by Talya Firedancer

Author's note: This fanfiction was inspired both by White Cat's piece " Betrayals," and the events of episode eight in the anime. I give full credit to the parts in this fic that are based or taken from White Cat's fanfiction. It's meant to be a companion piece to "Betrayals" but hopefully it stands on its own! ^.^ Kudos and thanks to White Cat!

Some scenes/lines of dialogue are taken directly from YYH anime episode eight.

**Hiei...I'll make it up to you...it's my promise to you.**

I ran, pushing against the limits of the night. Those were the words I had whispered, to myself as I sat by Shiori's bedside, after finding out she was okay. The Mirror of UtterDark had done its job, and I was. . .alive.

They were words I had whispered shortly after leaving that clearing, on a rain-soaked night that still burned itself in my mind. Most especially with the memory of Hiei's hurt, stunned, *betrayed* eyes. After the anger had cleared from my head, I'd reviewed those words spoken in the heat of the moment. And realized how much I must have *hurt* Hiei, especially after what we'd shared so recently between us...

So now, given a second chance, I ran. I stopped for an instant, eyes scanning alertly around the night-draped shapes of buildings, pushing my senses outward...

"Damn... I feel a powerful youki. Hiei must've revealed his true power..."

I knew there wasn't much time left. I had to stop him, before he used GhostSlayer on Yuusuke...

*Hiei. It's my promise to you...*

I slipped into the warehouse quickly and carefully, feeling the flare of Hiei's power along my senses. He was barely in check, using one of his most rare abilities... Yuusuke must've provoked him pretty fiercely...

I checked out the situation. Hiei was facing off with Yuusuke, who had managed to find him after all. And lying on the floor was the brown-haired girl I had seen with Yuusuke five days ago, a blue-haired spirit guide trying desperately to heal...to cure...was that a Jagan!?

"I respect your bravery as a human being!" I heard Hiei's deep voice proclaim, but the tone was almost mocking. I broke into a swift run again. "I respect your honor, so I'll just kill you!"

Hiei, you CAN'T use that blade on Yuusuke! I won't...


I threw myself forward.

*My promise...*

I clenched my teeth around a pained cry as the blade pierced my body, impaling me on its wickedly sharp edge. The blade's curse couldn't kill or change me; I was youko and only that protected me. But Inari, it hurt!

Hiei's bloodred eyes stared into mine, shocked. He had been so intent on his opponent he hadn't sensed my approach.

"Why the hell are you doing this!" His voice was hurt, stunned...furious!

I grabbed the blade in both hands, sliding them along GhostSlayer's keen edge; it was so sharp the cuts didn't even hurt as the blood welled along the thin gashes. I had to blunt the edge of Hiei's power or he would kill me for this second apparent betrayal; he could certainly finish off Yuusuke in his peak power right now...

I gathered up the blood in my hands, staring fiercely into his eyes as I willed him to understand what I HAD to do, but I knew he wouldn't. Just as he'd misunderstood before. Hiei hadn't known why I'd wanted the Mirror. But now, I had to stop him before...

I threw the blood in his eyes.

The crimson spray flew out in a wide arc, hitting his eyes - most especially the Jagan - and blinding him. He staggered back, mostly from shock and disbelief, the sword sliding back out of my body.

"K'so! My eyes! I can't see!"

"I can move again!" Yuusuke exclaimed in surprise, as Hiei's control disintegrated.

"His Jagan acts like an amplifier," I explained tersely to Yuusuke. I was too hurt to finish what I'd started, to stop Hiei without humiliating his pride. It was best if *I* didn't finish him off anyway or he probably really *would* kill me, once he recovered. "His power in this form comes from the Jagan." A sharp piercing pain radiated from the wound and I winced. Hiei would truly feel betrayed now; he would see it as protecting Yuusuke...

"Kurama!" Yuusuke exclaimed in concern.

"I'll be all right," I assured him. "I'm doing this to repay you." A little lie that wouldn't hurt when dealing with the Reikai Tantei justice... If only I'd gotten to Hiei in time. I had been searching for him all day. I moved forward, clutching at the bleeding wound.

