InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Phoenix Rising ❯ Chapter Eight ( Chapter 8 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]


Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, etc., of Inuyasha or Yu Yu Hakusho. This story is for entertainment purposes only, and not for profit.





Summary: Not everyone is happy when Enki wins the Demon World Tournament. A new darkness rises out of the east, threatening the fragile new kingdom, and our heroes find themselves thick in the fray.




A/N:This chapter has been rattling around for a while, and I finally decided to post it up. Warnings of citrus - lime on ffnet, lemon on mediaminer under YoukaiFate. I just love these three, they are some of my favorite characters to write.
















Hayato - falcon




Chapter Eight




            Hiei’s “formations” proved a line of plain sandstone buildings, square in outline and unadorned but for the central one, which rose the height of three men, a stylized sun-in-flames etched into the center. Below this symbol was a tall set of iron doors, scoured by rust. Two demons, short but muscular, their dark heads shaggy and manner negligent, stood guard.




            Even as the small group approached, more demons joined the two guards, all of a similar type. At least, in face and form. Short, compact bodies, muscles well-developed for the simple swords and spears at their sides. Clad in plain linen kilts, knives slung through their wide leather belts, they wore plain sandals strapped up each calf. A simple leather harness crisscrossed their chests, and a few sported leather vambraces. Black of hair and red of eye, they were swarthy and ruggedly handsome.




            Perhaps the same clan? Kurama mused, quickly spotting others who stood in the lee of the buildings, watching the advancing party with bored disdain. There was something unsettling about the simple way the demons lounged about, clearly unworried about the approaching group. It was as if they discounted any threat of attack, and Kurama didn’t think it was just that they were expected. It was as if these demons in their very arrogance couldn’t see anyone as a threat.




            There was…something…that nagged at him, something oddly familiar, although Kurama could honestly say he had never encountered any clan of demons like these before. Except…








            Startled, Kurama glanced at the fire demon, the contempt clear in his hard red gaze. Wrapped in his heavy black trench coat despite the blistering heat, Hiei abruptly stopped and stared around him, eyes narrowing as his jaw tightened. His expression became no expression as those lounging about suddenly took interest.




            Kurama sucked his breath in sharply as he recognized the significance. If Hiei had ever wished to go hunting the father he'd never known, or go searching out his kin, then he had never told Kurama. But it seemed his father’s people were here, in the last place anyone might expect.




            Sango, drawing alongside Kurama, asked wonderingly, “Fire youkai?”




            One of the demons gestured belligerently with his spear. “And just who the hell are you?”




            Kurama glanced at their guide, prostrating himself into the dirt. No help there. Stepping forward, he cleared his throat. “Ah, that would be---”




            “Not you, slave.” The fire demon spat. “You,” he pointed at Hiei. “Just what the hell are you?”




            “That,” Hiei said icily, “is not your concern.”




            Muffled laughter from the other warriors, eyes lit with sudden anticipation, made their confronter stiffen. “I asked you a question, demon. I demand answer.”




            Hiei’s answer was to toss off his coat, his sword glittering in the sun.




            “Ho! You wish to fight?” The belligerent chucked his spear and grabbed up a short broadsword one of the others helpfully held out.




            Hardly the best first impression for a diplomatic mission. “Hiei,” Kurama urgently said.




            The fire demon ignored him, all his attention on the blustering fool who challenged him. Sango, sensing the kitsune’s concern, laid a restraining hand on Hiei’s arm.




            “Hiei,” she said softly. The muscles tensed under her fingertips.




            “What’s that?” one of the on-lookers demanded.




            “A woman,” another noted with interest.




            “A half-breed.” A third youkai sneered.




            His partner shrugged. “Who cares, if she’s willing.”




            “Who cares, even if she’s not.” The demon licked his lips, his red eyes heating as his gaze traveled the slayer's body. Derisive laughter met his sally.




            “I prefer red meat,” another invited, boldly eyeing Kurama. The kitsune ignored the lewd stare, knowing the byplay was only calculated to add fuel to the fire. He tried to reach out telepathically and warn Hiei, but the fire demon had already decided to take matters into his own hands.




            One moment he stood there bristling, sword glinting in the sun. The next, he stood over a corpse, the demon's head sailing through the air to land in the dirt at the others' feet.




