Author's Notes:  This fic takes place after the dark tournament, and before the Sensui arc.  You may notice the plot deals with something in the Sensui arc, but
I don't know if the fic will actually fit in the anime timeline or not, so those who have seen the latter part of the series should consider this a TWT
(timeline-what-timeline).
Category:  Anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yaoi, TWT
Warnings:  shonen ai, language
Pairings:  KuramaxHiei
Author:  Arigatomina

Dark Side

Part 1

Every time Botan was called to fetch the team, it seemed the two thugs were beating up someone or starting some sort of unnecessary fight.  Koenma was
definitely right when he said they were battle prone.  Just one look around the littered field proved the two smirking victors had unleashed their pent up power
on yet another hapless gang of hoodlums.  Botan sighed and shook her head before flitting over to them.  "Are you two at it again?" she called, flashing a
smile when Kuwabara puffed up and began a little macho dance.

"Beating those guys is nothing for the great-"

"Yo," Yusuke interrupted, earning him a quick pout that twisted into a scowl as he stepped in front of Kuwabara.  "Botan.  Haven't seen you for a while.  If you
came for the fight, you just missed it."

"I'm not here to watch you guys play," Botan said, her expression sobering quickly.  "Koenma-sama has a mission for you."

"Not again," Yusuke groaned, "we're supposed to be relaxing.  All that mess with the tournament and he expects us to jump right back in?"

"What's the matter?" Kuwabara smirked, curling a fist and mock striking at Yusuke's face.  The black-haired boy didn't react aside from raising an eyebrow.  
"Worn out already?  If you're too tired, I'll go.  I can take care of any youkai, just bring them on!"

"Mm," Botan smiled, floating closer to the stirred up teen.  "That's the spirit!"

Yusuke rolled his eyes and sighed, folding his arms over his chest.  "Like I'm going to let that fool go by himself.  Then I'd just have to go and rescue his sorry
butt, anyway.  Guess I might as well save myself the trouble."

Bristling, Kuwabara moved to tower over his shorter friend.  "Nani?!  Oi!  Urameshi, you-"

"They really change moods quickly," Botan commented, floating near them with a finger pressed to her cheek.  "Just two weeks ago they were so
close...Yusuke was even crying over Kuwabara-kun, and Kuwa-"  Something twittered over her back and she blinked, her eyes widening when she saw two
glares aimed at her.  "Ah...ha-ha-ha, ano...you two are ready, then?  Kurama-kun is still in school, but he should be out soon."

With a light snort for the unfinished argument, Kuwabara turned his back on Yusuke and gave Botan a quick nod.  "Let's go!"

"Whatever," Yusuke shrugged, mimicking his friend's motions as he also nodded.  "Beating down those guys is pretty boring after battling youkai."

"Right!" Botan said cheerfully.  They left the field at a casual pace, not glancing back to the scattered gang members who would probably be picking
themselves up sometime that evening.  The pale blue-haired girl led the way, floating a few feet above their heads.  Once they reached the street, she put her
oar away and walked between the two.  "Koenma-sama said to get Kurama after school."  The boys both nodded, and she frowned at them.  "Why aren't you
two in school?"

"On a day like this?" Yusuke asked, his eyes wide as he waved a hand at the pretty blue sky overhead.  "You're kidding, right?"

"Besides," Kuwabara put in, "those guys wanted to start trouble.  We had to give it to them."

Botan stared up at him for a moment before sighing.  "Ah."

"So," Yusuke said, walking for a few minutes before sighing himself.  "What's the mission?"

"Normally I'd say we should wait until you're all together," Botan admitted, tilting her head and frowning a bit.  "But I guess I don't have to this time."

"Why not?" Kuwabara frowned, blinking in confusion when the girl turned a brilliant smile up at him, her pale eyes positively glittering.  

"Because I don't know anything to tell you," Botan smiled.

Yusuke staggered a bit before throwing his hands up.  "You don't know?  How can you not know?  I thought you were Koenma's attendant.  Aren't you
supposed to know all about what humans die - or whatever it is you do?"

