He awoke suddenly, his body jerking reflexively. Pain exploded across his nerves, shooting agonizing jolts up his spine and into his head. A low moan escaped parched lips as he shifted carefully, trying to avoid any further pain, feeling the restraints pulling against his limbs. Crimson eyes opened cautiously to allow them to adjust to the dim light of his prison.

Glancing around, Hiei took stock of his prison, trying not to alert his captors that he was awake. Of course, if they had been watching closely, they no doubt knew that he was now conscious, but he would prefer to err on the side of caution.

The first thing that registered in his mind was that he was alone, which meant that either his daring attempt had worked, or his companions were being held in separate cells from his own. He refused to wonder, however briefly, if Yusuke and Kurama were dead. They were much too strong to have been struck down so easily by a bunch of pathetic youkai.

They took you out, didn't they? A treacherous voice whispered in his head, and Hiei scowled. He had only been captured because that fool Kuwabara had nearly gotten them all killed. Admittedly, he probably hadn't realized that one touch from the youkai's claws would have incapacitated him, permanently. And it really hadn't helped that the others had allowed themselves to be separated by the enemy, so that when Kuwabara was backed into a corner, only Hiei was close enough – and fast enough – to rescue the overgrown idiot.

Hiei took stock of his injuries while he had the time. Nothing seemed to be broken or heavily damaged. Mostly, it was superficial wounds, and the remnants of the youkai's poison slowly leaving his system that was causing him pain. His arms were wrenched behind him and angled upwards uncomfortably away from his body, leaving him with no leverage to try and break the shackles that bound him. His small stature left him at a disadvantage, because not even his feet touched the ground, so all his weight rested on his aching shoulders.

Hiei tried to pull himself up a little, but the short chains that linked his ankles to the floor had no give, and a low growl escaped the trapped fire demon as the pain shot across his shoulders and down his spine. Panting, Hiei relaxed as best he could, grimacing as his arms again bore his full weight. He shook off the irritation and settled in to wait. They'd come for him sooner or later, and when they did, they'd pay for his discomfort with their lives. He could afford to be patient…for now.

Imagining his enemies dying on the edge of his blade kept him occupied for several long moments. Of course, the fact that he seemed to be missing his katana might prove slightly problematic, but Hiei was confident he could get to this blade before they could stop him, just as soon as he could get free of his restraints. And then, everybody in this wretched place would bleed for him, and die screaming, writhing under the force of blade and fire while he used his Jagan to tear their secrets from them all. Nobody would be spared, and nobody would find mercy in him.

The door creaking open brought his awareness back to the present, and Hiei glared mutinously at the timid youkai that entered. The creature was even shorter than Hiei, and judging by the way he was cringing away from the chained half-breed, he was at the bottom of the food chain here. Moving forward tentatively, the youkai touched the chains bolted to the floor, following them up to the shackles around his legs, obviously checking that they were still holding against the furious captive.

Hiei snarled at the weakling, and it jerked its hand back as if burned. If only Hiei could get a hand free, he'd burn the pathetic thing to ashes, and his chains with him. As it was, the youkai just skittered backwards before aiming a small crossbow at Hiei and firing the dart contained within. Hiei grunted as it impacted, imbedding itself firmly in his left thigh. Almost immediately, he felt himself become light-headed, his focus slipping as he stared down the insolent youkai, who was cowering away from him, the crossbow reloaded in his shaking hands.

Another shot, and a snarl was ripped from Hiei's throat as the tranquilizer bit deep into his right hip, the youkai's terror having affected his aim. As his body weakened, his eyes closing as he slipped into unconsciousness, Hiei was aware of the door to his cell slamming shut, sealing him once more in darkness. His last thought was that the youkai who had just shot him would be the very first one to die the moment he was free, and there would be no mercy. Ever.