            “Why, you…”




            Clang of steel meeting steel, and another youkai fell at the fire demon’s feet. Two others rushed him, and Hiei met each with contemptuous ease, leaving one moaning, the other’s life spurting out on the sand.




            Silence reigned.




            “Anyone else?” Hiei demanded, hardly even winded.




            One of the fire demons, who had stood watching from the shadows, smiled. Striding forward, he pulled off a hooked helm decorated with a white horse’s tail, revealing a craggy face and a scar crisscrossing where his right eye would be. “At ease,” he said, waving at the men behind him. They obeyed, reluctantly.




            “Honor to the Flame,” the demon said, somewhat formally, hitting his chest with a curled fist. “Peace, warrior. You have shown your mettle, and mine will no longer trouble yours.”




            His red eye briefly rested on Kurama and Sango, then dismissed them, all in one glance. “You’re not what we expected, Outlander. It is good to see our brethren honored in other lands. I am Hayato, Lord General and Guardian of the Gate. The Highest,” his gaze flickered to their guide, face still in the dirt, “welcomes you. If you will follow me?”




            Slowly lowering his sword, Hiei hesitated. He glanced at Kurama, who shrugged. None of them could have predicted this turn of events. It seemed, by some virtue of his blood, that Hiei had been appointed envoy. There was nothing they could do but play along.




            “You may proceed,” Hiei said, as if they had rehearsed this all along. Kurama thoughtfully collected the fire demon’s trench coat as the Lord General jammed his helmet on his head and motioned for the other youkai to fall in behind as escort. The iron doors opened with a wrench of un-oiled hinges, and they dutifully followed inside the darkness.












            Down into darkness. Such a cliché. But that was what it felt like, a never-ending descent down steep stairs switch-backed along a cliff face. The steps were narrow and somewhat slippery. Sango caught herself stumbling more than once. Kurama’s hand steadied her. There was little light past the single torch the Lord General carried, and there was a heavy silence to their grim march, the wind whistling as if they were lost deep inside a chasm within the earth.




            Who knew how long they walked. Down and down, into the depths of the earth. Or the bowels of hell, if one considered which world they were in. Sango quit counting steps when she passed six hundred some-odd, her sore feet counting for her. There was only the soft scrape of sandal on stone, the occasional hiss of the torch as its flame wavered, a low curse or clink of steel on stone behind them. The emptiness yawned before them, withdrawn inside its own concerns. Sango could feel the small hairs on her arms rising as her mind played with the idea. She widened her eyes, trying to take in more light. She could see better in the dark now than as a human, but she still didn’t have the easy night vision of a full youkai. Their eyes glowed in reaction to the darkness like wet pools of blood, Kurama's a reassuring golden-green just behind her.




            As if aware of her uneasiness, the kitsune’s hand sought hers. He squeezed lightly, encouraging her. Sango straightened tired shoulders, wiping a tickle of hair away from her cheek. Already weary from a long day’s march across bare sand and rock in the innervating heat of the desert, she welcomed the cool air, for once free of dust. Recognizing it, she closed her eyes and breathed deep, taking in the welcome buoyancy as jyaki flooded through her heavy limbs.




            The demon energy was enough to sustain her down the last seven hundred and fifty-two steps. She’d unconsciously started counting again, needing something to focus on in this maddeningly endless journey down into nothing. She was so lost in her count, she almost stumbled when the next step proved flat before her. She nearly bumped into Hiei, who stood like a rock, eyes glowering as the torch drew ahead.




            The flame was almost mesmerizing as the Lord General turned, the white horse's tail gleaming yellow-orange. A wicked beak-like shadow formed on the far wall from his oddly hooked helm as he nodded. A creak and groan, a shuddering protest through the ground as large, stone doors opened, and the chamber was abruptly flooded with light. Blazing light, like stepping straight into the white hot sun. Sango winced, her eyes dazzled.




            The Lord General paused, giving them all a chance to adjust to the light, and then barked out a strange order. Scurrying footsteps, and Sango saw brown-robed creatures, short and cringing like their silent guide, abase themselves on either side of the wide-flung doors. One of the creatures took the General’s torch, bowing repeatedly so that his ragged cowl touched the stone. A touch on her arm, and Sango followed Kurama into the light.




