"The Forlorn Hope?" Potter asked.
"Yes," Kurama said. "It is a mirror that under the light of the full moon shows a person's greatest desire, and can grant it."
"There's always a catch," Potter stated immediately. "I saw a mirror like that when I was a kid. The Mirror of Erised showed your greatest desire, but couldn't grant it, and people wasted away in front of it."
"The cost is life," Kurama admitted. "To have your wish fulfilled, you must give up your life to the mirror."
Potter snorted. "I wonder how it would grant the wish of eternal life and youth then," he quipped, then sighed as he considered the young man sitting across the table from him. "You know that your mother would not be happy if you died and she lived. Yes she's dating again and he's got a son too, but she would still miss you."
"I don't..." Kurama started, then bit his lip, cutting off the word 'care' before he could speak it. "She will be alive, that's the important thing," he said firmly.
Potter sighed. "Alright," he allowed. "I won't stop you. Go ahead and steal the mirror with your friend and the fall-guy you found. Just... come to me if something happens, alright? I mean anything."
Kurama nodded. "Thank you, Potter-san."
"I think by now you can call me Harry," the older male said, a corner of his mouth quirked up in amusement. "After all, since I'm not turning you in to the authorities, I'm an accessory to theft now, aren't I?" he added teasingly.
Kurama laughed. "Very well," he agreed with a smile. "Harry. I... wouldn't mind if you called me Kurama," he offered, perhaps just a little bit hopefully. "Apart from around my mother of course."
Harry nodded. "Alright then, Kurama. Now, you have school to attend, and I've made you a packed lunch."
"Ah! Thank you Harry!"
He was sitting with Shiori when Kurama showed up with another boy, this one much closer to Kurama's physical age.
"Shuichi, you've brought a friend to visit?" Shiori asked, a smile on her face as she tried to sit up.
"No moving about!" Harry insisted immediately, an arm across her shoulders to stop her.
"Yes, Mother, please! You mustn't stress yourself!" Kurama added frantically.
"I know," Shiori said, giving a smile as she relaxed as much as she could back into her pillow.
"Have you eaten yet today? Would you like me to peel you an apple?" Kurama asked.
"I'm not very hungry today," Shiori answered.
"But you need to keep up good nutrition," Kurama insisted.
"Oh she doesn't get a choice in that," Harry put in with a slight smile. "I forced one of my remedies down her throat earlier when she told me she wasn't hungry."
"It didn't taste nice," Shiori added, crinkling her nose slightly in remembrance.
"All the most healthy things are," Harry informed her. "Though I have been working on the taste, since I drink a mug full of the stuff every day myself. Keeps me healthy and strong," he added with a wink as he pumped up one arm to show off a muscle to the frail woman in the bed.
"Showing off to my woman, Potter-san?" a voice asked from the door.
All three young men and Shiori looked over to see Shiori's boyfriend and boss standing there, hands in his pockets.
"It's my turn to use that seat, isn't it?" he asked as he entered the room.
Harry nodded and stood. "Sure," he agreed. "We'll just hang out on the roof if you need us for anything. Come on you two," he said, ushering the two fifteen year old boys out of the room.
"Harry, this is Urameshi Yusuke, the Spirit World's Detective. He's come to arrest me," Kurama said, starting the introductions once they were all on the roof and had closed the door behind them so that no one would overhear. "Detective, this is Potter Harry, my neighbour and confidante."
"Confi-what?" Yusuke asked, confused.
"I'm the one Kurama tells his secrets to," Harry explained. "Now, I'm going to wait just over here while you make your case to the detective," he said, jerking his thumb at the fence that circled the roof before walking over to lean against it, keeping an eye on the two teens from there.
Kurama made his case. He explained what he was and how he came to be a son to the dying woman inside, his reasons for wanting the Forlorn Hope, and his willingness to turn himself in and accept whatever punishment allotted to him for having stolen the mirror.
Then one of the nurses called for Shuichi from the door – Shiori had just taken a turn for the worse – and the red-head ran from the roof.
"Alright, so what's your story?" Yusuke asked, turning to Harry while it was just the two of them there. "I noticed you didn't so much as flinch when Kurama said he was a demon."
Harry shrugged. "I knew," he said easily. "Knew about the planned theft the night before they pulled it too," he continued. "You caught the official fall-guy?" he asked.
"Goki. Yeah, I caught him. Just have to get the mirror and the sword back," Yusuke agreed.
