I m baaaack! LOL Sorry for taking so long to update. I ve know where this story was going for a while, just not how to get it there. Hope you enjoy. I love hearing from you all. Your reviews sometimes help me through a writers block. TTFN

Chapter 9

Waking up in Hiei's arms, I'm suddenly nervous. Do I regret last night? No. Sleeping with Hiei… no, making love with Hiei had been incredible. Why the sudden anxiety then? It must be the human in me. Hiei says humans are more prone to emotions than demons.

"Damn it Kurama. Why the hell do you always have to wake up so damn early?" I shouldn't have been surprised by the sudden grumbling coming from where Hiei's face was snuggled into my neck.

With a smile, I kiss his temple. "Sorry Hiei. Why don't I go take a shower and let you get a little more sleep?"

He held me a moment longer, then kissed me and let me go. Though the long hot shower felt good, it didn't distract me from my thoughts. I know I meant what I said last night. I do love Hiei. I'm not sure it's the love he's hoping for, but it's a start.

I was half dressed and brushing out my hair when Hiei wandered naked into the bathroom. He was still pretty groggy as I dutifully leaned in for the kiss he offered. Then without a word, he stepped into the shower. I finished dressing then left our suite. For some reason I still wanted to be alone with my thoughts.

Wandering the corridors both upstairs, then down I only saw the occasional guard or servant. Suddenly stopping at an open doorway I peered in. I got a strange feeling, like I would see Mukuro turn and see me. She didn't look the same though. In my mind, her right eye was really creepy looking. Like it was mechanical or something.

Shaking the image away, I move on. Down the hall, in the living room, I am surprised to find Yomi sitting on the sofa with a steaming cup of something in his hand. I'm not at all surprised though when, without having made a sound, he greets me. "Good morning Kurama. Your humans have brought many things to Makai, one of the best of which is coffee. May I pour you a cup?"

A servant appeared before I could answer. "May I get you some tea Lord Kurama?"

Though I would have preferred the tea, I shook my head and waved her away. "Coffee will be fine. With cream please."

Without spilling a drop, Yomi set his cup aside and flawlessly prepared my coffee. Taking the offered cup, I sit across from him. "I didn't realize you would still be here Yomi."

Yomi smiled. "Even with as civilized as Makai has become in recent years, it is still not wise to travel any great distance at night. Mukuro was kind enough to put me up. Actually, I think she was hoping for a little more entertainment at breakfast."

I couldn't help but chuckle. "Though he has nothing to be jealous of, Hiei doesn't make much effort to hide his displeasure when anyone pays me too much attention. At least not since we've been here."

Yomi nodded. "Yes, I imagine it would be worse for him here. As a human, I believe he's had you all to himself, but with the countless lovers you've had in your Youko past, he must look at every demon you've ever met as possibly being a former lover."

Even though Hiei had told me last night that Yomi and I had been lovers in the past, I hadn't seen him that way. It was embarrassing to think he and I had once been as intimate as Hiei and I had been last night. Yomi must have sensed what I was thinking, because he chuckled. "So, Hiei told you we were once more than just old friends. As much as I wouldn't mind the past repeating itself, even if only to rattle Hiei's cage, I know it is not to be. Hiei must be more confident this morning, to allow you to be alone with me."

I smiled. "Even without his incredible love making, Hiei has nothing to worry about. As for leaving me alone with you, I am never alone. Am I Hiei?"

Somehow, since the moment I entered the room, I knew Hiei was near. When strong fingers caressed my hair, I tipped my head back for the kiss I knew would be coming. Hiei didn't disappoint me either, planting a searing kiss on my lips before looking at Yomi. "I will always be with My Fox."

The servants must have heard Hiei's voice, because a moment later one entered the room with a tray. On it was a single cup which she offered to Hiei. Smelling hot coco as he took the offered cup, I nodded my thanks to her as she turned away. Hiei and his sweet tooth did not like coffee.

