Disclaimer: I, in no way, own Yu Yu Hakusho and am currently asking myself why I'm ever writing this.
Author's Note: Ahh! I know, I always tend to die off for months and come back randomly! I apologize. I can never really commit to a full story, so this will be a one-shot (and there will be more one-shots to come, eventually). I will finish Wild Goose Chase one of these days, and that will most likely be my last story with chapters.
Botan huffed in annoyance, blowing her unusual blue hair out of her face. She scanned what seemed like an endless row of green trees from her spot in the sky, her oar levitating in place. Scrunching her nose irritably, she searched for any sign of a demonic aura around. She found none. Yet, she knew from instinct that he had to be here.
Oh, damn him. He always has to make things so difficult!
Sighing, the deity lowered herself to the cool ground of the park and brushed a few wrinkles from her lovely pink kimono before continuing her search. It was just her luck, really. Botan always ended up drawing the short end of the stick when it came to this (actually, in a lot of things when it came to her job). She always had to be the one to retrieve Hiei when he was needed for some type of mission. She always searched hours on end for the demon who didn't want to be found in the first place. She always had to deal with his temper. Couldn't somebody else do it for once?
No, of course not. Because they think it's funny!
Nearly tripping, Botan was brought out of her small reverie. Scowling, she lifted the bottom of her kimono, for caution, and continued her trek through the park. Another thing she would never understand: why on Earth did Hiei find it absolutely necessary to stay in such an enormous park? The trees literally dragged on for miles! Granted it was quiet, and secluded, and as far away from humans as he could get, it just made her life (or after-life) so much more complicated. She ought to file a formal complaint.
Passing more and more trees, Botan figured she was getting pretty close to the center of the forest. She had only been walking for a few minutes, so thinking back on it, this was becoming less and less of a hassle each time (though flying all the way here and then walking through the damn forest looking for him was still a hassle). Or maybe she knew Hiei better than she thought, because she knew he'd want to be as far away from everyone as possible – and that meant the absolute center of the forest. Hell, he was so picky (it was quite an unnoticeable quality in the small demon, if you were anyone but her) he probably picked the tree that marked the exact midpoint of the whole place. Either way, she knew she was close.
Rubbing her temples, the deity sighed. She had decided that she was most definitely not in the mood for this today. Forming an irritated growl in her throat, Botan called out, "Hiei! Hiei, I know you're here somewhere, so don't think you're fooling me! Why don't you make this easy on us both for once and just come out?"
She was met with complete silence, and maybe a cricket or two chirping. But the crickets didn't help. Glaring at a random tree, Botan stomped her foot. This was getting ridiculous! Could he not just cooperate for once? This didn't need to happen every time she was sent to retrieve him! Did he enjoy making her existence miserable?
Oh. Oh, this was rich. Not only was he in her mind, invading her thoughts, he picked now of all times to tell her that he took a horrible, sick pleasure out of making things hard for her! How rude. How disrespectful! She could feel her face turning an angry shade of pink already. This was not funny.
"Oh, how dare you? You pompous little demon! Emphasis, big emphasis, on little! Who do you think you are? Nobody invited you into my head! They aren't your thoughts, so keep your dirty little nose out of my business!" Botan shouted in a rage, not caring about the consequences. As if he would kill here anyway! He would enjoy his sentence in prison then, if he so wished. She was so angry at him. So, so angry. Why couldn't he ever just be nice? Maybe conversational, even. She could only imagine the two of them sitting at a small table in the park, drinking tea and discussing their days. Would that be so bad?
Okay. Honestly, it would be a little weird. But still! It would not kill the man to be civil for once in his life, would it?
Botan's thoughts were brought to an abrupt halt with a heated growl and the sudden sensation of cold, sharp metal pressed against her throat. Doing her best not to move, she gulped and looked down into smoldering, red eyes. She had never really taken the time to appreciate what amazing eyes he had. And she wasn't doing so now, though it was really tempting. Maybe when there wasn't a sword ready to slice her voice box open she would consider it.
"Onna," Hiei hisses dangerously, a little too close for her comfort (he was nearly pressed against her, for heaven's sake!), "What makes you think I care about your privacy? What makes you think you can speak to me like that and leave without a scratch?"
The blue-haired woman attempted to pull away, but found that a hand grabbed her by the back of her head and held her forcefully in place, pressed against the blade. There was a small silence between them, and she felt a drop of sweat roll down the side of her face, and past the small of her neck. Botan felt her heart beat start to pick up, and felt a small amount of fear take over her for a second before she regained her composure, "Hiei, don't be irrational. We both know that if you killed me, you would spend the rest of your days locked up."
