"We've found Yukina," Botan said, landing beside Kurama, a worried look on her face. "We're sending Yusuke to get her since she's being held captive by a human. We would send Hiei to get his sister back himself, it's his right, but we're worried that he'll kill the man."
Kurama blinked. "I'd say that death would be a deserving end for a man that is holding her captive," he said. "But you're worried about having to sentence Hiei for killing a human in human world, aren't you?"
Botan nodded. "Koenma doesn't want to do that, Hiei's a good guy after all. Callous, but good."
Kurama nodded. "You go with the detective, I'll keep an eye on Hiei."
Botan smiled as she sighed in relief. "Thanks Kurama."
"Fox, what do you want?" Hiei asked, surprised by not displeased by the company when Kurama sat down next to him to watch the kendo lesson.
"Yukina has been found," Kurama answered simply. "I wasn't told where, but asked to keep an eye on you, since it's a human holding her, and Koenma doesn't want to have to deal with sentencing you for killing someone who deserves it."
Hiei growled. "If they deserve it-!" he began.
Kurama held up a hand to stop the smaller demon. "Because there are laws about demons killing humans in human world," he said. "I don't want to lose you because you did right by your family either. You can be there for her the instant Yusuke gets her out, alright?"
Hiei growled, still not pleased.
Kurama sighed. "Alright, then how about this? We go, we keep an eye on things, we incapacitate whoever we find and get Yukina out – but no killing. They may deserve it for what they do, but you don't deserve to be put in prison for it, especially now."
Hiei stopped growling, and nodded.
Between Hiei's third eye and Kurama's sense of smell, it wasn't hard for them to find Yusuke, Kuwabara and Botan. Finding Yukina still proved impossible for Hiei's eye though. The two demons growled when they realised that it probably meant she was surrounded by wards.
Kurama and Hiei watched, silently, as the horrible man made bets with his Black Black Club on whether Yusuke and Kuwabara would win fights with his hired guards or not. They would have gone straight for Yukina, but it would be easier – not to mention safer – if they waited until the ugly human brought her out himself. Which he would, with the way these bets were going.
When the final bets of Yusuke and Kuwabara against the Toguro brothers were made, Kurama scowled as he looked at the youngest member of the Black Black Club on the screen.
"Fox?" Hiei questioned.
"He's fixed the fight. Yusuke and Kuwabara will win, but Toguro... we'll have to watch out for him," Kurama answered.
"What about Yukina? This bet will cause that bastard to have her brought to him. That human won't demand her, will he?" Hiei asked.
Kurama shook his head. "I doubt it. If I could just smell him! I'm sure he has something else planned. I very much doubt he cares if he keeps Yukina," Kurama answered.
"I can't tell her I'm her brother," Hiei admitted quietly when Yukina was brought out to watch the fight between Yusuke, Kuwabara and the Toguro brothers. "It was the price for the Jagan, which was supposed to find her."
Kurama frowned. "Well it didn't," he said. "And I never made such a promise."
Hiei stared at Kurama, his mouth hanging open for a moment in shock at the barely veiled statement.
"Shall we go save her now?" Kurama asked with false cheer as the Black Black Club all disappeared from their screens.
Hiei snickered and smirked. All of the humans were unconscious in less than five seconds.
"Who – who are you?" Yukina asked.
"Nobody," Hiei answered, turning away.
Kurama chuckled. "Oh, don't mind your brother Yukina-san, Hiei's just a very closed off person when someone else threatens to tell his secrets for him," he said, winking one bright green eye at the girl.
Her eyes, the same ruby eyes that Hiei had, but rounded where his were sharp, and gentle where his were hard, widened as she stared out the open door and after the black-clad demon who had just helped to save her.
"I've been looking for him for so long," she said, smiling even as a tear slid soundlessly down her cheek, turning into another hiruseki stone as he dripped from her chin.
Kurama caught it before it could land on the ground, then folded it into Yukina's hand.
"Then go and tell him that," he said earnestly. "Hiei's grown up thinking that he doesn't deserve to be cared for," Kurama told her gently. "I've been working on him, but he's very hard to convince."
Yukina nodded and, as quickly as she could in her closely wrapped kimono, ran after Hiei.
"Invited to the Dark Tournament?" Hiei echoed, an eyebrow raised as he and Kurama considered the two suited individuals who had come to visit them at the Kamiya dojo.
"Of course, you are not permitted to decline," the woman said pleasantly. "You must have a team of five to enter. You may have one substitute."
"Who else is being 'invited'?" Kurama asked.
"The spirit detective Urameshi Yusuke, and his friend Kuwabara Kazuma," the woman answered, a slightly sinister smile on her red-painted lips. "A fifth person has been approached as well, but they participated in the Tournament before and asked only to never be bother again. We simply told them who was being invited, and left it up to them if they wanted to join the guest team or not."
Kurama and Hiei frowned.