            As dark as the endless stairs were, the canyon city that opened up before them was so bright it took their breath away. White sandstone, flecked with gold, glittered in the sun, which shown unhindered by the haze of jyaki that surrounded most of Demon World. The sky was stark, still pink, but a faint shade, as if the sky blushed. The sun glittered, white-hot and blazing. Sango breathed the sight in---she had forgotten how much she missed the sun on her skin, so used had she become to the normal haze.




            A long open area fronted them, wide stairs sweeping to an imposing height, as building upon building rose, tiered into plain, single-story blocks that formed strange convoluted mountains as pyramids rose while others lowered. Here and there greenery trailed in artful display along carefully tended terraces, palm trees swaying in the faint breeze. People walked among the arches and up along the stairs that were carved into the outer walls of each building, most sporting plain styles in white linen. Creatures in ragged brown cowls scurried about, always careful to avoid the ones in white, prostrating themselves if one crossed their path.




            It was too much to take in all at once. The blazing sun, the pale pink sky, the glittering white buildings. The people, moving serenely about, the others who cowered away. Even as Sango watched, a large demon, his ragged robe dragging the ground, pulled a heavy cart across the courtyard. The scowling man perched on top viciously swung his lash when the demon stopped to stare at them. The cowl fell back, revealing a shaggy, curled-horned head like a big-horn sheep’s, eyes red-rimmed and dull. The whip cracked, and the demon bellowed, a sound that echoed around the sandstone court.




            No one noticed. Or if they did, they ignored it. Sango watched, horrified, as the whip-wielder jumped from his cart and grabbed the demon by the brass ring sunk into its nose, shouting something. The demon cowered away under the lash of his whip.




            “Kurama,” she hissed.




            “Ignore it,” he ordered tersely. Sango stared up at him, astonished. But they were hurting that poor beast---




            “This is not our land,” Kurama said, green eyes implacable. “It is not our place to judge.”




            He abruptly straightened to his full height, his expression bland. Their whispers had not gone unnoticed. Sango felt the red eyes on them, measuring and mocking. Stiffening, her chin rose. She felt nothing but contempt for these demons, so alike and yet so unlike Hiei. Superficial resemblance aside, she loathed their casual arrogance, their subtle belligerence. There was something unrefined and brutal about them, as if they were the coal left behind after the tempered diamond that was Hiei formed.




            Hiei stood like a stone, every hard line unforgiving and impenetrable. Sango's heart tightened. What must he be feeling, to be confronted by those who had never sought or claimed him, even when the Koorime banished him from their icy island in the sky? The fact he could appear so unaffected, so unconcerned, when he must be so torn inside gave Sango the strength she needed to pull herself together. Kurama was right. This was not their land, not their ways. She could not judge, even as her lips thinned as the beast whimpered, cowering away from the man who beat him.




            Hayato turned, and their escort fell into rank behind them. He made a welcoming gesture that again ended in his fist hitting his chest. “Te-eth-ret, The Steps of the Sun.”




            He said no more, just started across that wide courtyard. They silently followed, their escort keeping in lock-step behind them. Sango hated the itchy feeling of having armed men at her back, but shrugged it off. Kurama stayed at her side, his head up, his eyes straight ahead. Sango couldn’t resist looking from side to side, quickly mapping out their surroundings.




            The wide steps loomed before them. It was an effort to lift one foot after another. Sango kept her expression wooden, refusing to reveal any weakness before these people, forcing her shaking legs to obey her. One more, she promised herself, and then just one more. Kurama lent his arm, and she took a second to pull the jyaki to her. Faint, so faint, she had never felt the demon energy so distant. Perhaps it was a sign of her weariness. But it was enough.




            She pulled away from Kurama, and managed the rest on her own. Which was a good thing, for that stair was followed by another, and then another. A long, interminable walk down sun-glaring corridors, stirring interest by their passage, which Hayato and Hiei ignored. She was conscious of whispers behind raised hands, soft laughter, the occasional sound of tinkling music, even the faint whiff of some fragrance or other as they passed trailing greenery. Sango swallowed, throat dry, and realized that nowhere had she heard the sound of water, lapping or splashing or trickling. The absence was disturbing, and made her thirst suddenly worse.




