. "We're going to have to hold you here until we can assess whether or not you can return to the demon world."

"Like, ARRESTED!?" Kuwabara blurted out.

"That's not fair!!" Yusuke agreed. "Keep her with Genkai, she'll know what to look for!"

"For safety of the Human World, I must keep her here," Koenma said firmly. A long silence followed.

"Ok," Kaori said, more chipper than she should have been under the circumstances. "I'll just have to prove I'm not evil then."

"Glad you agree," Koenma said. Everyone in the room was shocked and heartbroken to see her give in so easily, none more than Kurama. "Detectives, you may return to the human world. Kaori, your room is ready."

Kaori looked at Yusuke and the group who were outraged yet defeated. He gave her a small hug, then walked out the door. Kuwabara shook her hand, and with a nod he followed Yusuke out into the hall. Hiei stood motionless for a while, then flitted in front of her.

"Hey chibi," she said with a small smile. "When I get back, can I have a tree near yours so we can meditate together?"

Hiei nodded with a smirk. "Only if you make more ice cream cake," he said, smirk growing into a small smile. Kaori gave him a tight hug before he flitted out into the hall.

She turned last to Kurama, who had a sad look in his eyes. "Don't worry, we all know I'm innocent. I'll be back in no time," she said, walking up to him.

Kurama pulled her into a hug and held on tight. "I'm going to miss you," he whispered.

"I know, and I'm going to miss you too," she said softly. She pulled back slightly and formed a perfect, purple rose. It was tiny and had a long vine that she looped around Kurama's neck. "Keep it close to your heart and give it a little energy to feed on and I'll always be right here with you, saving your neck from life's little dangers."

A single tear slid down his cheek as he stared into her bright purple eyes. He leaned down and caught her lips in one last kiss before he let her go. "Good bye, my dearest Kaori," he said.

"I'll see you later, my darling Yoko Kurama," she smiled. Gold flashed in his eyes as he looked at Koenma one last time, then walked out into the hall to join the others. The three detectives looked up at him to make sure he was alright, and he gave them all a weak smile.

They took one last look into Koenma's office. Botan was by the wall, crying silently, and Koenma sat looking as stoic as ever. Kaori however looked like an angel in the light as she smiled at them all, her eyes showing the affection she had for each and every one of them. She waved as the two double doors shut, and all four found themselves waving back, even Hiei.

And just like that, she was gone…

The End...

Random tidbidy fact! I enjoy calling Hiei Chibi cause he reminds me of a friend of mine of similar height and demeanor, but calling Hiei "Puppy" just wouldn't fit. But thanks for reading. I'll be back with that sequel as soon as I can.

-Kaori 3