"Shuu-chan?" Yuira remarked from beside me.
We had been walking along in silence, while I was pondering what sort of secrets she held behind her delicate façade. She had been carrying the conversation, mostly. And I had been glad listening to her voice. It had a melodic and enchanting quality like the siren youkai I had once heard in Makai. They were mostly beautiful, but deadly. They had the power to capture the soul through song. Strange how they remind me of Yuira's elegance.
"Hn? Oh, domo," I replied, giving her a gentle smile. "I was just thinking about something. Go ahead with what you were saying."
"Shuichi?" she said, squeezing my hand and forcing me to meet her gaze. She was about a head shorter than I was, but I was drawn into the depths of her eyes once more. Green eyes met golden brown, and it was as if Youko Kurama had been jolted by a strange shock that ran through my body like a cold shiver. At that moment, she was anything but shy and sweet.
"Who are you?" I asked, and this time, I let the demon in me surface. I knew that she saw through my ningen form into the cold-blooded youkai thief that was ever present within me. She merely smiled, as if glad that I had acknowledged who I really was. And I was intensely curious if she would reveal the same to me.
"Don't you remember?" Yuira said, letting go of my hand to stare into the distance. Her voice was more rhythmical than ever. "I know the knowledge is hidden within the centuries old youkai thief that I had sought in Makai. You were elusive, Youko Kurama. I will certainly give you that." She glanced at me, and a note of wistful sadness entered her voice.
"Yet, just when I was about to find you, I learned that you were wounded and made your way to Ningenkai. So I followed you. I mortally wounded myself and possessed the body of an unborn child, just as you had. To be part of this world. To find you."
I slowly nodded, trying to digest her words. So my suspicions were correct--she was also a youkai. But I had not heard about her in my travels. There were too many foes seeking me out in Makai anyway, and I had to survive on guile, instinct and power. One more searcher wouldn't have mattered then.
"So who are you, really?" I stepped beside her, my hands inside my pockets. I refused to meet her gaze, though I could sense that she was eyeing me with apparent interest. "And what do you want from me, that you fled from Makai to find a lone youkai thief?"
"My youkai name is Kashiesa," she began, and once more, the rhythm in her voice held my attention in trance. "I was a siren, as I think you may already have guessed. No, I do not want your soul, Kurama, though I doubt that such would be highly priced. I need your help to recover the Dagger of Night."
The Dagger of Night. A famed artifact in Makai, said to have once been possessed by a powerful Class-S warrior youkai. It was fabled to have to power to throw a cloak of darkness around the bearer, making that person invisible, especially at night. It was also said to increase the power of the bearer tenfold, and enhances that person's senses. Kuronue and I had once discussed it, I can recall now, and he was saying how valuable such an artifact would be to youkai of our…profession. Yet I had dismissed the idea, for the Dagger was double-edged--it was said this artifact was actually sentient. If the bearer was not strong enough to bear its seduction, that person's soul would be thrown into the darkest depths of hell, and the body will be an empty shell forced to do the Dagger's bidding. And now I was being asked to recover it.
"Provided that the Dagger exists, why are you searching for it, Kashiesa?" I asked the siren, and I could not help but marvel at her deadly grace, and I was reminded of a deadly coiled serpent. Pretty, though. "Recover the dagger? Had it once been in your possession, then?"
"Cunning you truly are, youkai thief," she remarked idly, laughing. "Yes, it once came unto the sirens, and I was seduced by its allure. I can still remember the power that coursed through my veins…so enticing, so deceitful. I had almost entered hell, Kurama, but I was drawn out by…someone…before it was too late."
Clearly that "someone" had been special to you, youkai siren. I wonder how special that person had been to have been able to turn back the Dagger's allure. I glanced at her, noting the sharp glint in her eye and the tightness around the corner of her lips. Recalling those memories had made her quite…upset. I nodded to her, prodding her to continue. If she wanted my help, she had to reveal as much as I wanted to know about the whole business.
"The others decided that the Dagger was dangerous, so it was decided to hide the dagger in the depths of the vault at our lair. It had rested there for decades, until one day, one of us came to check on it, and it was found missing. There were no traces of the thief, showing that the person had been highly skilled. It was at that point that I decided to search for you."
"Feh, you think I stole the Dagger," I almost snorted. While I was pleased at her appraisal of my skills, I had not even laid eyes on this fabled artifact. True, it would have been a challenge to steal it, but I had been occupied with other matters then. "That was why you went after me."
"At first, yes," she admitted, tightness still in her voice. "Then I learned that you had been wounded, and that you went to Ningenkai. I knew then that you did not steal the Dagger, because if you had, you wouldn't have died."
I actually laughed. So she thought that if I had the dagger in my possession, I would have been a lot more powerful. Well, well, well. "So if you knew I didn't have what you were looking for, why did you follow me to this world, Kashiesa? Was it worth taking your life to follow a youkai thief?"