            Perhaps the interminable walk was meant to exhaust them. She was already on auto-pilot, her feet moving without her even being conscious of them. Shadows had replaced the sun-glare, and the trickle of conversation and music was now gone. Silence reigned the deserted corridors, and Sango became conscious of how cool it was, the sandstone replaced with gold-flecked marble that stayed silent under their feet. Round globes floated above them, unlit in the late afternoon sun. The halls were high, with frequent arches to let it the cool breeze that she grasped to her to rejuvenate her waning strength. She had never relied so much on the jyaki in the wind before to give her the extra energy she needed. And it was hard, reluctant, like drawing honey through a sieve. Again, perhaps due to her own exhaustion.




            There was a youkai ahead. A tall youkai with a shaved head dressed simply in a white kilt and golden sandals. A simple sash of gold cloth crossed from one shoulder to the other hip, and he held a strange stick in his hand, like a golden baton, decorated with two white feathers.




            Hayato stopped before him. He bowed once, sharply, fist to chest. “Lord Chamberlain.”




            “Lord General.” The other bowed, not as deeply. His black eyes flickered over the newcomers, careful to hide his surprise as he caught sight of Hiei and all but dismissing Sango and Kurama.




            “My lord.” He bowed slightly deeper to Hiei.




            Hiei stood his ground, refusing to offer the same respect. Hayato smiled faintly.




            The Lord Chamberlain’s eyes narrowed, pulling his hawkish features into sharp relief. His mouth tightened, but he only said, “I am Krakaal, and have been sent by the Highest, May She Live Forever, to see to your comfort. I am certain you are weary after such a long journey. Chambers have been made ready, with plenty of attendants to see to your every need…”




            “They’re not,” Hiei said coldly, “needed.”




            Krakaal’s dark eyes slid to Sango and Kurama, and he smiled thinly. “The Highest has made it her express wish that every comfort be shown you. Baths have been readied, as well as refreshment. I shall escort you to your chambers.”




            He clapped, and four more youkai emerged behind him. Sango’s mouth fell open. It wasn't their sudden appearance that startled her, but their actual appearance. Tall and lithe, matched perfectly in height and handsomeness, they were golden-skinned and hawk-featured like Lord Krakaal. They were dressed in (what now seemed the standard) plain linen kilts that came to the knee and low golden sandals. They stood bare-chested, two male and two female. The men’s heads were shaved, the women’s straight black hair cut square to the chin.




            A hot flush stole up Sango's cheeks as Kurama’s eyes gleamed in amusement. Sango didn’t know where to look as Krakaal waved the four demons forward. Their armed escort fell back as the half-naked attendants took their place. Lord Hayato struck his fist to his chest, bowing to Hiei, and then departed without a backward glance, the guards following.




            “This way, my lord.” Krakaal gestured with his baton, and two other male servants appeared to open the tall golden doors on their right. The wide room beyond was but a larger version of the airy corridor, but it was flanked by balconies and terraces, the arched windows actually doorways that led onto them. Here at last was the sound of water, splashing in a resplendent fountain in the center of the room, one urn into another. Low, backless couches were spaced around it, small tables within easy reach. The same gold-flecked marble was used on the walls and ceiling as on the floor, floating globes lost in the dim recesses above.




            Arched doors led from the main room, thinner versions of the wide gold doors that gave them entrance. Pairs of attendants, one male, one female, stood at each.




            “Your bath awaits,” Krakaal said, nodding for one of the pairs to open their set of doors to reveal a second chamber, almost as big as the first, but with a full-sized pool contained within. A pool big enough to swim in, tiled in white with a gold sun depicted on the bottom and also high along the wall.




            The thought of immersing herself in water was heady, but Sango frowned as several of the attendants, all women, suddenly lined up on either side of the wide pool. At a gesture from Lord Krakaal, they stripped and made motions of diving into the water.




            Okay, that was it. Sango had had about enough. Kurama might be amused by being surrounded by naked women, but she certainly wasn’t. And with all that flesh bobbling about, she was ready to explode.




            “If you think for one damn minute, I'm going to let---"




            Kurama's hand tightened on her arm. "Ah, my Lord Chamberlain, while this," he waved at the wide chamber, the line of beautiful youkai women, "is quite thoughtful, we of the west are unused to such close attention to our needs---"




            Krakaal raised a thin brow. "And who are you to speak on your Lord's behalf, sl---"




            "Who they are to me is not your concern," Hiei snapped. "They are mine, and they alone will attend me."