Harry raised a curious eyebrow. "And you didn't go looking for the sword before when Kurama had already promised to give back the mirror tonight because...?" he asked.
Yusuke went wide-eyed and jumped back in surprise. "It hadn't occurred to me?" he offered weakly.
Harry shook his head. "Kids," he muttered, more amused than anything. Of course, he couldn't really blame the kid. Older and supposedly wiser men had made similar mistakes before. "How did you get this Spirit Detective gig anyway?" he asked, changing the topic.
"Er, I died," Yusuke answered, not a little awkwardly.
Harry burst out laughing. He just couldn't help himself. "That's really all the criteria they have?" he asked, his wrapped his arms around his stomach and his eyes starting to water. "Die and come back? I did that years ago!" Harry stopped laughing abruptly as he thought about that statement, then grinned. "Several times!" he added, returning to his previous histrionics.
"Harry please," Kurama's voice came from the door to the roof. "My mother is dying."
"Sorry Kurama," Harry said, calming down. "I was just hearing how Urameshi-kun became a detective."
Kurama nodded in acceptance to this, but his expression was solemn as he set the mirror down on the roof.
"I was told there was a price that went with using that," Yusuke said, his voice serious and quiet. "I don't suppose you know what that price is?" he asked.
"Life," Kurama answered before he bent over the small mirror. "Forlorn Hope, I ask you to wake from your sleep and hear my plea. Reflect my greatest desire so that you can make it true," he intoned, one hand hovering over the surface of the mystical glass.
Yusuke brought a hand up to his face so that he wasn't blinded by the sudden light coming from the mirror, and Harry stepped away from the fence, walking slowly up to the two boys as the mirror answered Kurama.
"The happiness of this woman, is that what you desire?" the mirror asked, Shiori shown within, smiling and healthy once more.
"It is," Kurama answered.
"To grant this wish, are you willing to give your life?" the mirror asked.
"If that is what is required, then yes," Kurama answered.
Then Yusuke took action, finally getting exactly what 'life' meant as a price for soemthing. "Hey mirror guy! Take my life instead! That way Kurama can live and still have his wish, right?"
"But... Why? It makes no sense, this is my wish," Kurama said, confused as he looked from the mirror to Yusuke, who had knelt down beside him and had his hand stretched out to the mirror as well.
"So what, you'll just die and leave your mother to mourn the loss of her son for the rest of her life? That doesn't make sense either!" Yusuke returned harshly. "I've seen that once before and I don't want to see it again!"
Harry loomed up behind them and stared down at the mirror, his green eyes glinting coldly in the light of the full moon above and the light of the mirror below. The Resurrection Stone glinted in the light as well as it became visible on his hand, which he also held out over the mirror.
"Your desire shall be fulfilled!" the mirror intoned grandly.
Harry felt the power of that mirror ripple through his body as it flashed a great light, felt that power spread out beyond him even though the light contracted and intensified. He even managed to remain standing when both of the boys fell.
"Interesting that they've both still got a pulse," Harry commented at the mirror after he'd checked both of the boys.
"In honour of their noble deed, I granted the wish without taking life," the mirror answered.
"You're just a big softy," Harry said fondly as he picked up the mirror.
"Yes, well," the mirror somehow coughed nervously. "Don't let it get around, would you? Of course, having the Master of Death hovering over them at the same time, as well as the nature of those wishes particularly... it makes a difference."
Harry chuckled softly. "I won't tell a soul," he promised the mirror. "Thank you."
"An honour and a pleasure," the mirror answered.
"I'm still alive, but..." Kurama noted softly, pushing himself onto his hands and knees, his eyes were already wide with worry though. "What about my mother?" he asked.
"Go and see," Harry suggested. "I'll keep an eye on the detective."
Kurama didn't need telling twice, and was through the door faster than any human should be able to move without some kind of aid. He'd barely gone through the door when a girl with blue hair, wearing a pink kimono and riding a flying oar landed on the roof.
"Yusuke?" she asked tentatively.
"He'll live," Harry said from where he stood, still holding the mirror.
She snapped around sharply, noticing Harry for the first time. "Who -? How -? What -?" she stuttered out, her pink eyes brimming with tears that were just waiting to fall.
"Potter," he said, introducing himself with a slight bow. "Harry. Pleased to meet you Miss...?"
