Category: Anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball Z, Yaoi, TWT (timeline-what-timeline), partial AU
Warnings: shonen ai, very slight violence, possible humor
Pairings: Kurama+Hiei/Hiei+Kurama, Mirai Gohan+Trunks/Trunks+Gohan, will be KuramaxHiei, GohanxTrunks
Twist of Fate
He didn't sense anything that would have warned him, but then that made sense. Plants usually didn't give off any sort of youki. And his shock at having
vines wrap around his waist and legs only lasted about ten seconds before he stilled. The scowl he directed at the strong plants could have withered
them. But if he'd wanted to do that, he'd have raised his own youki. "Where are you?" he muttered, red eyes narrowing as he folded his arms over his
chest. Sure enough, bushes parted to give way to a frowning redhead and his lips turned downward even more. "Nice greeting."
"You're late," Kurama said sharply, ignoring Hiei's disapproving gaze. As if the youkai's anger were real, he knew better. If anyone had the right to be
angry, it was him. "Three days ago, Hiei, I've been waiting three days."
"I said *about* a month," Hiei reminded him, leaning back against the vines that were still supporting his waist. "You should not count days."
"So about a month means give or take a week?" A black eyebrow rose at his tone and Kurama folded his own arms, mimicking Hiei's position as he moved
closer to the small demon. "How was I supposed to know you hadn't gone off and gotten yourself killed? It's not like I have someone to report to me from
the Makai, Hiei."
"You weren't worried about that." Smirking when Kurama's expression went blank, Hiei tilted his head to the side, glancing up at the tall youth. "More likely
"What am I supposed to think?" Kurama glared, leaning down so his face was mere inches from the black-haired male's. "I *know* you two have a bond or
something, but *I'm* the lover, here. I just don't see why you have to spend more time with her than with me."
"You live in the Ningenkai," Hiei reminded him, still smirking. It was an old argument, and he rather enjoyed how jealous the youko-turned-human got about
him. It was flattering. "You're lucky I visit you at all."
"Oh is that right? You know, I don't *have* to come chasing after you every time you're late like this." Red eyes blinked and Kurama nodded sharply. "I
know you keep leaving me waiting so I'll get impatient and come here after you. You're not fooling anyone."
"Ch'. Believe what you like." Dropping his eyes, Hiei jumped out of the vines gripping him, landing lightly a few feet away. "No one made you come here. I
"Liar." His small lover smirked at his distasteful expression and Kurama sighed, grabbing a fist of Hiei's cloak to pull him close. "You know I can't stay
away. You *do* do it on purpose."
"Am I to blame for your control problem? You're the one who kept the youko buried for so many years." Long black lashes nearly hid his eyes as he
smirked at Kurama, enjoying the warning glare.
"I told you already, I didn't know *how* to shift forms." Lazy red eyes watched him and Kurama shook his head suddenly. "I didn't come here to have this
discussion again. I'm going back home, and I'm taking you with me."
Hiei glanced down, his gaze sliding over the pale hand holding his cloak before rising to Kurama's neck. "Why? We can do it here as well as there. No
reason to make the trip for such a short stay."
"Short?!" Eyes widening, Kurama growled, giving the short youkai a shake. "You promised to stay for a week! Don't act like you don't remember, I'm not
in the mood for games."
"You're always in the mood for games," Hiei shot back, not losing his lazy expression. "And I remember my words. I said when I visited you again, I would
stay for a week. But you're visiting me." Those green eyes stared at him for a second before he was released and he let out a sharp, quick laugh. "You
"You conniving little koorime." The laugh stopped at the name and Kurama took perverse satisfaction out of his low blow. While his mother might have
been an ice maiden, Hiei was anything but an ice demon. Still, the irritating fellow deserved it. "That's it. I warned you the last time, Hiei, that I wasn't
going to come after you anymore. Well, I did, but this is the last straw." Red eyes frowned at the phrase and Kurama paused to explain. "This is the last
little thing I'm going to take from you. Our relationship is a two-party thing."
Kurama glared when Hiei raised an eyebrow at him and he turned his back abruptly, raising his head and shaking thick red hair over his shoulders. "I'm
leaving, now. If you decide to keep your word and visit, you're welcome. If not, you know where I'll be."
"What are you playing, now?" Hiei asked, his low voice mocking as he made no move to follow the angry teen. He'd known Kurama too long to believe he'd
actually leave without dragging him back with him. But the redhead's human side *did* cause him to have mood swings at times, so he felt a twinge of
uncertainty when the male continued to walk away from him. Glaring, he folded his arms, determined not to give in to the ridiculous urge he had to chase
after Kurama and demand an explanation. He didn't move from his spot, but he watched as that bright red hair grew dim in the distance, green plants
separating them. Then a startled cry hit his ears and he *did* move, darting after Kurama.
It took two seconds for Hiei to reach the spot where he'd last seen the male and he crouched, eyes wide as he looked down from the limb he'd landed on.