"Idiot! Don't move!" Yuusuke ordered harshly, sounding amazed I could walk.

"I'm a youko, so I won't die easily," I replied with a twisted half-smile. "I'm going to take care of the girl. While I'm doing this, you'd better finish Hiei off before his Jagan recovers." Even without the Jagan, I wondered if Yuusuke could take out Hiei. Hiei, what a mess you've made of things!

"Kurama," Yuusuke pronounced, surprised and grateful all at once.

I gave him a tiny, tight nod, then moved off. The spirit guide was gritting her teeth as she fought the Jagan that sought to open on the brown-haired girl's forehead and I knelt unsteadily and carefully, clutching the wound. Another abomination, if he succeeded in corrupting this girl.

Hiei, does your soul mean so little to you? Do you even know you have one?

"Kurama, you traitor! I won't forgive you!" I heard Hiei rage behind me, and I closed my eyes. He didn't understand! And now, angry as he was, I would probably never have a chance to explain myself.

I'd done it for *him.*

Hiei didn't know everything about GhostSlayer. Not many people did. But I'd recognized the name as soon as I heard it. In addition to its dangers for human beings, it carried a curse for its wielder, like the Mirror of UtterDark. But GhostSlayer was far, far worse. Instead of claiming the life of its owner, the cursed blade claimed the soul, with each death that it caused. Killing a human was especially potent for the blade.

If he'd killed Yuusuke...it would've been Hiei's soul at stake.

"I'm going to win because I still have more power than him!" I heard Hiei crow triumphantly. He was being overconfident again. Making assumptions...

Moments later the fight was over, and Yuusuke had managed to knock Hiei out with a surprise weapon - a gun made of reiki! Yuusuke used the liquid in the hilt of GhostSlayer to close the Jagan in Keiko's forehead, healing her. I listened to how Yuusuke had defeated Hiei with amazement, and growing respect. Then chuckled at how haphazard his plans had been. He *was* brave though, even if he had acted recklessly.

I left Yuusuke and Botan to tend Keiko and moved over to Hiei, lying stretched out and unconscious on the floor. Pulling a seed from my hair, I grew a small plant quickly and used its balm to tend Hiei's burns from Yuusuke's rei gun. I wanted to be gone before he roused. He wouldn't want to see me, not after what I'd done.

Hiei twitched, and I shifted, preparing to get up and leave. A bolt of sickening pain shot through me and I gasped, unbalanced and falling to one knee. A hand shot out and grabbed my wrist, exerting inexorable pressure.

"Ku - ra - ma..." Hiei rasped, one crimson eye cracking open. It hardened and he turned onto his side, opening both eyes and glaring at me, his face closed and cold. "Why did you do it? Why did you betray me like that... twice now?"

His whisper was a raw thread of sound that pierced my heart sharper than his blade had been able to. I had done this to him, I had hurt him - I, his first lover and only friend. Would he ever be able to forgive? Would he see?

"The Mirror of UtterDark - it would've taken my life. That was the price of its use," I began, my eyes falling from his to study the strong hand that enclosed my wrist, still not letting go. "What you didn't know of GhostSlayer was that it would have taken more than your life. It would have taken your soul."

"So?" Hiei replied quietly, bitterly. His voice carried the accusation his eyes couldn't burn into me, because I couldn't meet them.

"I couldn't let that happen," I whispered, brushing my fingers over his cheek. Hiei stiffened at the light touch, turning his face away.

"...So," I exhaled softly, pulling my wrist free. "I'll go." I started to get up again and clenched my teeth around a cry of pain, falling back to my knees.

"You're hurt worse than you told that boy." Hiei's voice is steady, even. But I can sense, if not hear, an underlying faint concern.

"I'll be okay."

"So you did this for me?" He sounds disbelieving, even a bit contemptuous.

I met his eyes at last, smiling slightly. "Well I certainly didn't let you impale me for my own sake," I replied dryly.

