Chapter 13: Parallel Consciousnesses
"Give it up, already, Urameshi. He's not here. You never told me why he would be, either. Seriously, cough it up," Kuwabara said, poking Yusuke with every point he made. He didn't budge so he gave up asking about Hiei's place in this general scheme of things. He started to convince himself that it was just because they were from the same country. "Man... All this running reminds me why I'm not on the track team."
Yusuke replied sharply, "Quit complaining, you play frickin baseball, don't you?"
"Uh... Not anymore. I got cut."
"Same difference. And anyway, about Hiei... The guy's nuts, you should've figured it out. He must've had some business with this Tarukane guy and would use this mission as an excuse to close up some unfinished business with him..." Yusuke groaned. "Great. It's getting dark and we're lost. Why didn't I bring a compass? ...Wait, who uses those anymore? Dammit."
"We can still save her. I mean, the dark's the perfect time. We'll storm right in and then security'll be all like 'What just happened? Did someone just break in?' Or if they DO see us, they'll all be 'Wazzup?' and then we'll be all like 'Wazzup?' and they'll say 'Wazzup?' 'Wazzup?' 'Wazzuuup?' It'll be a great conversation. And then after that, what we'll do is... Uh, we'll smash on them, and then we'll save her and get her out in no time and they wouldn't even know what hit 'em. Except our fists if they see us. It's the perfect plan."
"Sure. So does that mean you can see in the dark, too?"
"...Crap. Well, I guess we could find our way tomorrow..." Grumble, grumble.
"Find our way?! We don't even know where we are."
"I already told you. I know where we're going. That's what counts." A smug smile was pasted on his face. Yusuke rolled his eyes. Kuwabara looked around. "Looks like there's no demons or anything around here. I guess we can camp out over here... Is it me or does it seem like someone's following us? I don't feel their energy or anything, but I feel like there's something here. But... Not."
"It's probably a raccoon. I'll start a fire." Yusuke started to walk away.
"But you can't."
"Why the hell not?"
"Only you can prevent a forest fire. And we probably should get some food. Can't do a mission without a balanced breakfast."
"You're stupid. Where the hell are we gonna get food? Something the bears pissed on?"
The light was blindingly bright. All he saw was that light. Then a face blocked it out, a grim smile on his piercing and stitch covered face.
"Look at how far I've come. I'm operating on generals now. And the one everyone seems to love so much. I feel like a sell-out. That's a same," he grumbled. With a calloused hand, he brushed the hair off Hiei's forehead, and again the doctor (Doctor... What was his name?) grumbled about how he wished Hiei would cut his damn hair. Hiei turned his head away and stared intently at the restraints on his wrists. He had an accent most Soviets complained about. How it butchered their Russian language. His name was
"They're not too tight, are they? I don't want to strangle your arms. Or... You can't die by cutting off circulation in someone's arms, can you?"
"Aren't you the doctor? You should know."
"Never went to medical school, but no one's died on this table that didn't need it. Take that any way you like. You can still move your arms, just a bit, right?" Hiei lifted his arm just a few millimeters off the table. (Shigure. It was Shigure.) "That's perfect. And I'll ask you again, you sure you want to do this? The pain from getting the Jagan is worse than you can imagine. In case, you were wondering why I had to put so much effort into getting restraints on your arms and legs, it's so you wouldn't be able to scratch out your eyes or kick me while I'm operating on you. You'll be the first to die if I don't."
"Use an anesthetic if that's the case."
"General, if I did, EVERYONE would be lined up outside my door. Besides that, I don't get paid money for this, and I don't have enough from my second job to get myself anything pretty. And this way, I know that we've got a solid contract."
"Fine. I won't say a word. Just do it."
"Don't be ridiculous. Everyone screams." He heard a drill sound and saw the flash of a scalpel. "It's just WHAT you scream that matters."
For a moment he saw the scalpel go to her face...
"Yuki-" He caught himself, realizing that he was screaming. The last syllable came out as a weak whisper. "..na..." Just when Yusuke was starting to turn his direction, he disappeared.
"You hear something?" Kuwabara asked.
Yusuke sighed irritably. "No. Let's get going."
Yukina sat by the window, staring out at the trees shifting in the wind. She sighed and slid back in her chair a bit, biting on her lower lip. Three birds flew in the room through the openings in the lattice covering on the window. She sat up straight and held out her hand. One bird perched on her finger while the other two fluttered around until they settled on her right shoulder. For a few moments she sang a lullaby until the words she had forgotten.