The grass beneath him gave way to a dark shadow and he stared for nearly a minute before raising an eyebrow. "You fell into a hole?" His lips twitched,
but he hopped down, crouching again to look into the darkness. Silence met him and he frowned, wondering if this weren't part of Kurama's game. He
wouldn't put anything past a disgruntled youko. "Do you expect me to come down there after you?" The darkness was too thick for him to see and he
tensed suddenly, jerking the band off his forehead. He sensed nothing from that hole and his lips curved back, baring small sharp teeth. "Kurama?!
Kisama...baka!" Gripping the white cloth in one hand, he sneered a bit more before jumping into the hole.
* * *
If he hadn't fallen into the hole, Kurama might have landed on his feet, or at least had time to slow his fall. As it was, he could only be vaguely grateful that
the building he landed on was a tall one. If only it wasn't so hard. Dazed, he lay still, eyes taking in the pale sky above him as he smelled the familiar scent
of a city. The Ningenkai? But there was no reason for a portal to be in the middle of the forest, and he knew the hole hadn't been there when he'd first
come to find Hiei. He would have noticed it. His head pounded for a moment before he sighed and pushed himself up, shaking off the pain. It would hurt
later, but he ignored it as best he could, blinking as he stumbled to the edge of the roof. The city below was not one he recognized, and he was frowning
in confusion when the foundation rocked suddenly.
Eyes wide, Kurama wheeled as the cement beneath him shook, his arms going out to keep his balance. Long red hair whipped in his face and he groaned
when the roof caved in suddenly, his eyes closing in more irritation at his own stupidity than fear of injury. In the back of his mind, he heard explosions,
sensed the power behind them, and wondered if Hiei would notice he'd fallen through a warp. Then he was falling and he didn't bother to think anymore.
Being buried alive was more than most humans could handle, but Kurama was just glad he'd managed to grow the plant-shield quickly enough to keep
from being crushed. How to get out was another problem. Using another seed from his thick hair, he braced the tons of building material above him as he
crawled out of the wreckage. It wasn't until he made it to open air that he let himself fall on his stomach, a soft sigh passing his lips. He hadn't had such a
close call since the tournament in the Makai.
His eyes were closed and he was still taking deep breaths when he heard something land near him. Blinking, he pushed himself up, not sure what to think
when a young boy stared at him as if he were a ghost...or a demon. The irony was not lost on him. And he had just made his way out of a building that
had to have been at least ten stories high. Thinking of that, his head jerked to the side, eyes flying back to the rubble. "Oh, no...the people..."
"You're alive," the boy said quickly, pale blue eyes wide as he crouched beside the injured person. It looked like a girl to him, with those brilliant green
eyes and that long red hair, and he was simply amazed that she looked to be fine. Aside from a small trail of blood on her cheek, he couldn't see any
horrible wounds. "No one ever survives one of their attacks..." Green eyes flicked to him and he winced, knowing he hadn't helped. "I'm sorry."
"Attack?" The boy blinked at him, but Kurama shook his head, turning a bit as he sat up. He hadn't really looked at anything but the demolished building,
but his blood froze as he saw the destruction around them. There was a body not five feet away, hanging out of a burning car. The lifeless slant was
enough to make him drop his eyes, glaring at the ground. A moment passed before he turned his frown on the worried boy, eyes glancing over the pale
lavender hair. "What happened here?"
"You don't remember?" Eyes widening, Trunks hesitated for a minute before offering the teen a hand up. From the flat chest he could see beneath the
white shirt, he doubted if it were a girl, but it didn't really matter. The person was a survivor, that was close enough to a miracle for him to be out of sorts.
A pale hand closed around his, but no weight was put on him as the redhead stood, shaking his hand firmly.
"I'm afraid I don't," Kurama said quickly, flashing a slight smile. He didn't know where they were, but they were definitely in the Ningenkai. That was enough
to make him hide his origin. It wouldn't do to let humans know he'd fallen through a hole in the Makai. No, that was a bad idea. "I'm Minamino Shuuichi."
The boy seemed unsure of himself, making Kurama wonder if he didn't sense something odd about him.
"Trunks Brief," the boy said quickly, glancing at the teen's red hair as he caught a glint of green in it. It was a leaf and he plucked it before he even
thought about what he was doing, a quick blush tinting his cheeks when the redhead raised an eyebrow at him.
"I wonder how that got there," Kurama said, his expression innocent. The boy dropped it quickly and he lifted a hand, rubbing at his neck as he made sure
none of his seeds were visible. He hadn't exactly hidden his plants during his excavation.
"You're hurt," Trunks said suddenly, frowning at himself. He was acting like an idiot. The androids could come back, might not have even gone too far,
and yet he was just standing there with the only survivor of the massacre. "Come, I'll fly us out of here." The teen stared at him and he shook his head.
