Disclaimer: I don't own YYH
Continuity: English Version Anime

Cover Drawn By: GoodEnoughTheOpenDoor



Getting Soft

Chapter One: Fire and Water Don't Mix

X -x-x-x-x- X

He growled at his stupidity. It had been over a year since he had tried to give Yukina's tear gem back and he still couldn't tell her the truth. He hadn't seen her since that moment and had to accept simply stalking her from the trees at the old hag's temple. A conversation between his sister and that irksome ferry woman about Yukina's feelings for Kuwabara made him stay longer than planned. Heaven help that fool if his sweet, innocent sister had been corrupted by him in any fashion. No, scratch that.

Heaven would be far from him.

He listened intently as to what the two were talking about. The blue haired idiot kept prodding Yukina for answers and the young ice-maiden seemed to blush and stutter, not wanting to talk about it. 'Good, just ignore her. She'll eventually tire out.'

Much to his chagrin, she did not. She hadn't lost her sick, bubbly energy in the passing years and was just as annoying as ever. He was about to handle this situation himself - show up, threaten her and leave, simple enough (it usually worked, anyway) - but then Yukina relented and said something that made his un-beating heart skip.

"Perhaps...I do love him...somewhat..."

The ferry girl made a nauseating noise in a high pitch and Hiei was about to go find that oaf and slit his throat, both for making Yukina love him and for the sound that came out of the reaper's mouth.

"Oh, Yukina! This is wonderful!" Botan clapped with a huge grin on her face. "I think you two are perfect for each other!

"But..." Yukina paused and looked down at her tea. "I love you too." Botan deadpanned and the figure in the tree almost fell to the ground.

"I love you and Kazuma and Genkai and Yusuke and Keiko - all of you, like family, even Mr. Hiei."

Said fire apparition stiffened. What reason would she have to love him? In her eyes he had done nothing but disappoint her in the effort to find her brother. They hadn't had any conversations or bonded in any way. The old bag's words about Yukina not being the child he thought she was rang in his ears and he growled. He shook it off and continued to listen.

Botan was stuttering, trying to explain to Yukina the difference between family love and romantic love and was getting nowhere.

"Are you saying I shouldn't love Kazuma like family?" Yukina asked, her face showing guilt and sadness.

Okay, that was it. Ferry girl or not, she was making Yukina feel bad. Time to die.

A tremendous thunderclap echoed in the area causing both girls to jump, Botan more so as she grabbed Yukina and hit the floor. "Wah! My goodness, where did that come from?"

Yukina sighed as Botan's weight was removed off of her. "I don't know. Perhaps we weren't paying attention to the weather..."

Indeed. Not only had the girls not been paying attention, but neither had he. He looked at the sky and it was as dark as night in some areas, the clouds moving towards the temple.

He growled and cursed at his idiocy. The whole place stunk of rain - how did he not see this coming? He shook his head and decided that the deaths of the ferry woman and the fool would have to wait.

Fire and water don't mix.

He disappeared just as huge raindrops began to fall. He cursed again as the water instantly soaked his hair, down his neck and into his cloak. In just a matter of a few minutes he was completely wet, the rain unrelenting and the heaviest he had seen in a while. His bandanna became heavy with the water and he found it slowly slipping down his face. He figured he would just have to make due with anyone seeing him without it and tore it off. That wasn't the smartest bet seeing as how the rain was blowing against him and the water was now hitting his exposed Jagan. He snarled in anger and had no choice but to shut his third eye, which now meant he had no aid in his sense of direction.

Great, just great.

He stopped at what these humans called a park and stood under a tree. He was soaked to the bone with this chilling water. He tried to warm himself up with his energy, but it wasn't working so well. Every time he did, it would prove useless as more rain continued to fall, even between the branches of the tree. It wasn't as bad as out in the open, but it was still bad. He sighed and wiped the matted hair from his forehead. He would just have to wait until the rain stopped, then dry off and go back to Demon World. Surely, the rain couldn't go on much longer. Right?

"Wow..." She breathed out, smoke hitting the window. "Haven't seen it pour like this in a while. Weird." She put out her cigarette and shrugged. She opened the window to breathe in the fresh air that rain always created. It was cold and crisp, a nice feeling, but she wouldn't want to be out in something like this. She stood there and continued to watch the rain and breathe it in. As if on cue, the rain slowed down and stopped. "Figures. Oh, well. At least now I can go to the store." She hated driving in the rain - it was raining that night when it happened and she figured it would be best not to tempt fate. She grabbed her keys and headed for the door.

She had only made it a block in her car when she slammed on the breaks. Thank goodness no one was behind her or she'd be screwed. She looked around and blinked a few times.

She knew that energy. But what was he doing here? She thought about it and giggled. "Oh, Yukina - duh." But simply sensing him wasn't the reason she reacted so harshly. The energy itself was erratic, troubled...weak. Something was wrong and the premonition was getting stronger with each passing second. She could feel the energy getting lower and lower. "Ah, crap." She pulled the car over to where she sensed him, a local park it would seem, and parked in the street. "Hopefully, I don't get a ticket for this..." It started sprinkling a little, so she grabbed her green umbrella and let her senses guide her to where he was.

She easily found him and gasped at what she found. He was slumped at the base of a tree completely passed out and soaked with rain-water. His hair was down and matted to his head and his clothes stuck to him, showing off just how skinny he truly was. She knelt down to him and inspected his face. His cheeks and nose were a faint pink color and his breathing was ragged. He was out, no doubt, and she sighed heavily. "Oh, dammit, kid. What did you do?" She closed her umbrella and hooked it to her hand, bending down to grab him. She lifted him up under his arms and, not surprisingly enough, he was very light. She easily carried - more like dragged - him to the car and opened the back door. His boots were covered in mud and she cursed. "I just got this thing cleaned..." She settled him down on the back seat and tried her best to make it a position that was comfortable. He was on his left side facing the front of the car, and as soon as his body felt the slightly warmer temperature inside, it reacted by shivering. She frowned and sighed again. Shutting the door, she made her way to the driver's side.

Looks like the groceries were gonna have to wait.

~To Be Continued