"Hn," Hiei replies, examining the wound. He cocks his head quizzically. His breath carries a thread of sound that I barely catch. "You really didn't mean to betray me?" He's skeptical now.

"Hiei...what I said before..." My cheeks burned, remembering what I had said to him in the clearing. **What have you given me, Hiei? What have you and Gouki given me? Insane dreams, a desire to conquer the world I have come to love, and the forces of the Reikai after us? I owe you nothing! If anything, you owe me!!** I had been instantly sorry the moment the words had left my mouth. I had known Hiei's thirst for conquest had been compelled by the sword - well, partly at least. But the rest had been his emptiness, striving to find something to fill the gap. And I, his lover, should have known that.

"I didn't mean it," I continued, knowing that it wasn't enough just to say it, but hoping my actions had been proof enough. "I really didn't... I was upset, I was wild with fear for Shiori - I didn't know if she'd last long enough for the Mirror to reach full strength to save her. I just...I had to save Shiori, with that Mirror. I thought that I could do that, and still have time to save you from the sword's curse. Then I discovered I would have to trade *my* life for Shiori's - I thought I would never be able to...to..."

To tell you I love you, I finished, but only in my own mind. To complete the promise I had made to myself, for you.

"Hn," Hiei sniffs again, but his crimson eyes are watchful. He moves forward and touches the wound and I gasp sharply. Glancing over at Yuusuke, who was still occupied with Keiko, he fetched his scarf quickly and tore it apart into strips.

"And then Yuusuke saved me from the Mirror."

"Yuusuke?" Hiei huffed in surprise. "I don't believe it."

Hiei finished bandaging me up, a little frown centered between his eyebrows, but his hands were uncharacteristically gentle.

"Thank you," I said quietly.

Hiei's eyes darted to Yuusuke, then to the door of the warehouse. I followed his thoughts easily.

"Don't," I warned softly. "I'd be obliged to throw myself after you in an attempt to stop you. Probably tear the wound open further, undoing your efforts, and..."

"...and bleed all over me, when I came back for you?" Hiei finished sarcastically.

I barely smiled, daring to hope. Hiei was the type to hold a grudge. "You'd come back for me?"

He shrugged, and was silent for a moment, studying his hands. "You did," he finally responded, and as clipped as the words were I could hear the emotion buried behind them. He *does* realize, maybe... Either that or it's because I'm the first person in his life ever to come back for him. I gritted my teeth, knowing that of *course* he would instantly think I had betrayed him. In his life, that's all anyone else had ever done. That's all Hiei thought he had a right to expect.

"You expect me to submit to Reikai Tantei justice?" Hiei demands abruptly, breaking the little silence.

"Aa. Maybe you won't be stupid enough to steal something like that sword next time," I replied, teasing but soft to take the sting out of my words.

"Maybe next time I won't get caught," Hiei muttered, glancing at the door again. But I knew his honor wouldn't let him go. Yuusuke had defeated him, fair and square, and if he left now it would be an act of cowardice. My little fire demon was anything *but.*

I grasped his hand firmly, interlacing our fingers, my slender, long human ones meshed with his strong, sturdy youkai ones. Gripping tightly enough that he would have to fight me to break free, and probably disturb my wound in the process. Hiei scowled up at me but let me do it.

"Maybe it won't be so bad. I'm going to ask that they let us serve our sentence together," I suggested to him.

He was silent for a long time, and I could see Botan and Yuusuke were wrapping things up, discussing how to get Keiko safely home and without making her parents suspicious or upset. I was content to sit in silence with him.

Then, very quietly, below a normal threshold of hearing, Hiei said, "If you ever leave me like that again, I'll kill you."

He was talking about that night in the clearing. My heart twisted a little bit at how biting his words were, how much pain the words - if not the tone - revealed. And I was stricken once again with how alone he must've been, all those years - how much it had seemed a betrayal to him, for I, his lover, to leave him.

I brushed my lips over his knuckles, a gentle apology. He didn't have to threaten me.

"I'll never leave you, Hiei. That's my promise to you."

--The End!--