"Don't worry, I'm not like the androids. They aren't the only ones who can fly."
There was something pressing on his mind and Kurama listened suddenly, his eyes widening. "You aren't a ningen."
The boy looked confused and Kurama took a step closer, barely resisting the urge to shift to youko form. If he did, he'd be able to sense that odd energy
better. It definitely had reiki in it, proof that the boy was at least *part* human, but most of it was something he couldn't define. Not youki, but a definite
spirit or power of some kind. "What are you?"
Opening his mouth, Trunks stood still, not sure what to say. Then his eyes flicked upward, a relieved sigh passing his lips as he caught sight of a familiar
Gohan landed next to the boy, green eyes moving from Trunks to the tall red-haired male as he raised an eyebrow. "Trunks? Is this a survivor?"
"Yes! I was going to take him out of here, in case they came back." The blonde-haired super-saiyajin nodded sharply and Trunks glanced at Shuuichi,
wondering if he were going to forget his question. From the way the teen was staring at Gohan, he doubted it. But they weren't sworn to secrecy, or
anything, not as far as he knew.
Turning to the redhead, Gohan offered an arm, nodding sharply. "Come, it's not safe to stay here. We'll take you to friends of ours. Unless you have
family somewhere?" He didn't glance around, hoping the male wouldn't break down if he'd lost his relatives in the attack.
"You aren't human, either," Kurama murmured, shaking his head. The tall newcomer frowned at him and he shook his head quickly. "I'll go with you. I
want to know where this is. I've never met people like you before."
"There aren't any people like us left," Trunks said softly, looking away when Gohan gave him a quick glance. His tall friend pulled the redhead against him
and he followed him into the sky, his gaze touching on the various scenes of carnage beneath them. It would have torn him apart if he hadn't found
Shuuichi. To think, that one person had managed to survive. That was just enough to give him a bit of hope. The androids hadn't killed *everybody*, they
* * *
Hiei landed on a pile of rubble the size of a small mountain, glaring red eyes outshone by the bright blue one in the center of his forehead. He didn't pause
to look at the remains of the building, his gaze snapping to dim but glowing figures flying off into the distance. Humans, both of them, but with reiki strong
enough to make Kuwabara look like a child. Not that the orange-haired ningen was strong, but he wasn't weak either. And the two departing ningens were
blowing things up as they flew away. He didn't know what to think of the hole, or the fact that he'd obviously just jumped into the Ningenkai after promising
himself he wouldn't come back, but he didn't doubt those two knew more than he did. Humans with power that strong were probably in Sensui's class. He
was the only other ningen Hiei had ever seen fly. There was no sign of Kurama, but his fury was locked on the two figures, accusing them of the redhead's
disappearance. Without a second thought, he bounded after them, speed blurring his motions as he leapt over and onto heaps of rubble, closing the
distance between him and his prey.
* * *
"You know," Eighteen murmured, flying next to her brother, "we're going to have to find a way to draw that out more. There are only so many humans on
this little planet for us to kill. And you know I don't like destroying department stores." The black-haired android glanced at her and she frowned at his
"You and you're obsession with clothing," Seventeen muttered. "But you're right about the humans. Not that I don't enjoy blowing the cities up. But I was
hoping Gohan would show."
"He's so much fun," Eighteen agreed, a smile curving her pale lips. "I thought he'd come, but we might not have given him enough time. It's not like he
knows where we're going to attack."
"He managed to show up before," the male reminded her. "He's persistent."
"What do you expect from a saiyajin? The other fighters were like that, too." Pale blue eyes narrowing, the blonde girl gave him a quick look. "You keep
letting Gohan live, but you killed them quickly enough. You don't have a *thing* for him, do you?" The black-haired android halted suddenly, hovering in
the air and she laughed, pausing so she could turn and face him. "You do!"
"No! I just know better than to kill the last resistance this pathetic planet has against us," Seventeen glared. "Without him, there's nothing to do. We'd
blow the place to bits and then sit on our asses for eternity. At least with him we can beat the shit out of him and know he'll come back for more the next
"You're so sweet on him," Eighteen laughed, pointing a finger when the boy looked ready to attack her. "Who do you think you're kidding? The only time
you let me fight him is when he's kicking your ass."
"That saiyajin?! He's *never* come close to beating me." The female was enjoying his denials and he blanked his expression suddenly, dark-rimmed eyes
narrowing. "It sounds like you're jealous that he fights with me and not you. Why is that?" The girl blinked and he smirked when her cheeks turned red.
"I wouldn't go for that ugly saiyajin even if he were the last living being on this planet!" Her brother laughed at her and her hands curled into fists. "You're
just putting your own feelings on me."
"We don't have feelings," Seventeen reminded her, smirking when she blinked. "Come on, let's go back to the lab. Unless you want to fight over your
precious saiyajin some more." Eighteen gave him a dirty look and he shook his head, silky black hair brushing his cheeks. "You're the one who started
it." He expected a harsh rejoinder to his taunt and he frowned when he saw that her eyes were on the ground beneath them.