"Botan," the girl answered. "Um... I'm going to need that back from you," she said, pointing hesitantly to the Forlorn Hope.
"Hey, it worked, and I'm alive!" Yusuke said, sitting up at last, a smile on his face. "It did work, right?" he asked, turning to Harry.
"Well, Kurama's alive and I'm fairly sure his mother is on the mend," Harry answered with a small nod and a gentle smile. "Now, I believe you needed this back?" he offered, holding out the mirror to them.
"Thanks," Yusuke said, taking back the mirror.
"I'm going to head down and celebrate with Kurama now. I'll see you around," Harry said, waving farewell as he headed back inside and down the stairs.
"Your friend kidnapped the detective's girl?" Harry asked, surprised at what Kurama was telling him.
"I owe him for his help, what he did the other night with the Forlorn Hope," Kurama said, his words solemn and his posture tense. "I... don't want to fight Hiei. His trust is a fragile thing, and I don't want to betray it by stopping him."
Harry lay a hand on Kurama's shoulder. "Then I'm coming with you," he said firmly. "I'll even do the fighting on this one, and you can claim neutrality the next time to talk to your friend."
Kurama relaxed enough to smile gratefully at Harry.
"Let me grab my emergency kit, and car keys," the black-haired male said with a grin.
"You're amused by this?" Kurama asked in the car between giving directions to Hiei's 'hideout'.
Harry chuckled. "I'm a twenty-year-old teacher rushing off to help save the day," he answered. "I'd kind of planned to swear off saving the day when I skipped out of the UK and landed in Japan. So much for that."
"Ah, yes, the 'saving people thing' one of your classmates commented on," Kurama noted with a small smile.
"That's the one," Harry agreed.
They reached the warehouse Hiei was using not long after that, and got to hear Hiei gloating about having struck Keiko with the Shadow Sword, and all that that entailed.
"Soon you'll have a girlfriend who's a demon and an assistant who's dead," Hiei declared with a wicked chuckle.
"The antidote is in the hollow handle of the sword," Kurama told Harry quietly as they entered the warehouse, even as Hiei informed Yusuke of much the same thing.
"I'll deal with that, you feed the girl pepper-ups, okay?" Harry suggested.
Kurama nodded in agreement and hurried over to the two girls while Harry headed over to the combatants, getting between them just in time to catch the blade of the Shadow Sword between his hands. It was a nifty trick actually. He didn't try to arrest the momentum of the object, but rather divert it, altering the angle the sword abruptly by applied force to two different parts of the blade. It had a bonus of wrenching the sword from Hiei's grip.
And sending it flying into the crate right near Botan's head, which meant she and Kurama would be able to get the antidote out of the hilt.
"Who are you?" Hiei demanded, his Jagan glowing red.
Harry smiled pleasantly and let his wand fall from his sleeve into his hand. Even if he didn't use it as much any more in his day-to-day life, he always stuck it into his sleeve holster every morning when he got dressed. At times like this, that was quite a useful precaution.
"Petrificus totalus," Harry answered, firing the spell off quickly, the magic moving faster than the demon who was expecting an answer rather than an assault.
Hiei's arms and legs snapped together, much the same way Yusuke had been held a moment ago, but at the same time different. After all, the spell would last until it was lifted by the counter-curse rather than having to be maintained by the concentration of the caster.
"My name is Harry," he said as he crouched down beside Hiei. "And I'm here because Kurama owes the detective his life but he really didn't want to fight you to pay that debt back."
Hiei blinked, twice, in surprise at that quiet revelation.
Harry smiled to see that surprise. "Oh come now, it really is quite obvious that the detective will be put into life-threatening situations again some other time. It's part of his job description. Kurama can pay that debt back later when it doesn't involve possibly destroying forever one of exactly three intra-personal relationships that he actually values."
Hiei's eyes narrowed. "And the other two?" he asked.
"Well, his mother for one," Harry answered. "Obviously. The whole using the Forlorn Hope to save her life kind of gives it away."
"And the other?" Hiei growled dangerously, even as he couldn't move.
"Me," Harry replied with an easy shrug. "The only human he's trusted to know both sides of his life without the prospect of his own death looming over him. Now, once the girl is okay you're going to be taken to Spirit World and tried for various crimes. I suggest you start putting together a good sob-story," he advised with a small smirk. "But you didn't kill anybody, so that's a good thing at least, hmm?"
Hiei just scowled up at him.