Thanks everyone for the great reviews. I'm glad you're liking this. In order to not delay updates too much I'm making the chapters a bit short. The good news is I'm slowly moving past where this story stalled. I got some good ideas from your reviews. One might even take this in a different direction before the end.
As always, thanks for reading and especially for the reviews. Enjoy.
The world around me disappears as Hiei's lips move gently against mine. I don't even realize I've closed my eyes and am kissing him back until he pulls away. I'm embarrassed when I realize I'm leaning forward trying follow his lips. When my eyes flutter open I see a hopeful look in his eyes. Dropping my gaze, I don't want to see his disappointment that his kiss didn't spark my memory. Softly, I hear him sigh. "Sorry, I thought maybe…"
My heart aches a little as his voice trails away sadly. Wanting to salvage the awkward moment I look around. "Who's temple did you say this was?"
His deep voice shows no sign of the emotion I'd seen just a moment ago. "It was Master Genkai's temple. She was a human with exceptionally strong spirit awareness. She use to train spirit techniques to her martial arts students. She also trained Yusuke when he became spirit detective. Before her death she began using the temple as an immigration point for peaceful demons wishing to live in the human world. She entrusted the temple and her work to all of us when she died."
It sounded like he was speaking another language with as little as I understood. "Who do you mean by 'us'?"
Hiei shrugged. "Our Reikai Tante family. Yusuke, Kuwabara, you and me of course, along with Yusuke's wife Keiko, Kuwabara's sister Shizuru and my sister Yukina. Half of us demon half of us human."
As Hiei watches me, I realize I still have my arms around him. I start to release him but suddenly I am afraid. "Hiei, what if I don't remember?"
As Hiei reaches up to brush a strand of hair from my face, I see doubt in his eyes for just a moment before it is gone. "It doesn't matter. What ever happens, I'll be right here with you."
When his gaze drops to my lips, I know he is going to kiss me again. Surprisingly I think I want him to. His lips aren't as gentle this time. There is passion in this kiss, as if he's trying to tell me something I don't quite understand. Gods I wish I understood.
All too soon he pulls away. "Yukina's coming."
I can't believe I resent this woman and haven't even met her. Hiei stood and helped me from the bike. A moment later a young woman came from the back of the building we'd parked near. "I should have known when you didn't come right in I'd find you two making out. Brother, I wasn't expecting you today. Is something wrong?"
As Yukina moved closer to embrace Hiei, I study her. She is wearing a pink sundress that compliments her feminine figure. The dress reveals a hint of her long slender legs, though she isn't quite as tall as Hiei. Hiei I finally notice isn't overly tall but about my height, whatever that was. After a moment, Yukina draws my attention from Hiei. "Kurama, you look pale. Are you feeling alright?"
Hiei quickly took her hand and stopped her from reaching for me. "That's why we're here Yukina. Kurama hit his head last night."
The woman looked genuinely concerned. "Oh my. Let's get you inside and I'll have a look."
When she turned back to the temple, Hiei took my hand and we followed. Once inside I try to look around but I am quickly ushered into a big kitchen and pushed into a chair. Again, before Yukina can touch me Hiei intervened. "Other than a bump on his forehead Kurama seems physically fine. It's his memory Yukina. He doesn't remember anything."
Though on the surface Hiei's voice seemed normal, for some reason I can sense an urgency in his words. Seeing the look in Yukina's eyes I know she heard it too. "Don't worry Brother, we'll take care of him."
When Hiei would have moved aside I reached out and grabbed his shirt. He must have seen the uncertainty in my eyes because he pried my fingers from his shirt and gave me a reassuring look. "It's alright Kurama. Yukina won't hurt you. She's just going to check your head."
Hearing Hiei's words, Yukina smiled at me. "There's no need to be nervous Kurama. I'm just going to put hand over your wound. You'll just feel… well… I don't really know what you'll feel."
Yukina looked at Hiei for an answer. "It tingles a bit."