"What's that?" Eighteen asked, her voice making it sound as if she'd spotted a bug on her shirt.
Blinking, Seventeen looked down, smirking when he caught sight of a slight figure standing on the cliff below, black head tilted back as he looked up at
them. "Some kid. Want to kill him?"
"Why not," Eighteen shrugged carelessly. "What's one more?" Pointing a finger at the black-robed figure, she blinked bored eyes before firing a blast that
showered them with bits of rock, the cliff blown apart. The dark figure disappeared into the dust and she was turning to fly onward when she halted
suddenly, disbelief widening her eyes as she saw the youth land on a mountain near to the one she'd struck.
"Oh," Seventeen murmured, eyes sparking as he made out a glaring red gaze. "I think he wants to play with us. Let's humor him."
"Who is he?" Eighteen frowned, irritated since she didn't know how the boy had managed to get away quickly enough to avoid her blast. If he'd flown, he
must have done it too low for her to see.
"Doesn't matter," the black-haired android shrugged. "Let's play."
* * *
Trunks stopped suddenly when light exploded in the distance behind them, his eyes widening. "There aren't any towns there," he said quickly, his eyes
going to Gohan. "What are they doing?" The red-haired teen's head jerked suddenly and he blinked when his friend and master gave a surprised sound.
"Hey!" Gohan said, frowning at the struggling human. "I almost dropped you."
"Hiei! Let go." They weren't that high in the air and Kurama twisted against the strong arm wrapped around his waist. The blonde man only tightened the
grip and he glared at him suddenly, green eyes narrowing. "It's Hiei!"
"Someone you know is over there?" Matching the glare, Gohan turned his gaze on Trunks. "I'll go, take him back to your mother's."
Trunks flinched when the youth fell suddenly, dazed eyes going to Gohan's shocked expression and he barely had time to dive downward before the
human landed in an easy crouch. "Shuuichi! It's too dangerous for you to go near the androids." The youth paid no attention, running back toward the
demolished city and Trunks paused when a hand fell on his shoulder.
"Take care of him," Gohan nodded, his expression still dark. "I'll see if I can save his friend."
"Right." His master flew past in a surge of speed and Trunks landed in the path of the running human, holding his arms out. Kurama ground to a halt and
he gave him a sympathetic and pleading look. "I know you must be worried, but if anyone can protect your friend from the androids, it's Gohan-san."
Kurama shot an angry glare at the light that marked the retreating figure, knowing to fly would have been much faster. The boy in front of him seemed
confident that whatever Hiei was up against would kill him, but Kurama knew better. The androids Trunks kept mentioning must be the ones who'd
destroyed the city, but they were quite possibly also the ones who'd caused the rip into the Makai. If Hiei were here, then he was challenging them. There
was no way Kurama was going to wait to hear the results. "Either fly me there, or move," Kurama said softly, his voice holding only a hint of the coldness
he felt. "I don't have time to argue with you." Those blue eyes widened and he almost felt sorry, the boy was young, even if he wasn't human.
"If you went," Trunks said slowly, hardening his voice, "you'd just get yourself killed as well. That won't help your friend. You can trust Gohan-san."
"I trust myself more," Kurama said sharply. Things were different now, he realized. The boy wasn't human, at least not only human, so he didn't have to
hide his identity. And since he didn't recognize the place, he doubted if anyone would recognize him. His hand rose to his hair, plucking a seed and hiding
it in his curled fingers. "If you want to continue arguing with me, follow." The boy frowned, but he dodged past him, running again. If only he had Hiei's
speed, he'd be there in no time. He felt a surge of odd power when Trunks leapt after him, but he didn't slow, shifting forms to increase his own speed. A
quick smirk curved his lips when he felt that power come to a sudden stop and he ran faster, leaving him behind.
He'd meant to catch Shuuichi and hold him forcibly if necessary. But the sight of that long red hair suddenly bleeding to silvery white made him jerk to a
halt, his eyes wide. The boy's clothing was still white, but it seemed lighter, the robe longer but not hiding the silvery tail that trailed down to the back of his
knees. "What on earth...?" The male was moving faster than he'd thought possible and he thrust himself into action, a surge of power allowing him to
catch up until he was flying low alongside the runner. "What are you?!"
"You wouldn't tell me," Kurama hissed, not slowing at all. His amber eyes were angry slits and he turned them on the flying boy. "Fly me there!" He was
fully prepared to make the boy, but he hoped it wouldn't be necessary, his hand clenched lightly around the fox grass seed.
This time, Trunks didn't hesitate, nodding sharply. He almost fell when the light-haired youth leapt onto his back, and his cheeks turned red despite
himself. But Shuuichi seemed easy enough when he glanced back at him. "Gohan-san will kill me for this, Shuuichi."
