"What do we do now, Urameshi?" Kuwabara stated worriedly even as they bent over Kurama's unconscious form, uncomfortably aware of the huge wound he has sustained in his belly. Hiei stood behind them, a silent shadow, his expression unreadable.
"I don't know, baka," Yusuke muttered. "I don't suppose we can spare him some reiki, do you think?"
"You will not need to," a soft, musical voice chimed in. Yusuke and Kuwabara turned in surprise to find a black-haired, silver-eyed woman in flowing white robes standing behind them. "I will provide him what he needs to survive."
"Matte! Just who are you--" Yusuke stood to confront their strange visitor when Hiei placed a hand on his shoulder and dragged him back.
"You are the siren Kashiesa, otherwise known as the woman Yuira," Hiei stated matter-of-factly. "Now that you are here, do what you can for Kurama. He has given up much for you."
"I know, Hiei, " the siren youkai smiled gently at the stern-faced Koorime. "And I will ensure he survives."
She bent down beside Kurama, grasping his hand sticky with blood and sweat. She gently stroked his face even as she was painfully aware that the color had already drained from it. So pale…has he lost so much blood? Yet his core still pulses, though barely. I must hurry…
She sang once again, though her energy felt nearly spent. She sang of spring and life, of a seed gently breaking forth from the ground and sprouting its first few leaves. She sang of beauty, of rose buds spreading forth their petals and morphing into the magnificent roses that she knew Kurama so well loved. She also sang of anguish and regret, of thorns surrounding each rose and drawing blood while shielding its magnificent beauty. You are like your roses, Kurama…beautiful, gentle and caring, yet capable of becoming the deadliest of foes. And in the end she sang of love, of promises of eternity whispered to the wind of souls intertwined in an embrace of forever.
I am bonded to you as surely as you have chosen to love me with your soul, koibito. I know I have kept secrets from you, and have not told you the entire truth about this whole quest. But I have never lied when I have told you that I cared for you. Because I do, as I always will. And I will find you again, someday, because we have been bonded by the chains of destiny.
Kashiesa's voice rose to a fever pitch, even as the Sword of Night shattered and the Dagger, no longer of Night, detached itself from the dead mage's body, blazing with intense energy. Yusuke and Kuwabara shielded their eyes from the glow as it gently hovered over Youko Kurama's body, in rhythm with the siren's song. They watched in horror as the last notes faded and the blade suddenly plunged into the kitsune's belly and Kashiesa faded in a flash of silver light.
"I was looking for you," I smiled as I saw Kashiesa running toward me, the mists parting in her presence. "I just found myself in this place, even if I had no idea how I got here. I thought…perhaps you were gone."
"As if I will ever leave you willingly," Kashiesa laughed, flinging herself into Kurama, causing him to lose his balance as he caught her. They tumbled backward, even as the mists seemed to gather to catch them in order to soften their fall on the invisible floor.
"I'm glad," I stated simply, enjoying her closeness and the warmth behind her words. I was dimly aware of her voice lifting in song, reminding me of seemingly endless forests where I had once made my home. Then I stared into her face even as I felt our soul-link weakening, and I knew at once its source. "I'm dying, aren't I? And you came to me to be with me for one last time."
"You will not die," she stated with conviction, burying her face into my chest. "You have not come all the way to Makai to die. You still have a full human life ahead of you to live, koibito. And I know you will live it well."
"Not without you," I replied firmly, cupping her chin gently and raising her gaze to meet mine. "From now on, we go together where me must. Our fates have been linked since you have come into my life, Kashiesa."
"You have to go," she said, kissing me softly before detaching herself from my embrace. I was about to protest but she held me down. "Your friends are waiting, and there is one task I have yet to complete.
She smiled faintly as she ran back into the mists, her voice playfully echoing inside my head as the mists receded and I found myself being drawn back into my body.
"I will find you, Kurama. In any world where you may end up, I will find a way to be with you."
Yusuke and Kuwabara stared in wonder as the Dagger withdrew from Kurama's body, leaving no trace of a wound or even a scar. Hiei smiled faintly as Kurama regained his human form. Shuichi-Kurama's hand twitched slightly even as he moaned and opened his eyes, dimly aware that three people were peering at him. He smiled as he raised himself from the floor, aware that no evidence of the battle that had ensued remained on his body. He actually felt stronger, somehow, Kashiesa's parting gift, he surmised.
"Che, you scared us, Kurama," Yusuke said, grinning widely. "We thought you'd really died this time for good."
"Look who's talking about being dead," Kurama retorted, smirking. "Not like you haven't experienced what it was like, Yusuke."
