Konnichiwa minna-san! Thornspike here! This is actually the first fanfic that I would be uploading for FFnet (Please be nice =). This is my second attempt to write a multi-chaptered fic. I haven't posted the first one yet. As I'm trying to see if this will work out first. If it does (hopefully), then I'll post it too! Actually, my first attempt should be the prequel of this fic, but since I might post it after I'm done with this, it'll then be just a companion fic... or something. I'm blabbering... anyway, on with the story!
Standard disclaimers apply.
Capitulo Uno: Dangerous Introduction
Otou-san! Will you read me a story?
Could you sleep beside me? This one last night? Since you are going to get married tomorrow, nights like this might not happen anymore...
Don't be foolish kawaii-chan. I'm just adding another member of the family.
I'm not replacing you. Nobody can replace you.
Arigatou otou-san. That means so much to me. Good night.
Purple eyes... blonde hair... purple... eyes... pur – Otou-san!
Ningenkai Present Time
"Gah!" Botan gasped as she woke from her slumber. Rubbing her eyes, as they slowly became accustomed to the light, she slowly became aware of bright bottle green eyes worriedly staring down at her. Startled, she bolted upright, her forehead smacking painfully onto her host's chin. "Ow!"
This will leave a mark in the morning. The redhead winced as he rubbed his chin. "Daijoubu ka, Botan-san?"
Also wincing in pain, the blue-haired deity blinked several times trying to will the soreness of her head. "Wha – where am I?" Then it all dawned to her. The mission, Kurama-san's house, my room ... right how could you forget their hospitality? She reprimanded herself. "Wait, don't answer that, Kurama-san. I'm fine. Demo, what are you doing inside my room?"
"Ah, you see, you fell asleep in the library while researching so I carried you here. You were a little restless..." He let the sentence hang as he felt the tips of his ears burn in embarrassment. Kuso, he cursed and looked away from her, failing to see the flushed expression on the deity's face.
You know, a snide voice in his head remarked, any sane person would realize that you didn't answer her question... AT ALL. Tsk, tsk, what would she say if she knew that you were watching her sleep? That you're memorizing every detail of her face, down to the mole behind her left ear? That you sat there for five hours watching the steady rise and fall of her brea –
Shut up. She won't find out. And who asked your opinion anyway?!
Baka. I am you, you idiot kitsune. I'm your more practical and reasonable part – as in, your conscience. The voice cackled.
You mean my youkai part that's been haunting me since forever. He rolled his eyes. His thoughts becoming more and more irritated as the one man dialogue in his head continues.
And that too.
Meanwhile, the woman that was left behind by this conversation was carefully observing the young man seated on her bed. She watched his face shifted from being pensive to irritate in just a fraction of a second. I hope it's not because of me. She cleared her throat and placed her hand on his arm, "Anou, Kurama-san?"
The startled young man gave an apologetic smile and said, "Gomen ne, Botan-san. I seemed to have spaced out." Then, uncharacteristically, his stomach grumbled, protesting from the lack of food that that it should be digesting. A pregnant pause ensued as they both sweatdropped. He looked at the digital clock situated on the bedside table. It flashed 5:03 AM. He ran a hand through his blood red locks and asked, "Why don't you sleep for a few more minutes while I prepare breakfast? Are you sure you're OK?"
"Hai. It's just a weird dream. No biggie!" she grinned as she settled to sleep once again.
Even at this early, she can be perky. Kurama smiled as he stood up and adjusted her sheets. As he tucked her in, he stole a glance at the deity's face. His stolen glance turned to a stare as he marvelled at the serenity the scene had presented him. The moon casted its rays on her face, like it shines solely for her. The pale moonlight illuminated a beauty so exotic, so alluring, so enigmatic... So beautiful, like the moon princess in the legends, he smiled. Involuntarily, he drew himself close to her and as he did so, he saw the slight darkening of the skin on her forehead and frowned. I'll have to heal that later. Goodnight, my Tsukiyomi no hime. He gently placed his lips on the offending spot and silently walked out of the room, leaving a rose scented trail behind him.
As he closed her door, a familiar sneering voice wormed its way through his thoughts. You just couldn't resist, could you?
Shut up. He turned and proceeded to walk downstairs to the kitchen. But after a few steps, he leaned on a nearby wall. He slowly brought his fingers to his face, touched his lips and smirked. He could still smell lingering scent that's uniquely hers – lavender and vanilla.
At the same time, in the other room, a deity could be seen tracing a finger on her forehead. She didn't wince – she blushed.
