“Okay! Okay! Okay! I’m going!” I yelled to my brothers as I slipped my boots on and stalked to school.
I just got back from another assignment with the team, it was harder because everyone was reckless and all. I’m used to working alone. So I too took part in the injuries. And of course I was starting my new school today, just to piss me off so I couldn’t sleep in.
Usually I’d be home school merely because of the record I had, my dad and brothers didn’t want me getting into really bad trouble with some of the guys at a regular middle school.
I sighed and felt better hearing the jingle of copper coins at the bottom of my shortened skirt. I put them on and shortened it. Along with removing the sleeves from my shirt. My skirt came to where it normally should at my hips, and went about half way down my thigh, I had black leggings underneath, sleeveless grey school shirt with a white wife beater underneath.
I didn’t cared about uniforms. If the teachers didn’t like it, it was their problem.
I walked in and received strange looks from everyone. I was used to it, you’d think people would have heard of hair dye to explain to my green hair. But I guess not.
I headed up to where my class was, about to turn the corner something green landed at my feet.
“What was that for?” He snarled.
“You idiot! I was worried!” I girl with brown hair and eyes yelled.
“Yo, Uromeshi.” I said addressing him.
“Ayame, long time no see.” He said standing up.
“Yeah a whole twenty-four hours.” I told him sarcastically.
“Um, I’m sorry, who are you?” The girl asked me.
“I’m Ayame, I know this idiot of a friend of yours.” I told her.
“You’re Yusuke’s new teamate.” She said.
I twitched by nodded.
“I’m Keiko, it’s nice to meet you.” She smiled.
“You too.” I said, “Hey, Keiko think you can help me out?”
“Sure just name it.” she said.
“I’m looking for class room number 153, you know where it is?” I asked.
“That’s the class room next to ours.” She informed me, “You’re new?”
“I’d be happy to show you around if you like.” She offered.
“That’s be nice, arigoto, Keiko.” I said.
The bell rang and Keiko showed me where the room as she dragged Yusuke by the scruff of his neck.
“Class we have a new student today.” The rat like teacher at the front of the class said. I was sure any moment now he’d turn into a rat demon.
“Would you like to introduce yourself?” He asked, “Why don’t you write your name on the board?” He suggested.
I bite back rolling my eyes and printed it anyway.
“Kashaykiki Ayame.” I said almost darkly.
Faces paled and whispers rose through the class.
“It’s nice to meet you.”
“Why don’t you take your seat.” The teacher suggested.
“Nice to see you again, Ayame.” Kuwrabara said as I took the seat next to him.
“You too, Kuwrabara.” I said and nearly smiled before turning back forward.
The day progressed slowly at, what Kuwabara told me was, a normal rate.
The final bell sounded and I threw all my stuff in my bag before stalking off and out of the building.
Kuwabara, Yusuke, and Botan were all waiting for me at the front gate.
“Oh thank goodness all of you are here now!” Botan said seriously.
“What’s up?” Yusuke asked her.
“We have another assignment.” She said holding out a video tape.
I sighed and grabbed it, “We can watch it at my place, but be warned, my brothers are crazy.”
They nodded, “I’ll contact Kurama and Hiei and have them meet us their.” Botan said.
I nodded and lead the way to my house.
“I’m home!” I yelled when I got through the doors, “Don’t be idiots I have friends over!”
“She has girlfirends over!!” Hika cooded.
“We wont!” Mizu shouted back.
We all pulled off our shoes and I lead them to the living room. We sat down and I put the tape into the player.
A knock came to the door.
“I got it!” I yelled so my brothers wouldn’t bother.
I opened it and there stood not only Kurama, but Hiei as well.
“Come on in.” I said and moved aside so they could.
“It’s a lovely house you have here, Ayame-chan.” Kurama said as we passed the kitchen to go back to the living room.
“My brothers take care of it.” I told him as we all sat down, “It’s all them really.”
“Ayame!!” I heard several angry voices yell.
I turned to see three of my brothers, fuming in the kitchen door way.
“What?” I asked.
“You have boys over.” Mizu told me.
I stared at them blankly and then sighed.
“Onii-chen, there are my friends and supposed team mates. Uromashi Yusuke, Kuwrabara Kazu, Suichi whom we call Kurama, Hiei, and Botan.” I pointed to each, “Guys these are three of my older brothers, Hika, Mizu, and Geen.”
“I assure all of you that we see Ayame-chan as nothing more than a friend, a team-mate, and a strong adversary.” Kurama told them, “We’re only here to do a job right now.”
“Video tape?” Geen asked.