With Hiei holding my hand I nod. As Yukina held her hand to my head, I smile. "It does tingle a little. It's weird."
Yukina giggled. "I never thought to ask anyone how it feels when I do this. Well, Hiei was right. Physically you're fine. How does your head feel?"
Thinking a moment I realize something. "My headache is gone. Just now, after you … did whatever you did."
As she smiled I reach up and notice the bump on my head is gone as well. "I just used my youki to reduce the swelling where you hit your head. As for your memory, I'm not sure what to think of that. Perhaps if we give it some time your memory will return on its own. Until then, Hiei will take care of you."
I feel Hiei fingers squeeze mine. Looking at him, his face reveals nothing, but instinctively I know he's concerned. I want to say something to reassure him but I'm at a loss. A sudden commotion interrupts the moment. "Hey! Come back here!"
Almost faster than I could see a small creature ran into the kitchen and around the table. At first I thought it was some sort of animal. Then big yellow eyes peeked over the edge of the table and giggled. It was a child, but not an ordinary child. My eyes widen when I see she has sleek pointy ears and whiskers. A dark haired man darted into the room. "Where'd you go you little demon? Hey Kurama, Hiei."
Another man, this one larger than the first came bounding in. "Did you get her Urameshi? Her mom thinks we've stolen her. YUKINA!"
I almost laughed that a woman could distract a grown man so easily. Yukina giggled as he swept her into his arms. "Kazuma, you silly man. Did you forget about the kitten already? Yusuke looks like he could use your help."
Seeing her blush as he gives her a quick kiss I realize they are truly in love. "I forget everything when I am with you my sweet."
I flinch as a hand snakes out and smacks the big man on the back of the head. "Quit flirting with your wife Kuwabara and help me catch that kid before her mom declares war."
A loud hissing cry from outside makes me jump. It seemed to bring the man he called Kuwabara around as well, and I watch as he and what must be Yusuke circle the large table from each side. They seemed to have the child cornered and both jump at her at once. I flinch, at first thinking they were going to hurt the child. I end up chuckling though when they crashed into each other but the child escapes.
My laughter dies a moment later when the child pops up from under the table directly in front of me and climbs up on my lap. Something like a growl came from Hiei and the child cringed against me. "Hiei, hush. You're scaring her."
Apparently my words are enough to stop whatever Hiei was about to do. The girl in my lap appears to be about five years old. As she sits on my lap I realize that along with the ears and whiskers she has a long sleek tail twitching against my legs. Looking up at me the child smiles. "You smell pretty. What's your name?"
I smile back at her. "My name is Kurama, what's yours?"
Small fingers reach out to touch my hair. "Magumi. I want long hair like yours but mama says my hair is too fine and it would get frizzy."
As if on cue two women come into the room. The human woman was trying to console the adult version of Magumi. "As you can see, Magumi is fine. Kurama, this is Helene, Magumi's mother. Helene, this is Kurama, one of the temple's caretakers."
Not knowing what else to do I nod to Helene before looking back at Magumi. "Well little one, it seems play time is over. Your mother is waiting for you."
Hopping down from my lap, Magumi waved. "Bye Kurama. Maybe I can come play another time."
I wave back. "Goodbye Magumi."
As the human woman led the two cat people away Yusuke called out to her. "I'll be there in a bit Keiko. Holler if you need me. Alright Hiei, what's up? You're giving me that look."
I turn to Hiei but I don't see anything unusual. "It's my fox Yusuke. He lost his memory after hitting his head last night."
Both Yusuke and Kuwabara looked worried as they moved closer. "My Yukina can fix him I'm sure."
Yukina looked at Kuwabara. "I've already done what I can Kazuma. Time will tell if this is just temporary."
Yusuke turned to Hiei. "Have you tried to jog his memory Hiei? Maybe you could use the Jagon."
Hiei shook his head. "If his mind is damaged somehow from the blow to his head I could make things worse poking around in there."