"That's what makes me glad you haven't decided to die on us yet," Yusuke replied good-naturedly, slapping Kurama on the back. "Now that we're done here, we should be heading home. Keiko's waiting. She'll slap me again if I'm late for yet another date."
"Anyway, what happened back there, Kurama?" Kuwabara asked. "That siren woman came appeared and began singing. Then that dagger plunged into you and we all thought she'd killed you. Then she vanished."
"You saw an image of her soul," Kurama smiled, his eyes taking on an introspective expression. "She saved me through her love…embodied in her songs…"
"Feh, just when we thought you finally have a girlfriend, she just disappears," Kuwabara sighed. "Well, I agree we should be getting back to Ningenkai. I'd very much like to visit Yukina-san."
"You're right, I have to go see okaa-san," Kurama smiled, hoisting himself to his feet even as the three made their way out of the cave. Then Kurama was aware was Hiei was not following them. He glanced behind but found that the Koorime was gone.
"Huh, the shrimp is gone again," Kuwabara remarked as he followed Kurama's gaze to the spot where Hiei had been standing.
"He does what he wants for his own his reasons, Kuwabara-kun," Kurama replied. "But he will be there when it counts the most. He always is."
I stared out of the window morosely, my chin resting idly on the windowsill. It has been almost a month since we had returned from Makai, yet I found myself feeling strangely empty. My mother had once filled the void in a youko's heart by teaching me how wonderful it felt to be loved so unconditionally, and that was the reason why I had come to appreciate being human. I had chosen to stay in Ningenkai as her son, Shuichi, using my powers only when necessary and often in the defense of my friends. In all the time I had been human, I had never fallen in love, nor have allowed myself to become too attached to someone. Perhaps that was why I chose to stop seeing Maya once, when I steeled myself and turned my back from her regardless of the tears she had shed when we broke up, when she had desperately beseeched me to stay. I had cared for her, but knowing Shuichi Minamino could never be free from Youko Kurama's past, I had chosen to remain alone.
And then Yuira had entered my life, and I had been drawn to her like a foolish moth to an infinitely bright and attractive flame -- an intense many-hued flame that was undeniably desirable but was just as dangerous to be around. I had followed her into Makai unthinkingly, fought my former partner and won, and finally managed to slay the Dark Mage Yatsuke. But all had not happened without a severe price to pay. Yuira -- who had turned out to be the siren Kashiesa -- had her soul locked within the Dagger of Night to neutralize its dark powers. She had used her songs to heal me and restore my health physically. But her absence left a deeper scar in my heart.
In my reverie, I became vaguely aware of a familiar youki just outside my window, and I stared into the darkness, senses alert, looking for a lithe black-clad form I knew could only belong to a Koorime I knew so well. I spotted him perched on a branch of the tree near the window, seemingly unconcerned with a distant look on his face. I smiled in acknowledgement as I saw him nod curtly when he knew I had noticed his presence. He stared at me with a humorous glint in his eye.
[You just seem to adore getting yourself into trouble, don't you, Kurama? Even if this time it might not be entirely your fault.] His thoughts came to me, tinged with sarcasm.
[I seem to recall you were fighting Yatsuke along with the rest of us, Hiei.] I responded coolly, amused at the look of disgust that crossed his grim, impassive features momentarily.
[How does it feel to have lost her, Kurama?] Hiei suddenly asked, and I was taken aback by his question. My dour, seemingly unemotional Koorime friend asking such a question? What gives with Hiei?
[I just feel…hollow inside. As if some part of me has been torn away. And perhaps it has been…my soul was bonded with hers for a while, Hiei. I could never forget how wonderful it felt to have her warmth and love flow through me. Now that she's gone, I don't know just how to dispel the emptiness our separation left.]
[In a way, I envy you, Kurama. For you have felt love and still borne the accompanying regret and loss. And still you feel compelled to hold on to your Ningen ideals of honor and love.]
[Whether you acknowledge it or not, you too are prone to those same ideals and live by them. Admit it, Hiei -- you care for your sister, for your friends. You have fought with us even if there was no reason for you to get personally involved.]
[Perhaps I have been hanging around you too much, kitsune. You're actually starting to make sense to me.] I almost choked when I saw Hiei smile. Then, he gave a gesture that was almost a salute before he stood, and I knew from his stance that he was about to leave. He turned his head to glance at me and I saw him smirk. [Still, you're as dense as ever in some ways. Hn, stupid fox.]
[Nani?! What do you mean -- oi, Hiei!] Hiei had left and our telepathic link had vanished.