He sighed and lead them all back into the kitchen.
“Are you the only one with green hair in your family?” Kurama asked me when they left.
I nodded, “Other than my mom, but she’s been gone a while.”
I pressed play on the remote and fast forwarded through the credits.
“He’ll never know.” I told them as I hit play again.
“Greetings everyone.” He said sitting in his chair, “I hope your all doing well. This mission will once again be hard and I hope you all arrive back safely. There’s an escaped demon on the loose in the forests of Gengo. Not very far from where you are. Your mission is to find him, kill him, and return the time ring back to us.”
“Wonder what the time ring does?” Yusuke asked.
“I know your probably wondering about what the ring does.” Face fall, “Well, it can turn either back or forward a number of years of the life of anything. It can make a sapling a large tree, an ocean a lake, even a human life could be turned into an unborn fetus or a pile of ashes. Please be careful.”
It ended and I got up.
“Well this should be easy.” Yusuke stated.
“We have no idea what demon has this ring, Yusuke!” Botan yelled, “We have to be careful!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
I figured they’d be fighting for a little while so I slipped up stairs.
Not two minutes later I came back down in jeans and hoodie with my favorite cap in my hands.
“We’re going out on a mission.” I told my brothers, “Don’t know how long it’ll be, but let dad and the others know for me when they get home alright.”
“Be careful.” They called.
We slipped our shoes back on and headed that way.
We got to the forest and started to look around for any clues.
“So, uh, what do we do to find this guy anyway?” Kuwrabara asked.
Botan looked at her communicator, “He was last seen somewhere around here.”
I sighed, “I should have brought Zooroo.” I said, “He had a great sense of smell.”
“He’s like a hound?” Yusuke asked.
“More like a highly skilled tracking partner that’s cute, cuddly, and easy to travel with.” I corrected.
“Baka.” Yusuke grumbled back.
I was about to come up with a witty come back, but I sensed something. I stopped and look in the direction of it. It wasn’t human. It wasn’t something that was native to Human world.
“It’s here.” I said and pulled out one of my knives.
“Hahoo! Points to the boy for picking me out so soon! Hahoo!” Something fowl screeched, “Surrender your souls to me now and I’ll make your deaths painless! Hahoo!”
“How ’bout you hand over the ring and we bring you in alive!” I countered.
“Nnoooowr!!!!” It roared before jumping out of a tree right at us.
But it wasn’t aiming for me, or Yusuke, or Kuwrabara, or Hiei, or Kurama. It was aiming at Botan.
Yusuke, Kuwrabara, and I all had the same idea, we pushed Botan out of the way only to wind up taking the blast. We were sent whirling into the distance blinded by light.
I blinked a couple of times to adjust my eyes to sudden light. Looking around I saw the fox was alright, so was and Ferri onna. But I couldn’t see Yusuke, the owf, or the other onna anywhere.
“Ow!” I heard behind me.
I turned around and my eyes went wide.
“What in the world?” Ferri onna asked.
“Oh my.” Kurama said.
“You’re in a skirt! You’re in a skirt! You’re in a-Ahhhh! That hurt!” The human five year old yelled.
“Don’t make fun of me or I’ll beat you up!” The girl in the middle yelled.
“You’re both idiots!” The last one with orange hair said.
“What was that?” The girl asked cracking her knucks.
“H-He’s being a baka!” He said pointing to the other boy, “You never make fun of a girl, especially one pretty like you.”
“Don’t butter me up!” She said and punched his arm and sending him face first into the ground.
“Um, guys.” Botan interrupted, “What’s going on?”
“I believe that the demon used the time ring on you hoping to throw us off by changing you back to a baby or making you not exist at all. But because Yusuke, Kuwrabara, and Ayame-chan stopped it, the years that were supposed to turn you back ended up being split between the tree.” The fox said.
“But who’s who?” Botan asked.
“Even you can’t be that dense.” I snarled, “The onna’s the one in the skirt, the owf’s the one with orange hair, and Yusuke’s the one in green.”
“Oh.” She said, “Well there’s a way to tell them apart!” She laughed.
Why couldn’t she have been the one turned into a toddler.
“We should split up and look for him again.” The fox suggested, “We find him, we kill him, we use the ring to turn them back to normal.”
“What are we going to do with them though?” Botan asked, “We can’t leave them here!”
“Each of us will have to take one with us.” He said, “I’ll take Yusuke. Botan, why don’t you take Kuwrabara.”
“But I wanted to take, Ayame.” She whined, “We could braid each other hair.”
