Disclaimer: I don't own YYH or the characters

Well…I didn't mean to take this long to update, but that's neither here nor there. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this next chapter.

Hiei came into her room late at night throwing his sword down to the floor. He cringed when a loud clank resonated in the room and glanced over at Botan's sleeping form. They had been preparing for months, training hard to ready themselves for an impending battle they knew would happen eventually. So far, no one had come after them, and Koenma had heard nothing.

Of course, that was probably due to the fact that Koenma had been changing the laws one at a time. He was starting with the smaller laws, working up to the one that would free Botan from her life of ferrying without consequence. The others understood what he was doing, but Hiei felt that it should have been over already. It angered him more than what he found out hours earlier.

He had hit a plateau in his training.

It wouldn't have bothered him so much had they been in a different situation. He had hit plateaus before, but none felt like it did now. Looking over to Botan once more, guilt washed over the fire demon. All this training was for her. The fact that he had reached his limits made him believe he was failing the ferry girl. If he didn't break through whatever barrier he was facing, then he would lose her and it would have all been a waste.

His attention remained on the ferry girl when he heard her moan slightly in her sleep. She seemed to stir a bit, but still remained asleep. He quickly flitted off to her side and hoped that she would stay that way. With his bandaged hand, he softly traced her cheek causing her to breathe out his name softly. He retracted his hand when she called out his name loudly in her sleep, but then returned to peaceful slumber, softly snoring.

Her actions confused Hiei. He had never had anyone call for him before, especially when they were asleep. He wondered what exactly she was dreaming. Curiosity getting the better of him, he used his Jagan to see into her mind. What he saw shocked him and brought a red tint to his cheeks as he mentally flew out of there to reflect on what he had seen.

What had he seen, you might wonder? Well, it was something insanely shocking when he considered that she was an innocent ferry girl. He never even thought she could have feelings like that, even for him. That only served to intensify the blush in his cheeks.

It was a little awkward for him to enter her bed as he had been accustomed to doing as of late after seeing what he had, so he decided to leave the room momentarily. He didn't know where he was going, but somehow ended up in the kitchen where he found Yukina making tea. "Oh, Hiei," the ice maiden said with a smile when she turned to see him. "I didn't know you were still up. Would you like to join me for tea?"

"Hn," Hiei responded, taking a seat at the table. Yukina smiled at him and turned back to her task. She poured two cups of tea and set them down on the table handing one of the cups to Hiei. He took it and started to drink it. He gave her a small nod of thanks, enjoying his cup.

They sat in silence drinking their tea while Yukina watched her brother. He wasn't saying anything, but something was off in how he was acting. When she chanced a look at him, she caught him staring in to space. "Brother," she called out softly, "are you all right?"

Hiei scoffed slightly. "All right" was never words he would have ever used to describe himself. Now that Yukina knew, it seemed a little easier not to lie to her. "No," he admitted curtly as he continued drinking the tea.

"Do you…want to talk about it?" she asked him. "You know I'll listen."

Hiei set the cup down on the table giving her a stern look. "You don't need to know. I'll deal with it."

"Hiei, me knowing means you don't have to be alone anymore. Don't you trust me?"

Hiei seemed shocked by her question and shamefully looked away from her. He couldn't believe his sister had just asked him that. "Of course I trust you," he told her. "You just don't need to know. It's not important."

Yukina frowned and took his hand making him jump slightly before he relaxed. "Why would you say that? You're important to me, so whatever you're going through is important."

Hiei shook his head. He completely disagreed with her. She grew up in their culture so she should have been the one to know that what he was feeling wasn't that important. Besides, it was something pointless regarding his training that he was angry about. He didn't want to key his little sister into something so violent.

"Hiei, please talk to me," she pleaded with him. He still didn't answer and she sighed. "Look, I know more than anyone what they did to you. You never deserved that, Hiei. You weren't what they had forbid. All they were ever forbade was love; you were just the outcome of our mother falling in love. Their ideals were misguided, and I lost out on getting to know you because of it. It's one of the reasons I left, Hiei. I didn't want to be a part of that society anymore. I wanted to find you to tell you that, and also this. There is nothing you could ever tell me that would make me hate you. I went out into Demon World alone. I saw what other demons did to survive. I'm not an idiot, and I know you went through a lot for you to still be alive today. All I'm asking is that you let me get to know you, my brother, and let me be there for you the way I couldn't be back then."

Hiei still wasn't looking at Yukina and she wondered if her words had even reached him. She got her answer when Hiei huffed out a breath through his nose and turned back to face her. "I hit a plateau in my training," he told her firmly. "I was not expecting to, and with us not knowing when the SDF is going to strike, it's not a good thing."

"Everyone is training, Hiei," she assured him with a small smile, "and you are strong, even if you hit a block. You'll overcome it, just like everything else, but for now, just take a break." Hiei looked at her like she was crazy, and she chuckled in response. "I mean, sometimes when people hit blocks, it's because they haven't been taking breaks or resting, and I know that pretty much describes you. You need to relax, spend time with Botan. She always seems to help you with that."

