Me: this was just a little one-shot story i wrote for school back in august (which is why Chapter Black & The Three Kings Saga aren't included). i originally posted it as an extra for people who enjoyed my previous story Fire Kitsunes, whose link can be found in my profile (shameless advertisement, here people!). i only put this up because my reviews for that story passed 100. so, hope you enjoy it. read & review please!

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho or any of the characters, though i can't say i wouldn't want to.

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The Life of Youko Kurama

I am Youko Kurama, spirit fox. I am the most feared demon thief in all of Makai. Some alternative titles given to me by those who fear me are King of Thieves and Legendary Bandit. Though I would rather just be Youko, I must admit 'King of Thieves' does have a nice ring to it.

My partner, Kuronue, is also a demon, but he is a bat demon. He is my most trusted comrade, and the closest I have to what ningens would call a friend.

We have many demon thieves who have joined our gang, but Kuronue and I are the leaders, commanders, if you will. Though demons continue to join our ranks, when we go out on raids, they are usually left behind. My abilities to control any plant at will and his ability to hypnotize others are usually more than we need to complete our task, but sometimes we tease the guards so we can have some fun. Tonight is one of those nights.

"It's time," my partner in crime informed me.

"Then let's go," I replied.

We both walked out of our temporary lair to go to our chosen destination. He is wearing his normal black vest with holes in the back for his large bat wings with somewhat baggy pants that contain many hiding places for daggers and such, and a hat tilted to cover one of his violet eyes. His bright red pendant is around his neck ready to be pulled off if, and only if, it is needed to hypnotize someone. I am in my normal white tunic with a hole for my silver fox tails. My golden eyes and silver ears are on constant alert for any disturbance that could endanger our operation.

We enter and leave the chosen castle with our treasure easily enough, toying with a few guards before killing them, but as we are leaving Kuronue's pendant comes from around his neck. It falls a good distance away from us.

"My pendant!" he yells. "I'll be right back." He turns to run after his favorite possession.

"Leave it Kuronue," I tell him though I know it won't make a difference; he would never leave that pendant.

Then suddenly, a recognizable scream pierces the night. I run towards it to find Kuronue with bamboo poles stuck through his body. Blood is spurting everywhere. He had run into a trap.

"Go Youko. You have to escape," Kuronue tells me unselfishly.

I comply with his wishes mainly because I cannot bear to see my partner, my friend, die. I race back to our lair and sit down. It is only then I remember to item we had stolen, the last item we would ever steal together, and I began to cry. I felt true sadness for the first time in my life and I could not control it.

It wasn't long after Kuronue's death that I made a near fatal mistake myself. Call it grief over my fallen friend if you wish. The reikai hunter who was after me almost caught me. Though I transformed into my full fox spirit form to try to escape, he still managed to shoot me down. Just before he moved in for the kill, I forced my spirit and energy to leave my body.

I fled to the Ningenkai to try and regain my strength. I fled into the womb of a soon-to-be human mother and took over the life of her unborn baby. Instead of being born a human, her child was me trapped in the inside the body of a human. I had always planned on regaining my power and returning to the Makai, but my mother changed that plan.

The woman, named Shiori, gave me the name Suichi Minamino (though I still sometimes used Kurama). Shiori loved me and cared for me, a fact that I have always resented. She, an in-superior being caring for myself, the famed Youko Kurama! It seemed incredulous! But for some unknown reason, she did. No matter how much I hurt her and looked down on her, she always forgave me.

When Shiori became ill, I blamed myself. I felt…remorse for treating her how I did and vowed to save her. That was when I met up with Hiei and Gouki, two demons who managed to slip through the barrier and into the human world. Together we stole the three ancient artifacts from the King's Vault in the Spirit World; the sole world that has control over every other world including where a soul goes once it's body has died.

I took the Forlorn Hope for myself knowing it could help my mother. I would make a wish on it to save her life, but for a price. That price being my own life. On the night I prepared to make my wish, a fifteen year old human by the name of Yusuke Urameshi saved me. Even though he was the new Spirit Detective out to capture me and other demons like me, he traded his life for mine, much to Koenma's, the prince of the Spirit World and his boss, displeasure. Luckily, the Forlorn Hope spared both of our lives and cured my mother of her deadly illness.