“More like have her rip it out.” I said motioning to the three of them fighting. The onna was dominating.
“I’m sure we both know what’ll happen if, Hiei takes Kuwrabara though.” He told her.
“Then why can’t you take him?” She asked.
“Yusuke and Ayame are more free and rebellious then Kuwrabara.” He explained, “He’ll be the easiest to take care of.”
She sighed, “Alright.”
“So I’m stuck with the onna then?” I asked.
“Gomena, Hiei.” The fox apologised, “But on the bright side, she’s a girl, she can’t be very hard to take care of.”
I sighed, but didn’t oppose his judgment.
The fox picked up Yusuke, the ferri, baka, onna the owf. I sighed again.
“Stand up.” I told Ayame.
She did and smiled up at me.
“Follow me.” I told her and started walking.
I could sence she was right behind me the entire time. She didn’t say a word, she didn’t even ask where we were going. Maybe she knows, I though. Impossible, human children can only know so much.
Suddenly I couldn’t sence her right behind me anymore. I turned around and saw her crouching by something.
“What is it?” I asked her.
She looked up at me and smiled, “Ayame.”
I looked over her to see one lone ayame standing proudly under the shade of a tree.
I crouched next to her.
“Do you know what ayame means?” I asked her.
She shook her head, “Iris.” I told her.
“Do you know what that means?” I asked.
She shook her head again.
“An iris is more than one thing, it can mean everything, and it can mean nothing.” I told her wondering why I was telling her this.
“Do-” She stopped mid word and paused for a moment, “Do you think I could be as pwetty as an iwis when I’m older, Hie-sama?”
I nearly blushed at her cuteness and the nickname.
I looked away afraid it might show.
“What a question.” I said, “It doesn’t matter what I think, what matters is getting you back into your normal body along with Yusuke and the Baka.”
She didn’t say anything just kept looking at the flower.
I sighed and picked it, looking at it momentarily before tucking it behind her ear.
“I believe you will become lovely like a flower for a human.” I told her, “Now come on.”
She stood up with me and followed closely. This time she grabbed my hand instead of walking behind me.
I didn’t object, but I knew if anyone saw us, I was a dead man.
I slowed down a little so she could easily keep up.
I finally though this was what it was like to be accepted, but it was ruined.
“HaHoo! So, it seems between her and the other two they’re still alive!” He snarled, “I can do something about that! HaHoo!”
Before I knew it he was down right in front of us. I pushed Ayame to the side, making sure she’d be out of harms way.
“Let’s see how you react when we turn the little girl into an old woman! HaHoo!” He howled and shot the ring again.
Another flash of light, and the hand the ring was on, on the demon was gone.
I muffled thud was heard, he turned his head, I looked behind him. There she stood.
Tall as she was at fourteen, her jeans were back but fit normal, her long green hair went down past her butt coming from her hat, I saw long strong arms, and pointed ears that were pierced.
The wind blew softly moving her hair, she gained hips, her shirt didn’t meet her pants, on her tail bone I saw a tattoo, her scar incorporated.
She turned half way around to look back at us. The iris was still tucked behind her ear along with her hair. Her blue eyes shined and shimmered with a firey passion that can only be witnessed in battle. She got a nose piercing.
“I believe you should be more careful when using objects you don’t know.” She said and turned around fully.
Her chest still flat as a board, her height was the same, skin was only slightly tanner then it was, her eyes were just as beautiful. But her hips, oh her hips! They killed me. Full, lush, beautiful. They peeked over top of her jeans just enough to make me want to tackel her.
I swallowed thickly holding myself back.
“Your aim is completely off.” She told him, “You mostly hit that tree,” She motioned to it, it was huge.
How did I miss that? I asked myself.
“I got enough of it to turn me into my prime.” She told him,”And now, since I was told to kill you. I will.”
I couldn’t watch her, she was too fast, but when she came back into my gaze, she knelt on one knee, knife in her left hand. She was graceful still.
She stood up straight, and the demon fell to pieces. She put her knife back in her boot and walked over to me.
“Hiei.” She said.
My gaze was fixed on her hips and the way they swayed in such a way, now they were up to the beautiful blue eyes. I felt like I could stare into her’s forever.
She handed me something. I looked at it, it was the time ring.
She smiled, “Before you turn me back and we go hunting for the others, there’s something I need o tell you.”
I listened intently.
“When you turn me back I will almost be fifteen, now I’m twenty one.” Her gaze held mine in such a way words can’t explain, “In about a year or so after this, somethings going to happen. and I need you to follow your instincts.”