"How mean..."  Two glares hit her, and Botan sighed.  "I would know, but there hasn't been any strange increases in ningen deaths.  And there haven't been
any evil youkai causing trouble lately.  I don't know what the problem is, and Keonma-sama just said it was important and to get the four of you together so he
could explain it."

"The four of us," Yusuke repeated, sending a quick look around them in case they were being followed by any conspicuous black shadows.  "Did you tell Hiei
yet?"

"No, but Koenma-sama said not to worry about that."  Botan blinked in surprise when Yusuke glared at her, the boy's expression oddly strict.  "What?"

"Did Hiei steal something again?" Yusuke asked, his eyes warning of the consequences if he had.  "Whatever it was, he must have had a good reason for it.  
Hiei isn't like that anymore.  If Koenma thinks we're going to capture Hiei for him, he's-"

"Iya!  No-no!  It's nothing like that, really. I'm sure it isn't," Botan said, letting out a relieved sigh when Yusuke relaxed.  "Nothing's been stolen from the Reikai.  
I would know if that happened.  And Hiei's still on probation, he wouldn't risk it."

"Then why aren't you going to get him?" Kuwabara asked, doing his best not to look too confused.  He didn't care if the rotten demon joined them or not, didn't
care one bit.  It was just that Kurama might be upset if the other youkai was excluded, that was all.  The two of them evened out the team, even if Hiei was jerk.

"Koenma-sama said not to worry about it," Botan blinked, looking up at him.  "That we'd find him when we get Kurama."

"That's weird."  The other two didn't notice, but Yusuke had stopped, and he frowned as they walked past him.  "I didn't think Kurama would cut school, too."

"What?" Kuwabara asked, turning in disbelief.  "What are you talking about, Urameshi?"  The black-haired boy pointed a finger toward the cluster of trees to
his right that marked the edge of the park.  Squinting briefly, Kuwabara rocked on his heels.  "He cut school!"

"Or maybe he got out early," Botan said, whipping her oar out as she spotted the redhaired person the two were looking at.  The boy was far enough away
that they couldn't see his face, but with Kurama's signature hair, they didn't need to be that close.  "I'll go ahead!"

"School doesn't just let people out early," Yusuke muttered, scowling as he watched Botan float toward the park.

"He's cutting," Kuwabara nodded, his expression grim.  "And after he lectured me for not studying.  The nerve!"

Yusuke jerked when the tall orange-haired teen suddenly lurched past him, the tell-tale posture warning of an impending argument.  A quick smirk passed his
lips as he hurried to follow.  Kuwabara lecturing Kurama?  He just had to see that.

The two quick moving humans reached the first trees at a near jogging pace, and they collided sharply with an extended oar.  Botan winced when their mouths
opened, ducking at them so she could silence the impending oaths.  "Shh, they're arguing about something."  The two boys blinked at her and exchanged a
long look before both wriggled away from her, mirror expressions of interest and mirth plastered over their faces.  With a soft sigh, she pointed them in the
right direction.

Taking the lead, Yusuke saw them first, his eyes peeking around a tree trunk, Kuwabara doing the same from the other side.  The clearing wasn't much of
one, barely fitting the two demons, but it was obvious they'd come to talk in private.  Kurama was whispering so quietly he couldn't make out a word the
redhead was saying.  Whatever it was, it certainly looked like a plea to him.  The kitsune was waving his hand in front of his chest and leaning adamantly over
a stubborn-looking Hiei.  The shorter demon's arms were crossed, his face turned to the side where the onlookers couldn't see his expression.  Kuwabara
gave him a wide-eyed, questioning look and Yusuke frowned.  They'd have to get closer if they were going to hear what was being said.  Looking at Hiei, he
was relieved to see the demon's headband firmly in place.  So long as the youkai didn't sense them-  "K'so!"

Kuwabara jerked when Hiei's head snapped to the side, red eyes glaring directly at him and a wave of youki prickled his senses until he shivered despite
himself.  Yusuke's startled curse was echoed as he stepped back and bumped into Botan.  The girl had been building the nerve to interrupt the two demons,
and stop the dangerous eavesdropping, so she wasn't expecting the abrupt movement.  Her shoe caught on a tuft of grass and she tipped back, taking
Kuwabara with her.  Yusuke stared down at the two in suprise, completely forgetting the danger on the other side of the tree.  Kurama's soft voice sent him
jumping away.

