Well, here is the next chapter. I'm sorry it's so short. I didn't have a ton of ideas for this chapter, but fear not! I will make up for it with the next chapter. 'Winter' should be a pretty long one. Also, I plan to have Botan and Koenma in the next chapter, so look out for that as well.


Fall

Fall came slowly. Eventually the leaves on the trees turned brown and lifeless, and fell to the ground below. The temperature dropped a bit each day, and frost covered the grass in the mornings.

Yukina was in the front of Genkai's compound, a rake in her hand. Previously, Yukina was sitting inside, feeling bored and a bit uneasy for some reason, and decided to busy herself by raking up the stray leaves that littered the yard.

She was making great progress. Three large piles of leaves were on the ground, ready to be bagged. She had only one more section of the yard to rake.

Yukina had a strange, anxious feeling in her stomach. She had talked to Kurama a few days earlier. He had not heard from Hiei. At first, Yukina was a bit upset. After all, she had been waiting for Hiei to return for half a year. But Yukina later realized something: what would she say to Hiei even if she saw him again?

It was something the girl had been pondering as she raked. Would she need to be blunt and ask Hiei everything she wanted to know? Or would she have to a take a more subtle approach? With Hiei's usual surly attitude, Yukina could not be sure.

"You're raking leaves?"

Yukina turned to see Master Genkai standing at the doorway, holding a steaming cup of tea. "Come inside," Genkai said.

Yukina obediently did as she was told, abandoning the rake in the middle of the yard. When she entered the home, Genkai told her to sit, then poured Yukina a cup of tea.

"You know," said the woman, "I've never raked the leaves here. It's unnecessary."

Yukina didn't know what to say. "Oh… I'm sorry."

Genkai took a sip of her tea, obviously trying to hide a smirk. Finally, she asked, "What's bothering you?"

The ice maiden was slightly taken aback, but quickly recovered. Genkai could always sense if something was upsetting her, but Yukina didn't think the woman could figure her out that fast. She raised her teacup to her lips before answering. "Well… there is something I… want an answer to, but I need to wait to ask my question. The problem is… I don't know how long I'll have to be patient."

"I see."

When Genkai said nothing else, Yukina was confused. "Do you… have any advice for me, Master Genkai?"

The old woman set down her cup. "You have acknowledged yourself that this is a matter of patience. You need to wait silently. Put your questions behind you until the time comes when you can ask them."

Yukina understood. She couldn't keep thinking about Hiei all the time - it would drive her crazy! "But… how am I supposed to forget about it?"

Genkai shrugged. "Find what works for you best."

She thanked Genkai, then excused herself from the room. She wandered back outside to resume her raking. Though Genkai told her there was no point in cleaning up the leaves, she figured being alone outdoors would allow her to sort some things out in her mind.