“Why?” I asked narrowing my eyes at her.
“Because,” She said bending herself at her waist so she was more at my eye level, her lips dangerously close to mine, “I know you want me, Hiei. And to be perfectly honest I want you too. And if you don’t help me out then, it’ll take two years after that before we tell each other.”
I was about to say something when she shut me up by putting her lips against mine. A half a second, but it was enough.
“Promise me you’ll do it.” She asked standing up straight.
“You know I can’t.” I told her a smirk pulling at my lips.
She grinned, “I hoped so.”
I pointed the ring at her and had fourteen in my mind. More light, she fell forward, I caught her.
Ichigo, I thought to myself as her long beautiful green hair splayed out on my face. I moved it and tilted her head up enough, she was a fourteen year old Ayame. Iris still tucked perfectly behind her ear.
I slid the ring on my finger and carried her on my back. I hopped through the trees searching for the fox and ferri onna.
“I can’t believe you let her get hurt enough to be knocked unconscious!” I heard Botan yelling.
I opened my eyes and sat up. I was in the woods with everyone, and I was confused.
“What happened?” I asked scratching the back of my head.
“You, Yusuke, and Kuwrabara pushed Botan out of the way of the blast, that then caused you three to revert back to about four or five years old.” Kurama explained, “You and, Hiei came back in contact with the demon, managed to defeat it, and found us. We used the ring while the two of them were having a nap and they’re still out.”
“Actually, what are you doing up right now anyway?” Botan asked.
I stared at her cold, “How does anyone expect people to sleep when they’re shouting?” I snarled.
She laughed nervously.
I ran an agitated hand through my hair and something fell out. I picked it up, it was an ayame.
“Hiei?” I asked.
“How did I get this, do you know?” I asked him.
He looked at me out of the corner of his eye, “You picked it from the ground as we were looking for him. You stuck it behind your ear.”
I smiled confused, “Why did I pick the ayame?” I asked, “I don’t like them.”
He, Kurama, and Botan gave me the strangest look.
“Yeah, it’s a pretty flower.” I said, “But I like lilies.”
“Then why did you ask if I think you’d become pretty like one?” Hiei hissed with such anger.
I tried to hold it back, I really did, but I burst out laughing. After I calmed down and whipped the tears away.
“My dad always told me I’d someday be as pretty as an ayame, if not prettier.” I sighed, “I’d ask my brothers too, but they never said anything back.”
I knew he was mad at me by the way he glared, but I couldn’t do anything but smile brightly back at him. And we both knew that Kurama and Botan knew he said something to me about it. I just wished I remembered what it was.
We headed home after we rudely woke up Yusuke and Kuwrabara. Botan went back to Spiritworld to return the time ring.
We all went out separate ways, but for some reason Hiei followed me.
I said nothing as we walked, but smiled enjoying the company. I almost had a heart attack when he reached out and grabbed my hand.
I looked at him, he looked at me. I swallowed.
“There something you wanna tell me?” I asked meekly.
“Hn.” He said, “Just that, a lily’s beauty will always pale next to that of a striking ayame.”
He took the flower I had in my hand and tucked it behind my ear before cupping my cheek.
“Hiei,” I squeaked out before he brought our faces close together. Our lips brushed, electricity coursed through me, then they met.
I knew he was a fire demon for a reason, but that puts a whole new meaning to burning fire.
The sun had set long ago, and the moon was out, it was chilly. But I might as well have been standing on the sun right then.
He pulled back and I reached for air not knowing I needed it.
“He turned you into your twenty-one year old self while we were together,” He told me, “You said in about year I’d have to trust my gut on helping you or not, other wise I’d have to wait two more years after that. But I’m not listening, and I want you to be mine onna.”
“Really?” I asked him.
He nodded, but said nothing more. I needed nothing more.
I grinned so big it hurt and wrapped my arms around him bringing him as close as I could. We stayed like that until a car passed(It took a while), then I pulled away still beaming.
“Hiei, can I ask you a question about the older me?” I asked.
He nodded, “Was I pretty?”
He didn’t reply for a moment, but then he looked at me and said, “A lily’s beauty pales to that of an ayame, but every beautiful sight in the spirit, demon, and human worlds are nothing compared to you, no matter what age, onna.”
I smiled and kissed him again.
“Arigoto, Hiei.” I said before letting go of his hand and running off towards my house, he followed behind, not close enough for anyone to see him running after me, but close enough so he could keep an eye on me.
He kissed me, but he hadn’t marked me yet. I didn’t care, he called me his, I was his. But he was mine. And that’s the way it would be.