"What are all of you doing?" Kurama asked, his voice calm as he looked down at the jumble of bodies, Yusuke having landed over the back of Kuwabara's
legs, and Botan peeking up from above the orange-haired boy's shoulder.

"Nosey ningens," Hiei snorted, glaring at the bunch as he appeared on the other side of the tree.

"Kurama-Hiei-ano..."

Botan was looking very nervous under Hiei's glare, and Yusuke shoved Kuwabara.  "Get off her," he smirked, "This isn't the time to make your move, you
know."

"What?!"  Kuwabara leapt to his feet, his face quite red as he waved his hands in front of Yusuke.  "I didn't do it on purpose!  I would never betray Yukina-san
like that!  Really, it was an accident.  You-there's no need to mention it to anyone."

"Baka."

Blue eyes blinked as Kuwabara turned to look at Hiei, and he scowled suddenly.  A second later he had Kurama backed to the tree they'd been peeking
around.  "What are you doing cutting classes?" he demanded, wide green eyes staring at him in visible shock.  "All that talk about homework and how
important school is and here you are out playing with that?!"

Hiei's eyebrow twitched, and Yusuke snickered, patting a hand on Kuwabara's shoulder.  "Don't beat him up, we still have a mission."  The tall teen reluctantly
eased back, and Yusuke grinned at Kurama's confused but relieved expression.  "So, Kurama, what's the deal?  I can see how you wouldn't want to be cooped
up in class on a nice day like this, but what were you guys doing?"  He shot a look at Hiei, his smile fading a bit with disappointment when the demon returned
the gaze steadily.  Hoping for a better reaction from Kurama, he poked a finger at the immaculately dressed redhead.  "You two have a fight?"

The insinuations in that taunt were thick, but Kurama ignored them, brushing the bark off his hair and back from where he'd been pressed to the tree.  "A
minor difference of opinions," he shrugged.  His gaze fell to Botan, and he moved between Kuwabara and Yusuke.  "Is there a mission?"

"Hai!" Botan said, nodding brightly.  Her smile faltered when she glanced at Hiei, but the black-haired demon wasn't looking at her.  "Since you're all together
we can go see Koenma-sama now."  

It didn't take long to bring the four of them through a quick portal to the Reikai, but she was still relieved when they reached the safe white halls.  Once in the
relaxed office of the king of hell junior, she hopped off her oar and watched the reikai tantei take up their usual positions.  Kuwabara and Yusuke remained in
front of Koenma's desk, Kurama standing a few feet to the side, and Hiei looking bored on the other side.  "I've brought them," she said, smiling when Koenma
looked to her.

"Thank you," Koenma said, his eyes going over the four males.  After a quick inspection, he nodded to Botan.  "You can go now. This mission won't involve
you."

Botan's eyes widened in confusion, and she had to bite her lip not to ask.  It wasn't often that Koenma kept secrets from her, certainly not when they
concerned the tantei.  But there was something in the strict voice that warned her not to ask.  With a quick nod, she left the room.  Keonma stared after her for
a moment, sucking almost thoughtfully on his pacifier, then his gaze snapped to Hiei.  If the short demon were surprised to be the one he focused on, he didn't
show it.  Koenma stared silently, leaning forward as the pacifier bobbed faster in front of his face.  "Hmm..."

Yusuke and Kuwabara exchanged a quick look of doubt, turning it to Kurama.  The redhead frowned back at them, his brows lowering.  "Koenma."  The infant
didn't react to his soft word, and Kurama felt a wash of worry as the king of hell continued to stare at Hiei as if memorizing the demon's features.  "What is this?"

"Oi," Yusuke muttered, moving a few feet closer to Hiei as he tried to catch Koenma's gaze.  "Are you going to explain the mission, or what?"

Koenma glanced to the side, blinking at Yusuke as his concentration was broken.  "Hai.  This is a very serious mission.  But first...Hiei."  The demon was still
returning his stare with a bored and perpetually angry gaze.  "Take off your limiters.  I need to know how high your youki is."