            Kurama shot Hiei an annoyed look. "What my lord is trying to say, Lord Chamberlain, is that---"




            Completely ignoring Kurama's conciliatory gesture, and acting as if the kitsune did not exist, Lord Krakaal smiled silkily at Hiei. "As the Lord Envoy pleases."




            He clapped his hands, and the women gathered up their discarded clothing. Not fast enough to Sango's way of thinking, as they languidly formed ranks and departed, a few casting her sideways glances with knowing smirks.




            The Lord Chamberlain smoothly interjected, "My lord, please refresh yourself. I will send a light tray up, as it is customary for the court to dine later in the evening. The heat of each day is spent in rest and contemplation, so you will not be summoned for several hours yet. Formal court will adjourn in the morning, when you will be presented to the Highest, if she deigns to gift us with her magnificence."




            Krakaal bowed. "Until then, my lord Envoy."




            Hiei stood unmoving, look indelible as the Lord Chamberlain left, the golden doors closing after him.




            "Well," Kurama said, running a tired hand through his hair, "that was...something."




            Sango thumbed her hilt, eyes still faintly reddened. "He's a jerk."




            "He's a petty official, hardly worth your disdain," Kurama chided, gently taking her arm. He smiled. "And your disdain could never be a tenth of his."




            Sango snorted, her ire breaking at his acid wit. "You are a lot more patient than I, Kurama."




            "If no less weary." Kurama sighed, looking at Hiei. "Well, this is rather unexpected. We never considered you'd be the one to impress them, Hiei."




            "Hn." Hiei jerked at his sword belt, the motion sharp and irritated.




            Sango's eyes softened. What turmoil must the fire demon be going through right now? "Hiei..."




            His red eyes caught and held hers as he tossed his sword belt on the nearest divan. His pants and boots quickly followed. Naked, he strode over to her. "You need a bath."




            His nose wrinkled as his hands jerked at her clothing. Scowling, Sango stepped back. "Don't think I'm as easy as those so-called bath attendants."




            Kurama hid a smile, his pack already set by Hiei's discarded clothing. Eager for a good long soak, he stripped, carefully folding his clothing beside the rumpled mess Hiei left.




            "I don't need them," Hiei growled.




            He left unsaid what his eyes held, that he needed her.              




            "Hiei," Sango breathed, understanding sweeping the last of her irritation aside. Stepping back, her brown eyes dark with unspoken emotion, she slowly pulled her clothes from her body, letting them fall wherever they landed, right down to her tennis shoes and dirty socks.












            Sango gently took Hiei's hand, leading him towards the waiting water. Kurama watched, somehow both a spectator and yet part of it, as if it were he that the slayer led down the steps, her eyes shadowed with something that pulled him after them like a magnet.




            Water rippled up their legs, calves, then thighs as they descended the wide steps. Sango paused, looking over at Kurama, the water caressing her hips as her right hand reached out to grasp his, fingers curling lightly as they slid through his. She drew him in as well, Hiei watching with a hooded gaze.




            They were alone, for the first time in nearly ten days, with no hindrance of her moon days to interfere. Kurama savored the knowledge as he joined them, his own hips sliding beneath the water's surface as he sat down on the second step. He watched Hiei's hand rove up the slayer's left arm, cupping her upper bicep as he drew her attention back towards him. Leaning in, he kissed her, hard.




            Her fingers tightened in Kurama's as the fire demon pressed her to him, his other hand snaking around her waist and up her bare back to tangle in her shoulder-length hair as he bent her head back beneath the possessive fierceness of his kiss. She melted against Hiei, tugging urgently now at Kurama. He stayed where he was, enjoying the way they tangled together, unwilling to interrupt, and yet knowing that he was as much her anchor as Hiei.




            They finally broke apart, breathless. Hiei smirked, red eyes hot with lust as Sango, lips swollen and nipples ridged, stared at him in raw hunger.




            "Kurama," she said, tugging lightly on their joined hands, and this time he went, his own arms snaking around her waist and pulling her towards him to press his own claim on those sweet lips. Licking the salt from her skin, his mouth wandered, nibbling at her ear and tugging lightly on the lobe before descending the white column of her throat. She made a small sound, a sound of need, a sound of frustration, and he supported her weight against him as Hiei abruptly took a swollen nipple into the wet heat of his hot mouth.