"Sweet birds..." she said in her native tongue. "You're the only ones who can visit me anymore. You're all so lucky. You can come and go any time you like. But for me..." She touched a talisman wrapped in between the panels. It burned her fingers the moment they touched it. She sucked on them for a few moments to ease the pain. As she did so, she stood up and looked out. "I wish I could touch the leaves on the trees too. I've never seen trees like these before. I would have been so happy to touch them when they change color. This place is so strange. It never snows. It's kind of lonely." I wonder if he's touched those leaves and was there to see them change colors.
She heard the heavy footsteps coming in and she whispered a firm "Go!" She sat back down and stared at the wall with a emotionless face. She didn't even turn her head when they came in the room.
"Right in here, boys! You should've brought yourselves some thicker jackets. You'll be freezing your balls off in five minutes." The footsteps came closer. "Hey, Yukina baby, look over here. Your nice uncle Tarukane's got some friends over here for you to play with. Now you better be a good girl and shed us some money and these nice guys won't have get on you."
She only allowed a slight frown to cross her face. Then the room started to chill and a film of frost began to accumulate around the room. Tarukane laughed to himself and said something about her being pretty like a parrot and having as much brains as one. She heard him say the same thing about a hundred times everyday so it didn't faze her anymore. (At this point, the English she did know what proving to make her even more miserable now that she somewhat understood what Tarukane was trying to say to her.) She saw the two strangers in the corner of her eye but not enough detail to memorize their faces. They appeared to be an enormous army green blob with black specks and a smaller navy blue blob on what appeared to be the shoulder of the large blob. The navy one jumped off the green one and the green one slowly came closer, becoming more and more clear. She didn't dare try to look directly at his face but she was still felt intense fear. There was a slicing sensation on her cheek but she ignored the pain of it. The fear lessened a bit.
"Don't bother with that. She doesn't even respond to pain anymore. I've done it so many times it doesn't even matter anymore. We've pretty much done every kind of pain we could think of and all she does is stare at the damn wall."
She heard the birds chirping outside. Oh no. Please don't... The sound was coming closer. Oh no... No... No, no, no! She twisted to see the birds coming to the window. "No! Go away! Not now!" She lunged at the window burning her arms in the process.
"That's it, huh?" The large one chuckled a bit. He watched her trying to hide her pain, chewing on her lip until it looked like it was starting to bleed. "Brother..."
She saw the smaller one's fingers extend. With eyes wide open in horror, she stood in the way but he extended the fingers on his other hand to hold her down to the ground. He grabbed the birds and brought them right before her eyes. She tried to squirm free from his grip, but his hold was too tight. She watched with agony as the birds screeches became more and more high pitched and their eyes popped out. And then he dropped the bodies next to her face and he let her free.
She grabbed their lifeless bodies and cradled them in her hands. She looked up at them and saw Tarukane's greedy face. He was shoving in between the two men with a grin so large it looked like his mouth was a crescent moon. She looked back at the birds and started to cry. "Why? Why did you have to kill them...? I... I will do anything... Just do not...."
He practically started prancing around the room as the stones hit the ground. "Yes! Yes! Yes! And all over a couple of piece of crap birds! You freaks sure are..." He giggled. "Alright, enough fun, boys! From now on I think I'll be getting us some roasted ROBIN!"
The larger one turned back to her as they all walked out. "Little girl, there's something you should think about. Learn how to make yourself cry so we won't have to do this again."
Tarukane turned to the servant who was waiting in the hall. "Come back in fifteen minutes and see if she made any more. And get a maid over here and make sure she doesn't try to off herself somehow."
"Yes sir." He glanced at the two men. "Oh, if you don't mind me asking, who are your guests...?"
"The Toguro Brothers, you dolt!" He practically shoved him out of the way. "And get a room or two- One's fine?- one room for these two set up while you're at it."
"What, the Toguro Brothers? Really?" Dear God... That's awful! He jumped when he remembered something else. "Oh, sir! One last thing before you conduct your business. There are intruders outside. I found two of them, but I heard there's someone else detected. They keep moving so fast it's hard to track them. I think..."
"Yeah, well, quit thinking. It makes you stupid."