Two Days Ago Reikai Palace, Reikai
Koenma sat on his purple high chair and sucked his pacifier impatiently. He was still missing two Reikai Tantei and a ferry girl. "Jorju! Where are they?! They are supposed to be here ten minutes ago!" the toddler screamed at what seemed to be a blue ogre donned in a leopard skin loincloth.
Panicking, the ogre fired a series of possible explanations, hoping to satiate the midget's impatience. When the godling is in one of his moods and you're the unlucky employee on his path, it could only mean one thing – overtime without pay for one month.
"What do you mean caught in traffic?! Traffic can't occur in between worlds! I swear, if you have something to do with this I'll – "
"What he means Koenma-sama is that maybe Keiko-san held them up a little. You know that she can be a little exaggerated when it comes to missions and this time, it might be a little worse since she's in her second trimester." The kitsune's logical explanation cut through the godling's unreasonable tirade.
Beside him, a short, black-haired fire demon scoffed. "That harpy has become more annoying than that airhead ferry girl."
"Hiei, it would be proper to address them in their proper names. And you can't blame Keiko-san, the hormones are affecting her emotions." Kurama reprimanded the fire demon.
Hiei replied by crossing his arms and uttering a short and irritated "Hn."
It was no secret from the room's occupants that the heir of Raizen finally tied the knot with his childhood friend, Yukimura Keiko, one month after the Makai Tournament. The wedding itself was small and simple and only close family and friends were invited. In other words, majority of the guests were the ones that they met and befriended in the tournaments. And just two months after the wedding, Keiko became pregnant with their first child. To say that Urameshi patriarch was ecstatic would be an understatement.
Suddenly, the oak doors of Koenma's office were kicked open and the trio in question walked inside.
"I see you left your manners at home as usual, Yusuke." Koenma commented with a large vein throbbing on the side of his head.
"Cut the bullshit Koenma! What do you want?!" the man in question, still donned in light blue pyjamas, demanded as if trying to shake some sleepiness away.
"You've got some nerve! I've been waiting here for fifteen-freakin'-minutes!" the godling screamed.
"Like it was my fault?!" his voice now levelling with the toddler's. "Keiko's being a pain in the – OW!" Yusuke didn't get to finish his last statement as a wooden oar came in contact with his head painfully.
"Yusuke! Don't go badmouthing your wife! You're already married for crying out loud!" a blue-haired girl – no – woman clothed in a pink kimono reprimanded.
"Now, now, Botan-chan, don't be hard on Yusuke. All husbands would act like him after they leave their pregnant wives in the middle of the night." A tall, orange-haired individual came to his best friend's side.
"With all due respect Kazuma-san, demo I don't see your point at all," a confused Botan asked.
"You see," Kuwabara Kazuma signalled her to come closer as he whispered the following statement in a suspicious way. "He left Keiko screaming something like 'I don't want my child to be a fatherless bastard!'"
"So that explains the crankiness." Botan finally nodded in realization.
"Are you done gossiping about my married life? Can we proceed now?" Yusuke's irritated voice cut through their conversation.
"Finally!" Koenma exclaimed. "While you were gossiping like a bunch of housewives, I asked Jorju to send for the last person needed in this mission. Now sit, all of you," he ordered as six chairs materialized in front of the desk, facing him. As the group settled themselves, a large screen appeared behind the toddler. He continued, "Your next assignment would be this group."
Seven blocks were flashed on the screen in front of them. The three of the four bottommost blocks contain mug shots of three individuals. One looked like an ogre with red skin with three long horns protruding on his head. One of his eyes glowed a vicious shade of yellow while the other looked like it was stitched poorly by some untrained doctor. Next to it flashed a picture of a skinny teenaged boy with a very unkempt black hair. The bags under his eyes were very prominent making his pale black irises stood out like a sore thumb. The last picture showed beautiful woman in her mid-twenties showing a provocative amount of cleavage. Her curled blond hair flowed way past her shoulders. A notable mark on the middle of her chest, just above her breast, can also be seen. To anyone observing, it looked like a circle encasing a small star in it. The four remaining blocks showed only silhouettes of people.
"At present, the Reikai Special Task Group have identified the group and three of its seven members. They came to our attention one week ago where we believe they had their second move. They call themselves the 'Kuroiyuki'."
"What kind of name is that? Pathetic," Yusuke's sneering voice interrupted the toddler.
Koenma shot him a withering look and continued, "The ogre at the bottom has been identified as the mercenary 'Hidan'. He is a Class A youkai that's been wanted in both Makai and Reikai for quite some time for the crimes of theft, homicide and mass murder."
"'The Death Eater'."
All heads turned to the small fire demon at the leftmost chair. Hiei glared at them, "What? I saw his file in Mukuro's office a week ago. Even you wouldn't forget him if you've read how he eats his victims." He said in a disgusted tone.