"Kurama," the youko said lightly, crouching on the boy's back, "And I won't let him. You have my word."
The confidence made him smirk, but Trunks doubted the strange being had any idea how strong Gohan was. "What are you? I'm half saiyajin," he said
quickly, remembering the soft accusation.
"I'm a youko," Kurama said, squinting his eyes against the fine silvery hair that flew against his face. "From the Makai originally. I've never heard of a
saiyajin. You don't have any youki."
"Ki? Of course I do!" Glaring over his shoulder, Trunks nearly flew into a pile of rocks, lifting quickly. "I may not be a super-saiyajin, but I'm still stronger
than any human alive." A pale eyebrow was raised at him and he frowned. "What's the Makai?"
"Fly faster." The boy did, the reiki thickening around him until Kurama's white pants were blurred by the color. Whatever mixture of power the boy had, his
human energy wasn't lacking at all. "It's the demon world. I'm a youkai, reborn in ningen form." Confusion ran rampant over the boy's expression, but
Kurama shook his head, crouching lower to eliminate any wind resistance. "I'll explain after I find Hiei. He must have followed me..."
"This friend," Trunks said, rising a bit more so he could look back at his passenger without risking a head-on collision, "Is he like you?"
"Youkai, yes," Kurama said, glancing over the boy's head as he felt something. It hadn't registered before since his powers were lower in human form, but
he could feel a definite surge of reiki along with Hiei's familiar youki. Whatever the androids Trunks had spoken of were, they were also human. And
strong. "Can you go any faster?"
Trunks glared at the ground beneath him, not responding. If he'd been like Gohan, he'd just have turned super-saiyajin for more speed. But he didn't
have that level of power, not yet. Instead, he clenched his teeth, increasing what power he did have until it burned around him. In a rare bit of perversity,
he hoped the stranger found it difficult to hold on amid the heat. Kurama didn't seem to realize how much trouble he was going to be in when Gohan found
out he'd followed. That worried him almost as much as the thought of facing the androids.
* * *
Hiei glared when the two ningens landed a few feet in front of him. They were much smaller than he'd expected from their energy levels, but it didn't
matter. He was angry enough not to care about the law against killing humans. "Reikai tante?" he growled, hands curling into fists. It would make sense.
After all, the strongest humans were gathered to work for the Reikai, and the spirit world still had warrants out for Yusuke's arrest. It wouldn't surprise him
if that included Kurama and himself as well.
"What?" Frowning at the little youth, Eighteen gave a doubtful look to her brother. "What's he babbling?" The male shrugged, smiling at her and she
looked back at the black-clothed boy, taking in his dark hair. "He reminds me of someone..."
"One of those saiyajins we killed," Seventeen nodded, smiling wider when she let out a sharp laugh. "But he's nearly as small as the bald fighter was."
Red eyes snapped to him and he folded his arms. "So, are you another saiyajin?"
"Where's Kurama?" The black-haired teen raised an eyebrow at him and Hiei's right hand curled, longing to lift the band off his forehead. He'd replaced it
after his landing earlier, once he'd found himself in the Ningenkai, but he had an incredible urge to simply destroy both of the mocking ningens. "You tell
me, or I make you tell me."
"He's got spunk for a little kid," Eighteen smirked. She could tell from the male's low voice that he probably wasn't as young as he looked, but that just
made it better to insult him. "What's the matter? Did we kill someone you know in that city, back there?" Red eyes widened suddenly and she laughed,
pointing a finger at the blank expression. "Oh, I think we did!"
"Kisama..." It took nearly a minute before he recovered from his shock and Hiei snorted, shaking his head. "You couldn't kill him. How did you open the
portal?" Again, they gave no response to his question and Hiei growled, teeth clenched as he jerked the band off his jagan. The third eye opened with a
spark of dark youki and he read them. Then he relaxed with a confident smirk. He should have done that to begin with. Kurama *was* nearby, but he was
on his way to their location. If he'd wanted to, he could have pointed the exact direction the fox would come from. The only thing that surprised him was
the speed with which the youko was moving. But that could wait. He still wanted to know how the two ningen's had managed to find them in the Makai, and
why they'd caused a rift into this world. And he wanted to wipe the smirks off their faces, too, but that would come in time.
"What are you?" Seventeen asked, his smile widening as he bent forward to look down at the short boy. "A mix of them? You even have three eyes." He
shared a smirk with Eighteen before meeting glaring red eyes again. "If you had green skin, I'd believe you were." That hateful gaze dropped for a second
and he was actually surprised to see the startled way the boy blinked at him.
It took another minute, but Hiei shoved off his surprise that the male knew about his other form. He rarely used it, but he *had* taken the form in his first
fight against Yusuke. It made sense that a reikai tante would know about it. Still, he wondered what the boy was talking about, the mix, the others. He
didn't understand any of it, and the male had yet to address any of his questions. "Answer or I kill you now."
