Chapter 1 - Was that you?

I'm thinking perhaps with every chapter I will suggest songs to go along with it which I feel help convey the atmosphere of the writing. If nothing else, it may create a colorful play list. My first recommendation: Emilie Autumn - Across the Sky. Enjoy : )

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Darkness seemed to cover every inch of the forest floor. Like an ordinary gift of nature, with the passing of sunlight, became a black hole. An evil place. The moonlight barely managed to sneak past a few places in the thick leafy roof. An occasional cool breeze would cause a chorus of rustling which would be the only sound to break up the stagnant atmosphere. The possibility of the emergence of all sorts of undesirable creatures or demons was ever present. However, the demon who wandered through this accursed place was not phased. Small in stature, he was perhaps the worst thing anyone else wandering that forest could have run into. He walked at a slow pace, one arm completely bandaged, his shirt gone, and a very focused expression on his face. He sought the coast. A place where he could think without being disturbed. His previous battle had been hard on his body simply because of the technique of black flame that he had unleashed on his opponent. He concerned himself less with the burns on his arm, and more with matters of the final match. Team Toguro would certainly not be an ordinary match. They seemed to have undetermined strength and many tricks up their sleeve. The little demon's concentration broke when he heard the sound of robust waves battering the rocks. As he emerged from the trees he was greeted by a pale moon, illuminating the black waters which rolled, and blended seamlessly with the starless sky.

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The warm inviting lights of the hotel began to fade behind the slender girl as she cautiously sought the forest. Concern beckoned her toward the dark place like a siren's song. The others of Team Urameshi seemed unconcerned for Hiei after the last round of the tournament. Or at least, the blue-haired girl felt, not concerned enough to check on him to make sure he was alright. This was not good enough for the girl who now sought after the demon. At the very least, she figured she may be able to use a healing technique on him. Even from the stands she could see the damage Hiei had dealt himself. She didn't want to see anyone from Team Urameshi dead, even if it was the most unfriendly one. Despite her good intentions, she didn't really know where to begin searching. She was unfamiliar with this forest, and as she soon realized, it was very difficult to navigate in this darkness. She found herself groping around in blindness. She tried sticking to the tree trunks, navigating by the patches of moonlight which occasionally broke through the canopy. With every passing minute she became less sure of the direction of the hotel. She was lost. Her hair and clothes were constantly becoming snagged on stray branches and vines. The vulnerability of this human body she occupied became painfully obvious once more to her. Determination, though, distracted her from all of these obstacles as she continued to search for Hiei. After all, his health was more important than a couple of hair pulls. Despite this altruistic determination, after about twenty minutes of fumbling in the darkness, she finally began to worry about herself. The fact that she still had no idea where Hiei could be, and that she probably couldn't find her way back to the safety of the hotel now if she wanted to, began to take priority on her list of concerns. She took a seat at the base of a tree near the next haven of moonlit patch. She began picking at her jeans as she examined her surroundings. This was not her domain, and she had failed at her quest, only succeeding in getting herself lost. She began to question her reason for coming out in this wicked place. Hiei isn't a very nice guy. It's not like he'd risk his own safety for anyone else. For that matter, like he'd help someone else if there was no danger involved. Botan chuckled to herself as she pictured the little Hiei standing over a fallen elderly lady as she asked to be helped up, peering down with that neutral expression he often carried, and his hands in his pockets.

Botan's small smile quickly disappeared as she stopped to listen. The rustling of the leaves made it difficult to confirm her suspicion that she had just heard a noise. She sat frozen, trying hard to hear over the wind when suddenly there it was again. There was no mistaking it now. Very low, very close, very menacing, she definitely heard a growl. Her eyes widened as her previous light-heartedness was quickly replaced with fear. It was too close. The snarl of some unknown beast which awaited in the thick darkness. She started to panic as she tried to figure a way out of this situation. She was all alone and at the disadvantage of being unable to see. Even if she could have seen at this point, she doubted her ability to fight this creature. Botan slowly returned to a standing position. She was trying to identify the direction of the growling, but in this tricky terrain it was difficult to tell. The monstrous noise echoed and seemed to be coming from everywhere. It wasn't even very loud. Yet still, no matter how much Botan strained her eyes, or how wide she made them, she couldn't see a thing. Very carefully, she took a couple of steps away from the tree she'd had her back to. As she searched, trying to find signs of anything, the hotel, a friendly passer-by, she felt a tight grip seize her shoulder. The surprise of it forced a scream from her throat. The iron grip began to hurt as the long, thick claws began to dig into her skin. She pulled against the grip, squirming at odd angles until she finally broke loose. There was not a second's hesitation before Botan took off running.