            Sango gasped, and Kurama continued his nibbling descent to draw her other breast between his pursed lips. She cried out as her body arched, their entwined arms supporting her as she threw her head back, crying out at the unbelievable feeling of it. She nearly came apart when Hiei scraped his teeth across her aching nipple, Kurama torturing her other breast with light flicks of his tongue before sucking as much of it inside his mouth as he could.




            "Oh..." Her hands grasped, tangling in Kurama's long hair, pulling urgently at Hiei's shoulder. They ignored her growing urgency, her sobbing gasps. Kurama caught Hiei's eye, felt his growing need to sink himself deep within his mate and knew the fire demon's was more tangible, more urgent. He nodded slightly, his fingers slipping beneath the water's surface to ghost across the quivering skin of Sango's flat belly, dip teasingly between the rough curls at the apex of her thighs.




            Her hiss at his touch was Hiei's undoing. The fire demon abruptly dragged her away, swinging her around so her legs crookedly encircled his waist. He walked backward, his mouth devouring hers, to where there was more purchase for him to stand. His hands grasped her hips, positioning her. His grip tightened in fierce need at the first touch of her damp heat across his raging cock. He bared his teeth, revealing the sharp canines, his gaze hot and burning as he abruptly let her hips go, quickly thrusting up.




            Her breath sucked in, her eyes wide, a line forming between her drawn brows as he thrust fully inside her tight sheath. She grimaced, the feeling not entirely pleasurable as the water dried her channel, and Hiei's width forced her open too quickly to easily adjust.




            "Hiei," she protested, dark head burying into his shoulder as he tensed, withdrawing, and then thrust back inside. She grunted, but he was too lost in his own fierce need, his hips flexing rapidly as he pistoned into her, over and over, his raw hunger overwhelming him. She hung on, her fingers tightening around his shoulders as his buttocks heaved and flexed in an ancient rhythm.




            He was brutal and quick, staking his claim on his mate as emotions boiled over. She stifled a cry as he finally thrust home, going still as he went incredibly deep, his muscles tensed as he pumped his seed deep within her. She trembled as he growled, long and harsh, his own head coming to rest against the curve of her neck as his body drew taut, his buttocks locked for several moments before his body finally went slack.




            Kurama touched the fire demon's shoulder lightly. Hiei's head came up, his red eyes cutting to his. There was such a wealth of emotion in that burning gaze Kurama couldn't help but tighten his grip on the fire demon's shoulder in sympathy.




            Hiei's need was still there, raw and painful to behold in its anger and bitterness. He slid free of Sango, who watched them uncertainly as Hiei abruptly turned to Kurama, dragging the kitsune down to claim his mouth in a fierce kiss, his need hot and brutal and  not yet sated.




            Kurama let the fire demon's need claim him for a moment, his kiss hot and bruising, challenging and wild. But it was the wrong type of challenge, not one of sharing and love, but one of the raw need to dominate, to control uncertainty by controlling those around him. It was pain and bitterness and anger, the need to punish and hurt and be comforted by hurting. Kurama put a hand on the fire demon's chest, pressing harder when Hiei strove to keep them close.




            "No," he said, gentle but implacable. Hiei's eyes flashed, bleeding with anger, then abruptly dying when Kurama's flashed gold in response. The kitsune let some of his aura go, Youko's energy snapping lightly around him to remind the fire demon that he was not someone to be trifled with. Not in this way. Never in this way.




            Hiei stiffened, and would have withdrawn into his icy hurt, but Kurama wouldn't let him. His arms wound around the fire demon, and he hugged him, gently but firmly.




            "Not like this," he said huskily, the hunger in his eyes a promise as the fire demon's red eyes stared into his.




          Sango still lay beneath the fire demon, their legs entangled as she sat half-on, half-off, the second step. She bit her lip, her brown eyes shadowed and uncertain. She felt their pain, wondered what she might do to help it. She couldn't know how much she already did, just by allowing them to be themselves, and ultimately the conduit for the tangled rawness of their own feelings.




            "Sango," Kurama said, drawing her up. Hiei glanced at her, his look one of pain and regret. He would withdraw from her, too, actually, in shame at the way he had just used her, but she wouldn't let him.




            "Hiei," she said, and when he wouldn't look at her, again, "Hiei," more sharply.




