Disclaimer: Yu Yu Hakusho © not mine. Don't even think of going there.
The mission had gone to hell in a hand basket fairly quickly, much too quickly for Kurama's tastes. Koenma had assured them that no one knew about his little intelligence operation. Not even Yusuke and Kuwabara had been informed. Koenma had assured them that this was open and shut, and perfectly safe.
Somewhere, someone was laughing at all three of them.
There should have been no reason for Kurama and Hiei to be sitting in a Makai prison waiting judgment. Technically, they had done nothing wrong, although that had never stopped anyone before. Kurama couldn't remember much of the fight and Hiei was still out cold. Something had to have gone terribly wrong for Hiei to be anything less than fully alert.
Their cell was small, dark, and damp. There were no windows, not that Kurama was actually expecting any. Their door was simply wood with no window cut into it, but he had no doubt that there were wards placed on the outside. He wondered, briefly, if their captors planned on torturing information out of them. That would be the best case scenario.
Voices reached his ears. They spoke so quietly he could barely hear the words, but Kurama could clearly hear a few words that made his blood run cold.
"Just some random demons – we'll have some fun tonight."
What color was left in Kurama's face faded as he gently nudged Hiei. "Wake up. I think we're in trouble." he whispered. His wounds from the battle (but when did he get hurt? He remembered a flash of pain and nothing more) stung horribly, but he ignored the pain as he focused on the fire demon. "Hiei, please – we need to fight!" Thoughts raced through his mind, crashing to a halt when his harsh whisper had the desired effect. Hiei's eyes flickered before opening fully. Kurama let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
Hiei looked around. "I guess the miracle didn't occur."
Kurama couldn't help but chuckle at that. "No miracle, except perhaps that we are still alive." He looked his friend over critically. "Where are you hurt?"
"I'm not." Hiei said shortly.
"There's no time for stubborn pride." Kurama hissed, taking care to keep his voice low. "Show me your injuries. We cannot afford to be weak."
Hiei met his gaze evenly. "I'm not hurt."
Suddenly Kurama understood. "How badly were we outnumbered?" he asked, not sure he wanted to know. Hiei simply did not retreat. It wasn't in his nature.
"Enough." Hiei replied, sounding calm enough. "They weren't the ones that Koenma sent us after, so our secret's safe for now." Kurama's eyes narrowed, but he didn't press the subject. Something had happened during the battle, and Hiei refused to tell him about it. Kurama would have to wrangle the truth from him later. Right now they had more pressing problems.
Pain shot through his side, sending him from his knees to lay on the ground. Hiei quickly scooted forward and turned Kurama onto his back the best he could. "You're too tall, fox." he grumbled. "I can barely push you."
"You're just too small, Hiei." Kurama shot back, his voice strained with pain. The gash on his side was still weeping blood, and Hiei let his gaze linger a little longer than necessary on it. "You need to grow some more."
"I think I'm just condemned to being short, especially around you." The casual banter was keeping Kurama calm even as Hiei pressed both hands against his wound. "Don't scream."
Kurama had just enough time to brace himself for the pain.
Hiei brought his powers to bear. Kurama bit his tounge, fighting back a cry of pain as Hiei cauterized the wound. It wasn't the first time Hiei had done this – on the rare occasions where one or both of them had been hurt, they usually wound up healing each other to the best of their abilities. So Kurama was used to searing fire. It still hurt.
Hiei pulled his hands away. "You'll live."
Kurama smiled. "Thank you."
The briefest flicker of an honest smile crossed Hiei's face as he leaned against the cell wall. "So how long before Koenma realizes we aren't coming back?" he asked conversationally.
"Too long." Kurama grimaced. "I'm afraid we're living on borrowed time."
Hiei couldn't stop a smirk. "Welcome to my world."
"Shut up." The brick wall they were leaning against was beginning to leech the cold from their bodies. Hiei was already starting to shiver. He glanced sidelong at Kurama, who was holding himself rigid. He knew his companion was feeling the cold as well. He grimaced.
Borrowed time, indeed, and no where near enough of it. When it came time to fight, he doubted they'd be strong enough to escape.
Still, better to die fighting. Always.
Under normal circumstances, Yusuke would have told Botan to get lost long before she ever made it across the lunchroom to where he and Kuwabara sat. It was bad enough that the teachers liked to hassle him; he didn't need Koenma's messenger doing it as well. The look on her face, however, was enough to kill the smart remark that threatened to come out.
"What's wrong?" The alarm in his voice alerted Kuwabara, who looked curiously from Yusuke to Botan. The ferry girl was trembling, though whether in fear or worry neither boy could tell.
Botan took a deep breath before she spoke. "Kurama and Hiei are in trouble."
"What?!" Kuwabara demanded.
Yusuke stiffened. "What kind of trouble?"
Botan shivered. "Uh – Lord Koenma sent them on an intelligence mission – to gather information about a new demon group that had recently come to our attention – and we lost contact with them three days ago. We found them this morning, being held prisoner by an unknown group. We know where they are, but we can't get to them."
"So you want us to?" Yusuke demanded.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Kuwabara grinned. "Let's go rescue Kurama and the shrimp. We'll be heroes!"
"We'll be dead." Yusuke retorted incredulously. "Botan, you can't be serious! If our two best fighters were captured, what's to keep us from getting killed?"
"You'll have help." Botan protested.
"Jin and Touya."
Kuwabara and Yusuke exchanged looks. "They're willing to fight with us?" Kuwabara wondered. Yusuke grinned.
"They'll be great." he said.
"Come on, you two." Botan stood and motioned for them to follow her. "They're waiting for us behind the school. Kurama and Hiei don't have much time." With that she guided them through the school. Yusuke thought he heard Keiko call out for him, but he didn't react. Let Botan explain it later. Maybe then she'd stay out of trouble.
Yusuke grinned at the sight of Jin and Touya waiting in the lot behind the school. Touya was leaning against a fence post with his arms crossed over his chest while Jin was sitting cross-legged in midair. "Well if it isn't my two favorite demons from the Dark Tournament." Yusuke teased. "Fancy seeing you here."
"Urameshi!" Jin greeted him happily. "We heard your mates got themselves in a wee bit of trouble so we thought we'd lend a hand!" Yusuke took a second to let his brain decipher the quick Irish accent before he nodded with a grimace.
"Something like that." he said. "You guys ready to give us a tour of the demon world?"
"Of course." Touya replied. "Who all is coming?"
"Just me and Urameshi." Kuwabara said, jerking his thumb at Yusuke. "No one else can fight."
"Unless you want to get Genkai involved." Yusuke commented dryly.
Jin laughed. "Whoo-wee, Genkai was a feisty one I wouldn't fancy going against her no sir." He winked at Yusuke, who just laughed.
Touya shook his head tolerantly. "Come on. We need to go." With a wave of his hand, a gaping hole materialized in the air. Yusuke and Kuwabara could see a red-lit landscape behind it, but only barely. Touya fixed them both with a hard look. "Stay close."
"Don't have to tell me twice." Kuwabara muttered. Yusuke nodded, and they followed Touya and Jin into the Demon World.
AN: Yeah, here we go again. Man, I thought I was done with this. (shakes head) Oh well. I'm new to this fandom, so feel free to give me advice about characterizations and whatnot. Just as an FYI, though – this is not slash. It will not be slash. The most you might be able to read into it is shonen-ai, if you tilt your head to the left and turn your slash-goggles up to highest magnification.
I wouldn't mention this, but there doesn't seem to be many, if any, stories involving Hiei and Kurama that doesn't make them a couple. So here's a heads-up.