"Why?"

The response was sullen, and Koenma sighed, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms.  "Why do you have to make everything so difficult?  The mission
depends on whether or not we can keep your youki level low without any noticeable limiter. The bandages are too obvious."

"The mission depends on him?" Kuwabara asked, his eyes wide.  That couldn't be right.  Whether he liked it or not, Yusuke was the head of the team, that was
just the way things were since he was the strongest.

Koenma didn't even glance over, and Kurama moved, crossing the room to stand behind Hiei.  Red eyes flicked back lazily, but he was more intent on catching
Koenma's gaze.  "Why don't you explain the mission to us first."

"Yeah," Yusuke scowled.  "Don't make such a mystery of it.  Just tell us where the demons are so we can get down to business.  There's no point wasting
time."  Brown eyes blinked at him, and Yusuke let out an impatient huff.  "What's with you?"

"As far as I can tell," Koenma said slowly, his hands moving restlessly over his desk, "demons aren't the problem.  There are sellers in the Makai, but the real
enemy here is in the ningenkai.  That's what makes this such a serious mission."  His eyes finally locked on Yusuke, and he stared at him.  "As you know, we
do not condone the killing of humans, so that must be the very last resort.  If it does come to that, you or Kuwabara will have to do it."  The orange-haired teen
flinched, and he nodded at the boy's wide eyes.  "I hope it will not come to that.  The plan is to identify the ringleader.  If he is youkai, then there's no problem.  
But if he is human you have to try and take him in alive.  Or her."

"Her?" Kuwabara cried, his eyes widening even more.  "We have to kill a woman?  A human woman?"

"I don't know," Koenma scowled, jerking his head away.  "We don't know who or what is at the head of this.  And just so you know, you four are not the first to
deal with this matter.  The last attempt was unsuccessful."

A dull silence passed over the room, and Kurama's eyes narrowed.  "They're killing youkai."  Koenma's gaze snapped up and he knew the answer
immediately.  "Purchasing them in the Makai to be used in the human world where there's no fear of retaliation."

"Weak youkai," Koenma said, his voice cold.  "Which is why this hasn't caused as much commotion as you would expect.  We don't know how many have been
shipped through.  And the organization behind it disappeared after our last encounter with them, leaving only the deceased behind them."

"But you know where they are now," Kurama said, his voice still calm and quiet.  "And you plan to infiltrate it in order to locate the head.  Simply attacking the
group would be too dangerous to the humans, and the leader would disappear."

"Exactly."

Yusuke turned to stare at Kurama, the redhead's tone making a cold chill creep over him.  "What are you guys talking about?" he asked quietly.  "Humans
killing youkai?  I thought the reikai was in place to protect the humans from dangerous demons."

"Technically," Koenma said, glancing to the boy. "The Reikai maintains a balance between the two worlds.  Usually the subversives are youkai, given the weak
nature of humans.  But occasionally there are cases where demons are the victims.  Weak demons in almost all cases, lower class youkai with no ties who
won't be noticed if they disappear.  The young also disappear, which is how we first learned about this."

"Someone wanders too far from his pack," Kurama said, his eyes falling, "someone too young to be a threat.  But his taking is noticed, the sellers followed,
attacked and possibly killed.  It would have to be a large battle to attract the Reikai's attention."

Hiei's eyes flicked back, taking in Kurama's expression.  "Youkai have been disappearing for centuries."

"Who would notice one or two so weak no group would accept them," Kurama murmured.

"It was as you described," Koenma said, nodding to the two before including Yusuke and Kuwabara.  "There was a large explosion of youki near a portal to the
ningenkai.  It was not a battle, though, more like a message meant to gain our attention.  After that we located their base in the ningenkai and attacked, but we
did not find the leader."

"So you're sending us to find the person behind this," Yusuke said, his hands curling slowly.  "Some jerk who's the head of a slave market."

"Slavery was kinder," Kurama said, his seemingly calm eyes moving to the boy.  "Even if history hides the facts, human slaves were valued more than this.  
Only the most ancient ningen cultures took slaves for the sole purpose of killing them."