"Er, yes, you're quite right. They killed Hiro or Henry or whatever his name was. I'm horrible with names without their faces in front of me. The one who was dropping the stones off. He was a demon. Anyway, all of the humans that came across him were killed so whatever these things are that are coming here can't be human. Or at least normal humans. I suspect the others in the market might be experimenting in creating demons out of humans."
"You don't say..." Tarukane paused. I think I smell a new place in the market. And when I do, I think this one'll be the first to go under the knife... Oh the possibilities. He turned to the brothers. "Yo, Toguro, you did say you brought reinforcements if you needed them right?"
"Yeah," the younger one replied.
"Beautiful. Say, Sakashita, do something for me. Get the phone."
"I've already called the market."
"Not that. I want you to called the Black Black Club."
"Oh. So you're trying to make this more interesting. Right away, sir." I hate my job. He groaned as he walked away.
"Hey, I think I see the path. We can keep going on there and..." Yusuke stopped and waited for Kuwabara to follow him. When he didn't, he turned around to frown at him. "What the... Kuwabara, you were just happy a few seconds ago and now you're all worried."
"I fee a weird presence behind us. It's stronger than what I was feeling last night," Kuwabara replied. He stayed frozen where he was, tracking down the exact place of the energy.
"You just noticed? It's probably just Hiei. Since that idiot doesn't want to actually come up and help us instead of jumping around like the dumb ass he is. Seriously let's keep- Damn it, Kuwabara!"
Too late. Kuwabara leapt into the bushes. Yusuke paused, waiting for Hiei or another demon to say something, but instead, Kuwabara started squealing like a fangirl. "Ooh! A kitty!" He came out holding a small black and white cat. "Aw, lookit. He's curling his paws. And he's purring. I love you, my kitty-cat."
"Gah! All that just because of a stupid cat..." He groaned. "I'm going back on the path. I'm not gonna keep getting lost with you. You can just sit your dumb ass over here if you want, but I'm gonna actually try and solve this mission."
"For the last time, we're not lost."
"You keep saying that but it doesn't make any sense Mr. UPS. So why don't you tell me what the hell it is you mean or I'll leave you behind."
"Okay, already. I'll tell you what it is. I just happen to know my way to Yukina because I now have... the red pinky string."
"The red pinky string... The second I saw Yukina's face, the pinky string between us was tied so now we'll be in separable. And when we meet, our hearts will be molded together... as one."
Yusuke smacked his forehead and sighed. "Whatever. The path's still the best way." Kuwabara didn't move. "Well, Hello Kitty? Hurry your ass up before they kill your red pinky string."
"But I feel twelve things over there. We can't go that way."
"Yeah, and what was the last thing you sensed? A stupid cat. I think we know whether or not to trust you this time."
He dropped the cat in response. "But seriously. This doesn't feel like just anything this time. It actually feels malicious this time."
"Yeah, and if we walk around the path we'd get lost again and probably get into piles of bir-" There were twelve hulking demons coming their way. They're moving pretty quick for something that big.
"So you're the ones who're trying to move in our turf," the largest one said. "It's not our land, but we're getting a nice enough amount to protect it, you hear?"
"Hey, I got a better idea. If we squash the humans, we'll get a pay raise," another added.
"So they're just like that other one..." Yusuke mumbled under his breath. Kuwabara nodded, a grim look on his face now.
The man with the two suitcases stopped when he saw Yusuke and Kuwabara. The direction they're going in is suspiciously close to... "Hey, what are you two boys doing out here? Shouldn't you all be at home?"
"We're just walking. Leave us alone," Yusuke replied. The man blocked their way. "What the hell's your problem? Can't some people go on a nature walk without douches like you blocking the way? Why don't you go back to your office? We just want to have a good time, dammit."
"Who sent you all? Now, you tell me. Was it Sabado? Bale? Fernandez? Toguchi?"
"Like he said, we're just hikers. We just got a little lost. We don't know what you're talking about," Kuwabara replied, looking as helpless as can be. At that point, Yusuke was grateful that Kuwabara was such a great actor.
"You expect me to believe that bullshit? I bet it was Phan or Xiong now. They can't keep their hands out of other people's money, can they? They knew these things are a hit, and they want in on our profit." His skin started to stretch so much it revealed that his skin was some sort of mask. "You're in trouble now. No human has ever...."
