Disclaimer: I do not own Yu Yu Hakusho, and I am not making any money off of this piece.

Important Author's Note: The story is set post-series in the manga verse. If you have not read the manga just know that Yusuke opens a ramen stand where he does demon/spiritual investigation as his main business. Yukina is living as a kind of "homestay" in the Kuwabara residence.

Shadow Dreaming

I Want to Play a Game

Things were always relatively easy-going at the ramen stand/ investigations office. Keiko and Yusuke (if he wasn't off on a case) fell easily into their gentle banters. At any point in time, Kurama and Kuwabara might go over some school work. Yukina and Shizuru would gossip about whatever came to their minds. Sometimes Kuwabara fawned over Yukina. Other times Yusuke would pick a fight with Kuwabara only to get a nice fat Keiko slap to the face. Sometimes Kurama would deliver greetings from Hiei and news from the Makai. And always, always, always the subject of general conversation floated over to the little fire demon no one, save Kurama, had seen in the three years since Yusuke's return to ningenkai.

But despite the words of the common saying, speaking of the devil did not always summon him forth.

That was until today.

Everything was going as usual. Yusuke and Kuwabara rolled around the concrete in a typical brawl, Kuwabara winning for once, though who can say how much longer that would be for. Kurama and Keiko conversed quietly off to the side, the girl trying to ignore the noise of the two boys. Yukina oversaw the fight making sure Kuwabara didn't end up breaking something too badly, and Shizuru was calmly smoking a cigarette and listening in on Keiko and Kurama's conversation but mostly reading a magazine.

"Damn it, Kuwabara!" shouted Yusuke when Kuwabara's knee jams itself into his stomach.

"Haha! I've got you now, Urameshi!"

Kuwabara laughed, pulling the smaller male into a headlock.

"Oh yeah?"

Yusuke twisted out of the headlock and pulled the taller male over his shoulder and onto the floor to roll head over heels, laying Kuwabara out flat and knocking the wind out of him. The carrot-top groaned having hit his head pretty hard against the concrete and it wasn't helping that the mazuko was now lounging on his chest in triumph.

"Damn it, Urameshi, get off me."

He shoved the demon off to sputter and cough his way into a sitting position. The brunette, looking apologetic, held out a hand to assist his human counterpart to his feet. Kuwabara's face scrunched up comically looking at the offered hand.

"Sorry about that, Kuwa. I forget my own strength sometimes."

"If that was you forgetting, I'd hate to remind you of it," said Kuwabara rising to his feet.

"Hn, you would be the one to kill an ally by accident without thinking, detective."

Silence fell over the ramen stand, everyone looking to find the owner of a voice they hadn't heard in a coo's age. And there he was, Hiei – black cloak, spiked hair, white bandana, hands shoved deep into his pockets.


Yukina rushed to greet the small demon, enveloping him in a hug, much to the jaganshi's surprise, everyone else quick to follow her example – albeit, not everyone hugged him – coming forward to greet the long absent demon.

"Hey! Shorty's not so short anymore," came Kuwabara's clever deduction.

"Hn, good observation, oaf."

And it was true. Where Hiei used to be a good foot underneath Yusuke's height, he now only stood an inch or two shorter than the brunette; it still left a vast difference in height between him and Kuwabara, but it wasn't the only real noticeable change in Hiei's appearance. If one looked close enough, you would realize the slight change in the angle of his eyes and the bridge of his nose and that his face was just a tad narrower, longer. Subtle things like that.

With greetings exchanged they settled back into idle conversation, Yusuke taking off to service some customers, a somber-looking woman and her strained husband. They weren't there to eat, so he took them to the back room where he conducted his unofficial business, asking Keiko to mind the front for a while. The siblings Kuwabara and Yukina began a quiet discussion, something about their father's recent affairs, giving the two remaining demons a chance to converse.

"So Hiei, what brings you to human world?"