She studied me with veiled eyes, just as a snake would remain cocked in position waiting to spring on its prey. You won't find me an easy prey, I promise you that. No serpent will outwit this cunning fox. Once again, her determination welled up, and I was silently awed at how she seemed to be summoning the depths of the darkness within her soul. Maybe some part of you abides by the Dagger still. Then, with a sigh, she released the darkness and once again stood by me facing the sunset.
"So desu," she replied in a musical whisper that seemed to blend with the wind. "It was worth it, fox. I really had wanted to meet you. At first, it was to kill you. But now, I need your help."
She turned the full power of her gaze at me, and I wondered what this siren's veiled references pertained to. She clearly wanted me to help me retrieve this dagger, but it seemed to me that she had her own agenda, and she wasn't about to tell me on faith what it was. Still, she intrigued me, as few women ever had. Perhaps I really was a stupid fox in some ways, as Hiei would succinctly put it. But I wanted to be with her, and some part of me yearned--craved--for adventure. I faced her and shrugged. Then I smiled and grasped her hand.
"Is that a 'yes', kitsune?" she said idly, yet I could sense that she was pleased.
"It is," I replied. "I presume we are to go to Makai to retrieve this Dagger?" Hn, mother will be frantic, but I think I can figure out a way to go without upsetting her too much.
"As soon as possible," she nodded. Then she leaned against my chest, once again the delicate girl. You capture souls and practice deceit quite easily, siren. But I'm going along to find out if I can capture yours.
"Let me take you home," I said, gently disentangling myself from her. "Your father might be worried."
"He probably is," she smiled affectionately, and I thought that she held her father dear to her as my mother was very important to me. "Go back home, Shuu-chan. I can manage to get home from here."
"As I do not doubt you can manage yourself well," I remarked. "So tell me, why were those youkai chasing you? I think you could have disposed of them yourself."
"And miss the opportunity of seeing you in action, Kurama?" she remarked mischievously. She then grabbed my neck and pulled my head down to meet her lips. Then she pulled apart after that quick kiss. "I wouldn't have missed it for all of Ningenkai. I will see you tomorrow then. Mata ne!" After a last impish smile, she ran down the road and disappeared around the next bend.
I sighed and turned to the opposite direction. It was time to get back home to mother. I wondered if I should tell the other Rei Kai Tantei about this little adventure. On the other hand, Koenma just might disagree, and Hiei was likely to be upset. Not that they couldn't handle it if things came up. So I was going back to Makai with a strange companion. Not a bad way to begin a new thievery career, Youko Kurama. I smiled as I thought of the challenge of the puzzle and the thrill of the chase. Not bad at all.
"You really are a stupid fox," Hiei snorted from where he was perched at Kurama's window. Kurama merely looked at him and smirked.
"Maybe so, but it's been a while since I've been offered a challenge like this," Shuichi Minamino leaned back on his chair and smiled.
"I take it you've already informed your mother about this?" Hiei asked quietly, his expression more pensive than usual for him.
"In a manner of speaking," Kurama remarked, tapping his desk idly. "I told her I'll be going on a camping trip with some guys at school. Since exams are over and it's nearly vacation time, she agreed. She was worried for me, though, but then again, she always is." Kurama smiled. Not that he did not appreciate the concern.
"You don't think she's just leading you into some sort of trap?" Hiei asked, and Kurama was surprised at the trace of concern he found on Hiei's face. The fire demon usually seemed so detached. "She's a siren, isn't she? Don't you think that she's somehow hypnotized you into agreeing?"
Kurama stood up and paced around the room, staring past Hiei into the darkness beyond. "No, I don't think so. I actually like the thought of finding this dagger, Hiei. I've heard about it before, and what sort of thief would I be if I let a chance to…retrieve…something of this value pass me by?" Kurama looked at Hiei and smiled, and just for an instant, those eyes weren't intense green but golden brown.
"Hn, it's your life you're risking, fox," Hiei shrugged and got up. "Just be careful in Makai. We won't be there to save your skin if you find it too tough."
The fox demon gave a curt nod and was gone. Only the faint rustle of the leaves outside marked his departure.
"I will be careful, Hiei," Kurama stated softly. "And for your sake, I hope you will be as well. In Makai."
Okay, that's Part III. =) Before any Hiei-Kurama fans flame me, this fanfic is a "what-if" based on a discussion I had with a friend about what it would be like if Kurama was somehow attached to a girl. So now they're about to go searching for a Dagger in Makai (must spending too much time playing Heroes III to come up with that artifact concept). So will the fire demon somehow tag along? For any comments, suggestions, and (heck) even flames, justmail to ryquest!
Yu Yu Hakusho is a copyright of Yoshihiro Togashi / Shue Isha Fuji TV, Studio Pierrot. This fanfic is for non-commercial, entertainment purposes only.