Yomi however began pouring another cup of coffee. Before I could question why, Mukuro entered the room. "Ah, so the fun started without me. Yomi, I trust you slept well."

Passing her the cup, Yomi nodded. Well enough considering the guest rooms have yet to be redecorated. Kurama, you have your work cut out for you making this old fortress habitable."

I smiled. "I wouldn't complain if I were you Yomi. Anything has to be better than that nasty bug she used to call home."

There was a moment of awkward silence before Mukuro chuckled. "That too would be thanks to you Kurama. Hiei came home one day and said we had to move. He said his mate refused to come to Makai with him to live in a big bug."

This time we all laughed. Hiei seemed more relaxed all of a sudden. Even when we went into the dining room for breakfast, he didn't object to me sitting across from Yomi, and joined in the conversation more. Perhaps making love last night had reassured him somehow.

As we finished breakfast I noticed Mukuro giving me a curious look. When I saw her gaze on my ruby pendant, I realized I was fondling it. "Isn't it lovely Mukuro? It by far wasn't the nicest piece in the jewelry store, but it seemed to call out to me, and I just had to have it."

Hiei grunted. "You mean you had to take it."

I felt my cheeks warm in embarrassment when Yomi laughed. "Old habits die hard, eh Kurama? That explains why it isn't the original. It doesn't explain why you're not wearing Hiei's t…"

Hiei growled and the room fell silent. As I looked at each of them to explain, none of them would meet my gaze. "Wait! What do you mean 'the original'? Is there another ruby pendant?"

Though I was addressing Yomi, Hiei answered. "Yes Kurama, there is another. It's in your treasure box at the apartment."

Looking at him, then Yomi, I knew there was more but there was just another awkward silence. Yomi finally broke it by standing up. "Well, it's time for me to say goodbye. Kurama, I hope you get your memory back soon. I want my advisor back."

Mukuro rose to see him out. Looking at Hiei again, hoping he would explain what happened, I was disappointed. "I'm going to check on my troops, then we'll head out too. I want to be back at the apartment in the Ningenkai by nightfall."

I frowned. "Nightfall? Hiei, it took us two days to get here."

Hiei kissed me before heading to the door. "That's only because I wanted you to explore Makai. There's a portal only an hour from here. Stay out of trouble, I'll be back in a little while."

On my own again, I wandered out of the dining room. As I walked past Mukuro's office and glanced in, I saw her seated at her desk. Again I had the odd sensation that she should look different. Knocking on her door, I smiled as she looked up. "I'm sorry to interrupt your work Mukuro, but can I ask you something rather personal?"

She raised an eyebrow curiously as she waived me to a chair in front of her desk. "We've known each other a long time Kurama, I think I can handle a personal question."

Taking a seat, I asked my question. "Have you changed your appearance? Twice I've had the odd sensation that you look different somehow."

She gave me an odd look. "Before I answer, tell me what you think is different about me."

Suddenly I felt ridiculous. "I'm sure it's just my imagination, and you're going to think I'm nuts. I have this image in my head of scars on your face and your right eye being mechanical."

Mukuro smiled. "When we met I had many scars, some of the worst were on my face. My right eye is a high tech robotic prosthetic. I spent hundreds of years wallowing in self pity, practically mummifying myself to hide my appearance. After I met Hiei, I no longer felt the need to hide who I really was. Then you came to Alaric and changed what I thought about a lot of things, including myself. One day you looked me in the eye and told me I was a beautiful woman. For the first time in my life, I wanted to be one. A few years ago I had reconstructive surgery to repair severe scarring on my face and body."

It felt amazing to know that Hiei and I could have such a profound impact on someone's life. "I was right, you are beautiful."

As I stood to leave, Mukuro chuckled. "You missed a very important fact Kurama. The image you said was in your head, it's called a memory. It wasn't your first either."

Stunned, I just stare at her. "Last night, I could tell you had a hunch about Yomi. That was the beginning of a memory. This morning you mentioned that my old fortress was a bug. That too was a memory."