Crimson eyes traced over the forms of two of the other four occupants in the stand, Kurama raising an eyebrow at the scoping glance.

"Not that it's any of your business, but I came to look after some affairs."

"Oh, and which would those be?"

Hiei gives him a condescending look.

"I'm sure you'll discover my motives in your own time, fox. Until then, it's quite frankly none of your concern."


Kurama's eyes narrowed, his inner youko stirring with intrigue at the lack of an answer.

"And would these affairs have anything to do with the fact that you have just recently reached your full maturity? Honestly, you fire demons are terribly slow developers."

Hiei gives the fox demon a side long glance, shifting uncomfortably under his cloak.

"Unlike kitsune who develop so quickly they share their bed with everyone under sun after passing the age of twenty and only choose to tighten the edges of their sheets after a few hundred years."

Kurama coughs into his fist, stifling a laugh at Hiei's bland look.

"Mmm. I'll keep that in mind. Anyway, so how old are you now, exactly?"

"A hundred even, fox."

Yusuke and his clients re-entered the front of the stand. The gentleman was speaking.

"Thank you so much for your help. We didn't know where else to go."

"Nah, you can thank me after the case is solved. Until then, have a good night, and I'll see you in the morning."

The woman bowed as her husband shook the mazoku's hand before they made their way from the lounging group and into their car to head home.

"Finally, a good case!" exclaimed Yusuke, slamming a fist onto the counter before unceremoniously lifting his girlfriend into the air. Keiko, having been minding her own business cleaning a glass, shrieks and breaks the aforementioned glass over her boyfriend's head, much to his continued delight.

"Why, what is it?" asked Kuwabara as Urameshi set the harassed female back on her feet before she could break a plate over his head. She scoffed under her breath shuffling her way to the other side of the booth.

"Well it's kinda sad really. Their daughter was kidnapped two nights ago, and they haven't heard word of her since."

"That's terrible," said Keiko with a gasp. "Why haven't they taken it to the police?"

"There's the problem. The cops don't recognize the case as a kidnapping. I told them my team would be on it immediately."

"Just what exactly do you mean by team, detective? I was under the impression you worked solo," said Hiei.

The mazoku grinned at the jaganshi before tracing his large brown eyes over the two redheads.

"Well seeing as this is a kidnapping and all, Kuwabara do you think you could come with me on this one? You and your spirit awareness could probably find this kid a hell of a lot faster than I can on my own."

"Tch, yeah right. Last time I helped you with a case, you tried to use me as bait."


He could practically see the steam rising from the top of Keiko's head as Yusuke cowered behind Kuwabara away from the outrage of his girlfriend. Said redhead simply crossed his arms prepared to dodge away from Keiko's swinging if the situation called for it, but the woman remained, feet wide, hands on her hips glaring at her good for nothing brat of a boyfriend.

Hiei chuckled at the display.

"What, I needed someone who smelt human to lure in the demon. Besides Kuwabara can take care of himself when it comes to these things, and I was there anyway. He was never in any danger."

"You could have at least told me what I was there for."

"Yeah, but then you wouldn't have done it." Yusuke pulled his trademark shit-eating grin. "But really I could use your help on this one. And…" Yusuke looked over to Kurama and Hiei and back to Kuwabara. "…seeing as this is the first time we've been all together since the Sensui case closed, why don't we all work on this one? It'll be just like old times."

"Hmm, that might actually be fun," muttered Kuwabara placing a finger under his chin.

"I don't see why not. I could use a little bit of a sidetrack from normal life." Kurama inclined his head towards Hiei, who was currently glaring at the ex-detective. "What do you think, Hiei?"

He scowled.

"I came here for a vacation, not to work another idiot job concerning humans."

Yusuke pouted.

"Ah, come on, Hiei. It would be pointless if you weren't there."

The jaganshi sighed.

"As if I didn't have better to do with my time. Why not?"