Kuwabara's eyebrow arched and said, "And pray tell, how does that thing eat?"
Something flashed in Hiei's eyes. For a moment, his eyes looked like the ones he had when he was battling Yusuke for the first time. "You really want to know?"
Hiei crossed his arms and legs and smirked, "For a mercenary, he knows how to eat in style. He opens up his victims, drinks their blood and eats their insides while they are still alive." Unbeknownst to them, the red-haired kitsune beside him clenched his hands tightly while he was talking.
"What is so unusual about that, Hiei?" Botan asked.
"He means, Botan-san, that his victims are actually seeing themselves being eaten by him." Kurama stoically clarified.
Botan's features paled.
"Did I mention that he sometimes force his victims to eat their own parts just for the sake of entertainment?" Hiei added.
Kuwabara clamped his hands on his mouth and forced his surfacing bile down his stomach. I should have kept my big mouth shut. Meanwhile, beside him, Yusuke's face is green all over.
You're seething, kitsune. A voice interrupted Kurama's train of thoughts.
Nobody deserves to die like that, Hiei.
Like you would know any better, the kitsune replied.
A short Hn was the last thing he heard before the mental link closed.
"Well, since Hiei is quite familiar with the first one, let's continue." Koenma said as the picture of the teenaged boy was enlarged on the screen. "This is Kabano Shouta, 18 years old. He is a ningen with no prior criminal record, no youkai blood and has a diminutive reiki reserve but have great control over it. I'll be frank, we have been eying him for some time now in our tantei scouting. And I must say, when it comes to reiki control, he's the best that we could have had, even better that you, Yusuke."
Yusuke's face seemed indifferent, but Kuwabara knew better. He knew that beneath the cold exterior, his best friend's interest is now peaked. When it comes to opponents besting him, he's all ears. "Wow. Seems to me that he's quite a catch. So what's stopping you from hiring him?" Yusuke's voice is dripping in sarcasm.
"When would you stop talking and start using your brain, Yusuke?! Why would I show you his picture unless he's now a wanted criminal?!" Koenma screamed. Relax, breathe... breathe... breathe damn it! Once the toddler has relaxed a little he continued, "Our STG have recently handed their reports. They confirmed that Kabano is the person behind the codename 'The Devourer of Light'. While he lives and acts as a normal person, he can absorb a person's ki and manipulate it as his own. He can absorb your ki until you can no longer generate it... forever. The STG also believed that he is the one responsible for the Todai Incident last fall." The toddler's topaz eyes purposely sought two pairs of eyes from his tanteis for some recognition. He was not disappointed.
Kuwabara made a strangled gasp. As he remembered what happened five months ago. He looked at Kurama and saw the worried look that marred the handsome man's face directed to the woman beside him. The stadium, the game, people falling dead one after another, over a hundred souls being ushered by ferry girls, Botan... The tallest tantei shook his head violently. These kinds of things are hard to forget.
Kurama looked at the ferry girl seated at his right to see how the news would affect her. And sure enough, he was greeted by the deity's tears slowly flowing down her face. He reached for her left hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze before slowly releasing it. Uncannily though, every time the incident surfaced their conversations, all he could remember is her. He had never seen her that affected by death since Genkai passed away during the Ankoku Bujuustukai.
Embarrassed at being caught in a vulnerable state, she hastily wiped her eyes with the sleeves of her right arm, Botan could only smile in return.
"The Todai Incident, according to reports, was the group's first attack. We bypassed this thinking that it was only Kabano's ki gone awry. But when we are about to apprehend him, he vanished. A week after the incident, an artefact was reported stolen at one of the schools vaults during time the incident happened. The STG believed that what happened in the stadium was only distraction.
"The woman in the last picture is Yumeko, a youkai. She specializes in voodoo and spells that can change anything in a human or youkai, including herself, from mental and emotional well being to physical form. She goes by the name of 'The Blonde Temptress' to many youkai," Koenma continued. Above him, the screen zoomed on her chest. As the screen cleared, the image revealed itself to be a snake biting its own tail, forming a circle where it houses a six-pointed star, a hexagram. "The tattoo on her chest is her most distinguishing characteristic since apparently, it's the only part of her body which she can't change. It always appears on the same spot even after her change in physical appearance.
"That, at present is the only information I can give you. The group's main goal is still unclear. We gathered that they are a group of wanted individuals each with powers rivalling that of a B-Class to an S-Class youkai. The STG encountered a minor disturbance before completing their assigned task. Thus, the remaining four still remains a mystery."
"But they could be anyone!" Kuwabara reasoned. "How could I even think of going to school knowing that my professor could be one of those psychos?!"