Excited, I grinned. "I'll bet this pendant was my first memory. I can't wait to see the original."

Mukuro sighed. "Be careful Kurama. So far you've had glimpses of me, Yomi and someone else from your past, but nothing of Hiei."

My smile faded and I shook my head. "Hiei is my mate, the one I want to remember most. I will be careful Mukuro, I don't want to hurt him. Thank you."

Leaving her, I head back up to our suite. Just as I open the door, I hear ringing. Realizing it was my cell phone, I rush to answer it. "Hello?"

On the other end is Shiori. "Shuuichi, it's Shiori. I just called to see how are you getting along in Makai?"

For some reason her voice makes me smile. "Oh fine. It's very different here. We're not staying though. Hiei wants to be home by tonight."

I could hear the relief in her voice. "Oh good. I know things are better there these past few years, but I still worry about you boys. Has being there helped your memory at all?"

I sighed. "Not much. I've had a few little snippets, but nothing significant."

I could picture her shrugging. "Well that's alright. There's no rush. I won't keep you Son. Call me when you get home and we'll set a date for you boys to come to dinner. Love you."

Hiei came in as I said goodbye. "I… I'll see you soon. Bye."

Slipping the phone in my pocket, I smile at Hiei when he comes to kiss me. "Shiori?"

I nod. "She's glad we're coming home and wants us to come for dinner soon."

Hiei nodded as he looked around the room. "Is there anything you need before we leave?"

Since we didn't bring anything, I shake my head. "No, I'm ready."

The trip to the portal was uneventful. I'm glad because it gave me time to think. I may not have remembered much, but the little I did remember gives me hope that my memory loss isn't permanent. Surprisingly, I'm a little nervous at going back to the human world though. After spending a whole week as a human, I had remembered nothing. Small though they are the only memories have been demon memories.

Hiei is another concern. I spent a week as a human and easily learned to trust him. I also found him attractive and was even beginning to be physically attracted to him but I was still having a bit of an issue with being in a relationship with another man.

As a demon here in Makai I seem to have very few inhibitions. Almost immediately I was physically attracted to him. I am comfortable being intimate with him, and am even starting to fall in love with him. I'm a bit worried about how my feelings will change when we go back to the human world.

We'd been having a nice run, but as my concerns grew, my speed must have slowed. "Kurama, is something wrong?"

With a sigh, I stopped and turned to him. "Hiei, before I lost my memory, how different was I as a demon versus a human?"

Hiei seemed to ponder my question a moment before answering. "As a Youko you are stronger, more ruthless, and less inhibited. As a human, you are more caring. Is that what you mean?"

Not really, but I just shrug. "I guess so. Are we almost there?"

Hiei nodded towards our left. "There's a portal just past that tree line."

Pushing my concerns aside, I follow Hiei to the portal. When Hiei took my hand and would have led me through, I hesitate. "Will I just change back the way I did when we got here?"

Hiei looked at me a moment then nodded. "I thinks so. You've always told me the different energy in each world seems to pull at that part of you. Unless you resist the pull, you should change back."

Worried the change back would change the easy rapport we've had the past few days, I lean over to kiss him. "Thank you for bringing me here Hiei, and showing me my other side."

Hiei gave me another kiss, then we crossed over. Just as it had when we'd stepped into Makai, I feel a strange tingling in my blood. Remembering Hiei's words about not resisting, I close my eyes and take a deep breath. When we entered Makai and I became a Youko, I remember how right it felt. This doesn't feel wrong, but I do feel different. Beside me Hiei chuckled. "There's my beautiful redheaded fox."

I open my eyes to find Hiei ready to kiss me. Though I try not to pull away as his lips brush mine, I must have stiffened, because a shadow of sadness flickers across Hiei's eyes as he turns away. "We'd better check in at the temple before we head home."