I stared after him, half-irritated and half-perplexed about his behavior, strange even by Hiei's standards. But as I was about to close my window, I hear a soft, melodic hum outside, near the spot where Hiei had initially sat before he had flitted off. The youki signature became more pronounced, and I gasped as I recognized whom this belonged to. I heard a gentle laugh as a figure emerged from the foliage and perched itself on the branch where Hiei had been sat. The figure belonged to a young woman with light purple hair, sparkling brown eyes and a voice that could inspire both the worst of nightmares and the best of dreams. It was Kashiesa in Yuira's form.
"Konbanwa, Shuu-chan," she remarked off-handedly, though I could sense the fondness in her voice. "I'm actually a bit disappointed in you. It took me quite a while to get your attention."
"You have it now undivided, I assure you," I replied calmly, though countless questions were racing through my head. Still, I smiled pleasantly, for I was genuinely glad to see her. I leapt from my window and with a few leaps seated myself beside her on the branch. "Lovely evening to enjoy in the company of the pretty girl beside me."
She blushed, and I took the opportunity to embrace her. She clung to me fiercely, and I let her warmth flow through me. I ruffled her hair slightly, and she put on a pout even as she beamed up at me. For a while I could almost forget that she wasn't just a young girl in high school but in reality a siren youkai whose voice had reached into my soul and claimed it for her own. I could almost believe that I was just Shuichi Minamino and not Youko Kurama, famed and feared Makai thief. We make a perfect pair, don't we, koibito? Both enjoying the duality of having had the chance to be human though we possess youkai souls.
"I missed you," I began, "a lot. I thought I had lost you after the battle with Yatsuke."
"His death that has for so long kept the Dagger and Sword sentient," Yuira explained. "The Sword shattered when my brother Ryunuen chose to wrench his soul free from the Sword's influence, even if such could mean a backlash of power that would be enough to burn his soul completely." At this she smiled and squeezed my hand. "Thankfully, he survived. We both did. My powers are not as strong as before, and Ryunuen can barely manipulate fire. The Sword of Night is no more, and the Dagger…well, it is no longer sentient but just an artifact of sorts, though I suspect it still possesses some power. My brother and I have taken it back to the siren stronghold in Makai for safe-keeping."
"Ah, so desu," I mused, and the thief in me seemed to murmur about the possibilities of breaking into the place one day and acquiring the Dagger for my own. Still, that Dagger was Kashiesa's and her brother's by right, and I didn't think she'd take it too kindly if I broke into her home. "That answers some questions. Demo…your human body…how did you--?"
"The strange thing is, when I awoke, I was in this form, Shuu-chan," she replied, her eyes twinkling in amusement. "And I for one do hope that you still do find me attractive in this form."
"I do," I answered softly, drawing her close. Our lips touched, and for a while our song sang as one with the breeze that wafted gently through the leaves. I was reminded of Makai, of the adventures that had caused me to find Kuronue only to lose him again. That had forced me to confront a Youkai Mage who had manipulated Kuronue with promises of power and revenge as Youko Kurama. And that has brought me together with a siren who has captured my soul with her songs and claimed my heart as her own.
"I'm glad for this chance to be with you again, Kurama," Yuira murmured as she leaned her head against my chest. She lifted her head and stared into my eyes with dazzling chestnut eyes that for a moment seemed to blaze silver. "This way we get to spend our ningen lives together, and perhaps the rest of our youkai lives together…if that is what you wish."
"It is," I stated simply, knowing that it could never have been otherwise. That I have given her my trust and love, and with it pledged my life to her service. "I wouldn't have it any other way, Kashiesa."
"Come on, let's take a walk together through your garden," she invited. I nodded and gave her a hand as we climbed down from the tree.
We walked hand in hand, watching the grass ruffled by the wind and inhaling the fresh, heady scent of roses just in bloom as pale moonlight streamed from the heavens, giving the garden a light, golden coating. I smiled as I saw that the roses I had come to cultivate for my mother were growing well. I had always so enjoyed watching okaa-san's eyes light up in appreciation when I would present her with a bouquet. I glanced at the purple-haired girl walking contentedly beside me and eyed the roses speculatively.
I released Yuira's hand for a moment, picking a rose from one of the nearby bushes, being careful to stay clear of the thorns. Which really isn't much of a problem for an erstwhile youko with plant manipulation powers. She squealed in delight as I handed her the rose, gently bringing it up to her nose as she inhaled the fragrance. She gave me an appreciative smile and I bowed in reply.
"This is beautiful, Shuu-chan," she said, "as are you."
"It can never match your beauty, koibito," I shrugged, reaching out and taking her free hand. "It's just the result of a youko's humble efforts at gardening."