And I would like to think that perhaps we were friends…
Hiei grunted, and slid the blade gently across her neck, watching tiny droplets of blood form where it passed. Smirking, he let the blade fall to his side, and forced her down to his level with the hand that was on the back of her head, "And you and I both know, Onna, that they wouldn't be able to keep me there for very long. So just remember that next time you feel like running your mouth, lest I end up… removing that pretty little face of yours," he threatened, before pushing her away from him and flitting into the tree next to them.
Botan stood in a stunned silence, staring at the ground. She didn't register any pain from her neck, nor any longer did she register the rapid beat of her heart or the sweat on her face. All she could hear, or think, even feel were his words – but not his threat.
My pretty… my pretty little face.
He had really said that. Hiei, the meanest demon she had ever had the displeasure of meeting, had called her pretty. Was this some kind of sick joke? Botan quickly glanced around to see if there were any cameras, and saw none. Okay, no joke. So maybe it was the apocalypse or something.
Hiei had called her pretty.
How… odd. He found her attractive. She had never expected that. It's not like she didn't find him attractive or anything, but she had always just assumed the only things he though about her was the she was incompetent and annoying. It made her smile; maybe there was a kind side to Hiei after all. Maybe the emotionless demon did feel! She had to tell everyone!
After noticing the smile on her face (definitely not what he had expected, no matter how unnaturally cheery the Onna was), his mistake dawned on him moments later. Hiei hadn't meant anything by it. In fact, he had never even realized he had said it. He had meant it as a threat, and only a threat. Of course she would take it the wrong way, and most likely end up embarrassing him in front of the other Reikai Tantei. Growling, Hiei jumped from the tree and back down in front of her.
Looking at the demon in front of her, Botan grinned fiendishly, "You know, Hiei, if you liked me so much you could have just told me," she teased. Oh, she would never let him live this down. No, definitely not. Not after all the times he scared the hell out of her, or threatened her, and definitely not for all the times he forced her to come hunting for him in the forest and making her miserable. She was going to enjoy this, oh yes she was.
"Onna, don't delude yourself. I merely find you tolerable, despite wanting to strangle you most of the time that you impose your unfortunate presence upon me," Hiei scowled at her.
Botan frowned, but only for a second, before grinning at him once again and putting her index finger to her chin, "Now, now. I seem to recall a certain someone telling me something about my pretty face just a minute ago. Or don't you remember?"
Hiei glared up at her, annoyed by her sudden attitude. Since when did she get a back-bone around him? He had noticed their conversations (as few and far between as they were) had become less than hostile lately, but had never really put any thought into it. She had never been important enough to waste more than a moment's thought on. In any case, he didn't like it.
"What do you want, Onna?" Hiei bit out, hoping she would just disappear so he could get back to his tree. He was tired of that stupid toddler using him for missions. Botan, however, just continued to grin at him. Which bothered him to no end.
Botan, still smiling, simply summoned her oar and hopped on it. Looking at the small demon, she patted the back of it as a sign for him to get on. When he made no move to mount her oar, she frowned and said, "Hiei, if you don't get on this oar I'm telling everyone what you said!"
"Hn. Like they would believe it anyway."
Sulking, the ferry girl knew what he said was true. She could only imagine the stares she would receive from everyone when she tried to tell them that Hiei had called her pretty! Had she not heard it herself, she would think she was crazy too. Botan cringed, wondering if they would force her to take a vacation because they thought she was too stressed out, or even put her in a padded room! Oh, how horrible that would be! No matter how much she wanted to use this against the fire demon, she would never tell anyone, she decided.
"Oh, Hiei. Could you please just get on? The faster we get there, the faster you can finish and be away from me," Botan sighed.
Seeing the logic in Botan's statement (a first, to be sure), Hiei mounted her oar. The second he was situated, she sped off into the air. He soon became rather frustrated as her silky blue hair hit him in the face, as it always did. Glaring at the back of her head, he could only think of one thing as she turned back to smile at him.
She is rather nice to look at.
So, this routine of theirs (Botan searching for Hiei in the park, finally finding him and getting all worked up, him threatening her, and the both of them finally flying to Reikai) may have gone a little different than usual, but the fire demon found himself only able to come to one simple conclusion: he didn't really mind all that much.