"You're confident," Seventeen commented, raising an eyebrow at the boy.
"Are you going to fight him, or not?" Eighteen asked, frowning at her brother when he blinked and looked at her in surprise. "If you aren't, then stand
"Oh, do you want this one?" The girl smiled suddenly and Seventeen gave her an uncertain expression. "What?"
"He's kind of cute," Eighteen grinned, sly eyes turning back to the short male who was currently glaring darker at her. "I want to kill him."
With a quick laugh, Seventeen stepped back, floating over the drop as he reached the edge of the cliff. "Go ahead. You already missed him once,
though." Folding his arms, he watched as she stepped toward the boy, noting that Hiei gave no move, still glaring with all three eyes. "Make it good, if I'm
going to be a spectator."
"Count on it," Eighteen purred, her eyes sweeping over the black-haired boy. He was wearing a long cloak that looked enough like a dress for her to smirk
at him. As slender and short as he was, she'd be hard pressed to draw the fight out, but at least he was glaring as if he didn't know he'd die in a few
seconds. Lunging forward suddenly, she punched him, her eyes widening when her fist barely brushed a bit of cloth before she wheeled to find the boy
standing behind her, still giving that droll glare.
"Is that it?" Hiei asked, his low voice mocking. "Don't think I am easy on females. I'm not Yusuke." The girl glared and he sidestepped her again, a tiny
glimmer of a nod given to the strength behind her blow. If it had landed, he'd have been thrown back for yards. "You want to die?"
"You're asking for it," Eighteen growled, standing for a moment as her fists clenched. Then she launched forward again, faster this time, throwing multiple
blows at the small figure. And they met, striking solid muscle as the boy blocked her, matching her speed as if he were a saiyajin. Pushing him back, she
finally broke through the defense, landing a hard punch on the side of his face. Rather than following, she smirked, watching as he skidded back and
nearly went off the edge of the cliff.
Hiei wavered for a split second, crouching on the edge of the rock. He gave her credit, she was strong. He should have used his sword to slice her into
pieces long before now, but he knew that if he killed a human, Kurama would never let him hear the end of it. They had enough problems with the Reikai
without adding that crime. Straightening, he touched his thumb to the edge of his mouth, brushing his lips and dropping his eyes to the spot of blood. He
caught the female's eyes as his tongue swept up the small red mark, then he disappeared.
Rearing back, Eighteen glared as something bright glinted past her cheek, fast enough that the sword was blurred. She didn't know where he'd gotten it
from, he moved too fast for even her to follow and she hadn't been watching for a weapon. The little fighter pressed on her until she lifted from the ground,
a dark gaze snapping to her brother as the android suddenly flew at her opponent. The black-haired boy was knocked back and she cursed, glaring at
Seventeen when the boy fell off the cliff. "You said he was mine!"
"Get over it," Seventeen shot out, landing on the cliff. "You were acting like you couldn't keep up with him." He started to say something more when he
saw her eyes widen and he turned, narrowly missing a sharp blade as the boy was abruptly in front of him.
It was against his nature to show mercy and Hiei flashed at the black-haired ningen, each slash of his blade coming faster, harder. If he'd only been facing
the girl, he might have been able to beat her without killing. But he only needed one of them alive to answer his questions and he could deal with Kurama's
anger later. The humans had attacked him. It couldn't be helped if they met their ends because of it. The young man flew upward and he leapt after him,
twisting in the air and slicing inches off that shoulder-length black hair. Then he growled, eyes closing as a hot ball of energy struck his back and he fell
hard, tearing into the cliff below.
Without a glance at his sister, Seventeen dove after the boy and straight into a charged fist that tore into his stomach and sent him flying back and into
Eighteen. He had a glimpse of familiar golden hair before he struck the female and they both crashed into the cliff she'd demolished earlier.
While he wasn't one to leave a fight, Gohan knew he didn't dare follow the androids, his green eyes moving to the still form below. Dropping quickly, he
gave a grateful sigh when the curled figure moved slightly, dark-clothed back to him. He crouched, arms moving around a slender waist as he pulled the
small boy close to him. Then he flew back the direction he'd come. It had taken seconds for the rescue, but he knew the androids would recover quickly
and he didn't go far before he dropped again, ducking back into the shadow of one of the cliffs. The boy in his arms moved suddenly and he tightened his
arms, frowning down at the ducked head. "Quiet," he said softly.
His muscles clenched and Hiei growled when he found he couldn't break the hold around him. The strength he felt from the one holding him was only half
the reiki he'd sensed from the ningens, but there was something else added to that and it must have made the difference. His jagan flashed, black
imprinting his sight as he raised his youki until a surprised gasp sounded behind him, the hands crossed over his stomach clenching from the heat. Not
hesitating, Hiei curled his right hand, black wisps of smoke swirling around it until the bandages suddenly ignited, falling into bits of ash. "Hanase..."