"Very true," Koenma nodded, "and the people behind this seem to know of that history as well.  We've located their new base on the south American
continent."  Kurama shot him a quick look, but he nodded to Kuwabara and Yusuke.  "If you two studied more I'm sure you would know about the area."

"Don't lecture now," Kuwabara growled, his own anger having been stoked too much for patience.

"He means the Aztecs," Kurama explained, "the children of the sun, ancient civilizations that held rites involving mass slaughters to appease their imagined
gods.  But that was more Latin America than the southern continent."  His gaze turned back to Koenma.  "That area is highly populated today, and the
remaining temples are considered tourist attractions.  Even if they chose the area for its history, they wouldn't be able to use the actual altars."

"From what was left at the last site," Koenma said, his face twisting in blatant distaste and discomfort, "they aren't relying on ancient devices.  Some of the
things...we still don't know what they were used for."

Yusuke's face was very pale, and Kuwabara was looking stricken.  Hiei looked at the two of them for a long moment before letting out an audible sigh.  "Where,
what and how."

Blinking, Yusuke straightened.  "Right," he said quickly.  "Where are these bastards, and what's the plan?"

"Yeah," Kuwabara put in, moving a bit closer to the other three.  "Even if they're humans, we can still beat the shit out of them."

"Good spirit," Koenma nodded.  "The plan is to have you infiltrate the group, join them so you can get close inside.  We can arrange it so you are accepted
without too many questions, but identifying the actual head will be harder.  As far as we can tell, the leader is rarely seen, and then only from a distance.  
Which is why we don't know who or what he is.  They're using a resort in northern Columbia, a privately owned area that is guaranteed to have unlimited wards
to block in whatever youki their captives emit.  That should not be a problem for Kuwabara or Yusuke, but Kurama will have to be fitted with some sort of
protection or they will know he is not human."  

"I'm not going."

Yusuke flinched, turning to Kurama in surprise.  "What are you saying?"  Cool green eyes moved to him, and he shivered despite himself.

"So long as I don't shift to youko form," Kurama said calmly, "I will be read as a weak demon.  And as such I can shift when the occasion calls for it, enough to
have the strength to break whatever binds you put on."

"There's no need for two captives," Koenma said, frowning at Kurama.  "If the infiltration team doesn't manage to get contact with the leader, the captive is
likely to be able to identify him.  And with his jagan, Hiei will never pass as human.  He's the obvious choice."

"He won't be able to break the binds you put on him," Kurama stated, not so much arguing as pointing out what Koenma was leaving unsaid.  "You plan to use
one of your spells to limit him, and he won't be able to undo that if the need arises.  But I have a natural limit in my human form.  A shift to youko would give me
the strength to break even a powerful limiter."

"And put you both in danger," Koenma retorted angrily.  "Do you think I like the idea of sending him in with no way to defend himself?"

"I think you uphold the law that prevents demons from killing humans, with no counter law to protect the youkai."

"That's what I'm trying to do now!"

Something shimmered around Koenma, and Yusuke shifted away from it instinctively.  He'd yet to see the king of hell use any sort of power, but there was
definitely something eminating from him now besides the visible anger.  The dangerous youki Kurama was emitting was at least more recognizable.  "If we can
identify the leader there won't be any need to send in a demon," Yusuke said, his eyes moving from Koenma to Kurama.  A slight movement broke his focus,
and he blinked when Hiei's hand shot out to push the redhead back.  It didn't look too forceful, but Kurama stumbled, his expression stricken.

"What does it matter how many demons go in?" Hiei asked, his low voice aimed at Koenma but also reaching the others.  "As long as the humans live, that's all
that matters here."  Koenma's eyes widened, and he smirked at him, not looking back when he sensed movement from behind him.  "Kurama.  He wants you
with Yusuke and Kuwabara to protect them.  You should have realized that by now.  The Reikai failed in its last attempt.  He does not want a repeat of that.  If
there is a demon behind this, they will be in danger."

"That's not-"

Yusuke growled, interrupting Koenma's stutter.  "I don't need protection!  Kuwabara and I don't need protection.  I defeated Toguro, do you forget?!"  He
slammed his fists on the table, making Hiei pull away quickly as he glared at Koenma.  "We can take on anything they throw at us."