"Sweet," exclaimed Yusuke. "It's settled then. Let's all meet back here at nine tomorrow morning to get started."

"Do you have to pick an early time, Urameshi? I wake up early every day."

"Oh don't be such a lazy ass, baby bro," and he was promptly smacked upside the head by his sister's magazine. Laughter ensued.


Around ten o'clock, about an hour later, Shizuru and Yukina had already gone home to the Kuwabara residence. Kurama had also left. Kuwabara was briefing through one of his school books, seemingly unaware of the eyes watching him from the far side of the stand. Hiei was sneaking glances across the bar while he sampled one of Yusuke's meals. It wasn't all that bad. Who'd have thought the demon sleeper was actually a decent chef.

"How do you like my cooking, Hiei?"

"Have I dropped dead yet?"

"Haha. Glad you like it."

A rustle of paper, indicating Kuwabara was putting up his stuff, drew the two demons' attention. His bag on his shoulder, the human rises, throwing some money on the counter for the coffee he'd been drinking.
"Later, Urameshi, Hiei."

"See ya, Kuwa. Take it easy man."

A tilt of the head from the carrot-top and he turned to leave, ready to walk home. Hiei watched the retreating human until he turned the nearby corner, facing forward again to find Yusuke arching an eyebrow at him. Keiko on the far side was looking at him with her analyzing expression, like she was putting together some puzzle.


"What exactly was that second affair you came to settle?"

The shorter demon, rose from his seat, throwing some Makai coins on the table to pay.

"Hn, wouldn't you like to know."

And he disappeared, leaving the couple alone to exchange questioning looks.


The city was alive with noise. Car horns honking every few seconds, building lights flickering on and off from homes and business buildings, and depending on where you were, loud music pulsed as the anthem for the Japan night life. A chaotic cacophony of sound and visual stimulant. A symphony orchestra of metal, electricity, and burnt rubber. The siren of a police car drew the attention of a lone college student walking home from meeting his friends. The sound permeating his ear-drums on a level high enough to rival a Megallica concert.

Kuwabara loved it.

Walking the streets of the city, you were never alone. It was usually comforting, but tonight, something was tugging on his psyche. He felt like he was being watched, and he had a vague idea about who was doing the watching with no way of broaching the little demon's attention. He started looking around trying to locate the general position of the demon with no luck.

In fact, so engrossed he was in looking, he almost tripped over the very thing he was looking for.

"Whoa, Hiei, I didn't see you there! Sorry."

"Still haven't learned to walk, oaf."

"Well maybe is you were a few more inches taller, it wouldn't have been a problem."

"Hn, fool."


"Baka ningen."

"Three-eyed freak."

And so they bickered, on and on just like old times before falling into a comfortable, if not suspicious on Kuwabara's side, silence until they reached the Kuwabara residence. The darkened windows and drawn curtains of the suburban neighborhood giving an impression of stillness compared to the rest of the city.

"Yukina and Shizuru must've already gone to bed."


"Is there a reason why you followed me home, Shrimp?"

"None that you'd be interested in hearing."

Kuwabara scoffed, never noticing Hiei's silent smirk behind the human's back.


The red-head found himself sprawled across his own front lawn, a fire demon sitting comfortably across his chest.

"What the heck-"

"I want to play a game, fool."

"What?! Hiei, get off me-"

He found his lips aggressively placed under arrest in a short but searing kiss.


"You'll understand soon enough."

And he flitted away into the night.


Kuwabara was confused, lying awake in bed, contemplating the events of the evening.

"What the hell was that all about?" he thought before drifting off to sleep.


Kuwabara was running.

He couldn't see his pursuer, couldn't even hear them; all he knew was the sense of dread festering in his stomach and the raw fear pumping adrenaline through his veins. The forest around him blurring into never-ending streaks of black, green, and brown, as unfamiliar as it was, provided a sense of security. Find a place to hide, and he'd be safe, he thought. However false that theory may have been, it brought comfort. The moon overhead was full and as large and round as he'd ever seen it. Eerie as it was painted in a deep purple. Something seemed off about the violet of that moon. Something familiar, something dangerous.