Frustrated, I smack my hands down on the table. "I lost my memory, not my mind! You don't have to all talk around me like I'm stupid! Now tell me what the hell is going on! You guys act like having cat people running around is normal! What is a Jagon and just where exactly are you talking about it poking around, because it sounds like you want to put something in my head!"
Kuwabara grabbed Yukina and pulled her close to him. "Uh, Hiei! Do something!"
Wondering what the hell could be happening now, I watch Hiei quickly take the chair opposite me. "Kurama, I need you to calm down. Remember, like this morning?"
Looking around there weren't any plants in the kitchen, but long thorny vines were crawling in the window. "Hiei, I'm not doing it on purpose."
Hiei put his hands on my face, forcing me to look at him. "Close your eyes Fox. Take a few deep breaths and calm down. No one is going to hurt you. I'll explain everything as soon as your pets aren't threatening us anymore."
Nodding, I try to do as he says. "Hiei, why do you keep calling them my pets?"
Calmly Hiei answers my question. "As a demon, you are one of the most powerful plant masters in all of Makai. You have always called the plants under your control your pets. You love them and care for them and they serve you as their master."
Though he answered my question, I still don't fully understand. "Is it alright to open my eyes now?"
Hiei chuckled. "Yes, it's safe again. I'm sorry we were upsetting you. We were just trying to figure out the best way to help you."
Looking into his wide almond eyes I know he is telling the truth. "Kurama, you saw my Jagon this morning. It's my third eye and the primary source of my power. Yusuke was wondering if I could use it to probe your mind to try and restore your memory."
I nodded. "That's why you said I think too loud. You can use it to read my mind."
I saw some of the tension leave Hiei's shoulders. "Yes, an unguarded mind is quite easy to read. Until now you have always kept your mind tightly guarded. It would cause a great deal of pain to try and force myself into a guarded mind. I don't violate peoples minds though unless I have no choice and I won't violate yours unless there is no other choice."
Glad to hear no one was going to prod into my brain I relax a bit. Seeing this, Hiei continues. "I already told you a little about demons and that we use the temple as an immigration point for demons to enter the human world. There's a bit more to it than that. A few years ago there was an uprising in Makai and demons invaded the Ningenkai. It was no longer possible to keep the worlds apart. We fought for over a year before a unification agreement was finally reached. This temple is now one of many immigration points throughout the two worlds."
Amazed, I stared at him. "Humans are welcoming demons? How is that possible? Does it work both ways?"
He nodded. "Each world had things the other desired. Humans are benefiting mostly from our advanced healing methods. Demons simply wanted more freedom and more wealth. Though the politics were complicated, it wasn't as hard as convincing certain demons that humans are not food. It hasn't been easy, but it's working. One of the major benefits has been that the demon invasion made the human race reevaluate it's priorities and they have, for the most part, stopped fighting each other. Demons too have seen such a benefit. Both economies have benefited as well."
Seeing everyone watching me anxiously, I tried to smile. Yusuke eagerly returned it. "Hey Kurama, I'm Yusuke, one of your best friends. Man this must be weird, with us knowing you and you not knowing us. Everything will be alright though. Hiei won't let anything happen to you."
I nodded. "So he's told me. I think I've figured out all of your names even if I don't remember you."
Yusuke looked at Hiei. "Hiei, we may not have been enough to jog his memory, but don't forget, there is someone who might be even more powerful than us."
Hiei nodded. "Shiori. I was going to take him there next."
I hadn't heard that name before and wondered who this person was that they think is such a powerful influence that they might be able to trigger my memory. When I looked at Hiei however, he shakes his head at me. "Don't look at me with those eyes Fox. I'm not going to say any more about Shiori."
The next two hours pass in a blur. Yukina and Keiko wouldn't let us leave without feeding us first. Yusuke and Kuwabara dominated the conversation with temple business that I didn't really understand. Hiei had occasional comments about certain demons that were migrating. Finally, goodbyes were said and we were back on the motorcycle.
As I wonder who Shiori might be, I lay my head on Hiei's shoulder and close my eyes.