The boy was clearly on fire and Gohan dropped him suddenly, crouching in a defensive stance. He'd seen Seventeen strike the dark figure and had
assumed that was the red-haired boy's friend. But the one who turned on him didn't look at all human and he stared at the dark eye blazing from Hiei's
forehead. He had a brief remembrance of Tien before the boy raised his right arm and Gohan's eyes dropped to the black shape twining around it.
"Another one," Hiei growled, eyes sweeping over the tall man, taking in the spiky blonde hair. "I ask you first, how did you cause the rift?"
"What?" The boy sneered at him and Gohan glanced up, looking at the sky warily. There was no sign of the androids and he turned to the boy again,
frowning as he ignored the small serpent that seemed to be curled around that raised arm. "You were being beaten by the androids," he said, raising his
chin as he remembered who he was. "If they're enemies of yours, they're also mine. There's no point fighting each other."
"You don't want to fight," Hiei said mockingly, the black dragon relaxing on his arm as he let it fall again. "That's fine. Tell me how you found us and I let
you live. I've no business with the Reikai tante."
"With the what?" The boy wasn't making sense, but Gohan looked away again, his eyes widening when he felt a familiar ki. For a moment he was
confused, then his brows lowered into a glare. "Damn it, Trunks. I told you not to come..." The black-haired fighter gave him an odd look but he didn't pay
him any attention, lifting until he could see the boy flying toward him. The wary expression on that pale face was almost enough to calm his anger at the
disobedience. Then he noticed Trunks' passenger and he blinked. Golden eyes flicked to him an instant before the white-clothed person leapt off Trunks
back and Gohan turned, eyes following billowing cloth and a long-haired tail as the youko landed. Trunks reached him and he threw the boy a confused
look before glancing down again.
Rising from his crouch, Kurama stalked to the short youkai, taking in the mocking expression. "How did I know you'd start trouble the moment you got
"Baka." Ignoring the youko, Hiei looked up at the two males hovering above them. "Do you consort with the enemy?"
"They aren't enemies," Kurama said absentmindedly, his hands running over Hiei's smudged cheek, fingering the slight tears in the black cloak. "You've
"Barely before *that* one interrupted." A hand turned his face and Hiei gave the youko a droll look, not pulling back. "What?" Fingers curled in his thick
hair and he rolled his eyes when Kurama jerked him close for a sudden kiss. Nearly a minute passed before the youko eased his grip and Hiei raised an
eyebrow at him. "And that was for?"
"I was worried," Kurama admitted, releasing the short demon as he flicked long silvery hair over his shoulder. The fine strands fell to his back, thickening
as red overtook them and he shifted back to ningen form. Hiei was smirking at him and he shrugged his shoulders. "I didn't know what was happening to
"I followed *you* into that damned hole," Hiei snorted. "You should watch where you step the next time you make a dramatic exit."
"I really was going to leave you there," Kurama said sharply, remembering how irritated he'd been at the youkai. "And that hole wasn't there before." A
dark eyebrow rose again and he lifted his chin suddenly, turning his head away. "I thank you for worrying about me, even if fighting was more important
than finding out where I was."
"I followed them to find you," Hiei muttered, "not for worry but revenge. You can take care of yourself, as I can." The ningen turned back to him with a
brilliant smile and he made a disgruntled face when a long-fingered hand ruffled his hair. "Baka."
Staring down at the pair, Gohan blinked slowly, his voice soft and directed to the boy beside him. "Who is that?"
"That's Shuuichi--Kurama," Trunks said, his own eyes wide. He couldn't believe the two had just kissed, right there in front of them. Glancing to Gohan
when the redhead switched forms again, he nodded. "He changed right after you left and demanded to come after you. I know you said not to, I'm sorry.
He was adamant. If I hadn't taken him, he would have come on his own."
The boy was strong enough to refuse one human, Gohan knew, but the two beneath them didn't seem to be human at all. Not when the redhead had
sported a tail moments before. Trunks was watching him with a guilty expression and he touched the boy's shoulder, squeezing slightly. "Fine. The
androids must have gone ahead, so there's no harm done." The lavender-haired boy gave him a quick smile and he returned it before turning his head to
look down again. The two were talking to each other and he dropped until he was standing a few feet away, Trunks following. Kurama was wrapping a
bandage around the short boy's arm and he looked at the black tattoo, recognizing it as the serpent that had been moving earlier.
"Always prepared," Hiei commented, standing at ease while the youth covered his arm.
"Not much choice with you," Kurama drawled, green eyes flashing at Hiei. "Was the kokoryuuha necessary against them?"
"I was going to use it on him." Looking past Kurama, Hiei glared at Gohan, his brow twitching when he saw that the tall man's hair had turned black
somehow. The energy he'd sensed before was nearly imperceptible. "He interrupted my fight."