Hiei blushed slightly, not only remembering the dream he had witnessed but also thinking of the times Botan evoked a positive reaction from him. He knew his sister was right, at least partly, that Botan helped him relax. Yukina had also made another point that struck Hiei strangely, the fact that he wasn't fighting alone. They were all fighting to keep Botan safe, keeping them together. It was strange for Hiei to feel like he could depend on anyone. Even during the Dark Tournament he was hesitant to count on his teammates, but he had found himself doing so, trusting them to uphold their end. And that led him to a whole other and equally unsettling idea.

He trusted them.

It was this random group that was brought together by a single boy being hit by a car, throwing Spirit World for a loop, that would have never come together in any other manner. Had Hiei grown up any other way than being raised by that group of thieves, he would have never met Kurama, never robbed from Spirit World causing him to meet Yusuke and even Botan, and he certainly wouldn't have aided them in missions where he met Kuwabara who in turn led him to his sister when he couldn't find her.

All of these thoughts overwhelmed Hiei, so much in fact, that he needed to return to Botan's room without responding to what Yukina had said. The ferry girl was still snoring softly; Hiei sighed slightly releasing a breath of air he hadn't realized he had been holding. The stuff Yukina said was comforting, but it still struck cords inside of Hiei that he had always hoped would be left unstruck. She gave him praise, reminded him there were others he could trust, and pointed out that he visibly relaxed when he was with Botan, a woman. He was supposed to be some cursed child that didn't deserve to trust anyone let alone have others trusting and praising him. He was not supposed to be with any woman, especially not one as pure as Botan. Despite what he saw earlier that night in her dreams, she would always be pure to him. Wasn't it wrong for him to be with someone so pure that it put her life in danger from her own people?


He thought about it, and then it all made sense. His mother, however wrong she was in her culture, had been willing to turn her back on her people for him. Yukina had turned her back on her people for him. Yusuke had given him so much leeway against Spirit World's laws. Kurama had remained a faithful friend even when it did not benefit him, risking death if Hiei had killed when Yukina had been held captive. Kuwabara, they didn't see eye to eye, but he no longer looked at him badly because he was a demon and was finally starting to back off about his and Yukina's past. Koenma was doing his best to fight the laws Spirit World had against all of them; yes, he was doing it for Botan, but it benefitted him too. The prince could have taken Botan away, but he hadn't. And Botan…she had turned her back on everything she was taught, everything she was forced to believe as a guide of Spirit World, just to be with him. And why did she do that?

Because she loved him.

Love, it was still a mystery to him, but one he was now closer to solving. It was a strange emotion, one he thought he never deserved and could never freely give. Now, he realized two things about it: it made people do stupid things, but it was also something worth turning your back for. He, realizing this, noted that he had turned his back on what he was raised to believe as well, for her. With the bandits, he was taught that Spirit World was the enemy. They had looked upon demons like dirt and with fear, even though humans could be just as bad.

Did he love Botan? He couldn't answer it for certain, but he knew what he was feeling had to have been somewhere close to that. He had been deprived of such an emotion as a child, anything resembling "love" was most likely respect back then. It was not the same feeling he was experiencing now as he looked at the blue-haired angel.

Botan's eyes clenched a little, her nose scrunching slightly as she started to wake up. She searched around her, but stopped and smiled when she saw Hiei standing next to the bed staring down at her. "Hey," she greeted. "What are you doing out of bed, silly? I figured you'd be asleep by now. Isn't it late?"

"No," he answered curtly as he removed his cloak and shoes. Botan just watched and chuckled to herself at his attitude. She lied back down and watched through tired eyes as Hiei undressed himself, tossing his shirt on the floor.

He returned to her side, sitting on the bed before getting into it. Botan was pleasantly startled when he pulled her against his bare chest and kissed her roughly. When they pulled away, Botan noticed Hiei looking at her with a strange intensity she hadn't seen before. It was making her slightly nervous, which caused her to giggle a bit. "Seriously," she said in attempts to lighten the heavy atmosphere, "what time is it?"

He smirked at her, in a way that seemed more lighthearted than any expression he had ever displayed. "I think it's high time I make you mine, onna."

A/N: Yay! Update, phew. Thank goodness. I've had most of this written for like a month now XD It's been insanely busy here and I haven't had the desire to write cause my life was on hold. Until today that is, where I got accepted to grad school so now I at least know what I'll be doing later in the year. Yay, I can plan again. But first, I have to get through this week which will consist of trying to recruit friends, packing incessantly, and moving before the week is up…sheesh. Well, mom thinks we can do it, so I hope we can. Wish me luck! It might be a short while before I get the chance and drive to write again.

And at this time I've been out of grad school for a year and a half still trying to get a job T_T Well, at least until I get one I can write new chapters and proofread old stories…