"That is correct Kuwabara. That is why," the godling continued, "I have given each of you a specific duty to ensure adequate results of this mission. Hiei, you are to go back to Makai. Find out everything you can about this group. Do all the necessary precaution." Koenma added.
The call of blood lust made the koorime smile sadistically.
"Yusuke, you and Kuwabara are to undergo a special training under Genkai." And before the two could retaliate, Koenma continued, "You two should know that brute strength alone cannot help you in this mission. And of all of us here in this room, you two have the weakest control over your ki."
"No way! You mean B here is better than me?!" Yusuke demanded as he jerked a thumb to the deity.
"Stop insulting my capacity, Yusuke! Or I'll put a permanent dent on your head!" Botan threatened.
"Moving on, Kurama, I need you to research on decrypting a scrawl that one of the STG left. You will work side by side with our Ningenkai Resident INTEL Official. Botan will also help you." Koenma informed both of them.
The kitsune merely nodded.
"And Botan?" Koenma added.
"Hai, Koenma-sama?" she replied.
"You need to pack your things. You are to stay in Ningenkai for the duration of the mission."
"Eh? Demo Koenma-sama, why should I stay there when we're going to do the research work here?"
"Your research will take place at the Official's manor. His library consists of all the duplicate copies of books found in the Royal Library as well as the detailed histories of Makai and Ningenkai, something that we didn't bother to have. Any more questions?" Koenma asked through clenched teeth. He hated when people questioned his decisions.
Botan sweatdropped, "N-no, Koenma-sama."
"Very well... I want each and every one of you not – I repeat – NOT to go looking for them. Training and information are all we need right now, not casualties. Should you happen to see one of them in the vicinity, hide your ki, alert your teammates and observe. Failure to do so would result to disaster, or worse, death." Koenma warned them before adding, "Any questions?"
Silence was heard throughout the office before the kitsune voiced his inquery. "You said earlier that this group was not under strict surveillance until their second attack. What exactly happened seven days ago?"
"Yomi's fortress was attacked." The fire demon interrupted before the godling can answer.
Kurama's hands were clenched again for the second time. And this time, they drew blood."Nani?!" Yusuke shouted in disbelief.
"Hiei's correct, Yusuke. It was attacked while he was training in the mountains. Damage reports say that nearly half of the fortress was obliterated. The casualties were a little over a hundred and Shura's heavily injured. The reports with the Todai Incident drew pattern. Same residual energy left by the liable and similar pattern of death – loss of reiki among others."
"And by saying 'among others', you mean..." Kuwabara squirmed.
"Hacked body parts, mostly eaten along with several internal organs." Koenma stoically replied.
"How could you say that with a straight face?!" Yusuke complained.
"Yusuke, when you've dealt with death for more than ten thousand years, these would really seem normal to you. Now, any more questions?" he asked. When he was greeted with shaking heads, he shouted at the INTERCOM. "Jorju! Where is he?"
"H-he's here Konma-sama." The panicking ogre replied.
"Well? What are you waiting for? Send him in!" The toddler demanded.
The oak doors of Koenma's office opened and a middle aged man dressed in a black Armani business suit walked inside. He loosened his deep red tie and combed a hand through his frequently unruly short brown hair now flecked with graying strands here and there.
"You're late!" Koenma pointed.
"I'm sorry for the tardiness, Koenma-sama. There was a snowstorm in London and the plane got delayed..." the man explained.
A smirk was evident on the child's face. "Then again, punctuality is not one of your best assets." The man only smiled at Koenma's jibe.
Bottle green eyes widened at shock and confusion. He turned his head to the newcomer. "Otou-san?!"
"H-Hatanaka-san?!" the others, sans one koorime, exclaimed.
Hatanaka Soujirou, 42 years old, ningen, stepfather to Minamino Shuuichi aka Kurama, wearing nothing but a(n expensive) suit and a smile stood in front of them. "Oh, hello boys," he greeted then added, "And girl." Botan politely bowed at the acknowledgement. "I trust Koenma-sama already told you guys about the mission?" he inquired.
Yusuke and Kuwabara dumbly nodded their heads as the shock hasn't settled in. Kurama on the other hand, is a different story. "But you're – why – whe –" he stammered as all logical words fail to formulate in his head.
Koenma cleared his throat and said, "Everyone, I'd like you all to meet Hatanaka Soujirou, our Ningenkai Resident INTEL Official."
Wow, it's more than half a year since I last updated. And I'm so sorry for the long delay. I've been having second thoughts on the story's plot, but I think I've straightened it out. I've finished two more chapters and I plan to upload it sometime next week. Please bear with me...(-_-)