"Oh." Kurama finished, tucking the roll of bandages into his vest before turning to the two males behind them. "He came to save you," he said, a quick
smile curving his lips when Hiei raised an eyebrow at him. "They were afraid my friend would be killed by their enemies. And looking at you, I'd say they're
"Ch', not so strong." The redhead was watching him and Hiei glared suddenly, pointing a finger at the male's chest. "If it weren't for you, I'd have killed
"Me?" Kurama asked, blinking in confusion, "what did I have to do with it?"
"No killing ningens, I knew you'd harp if I did." A smile answered his accusation and Hiei snorted, folding his arms and looking away. "Hard to fight for
wounding, easier to kill outright."
Kurama knew it was the dark-haired youkai's style to kill immediately. Hiei was one to go for an enemy's throat without ever judging the strength of his
opposition. The only time he'd ever seen the youkai draw a fight out was when Hiei used his kokoryuuha on himself. Only then did Hiei allow himself to
enjoy a fight. "Hai, I understand. But Trunks says they are androids, not humans." Red eyes snapped to him and he glanced at the lavender-haired boy
in question. "Trunks, Gohan, this is Hiei."
"We've met," Gohan drawled, frowning at the glare the short male was sending him. He didn't know what to think of the two strangers, but holding their
position wasn't wise. The androids might not have gone far and he didn't want to have a fight anywhere near Trunks. The two others might stubbornly go
to their deaths, but he wouldn't let Trunks fight, not yet. The boy still had too much training to go through to waste it all now. Catching Kurama's gaze, he
jerked his head upward. "We're going now, you can come with us."
"Where are you going?" Kurama asked, ignoring the dark look Hiei shot him. He had questions he wanted the two to answer and he saw no reason for not
going with them. They were something beyond ningen or youkai, and he wanted to know what as much as he wanted to know how they'd managed to fall
into the Ningenkai.
"My mom's house," Trunks told him, receiving a nod from Gohan. "You're more than welcome."
Glancing down at his comrade, Kurama smiled. "Hiei?"
"Stay with a ningen?" Hiei growled, "Why should I?" A hand swept toward his head and he caught Kurama's wrist, frowning at the redhead's glare. "What?"
"Stop being rude," Kurama warned, "it's uncalled for." His wrist was released and he nodded when Hiei looked away. Looking at Trunks and Gohan, he
smiled. "We'd be happy to join you."
Noting that Trunks made no offer to take one of them, Gohan frowned at the boy. Then he remembered how Kurama had ridden before and a smirk
passed over his lips before disappearing quickly. He could well imagine how embarrassed the boy must have been. The redhead was watching him and
he offered a hand to him. "I'll give you a lift so long as you don't jump down again." The boy smiled and let out a soft laugh.
"Agreed," Kurama said. He saw Hiei frown when he stepped to the tall man, and he shot the little youkai a quick smirk as a strong arm wrapped around his
waist, pulling him against Gohan's side. "Coming, Hiei?"
"I can carry you both," Gohan assured him, hiding his wariness as he remembered the way the boy had grown hot suddenly.
"No need," Hiei said darkly, looking away.
"We're going fast," Trunks warned, losing his embarrassment as he looked at the short male. "It would take too long if you walked."
"Don't worry about him," Kurama sighed, glancing at Trunks. "He can keep up and he won't change his mind. Hiei's very stubborn." Gohan gave him a
doubtful look and he smirked. "If he *does* fall behind, you can always grab him." A growl sounded, but he was careful not to glance at Hiei. "You have my
permission and he doesn't bite *that* hard."
Blinking wide eyes, Gohan looked at the little fighter, taking in the fact that he looked to be simmering. It was almost as if steam was rising off him. "Right."
With another smile, Kurama glanced back. "Hai?" His lover was giving him a very heated look and he could practically see the vein in his forehead
throbbing. "Ah! Gomen, Hiei, just teasing." Hiei gave him a sharp nod when he blinked innocent eyes at him. He loved teasing the youkai, but he had to
be careful not to go too far or he wouldn't be getting close to him for months. Trunks was watching them with an odd expression and Kurama smiled at the
boy. "We're ready."
Following Gohan, Trunks kept his eyes on the dark image below. The black-haired male didn't seem to be running after them so much as jumping, darting
streaks of blurred movements. Kurama was watching his face and he blinked at the redhead. "He's so fast."
"Hai," Kurama smirked, his gaze dropping to the flash of black keeping pace with them on the ground. "That's Hiei. He gets faster every time I see him."
Black eyes were watching him and he met Gohan's gaze with a quick smile. "You can go faster, if you like." He was aware that the man's speed exceeded
Trunks', but the boy wasn't going as fast as he'd been earlier. "There's no need to slow down on Hiei's account."
"Okay," Gohan nodded. With a look to Trunks, he waited until the boy took the lead, matching his speed and letting him set the pace. A quick glance was
all he needed to know the one on the ground had no trouble equaling them. He wondered again what the male was. As soon as they reached Bulma's lab,
he'd find out.