She was in a blind panic. Cold sweat broke out on her forehead, and her throat tightened. The roots of trees mockingly went out of their way to move into the girl's path, tripping her, disorienting her. Sometimes crawling trying to recover from a fall, sometimes running as fast as her environment would allow her, she pressed on. The malevolent presence always seemed like it was right beside her, ready to devour her. Her chest tightened and she began running short of breath. Yet still she managed to scream as she ran, "Help! Somebody!" She struggled to make her screams heard, but she was fighting for air, and the tears she tried to force back choked out her words. Her hope quickly sank away. Every second seemed like the one she would be snatched away by this presence. She continued to fight with her own body, screaming so that anyone would hear her. In the trees ahead of her she saw a large clearing where the moon shone uninterrupted by thick forest. The coast! As Botan was just feet from the edge of the clearing something brushed past her going in the opposite direction. It wasn't an attack, but it caused her to lose her balance, and she landed on her left hip hitting her head against a tree. There was a brief pain that exploded in her head, but it did not stop her from rushing back to her feet.

Once in the clearing she saw the grassy platform that lead to the jagged rocks, which separated land from the endless black sea. She immediately collapsed as her knees buckled under her weight. For the first time since she began running she turned to look behind her. This was the end of the line. Any second now, a hideous creature would come bounding out from the trees to tear her to shreds. As she sat on the grass panting, waiting, nothing happened. No creature that had been chasing her showed its self. Nothing. But she was sure something had grabbed her. Had she imagined it? She carefully watched the tees only to see the leaves dancing with the wind.

There was sound coming from behind the screen of bark. Just as the blue-haired girl had began to calm down, she was alarmed once more. A small shadow emerged moving slowly as she squinted to try and see what it was. Just then her panic was completely erased, replaced instead with confusion, "Hiei!?" The small man walked slowly, seemingly careless. He nearly blended in with the shadows, the exception being his pale abdomen which was lit by the moon.

"I came here to get away from you fools." He said in a snide tone, clearly annoyed with the girl's presence.

"Were you following me?" Botan asked with an expression twisted in confusion at the weird-factor of this suggestion.

"You mean your friend back there? I disposed of him easily enough." Botan blinked, "someone like you shouldn't be out here." Hiei continued, looking down at her, then passing her to reclaim his prior seat on top of a large rock with a semi-flat surface.

"But how-"

"A dead person could have heard you ," he said turning his head toward her so that she could hear. Botan looked to the ground with an innocent face and the tip of her index finger pressed against her lips.

"Well thank you Hiei, I wouldn't have expected-" but she stopped her sentence, realizing it had already started to sound insulting. She tried to play it off with a nervous laugh. Hiei only frowned at her. "Oh yes, I actually came out here to find you. You see, I wanted to make sure your arm... well, ah.. I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help." She smiled sweetly in her Botan-way, pushing the tips of her index fingers together. As she said this, she tried to examine his bandaged arm. The bandages were tight, there was no trace of the injury left to be exposed. Her eyes wandered up the demon's arm, which trailed over toward his strong shoulder, all the way over to his muscular... Botan scolded herself for allowing her eyes to stray, shaking her head suddenly.

"I don't need help, especially not from someone so pathetic." Hiei said flatly in his Hiei-way. The girl's face quickly knit together in a displeased frown as she released an unladylike grunt.

"Well that's just fine Hiei, because I don't need help from you either." She said very confidently, snootily. She snapped back to her feet, and turned towards the forest marching very boldly towards the trees. Hiei's eyebrows knit together in irritation. Then suddenly Botan froze in her tracks. Hiei's eyes fixed on her curiously as she turned back around without even returning her leg that was mid-step to the ground.

"Ah... that is... Do you happened to know which way back to the hotel?" She laughed loudly scratching the back of her head. Hiei almost fell backward off of his rock.

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Well kiddies, that's it for chapter 1. Be on the lookout for chapter 2, and thanks for reading ^^