"Modesty does not suit you, Kurama," she laughed, squeezing my hand. "You are proud of this rose, because in a way it is you and what you stand for -- a serene core of beauty protected by sharp, piercing thorns. You have a gentle soul, Kurama, and yet you are capable of ruthlessness and cruelty, but as I have found out you use this in protecting the ones you care for. For all your claims of being a thief, youko, you are far more noble than many I have met -- whether from Makai or Ningenkai."
We stood together in companionable silence, two souls brought together by a quest that had been froth with danger and had ultimately been bonded by love. She had hidden much from me initially, I mused, and yet in this quest I had come to search for my own answers even as a dark mage's maze of treachery and lies were unraveled during our search. I have been forced to tap the cold, calculating youko in me, yet even this aspect of myself had been warmed by her love and concern.
I smiled as Yuira lifted her voice in song, this time neither to heal nor to destroy, but because she wanted to. Her voice no longer had the hypnotic quality that it once had, but it still sounded melodious and enticing. She sang an old song I knew to be of Makai origin, something about the dark lines of fate that brought people together to bond them in love or to consume them with hate. Ultimately, though, the choices that one must make in life leads to a final resolution. And those who walk a narrow path must strike a balance in life lest one risk losing the way, and one's humanity with it. This had happened to Kuronue, I recalled sadly. He had been enticed by Yatsuke with the promise of life and the foretaste of revenge.
"I for now am glad that the matter of the Yatsuke has been resolved," Yuira suddenly stated, as if reading my thoughts. "I share your grief in the lost of your friend. But he has found himself again, Kurama, as well as the knowledge that his trust in you had been worthwhile. The same can be said of my brother, Ryunuen. All in all, I think it can be said that it went well -- except for Yatsuke, that is."
"Hai," I replied. "There is just one thing that still puzzles me, though."
"What? I thought this adventure has answered your questions regarding my purpose for engaging you in the quest for the Dagger of Night."
"It's not that. How did you get Hiei to mask your ki?" I grinned as I saw her eyes widen in surprise at my question even as I decided to tease her about it.
"Oh that?" she laughed. "I have not lost my power of persuasion entirely, Kurama. And besides, Hiei was actually cooperative. He said that it would do good for a baka kitsune to be less sure of himself."
I shook my head, laughing. That was Hiei for you. In all the time I had known him, he never ceased to amaze me.
"He cares for you more than you think, koibito," she continued. "Only he does not show the depth by which he is bonded to you by ties of friendship. He is a loyal ally, and certainly a good friend."
"I know," I replied. "Even if he'd sooner evade me and try to burn me with his KokuRyu Ha before he'd admit it. I think I'll wait until he's in a good mood before I try to tell him what a good friend he is, though. Though with Hiei it's hard to tell." I winked at her even as she sighed exaggeratedly.
"You are even more impossible than he is, kitsune," she said, her eyes twinkling in amusement. "At least Hiei is more straightforward. He either likes you enough to tolerate you or warn you to get out of his way before he slices you or burns you. With you, for all your mild-mannered ningen façade, it can be hard to tell what really goes on in your tricky mind, youko."
"Only one thing at the moment, actually," I replied easily, easing my arm around her shoulders, drawing us close. "Aishiteru, Kashiesa. I am bonded to you in spirit, and since I have met you, you have claimed a youko's soul as your own. Though we may have been brought together by a dark mage's manipulative ambitions, we have uncovered the lies and the truth underneath it all is that we are for each other, you and I. The strange hand of fate meant us to be together. And I would not suffer for you to leave me again."
"My destiny is by your side, Kurama," she stated simply as we stood under the silvery shimmer of Ningenkai's moon. "From this point on the my melody reflects our joint souls. Because I will not choose to sing otherwise outside of the bond I share with you. And whatever may be laid before us we will face together. Because you too have claimed my heart to beat in rhythm with yours."
I held her, and before long led her to my room while I sensed a pair of amused crimson eyes watching from a distance for a moment just a moment before the sense of our watcher's youki faded away. A pair of determined hands found themselves intertwined with mine, but it didn't stop there. And a siren and a youko were joined in a pledge that carried hope and trust in a bond of kindred souls.
There, done! Now to begin that work on the sequel of sorts…hehehe…
So ends my first YYH fanfic that marked the beginning of my Kurama obsession. J This is a purely speculative fanfic on my part regarding Kurama's involvement with a siren youkai. For any comments, suggestions, and (heck) even flames, justmail to ryquest! I'd appreciate any feedback I can get about the fanfics. Ja ne!
Yu Yu Hakusho is a copyright of Yoshihiro Togashi / Shue Isha Fuji TV, Studio Pierrot. This fanfic is for non-commercial, entertainment purposes only.