"And if it's a demon stronger than Toguro?"

"Then we'll go get Kurama and Hiei and fight him together," Yusuke glared.  "You can't just-"  A small stack of papers whacked him over the head and he bit
his tongue, his face turning red with anger.  "Kisama!"

"Enough," Koenma said sharply, setting the papers down and straightening them.  "As I was trying to say, this has nothing to do with having Kurama protect
the two of you.  Our sources tell us the ningens pick the youkai.  If we get the infiltration team in before Hiei gets there, they can choose him.  Then they are in
charge of what happens to him.  The only threat is if someone else picks him first."

"Which is what will happen," Kurama said sharply, moving to the side of Hiei just in case the demon tried to shove him again.  He knew what that gesture had
meant, and he wasn't about to obey it.  "You know as well as I that the chances of us picking him, out of however many people they have in their group, are
next to none."

Koenma nodded.  "I know, but the chances of the two of you being kept together, even if we arrange to have you taken together, are also next to none."

"But once I'm inside I will have the power to move freely should I need it," Kurama shot back.  "And whether it suits your plans or not, I have made my decision."

Yusuke's eyes widened, and he looked warily at Koenma.  Those were bold words for someone on probation.  A glance at Hiei found the demon scowling at
Kurama, and Yusuke shuffled in frustration.  "Just let him go," he muttered, "It won't change your plans that much."

"I go," Kurama said calmly, "or Hiei doesn't go."

Hiei's eyes widened and he grabbed Kurama's shirt, jerking him around.  "Baka!  What are you thinking?!"

Not making any effort to free himself, Kurama turned his gaze back to Koenma.  "You have yet to see me as an enemy.  Don't force me to become one now."

"Kurama!"  Darting to the two demons, Yusuke shook his head.  "You'll violate your probation!"

"He isn't on probation."

Hiei's eyes closed, and he released Kurama's shirt, letting out a snort at Koenma's calm tone.  He felt Yusuke glance at him and looked at the boy with a bored
gaze.  "He hasn't been on probation since before the tournament."

"But-I thought you two were on probation for the theft!"  Yusuke turned confused eyes on Kurama, but the redhead had moved to glare at Koenma again,
offering no explanation.  Hiei sniffed at him.

"His crime was done to save a ningen's life," Hiei said calmly, "so his penalty was less.  That is how the Reikai works."

"Then you-"

"Hiei is still under contract to work with the Reikai tantei," Koenma said, ignoring Kurama's pointed glare.  "Under penalty of serving the full term."  Yusuke was
looking torn, and he sighed, folding his hands on the table.  "So stubborn..."

"Koenma."

Opening an eye to look at Kurama, Koenma sighed.  "If you are that set on it, then fine.  But keep in mind who is going to be left explaining to your mother if
you die."

Yusuke bristled, but a glance at Hiei's suddenly angry face stopped him from commenting.  The short demon looked ready to attack, and Koenma wasn't the
one he was looking at.  Not sure what to say, he frowned and glanced at Kuwabara.  The orange-haired teen was looking at Kurama with a strange
expression.  Yusuke stepped to him, tilting his head to the side.  "What?"

Kuwabara blinked, glancing down for a second before staring at Kurama again.  "That means he fought in the tournament by choice, right?  I mean, we had to
because Toguro was focused on us after our first confrontation with him.  And Hiei definitely hated being there.  So why would-"  Green eyes flicked back to
him, and Kuwabara winced at Kurama's slow, slight smile.

"I wouldn't leave my comrades," Kurama said, his smile widening a bit when the orange-haired teen looked flustered.  Most of his anger slipped away now that
he had Koenma's agreement, but a glance at Hiei proved the demon was still furious.  He did his best to pretend he hadn't noticed.  "Well, Columbia is a long
trip.  We should expect to be away for a few days.  It would be best to make excuses now and see about booking a flight."

"An airplane?" Kuwabara asked, his eyes wide.  "I've never been in an airplane..."