The trollish male who had come with the woman flicked two cards at them – the when and where for the Tournament pick-up. With that, they left.
"Ancestor?" called the soft voice of Himura Akane, the mother of Himura Umi, the next generation of the Himura line. Umi, who was sixteen now, stood beside her in the open doorway. The girl was, in human years, older than Kurama's current body, but still both she and her mother showed deference to Hiei and Kurama as more ancient souls than themselves. Akane had the same red-orange hair and violet eyes of Kenshin, though a slighter build than the young swordsman had been in possession of. Umi was destined to be taller – from her father's side – but she had the same hair as her mother, and the eyes that Yoko had given to his little Yuki. The same eyes and hair he had fashioned for his own human body in Shiori's womb.
"This one is willing to fight by your side, that she is."
Kurama's heart beat heavily in his chest. "What of Umi-san?" he asked. "You could die in this fight and risk leaving your daughter."
Akane lay a hand on Umi's shoulder. "Should that happen, then Umi will be cared for by the Kamiya family, that she will. This one is satisfied that her daughter has mastered the Hiten Mitsurugi sufficiently to pass on to her children, that is the truth."
"Umi-san?" Kurama asked, turning to the daughter. "Are you alright with this?"
"I love my mother, that I do," she admitted. "But she is strong, that she is. This one will not fear for my mother's life, that I will not. It would be disrespectful to her skill with the sword."
"Should you enter this fight, then the Hiten Mitsurugi will need to become once more what it was," Hiei stated. "The sword that kills."
"Even a sword that kills some can protect many more, that it can," Akane said firmly.
Kurama sighed. "You are determined?" he asked. "You will not change your minds?"
Both of the women nodded firmly. "That we are," they said.
"If the fifth person who has been invited by the committee of the Tournament comes, then I ask you to take the position of reserve fighter for the team. I do not wish to see the children of Himura Kenshin come to unnecessary harm," Kurama said his green eyes fixed firmly on the two women before him. "In body or in spirit."
Akane and Umi nodded.
Kuwabara caught up with Kurama as he was walking through the park on his way back to the dojo after school. Honestly, he was glad. The boy was going to need training.
"You have a sword," Kurama agreed when Kuwabara said he'd be just fine, "but you don't really know how to use it. Have you ever studied kendo? Or thought about how your energy is flexible?"
Kuwabara looked like a stunned fish.
"That's a no," Kurama said with a sigh. "Come along. The sooner you start learning, the later you'll die."
The comment caused the large boy to turn pale before chasing after Kurama, all the way back to the dojo.
Hiei was watching the classes again, taking a short break from his own training, while Akane ran through the basics once more with Umi and Kamiya-sensei taught his students the way of the sword that protects. He left the dojo when he felt Kurama's presence returned to the property, scowling when he sensed the oaf as well.
"He needs to learn swordsmanship Hiei," Kurama said, halting any comments. "I'm sure Kamiya-sensei won't mind having another student in his beginners class."
Hiei chuckled and nodded. "I'll get your family, now that you're back. Umi-san has been wanting to spar, and Akane-san still needs more instruction on accessing her energy."
Kurama nodded his acceptance. This had become the daily routine very quickly. One of the Himuras would spar with Hiei, the other would learn to access their energy from Kurama. Yukina, who had also come to live with them, spent more time with Umi's grandmother, Haruhi, helping the old woman about the dojo. Of course, she also frequently got dragged out to go shopping by Umi, who had decided that having a 'little sister by association' was wonderful – and also that going shopping was a good way to distract themselves from worrying about their family members who would be taking part in the Dark Tournament.
"Teaching him how to actually use a sword has barely helped," Hiei complained quietly to Kurama as they watched Kuwabara fight.
Kurama sighed and nodded.
The boy was a street thug, not a samurai. That would never change. Still, they won the tournament at least.
"Ancestor!" Umi cried, running through the dojo in search of Kurama.
"Umi-san? What's the matter?" Kurama asked, halting the girl gently and looking at her with concern in his large green eyes. She was his family. If she'd been his fangirl that would have been a different story.
Umi panted for a moment, then straightened and held out her hand. A seed lay in the middle of her palm, and as Kurama watched, it sprouted and grew.
"It – the power – just suddenly got a lot stronger," she said quietly. "In Mother and Grandmama too, that it did!"
"It suddenly got..." Kurama echoed, trying to figure out what might have caused it as he watched the seed become a flower in Umi's hand. "We need to talk to Koenma about this. For your powers to have all suddenly jumped like this, something must have happened between the three worlds."
Koenma sighed in his chair and sagged. "Thanks to the Himura family, we have early warning. Someone is opening a portal between demon world and human world. We need to find them and stop them, fast."
The assembled team – Yusuke, Kuawbara, Hiei, Kurama, as well as Botan and Umi – nodded firmly.
"Kurama, a word if you please," Koenma called as the rest filed out to begin searching.
"That Himura Umi, she's one of your -?"