            He reluctantly turned his head back to her, and she gently touched the hard line of his lips, the stiff clench of his jaw. She drew him down to her, kissing him gently, her compassion and understanding leaving him more shaken than she could know.




            Hiei would have released her, but she clung to him with one arm as she eventually turned to kiss Kurama, her kiss sweetly grateful. Sango knew he'd pulled Hiei back, but Kurama was reluctant to use her to slacken his own lust, the need still raging so fiercely within him. She was bruised and exhausted, but she only drew the kitsune to her, licking her swollen lips before tentatively licking his.




            Kurama closed his eyes, feeling the softness of her lips pressed to his, the gentleness in her calloused palm cupping his cheek. Her fingers slipped down, feather light, tangling in his dampened hair. They traced the wide breadth of his shoulder, came to rest lightly on the outside as she gently pressed herself against him.




            The water undulated, adding heady sensations to the softness of her breasts against his chest, the hard points of her nipples resting amid the fullness and warmth. Her thighs brushed his, and he felt his cock jerk in response, lying heavy against her belly. She released Hiei's arm to reach down and hold him loosely, her grip tightening in the way he liked as she stroked him, once, twice.




            Eyes still closed, Kurama's nostrils expanded, taking in her scent. Dust and sweat and water, the blessed scent of water, which he had missed while traversing the barren waste of the desert. She pulled again, her thumb digging slightly more pressure along the bottom of his cock, and Kurama sucked in his breath. She made an amused noise, and that was his undoing.




            Eyes opening, he stared down into hers. Soft, like melting chocolate or dampened pine bark, so thickly lashed it seemed her lashes should tangle. The delicate wings of her brows, her lips slightly parted as she breathed his name.




            Did she know how wanton she appeared, how utterly beautiful and completely desirous?




            Arms wrapping around her, Kurama kissed the wanton from her lips, made them part beneath his expert tongue. He pressed her heated core closer, dragging her up along the lean muscles of his body, the water making it so much easier, although she had never weighed much.






            Inspired by the thought, he lifted her right up over the side of the pool, so she sat on the edge, her knees splayed wide. It was a perfect height for him, and taking advantage of her bewilderment, he elbowed her thighs wider to kiss the dewy petals of her hidden flower open. She gasped, her hips rocking gently against his tongue as he lathed her in teasing, taunting strokes.




            Her orgasm came as a gentle rise, his tongue carefully drinking the slightly bitter moisture that dripped from her slit as her breaths quickened, her stomach muscles tightening until her release came in a sudden flood, her surprise evident by her breathy, startled moan.




            Kurama wasted no time, pulling her forward and down onto his cock. She shuddered against him, the waves of the water coming up to swamp over his chest. He was so near, it only took a few thrusts and it was his turn to moan breathlessly as he released his seed deep inside her. The hot silk of her tight sheath milked him of every drop, and they would have both slipped beneath the water if Hiei wasn't there behind her, to catch their weight.




            Kurama smiled gratefully, suddenly feeling stupid and tired. He just needed a minute to recover himself. That---had been unexpected. The depth, the urgency, his own shaken response to Sango's overwhelming release. The depth of emotion, the feelings it moved within him, feelings that were for both of them.




            He...just needed a minute.




            Hiei was suddenly brisk efficiency. Pulling the exhausted slayer to him, he grabbed some of the unguents left on one side of the pool. Scrubbing them both with quick motions, she protested as he growled, both of them somehow getting clean despite the half-assed argument. The slayer was too tired to put up much of a fight, actually. She even dipped her head back as Hiei's rough palm squeezed the soapy suds from her wet hair.




            Watching them was both comforting and fun. It also gave Kurama time to recover his equanimity. Following Hiei's lead, he made short work of scrubbing himself head to toe, dropping beneath the water's surface several times to rinse out the long length of his red hair. He, too, was tired after the day's march, the drama at the gate, the long descent and the interminable foray into the city.




            If he wasn't mistaken, there was a number of beds scattered around the rooms lying just beyond the pool's chamber, or something enough like them to give no never mind. For once careless of picking up after himself, Kurama was the one who led the way out of the water, sharing out towels, although the desert air would dry them quickly enough.




            All three stumbled as one for the closest bed big enough to hold all of them, to collapse in a tangle of limbs, for once uncaring how and where they curled around each other. Closing his eyes, Kurama fell into sleep with a smile.