Kurama smiled. "Neither has Hiei.  It's a good thing he'll be suppressed by then or we'd probably have to drag him onboard."  A suspicious pair of red eyes
flicked to him, but Kurama turned to face Koenma.  Now that there was no conflict between them, he slipped back into his gently compliant role.  "I assume
you'll have a rift for us to cross over once we reach South America?"

"Yes," Koenma said, also calming.  "I will make sure the portal is far from humans and demons alike.  Once you're in the Makai it will be up to you to locate the
sellers and get yourselves caught."

"Then we should go now," Kurama said, turning back to Yusuke.  "The longer we wait, the more deaths."

The two humans nodded, and Koenma leaned back in his chair.  "Botan is probably next to the door trying to hear.  She'll take you back.  But I would prefer it
if you didn't tell her the details of this mission."  Yusuke and Kuwabara both turned to shoot him doubtful looks, and Koenma shook his head.  "If everything
goes as planned she won't need to know.  It's better that way."

Catching his friends' doubt, Kurama put a hand on each of their shoulders.  "It's painful to learn that the people you've been protecting can be as evil as the
ones you're protecting them from.  To hear that humans do such things would be very painful for her.  She doesn't need to know."  The teens nodded and he
prodded them toward the door.

Yusuke frowned when Kurama made no move to follow them.  "Aren't you coming?"

"I want to see the limiters they set up," Kurama said, glancing at Hiei.  The youkai turned his face away, and he looked back to Yusuke.  "I'll need to know how
to break them when the time comes."

"Right."  Joining Kuwabara at the door, Yusuke gave one more look over the three before resting his gaze on Kurama.  "Tomorrow morning?"

"Yes," Kurama nodded.  "We can meet at my house, first thing in the morning."

Koenma hopped out of his chair as the two ningens left the room, and he crossed to Hiei.  "Now, the dragon's going to be hard to cover, and the jagan will
seem strange in a weak youkai.  Hopefully they'll pass you off as a crossbreed."  Hiei's eyebrow twitched, and Koenma winced, rubbing his head.  "Ah!  
Anyway, the easiest method to lower your youki without it being detected would be poison, something that would wear off on its own eventually.  But we don't
know how long this could take."

"If it takes too long we'll have to break out anyway," Kurama said, moving to stand next to Hiei.  "But something like that is dependent on the drug.  An invisible
seal would be better, like Yusuke had during his fight with Toguro."

Koenma shook his head, looking at Hiei's warded jagan.  "That wouldn't lower his youki nearly enough."

"A drug, then," Kurama frowned.  "But it has to be something I can summon an antidote for.  I doubt I'll be able to sneak seeds in if they check for that, so I'll be
reliant on summoned plants."

"Makai plants...I don't know that many," Koenma muttered.

"I know a few that would do the job," Kurama said, his expression darkening.  "But none that only limit youki.  All have side effects."

Hiei snorted, shooting a dark look up at Kurama.  "If they aren't deadly it doesn't matter."  The redhead frowned at him and he rolled his eyes.  "Baka."

Kurama sniffed back at him.  "Stubborn."

Koenma smirked.  "In that case I can let the two of you sort it out.  Just make sure the youki is low, very low.  Otherwise they'll take one look at his jagan and
count him as too powerful."  Kurama nodded, and he turned back to his desk.  The next time he looked back Hiei was gone, a flick of red hair the last sign in
the doorway as Kurama followed after him.  Darkness fell over his face when the door of his office closed, and Koenma took his seat again.  He lifted the top
sheet off the stack of papers he'd struck Yusuke with and stared at the picture.  

One would have been enough to know the extent of the humans' atrocities, but there were many in the stack, even more in the archives.  The last attempt to
route the killers had found a trove of discards. The leaders had escaped, but behind them they'd left the remains of their victims.  The pictures were the real
reason he hadn't wanted Kurama to go in with Hiei.  It wasn't that he didn't care for the danger facing a single youkai, but that his ties with humans had left
Kurama with a weakness Hiei didn't seem to suffer from.  Despite the former youko's strength, he didn't think Kurama would be able to withstand what he might
see inside the murderers' den.  He could only hope he was wrong.  Botan wasn't the only one liable to be disillusioned about humans.  One look at the pictures
could very well turn anyone against the entire ningen race.

.-.

PART 2

.-.

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