Kurama nodded. "My genes are recessive and dormant unless something wakes them," he said.
Koenma sighed. "If my father finds out, he will not be pleased."
Kurama's eyes hardened. "If something happens to Akane-san or Umi, then your father has no say in what becomes of them."
Koenma sighed, but nodded. "The Himura family have done many great things for their country, and their world. I will do my best to keep my father away from them should something happen."
Kurama nodded and left.
The team arrived earlier, much, much earlier, than Sensui had anticipated. Kuwabara, due to his spirit sword currently not working, had stayed with his sister, as well as Yukina and Keiko, while Akane and Umi took his place on the team together. Hiei grumbled a great deal less about working with the two women than he had about working with Kuwabara.
They followed the small amount of data that spirit world was able to give them, and then let Hiei's third eye and Kurama's nose guide them.
Sensui frowned when he saw them. "Spirit world is catching on faster than it used to," he said lowly.
"Ancestor?" Umi asked softly as the group walked back out of the cave.
"Is that what would happen to us in the same circumstance?"
Yusuke had died, and the group had all fought on, even Koenma, until Yusuke had, surprising them all, come back to life radiating demon energy. The SDF had shown up then, late, and tried to restrain Yusuke even though Sensui was still a problem. Kurama had restrained them with plants, and the fight, the original fight, had continued until they had collectively overpowered the ex-detective.
"Yes, something like that. Hopefully without the interference of the SDF though."
Umi nodded quietly. "This one is not sure how she would take having wild hair and strange tattoos, that she is not," she commented softly.
Kurama chuckled. "That is unique to the type of demon that Yusuke is."
Hiei and Kurama sat together with the three Himura women and Yukina in the dojo. It was late, the students had gone home, and the Kamiya family were asleep. They were watching the spell of words that had been delivered to each of the two male demons from Mukuro and Yomi.
"Please Hiei," Yukina said, laying one of her hands over both of his. "Don't go. What purpose will it serve?"
"I am still searching for my hiroseki stone," he answered. "I can't find it in human world, and Koenma says that it isn't in spirit world either."
"But do you really think that working for Mukuro will help you to find it?" Yukina demanded, fighting back her own tears.
Hiei reached up and rubbed the forming droplets away tenderly. "Probably not," he allowed. "What about you Kurama?" he asked, turning from his sister to his friend, though he had wrapped his arms around Yukina's shoulders and was holding her close to him.
"I am not sure," Kurama said softly, a frown on his face.
"You are not his servant to be bidden Ancestor, that you are not," Haruhi said, her soft, old, wizened voice was firm in her single statement.
The frown eased into the softest of smiles on Kurama's face at the old woman's words, and he breathed deeply.
"No," he agreed. "I am not."
"Knock, knock," called a voice from the dojo door. A familiar voice. "Sorry for stopping by so late, but I need some advice and your light was on."
"Come in Yusuke," Kurama said, smiling over his shoulder at the newly realised demon. "What is troubling you?"
"I got a summons from my demon 'father' to come to demon world," Yusuke answered, sitting down with them on the tatami mats. "I ain't too sure I want to go, but at the same time I'm not all that clear on if I can stay," he said, and began to explain about the three bald demons who had come to him with the message, and all the stuff they'd said to him.
They went together to Raizen. Kurama even called in Jin, Touya, Chu, Rinku, Shishiwakamaru and Suzuka – who they had become friends with during the Dark Tournament. They had, of sorts, a plan.
"I was expecting you sooner Kurama," Yomi said, slightly reprimanding.
"I bear a message from Raizen's territory."
"Raizen is dead, and his son Yusuke has taken the throne. However, he proposes a tournament for all of demon world, winner takes all, where all is full and unchallenged authority to rule over the entirety of demon world."
"Who would agree to such a thing?"
"Mukuro already has, for one."
Yomi grit his teeth in agitation. "Very well," he said with a growl as he stood. "I also agree."
Hiei, Kurama and Yusuke all went back to human world.
"You're alright!" Yukina exclaimed happily, throwing her arms around her brother when he walked back onto the Kamiya-Himura property.
"That they are," Akane said with a happy chuckle, Umi and Haruhi standing on either side of her, nodding happily.
Kurama chuckled happily as Yukina released Hiei, blushing at having worried when she knew he was a good fighter, and Hiei just patting her head happily, finally used to having family who cared about his welfare.
"Excuse me a moment Yukina?" Kurama asked politely, before grabbing Hiei around the waist. "I have been waiting to do this for some time," he whispered to Hiei, "that I have," and he kissed the shorter demon full on the lips.
"Oro!" Hiei yelped when they parted.
"Hiei, will you be my mate?"
"Fox! I – you had to ask after you kissed me!" the shorter demon growled, reaching up to pull Kurama into another kiss.
The women who were watching all laughed in delight.
"Go Ancestor!" Umi cheered, laughing.
"I'm so happy for you Hiei," Yukina said, smiling brightly.