I was happy for my mother's recovery, yet confused by my own actions. Was I, the coldest demon around, falling under this woman's spell? Was I beginning to love her as well? The only possible answer to these questions is yes. I had to be to have possibly given my own life just so she could live. Was I going soft?

Later, I helped Yusuke defeat my former partner Hiei and recover the final Artifact of Darkness. After this, Hiei and I were turned in to Koenma. Gouki, being dead, could not join us.

Both Hiei and I eventually joined up with Yusuke and another human name Kazuma Kuwabara with Koenma's assurance that our slates in Spirit World would be wiped clean. Together, the four of us were known as the Reikai Tantei, or Spirit Detective Team. We fought and defeated many demons in regular fights and in tournaments. In one such tournament, the Dark Tournament, my secret was revealed.

While fighting one Uraurashima, his item, the Idunn Box, finally released me from my human shell. My red hair was replaced by silver hair and fox ears, my green eyes by golden ones. My fox tails reappeared and my human fighting clothes were replaced with my more preferred white tunic.

"Youko has returned, they cry." My opponent involuntarily shivered at my words. My name has not been forgotten.

Hiei and Koenma, the only ones who already knew who I really was, were busy explaining it to Kuwabara. (Yusuke was absent at the time.) Hiei, my regarded 'best friend', then sent me a message telepathically.

'You are as you should be Kurama.' I couldn't help but smile a little at his words for I, too, believed them to be true.

Unfortunately, my comeback was short lived for as soon as the fight ended, I was once again Suichi Minamino, Shiori Minamino's son. How I longed to be myself once again, to be rid of these annoying human emotions. My chance came sooner than expected.

My team's opponent for the Tournament's final round had a certain member whom just remembering makes my fur stand on end. His name was Karasu. He loved to tease and try to intimidate me; a task which was fairly easy considering his hands could kill a person on contact. In one particular instance, he was standing behind me, his hands dangerously close to my neck. In my human body, I was sweating bullets.

"Your hair is damaged Kurama. Human bodies are so frail," he said in that sneering tone of his. "I know you fear what my touch could do to you, but then again, maybe you also want to know it."

"Get away!" I yelled finally mustering up the courage to swing at him in my human body. He jumped and landed a few feet in front of me.

"Don't worry Kurama. It's just a game. In terms of fighting, I like you best Kurama, and when I like something, I like to take it away. It gives me a certain rush. It's like pondering an unanswerable question, you never reach the result you want and you're left with an empty despair that makes you feel alive. Save your fight for me, okay?" With that, he walked away, his task complete.

In my battle with him, I broke free of Suichi Minamino and fought him demon to demon. Though I killed him, I lost the fight by a technicality. Just managing to stay alive was enough for me, though. He was my toughest opponent to date, and his games of the mind did not help my chances, but I defeated him nonetheless. Then, I once again became the red-haired, green-eyed human Suichi Minamino.

Our team won the Dark Tournament and our opponents, Team Toguro, were finally defeated. We escaped from the so-colorfully-named Hanging Neck Island and returned to our old lives; me to my human mother.

When I returned home, my mother did not ask many questions. Life more or less returned to normal, or at least as normal as mine can get, but only for awhile. Many more demons are trying to plague the Ningenkai now, but Yusuke, Kuwabara, Hiei, and I are prepared. We will protect this world, each for our own reasons.

I sometimes find myself wondering if I will ever return to the Makai, to my life as Youko. Hiei believes I should. His favorite way of telling me this is "You've gone soft Kurama. You have been around these humans for too long, they have rubbed off on you." Perhaps he is right. I have been stained with their weird feelings and emotions, but maybe this is best.

I'm not sure if I could return to being a Makai thief. I know I would still be the best, but without Kuronue there as my partner, it wouldn't be the same. Is that the human in me talking again? It has to be for I would never say it. We demons very rarely show any emotion.

Perhaps I will continue my visit in the Ningenkai until the right time comes. Maybe once I am no longer tied down by the bond shared between my mother and me. When will that day come? I couldn't say. One thing is for sure, whenever it does come, I won't be the same Youko I once was. These humans have tainted me, and I have been changed because of it, but…in a good way.

Makai : demon world

ningens : humans

Reikai : spirit world

Ningenkai : human world