A shadow flits over his head, knocking him to the ground with a grunt.

Stumbling to his feet he takes off again this time in a completely different direction away from whatever just knocked him flat. The muscles of his legs throb with disdain at the exertion. His lungs protest the abuse forcing him to gulp for a sufficient amount of air. But it's not enough.

He falls.

Downhill he goes, plunging through the dense brush as gravity takes its toll on his body. He barrels head first through the brush and thicket. It hurts.

He lands flat on his back, eyes closed and chest heaving.

"Baka ningen. You didn't honestly think you could outrun me, did you?"

Kuwabara opens his eyes. A pair of boot clad feet stand on either side of his head connected to a long black cloak. A very sharp katana shines pale blue in the moonlight. He looks up into the eyes of his stalker, his hunter.


"About time you realized it was me."

The jaganshi in question steps around the red-head's body before hovering over Kuwabara's torso, one foot planted on either side of his waist. The blade of Hiei's weapon rests over his belt buckle momentarily before slicing through the leather. Kuwabara gulps.

"What do you want, Shrimp?"

"Hehehe, don't you worry, Kuwabara. You'll find out soon enough."

Another flick of the katana and the top button on his pants came flying off. The blade slips under his shirt and Hiei slices straight through the front of his blouse.

"Ahh… Hiei, what the fuck!"

"Shut up, fool."

The demon drops down to his knees, straddling the human's midsection. Katana still in hand, he leans over Kuwabara placing both hands on either side of his prey's head, the sword laying flat, framing the now loose orange curls.

He panics.

"Hiei, I don't know what you're trying to prove, but this isn't funny! Let me up!"

Hiei clamps a hand forcefully over Kuwabara's mouth, laughing.

"Too late, baka. You're playing the game now."

With that, he dug his teeth deep into Kuwabara's collarbone.

End Dream Sequence


Kuwabara woke up in the confinement of his room, terrified out of his mind and drenched in a cold sweat. Breathing hard, he takes in his surroundings. His school books are stacked messily on his desk. Eikichi is asleep on the edge of the bed curled up in a ball. The posters around the room all in their proper place. There's a rumple in the carpet and a stray sneaker in the center of the room. The window is closed, curtains drawn blocking out the growing sunlight outside. Everything was as it should be, in perfect disarray.

"What the hell was that?" Kuwabara breathed out under his breath.

Knock, knock, knock.

"Kazu… What are you doing, Kazuma?" Shizuru poked her head into the room before opening the door completely and entering, walking toward the bed where her little brother still lay confined.

"Oh, nothing sis. Just woke up is all."

"Nothing is it? Really," she said dryly. "Then I guess I nearly had a heart attack for no reason."

His older sister plopped herself down on the edge of the bed, giving him a stern look.

"You didn't have another wet dream did you?"

Kuwabara's eyes nearly bugged out of his head.

"What the hell is wrong with you? Never in my life have I ever…" Kuwabara proceeds into a fit of sputtering noises while Shizuru laughs beside him at his reaction to her joke before the carrot-top settles into a pout at his sister's lewd sense of humor. "I just had a nightmare, okay."

"What about?"

Kuwabara crossed his arms stubbornly.

"I don't remember."

"What? Don't feel like sharing."

"Oh, get out of my room, Shizu."

She laughs standing up.

"Alright little bro." She pulls out a cigarette and her lighter (or should I say Sakyo's lighter) on her way out the door. "But really, you shouldn't let Hiei get to you that much."

"What the… How did you…"

"You're not the only psychic in the house, Kazuma. Never forget that. Now get up before you're late." With that she closes the door and heads to her own room, probably heading back to bed. Kuwabara threw the sheets off his body and got ready to meet Yusuke and the others at the stand.


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