Sighing, I follow him. What the hell is wrong with me? This man and I made passionate love last night, and now I'm uncomfortable with an innocent kiss. I can feel the warmth of my blush just thinking of the things we'd done last night. I'm also shocked to feel my body twitch in response at those same memories. Will I ever get past what inhibits me and allow him to touch me in that way as a human?

I'm pulled from my thoughts as we clear the trees and the temple comes into view. As we reach it Yukina comes out to greet us. "Hiei, Kurama, welcome back."

She gives Hiei a big hug, than turns and gives me one too. "Thank you Yukina."

Inside, I'm surprised at first that Yusuke, Keiko and Kuwabara are all there. Then I remember that Hiei told me they all live at the temple since it is one of the primary ports of entry for demons to the human world. With a grin, Yusuke puts an arm around me. "Okay Kurama, spill it. What did you think of Makai? Did the Youko come out to play? Did being there help your memory at all?"

Though I'd only spoken with him a few times, I already knew Yusuke wouldn't waste time getting to the point. With all of them anxiously awaiting my answer, I felt nervous. "Makai was great. It was a little strange when I grew pointy silver ears and a tail, but it felt right. No, Makai was not a great miracle cure for my memory, but a few things were familiar."

Behind me Hiei grumbled. "Yeah, like Yomi and Mukuro's old bug fortress."

All eyes around me went wide and Yukina's sighed "Oh my" was the only sound in the room until Yusuke laughed. "Really? That old goat and a big bug is what you remembered?"

I shrugged. "I didn't exactly remember Yomi, just a feeling about how he was blinded. And the bug fortress just slipped out of my mouth without even realizing I'd remembered anything."

Hiei put his hand on my shoulder. "The ruby pendant is part of a memory too Kurama."

Reaching up to fondle the pendant, I look back at him. "But Hiei, I don't really know what that memory is. I saw this pendant and felt connected to it and I had to have it, that's all."

Though Keiko is the one that spoke, the others all leaned forward. "Let's see it Kurama."

Both girls have a small gasp. Yusuke gave Hiei a look of almost sympathy. Kuwabara grunted. "Damn. It's a little smaller, but it looks just like it."

I was getting annoyed. "I guess everyone knows the significance of this pendant but me. Well those weren't even real memories. The one I had about Mukuro was a good memory though. I actually remembered that she was badly scarred and had a robotic eye. I could see her as clearly as I see any of you."

Hiei's gaze locked on mine. "When did that happen?"

Remembering Mukuro's warning that my memories could hurt him, I felt guilty that I hadn't shared it with him. "This morning as I walked past her office. When I saw her at her desk, I could see the scarred her in my head. When I asked her about it, she told me about her reconstructive surgery."

There was an uncomfortable silence. Yukina finally came over and took Hiei's arm. "It sounds like your trip was a success then Brother. Hopefully, those little tidbits of memory mean Kurama will eventually get the rest of his memory back."

Turning away with her, Hiei nodded. I felt bad for blurting out the memory of Mukuro like. I wasn't going to tell him at all for fear of hurting him. He's my mate, he's the one I should be remembering. I was about to follow him, when Keiko spoke. "Well, since we're all together, let's have lunch and celebrate the beginning of Kurama's memory returning."

With all of them heading for the kitchen, I couldn't get Hiei alone to talk to him. Watching them was like watching a family that knew each other so well words almost weren't needed. Feeling like an outsider, I step outside. As I look out at the trees, my mind wanders back to my previous dilemma. Have my feelings for Hiei changed now that I'm a human again?

Deep in thought I almost don't register Yukina's soft voice almost whispering from just inside. "Give him some time Hiei. This is hard on him too. Leave him to his thoughts. He'll come in when he's ready."

They must have been watching me through the open door. When minutes pass and Hiei doesn't come out to join me, I look over my shoulder. No one is there. Realizing this was my first opportunity to really have time alone to think, I walk slowly to the steps. Unhurried, so as not to draw attention to myself, I descend the steps. Still no one comes. Climbing in my car, I start the engine, pull out of the parking spot, and drive away alone.