"I think we can figure out the rest. So you said profit? That girl in there's a demon like you, too? Doesn't it bother you more than just a little?"
"Money's money. I'm being paid more than just what you'd call handsomely for this. And I'm pretty sure you'd throw the other to get ripped apart by dogs if a nice thick wad was flashed in front of your face."
"You're wrong on that one."
"You boys came in time!" Tarukane laughed when he saw his fellow members of the Black Black club on the five screens in front of him.
"Wouldn't want to miss an opportunity like this!"
"Well, you do know how to make a great betting."
"Never a dull moment with you, is there?"
The last one was silent and took another drag on his cigarette. He stared intently at Tarukane with a half smile on his face. Or at least he was staring in his direction, anyway. He was the youngest member of the group. He had black hair cut into a mullet so to hide his scar that crossed over an eye. It was from a betting fight, he said. Tarukane knew this was the one to keep an eye on.
Tarukane grunted at the servant. Sakashita turned to another screen which was a series of security cameras to be sure that no one entered the mansion yet. He pointed pointed to the screen,"Well, my good men, the conditions are there are two intruders."
Tarukane hissed, "I thought there were three."
He hid the moments of his mouth much like a ventriloquist, "Well, I head three but they only detected two in the same area. The third might have been another demon that just happened to be passing by. You know how scatterbrained that can be..." He paused. "Sorry about that. I was being too confusing, and I just realized... There are two intruders and we have sent twelve demons. Your wager is on whether the intruders survive."
"So you're just making this more interesting... Fifty two thousand on the demons."
"Yeah, Fifty two thousand they die."
"Make that seventy six."
Ha! I've heard that there's two human teenagers going around and stamping out demons. Including some bozos called the Saint Beasts. If these are them, oh boy, I'd be rolling in cash. Tarukane grinned, imagining the stacks of money he would have in his vault.
"One twenty thousand on the intruders." There was a collective gasp.
"Are you insane, man?" Tarukane gasped.
"Well, I've heard that two human boys have been defeating demons. Doing much better than those convicts at the local, oh, what are they called now, the Lovecraft Place. You know those guys wouldn't do a good job protecting us though."
"Ever the businessman. You can't stay away from taking the underdog role, can you?" That damn Sakyou! How the hell does he always know about things like this? Who the hell are those Lovecraft guys anyway?!
"Six of their energies have just disappeared. Looks like we actually would need the three. I'll call them in." Toguro walked out.
"Well, I believe that one twenty times five is six hundred."
Toguro came back, followed by three demons. He introduced them- Miyuki, Gokumonki, and Inmaki.
"So your wagers that they will survive the Triad?"
"Two hundred on the triad!"
"Two hundred for me as well!"
"Two hundred fifty! Quit copying the last wager while you're at it!"
"Two hundred seventy."
Sakyou smirked and said, "Five hundred on the intruders."
Miyuki looked disgusted. "Well, that's a vote of confidence."
"Deal with it, lady. Unless you wanna punch out a screen you gotta shut up and take it. You boys can sit around and talk with Sakashita if you want. That's if you can't stand sitting and waiting. But the guy's scatterbrained, I warn you now. You can't hold an intelligent conversation with him." Tarukane walked out with the Toguro brothers following him.
"So.... Has the recession hurt you to badly?" Sakyou asked mockingly.
"Not-really-at-all!" He tried to hide his irritation. I hate my job so much...
"Geez, Kuwabara, you must mean business... You got rid of those guys like they were nothing. Why can't you be like that more often?" Yusuke asked.
"Hey no one's getting between me and my true love! Now you see why the path is no good? Great. Yukina, your knight in shining armor is coming." He ran as fast as he could then came to a skidding stop a second later. "Hey, I haven't felt anything following us so if it WAS Hiei he probably decided to leave. Probably thought we couldn't make it in and probably planning a sudden appearance so he looks like he's helping and would look cool for Mukuro."
"Uh, yeah... Hey, you remember that Razor thing we talked about in class...?"
"Nope. But it's probably related to emos. Now- away!"
"Uh... Sure." Whatever the razor thing is... Now is probably when they would use it. I think. Don't we wish his idea was right on?
I can't see in this place. That means they have something there that... Hiei growled under his breath and shook his head. They probably got talismans or something... I can't come in yet. If I go in before those two idiots, then I'll have to listen to Mukuro's crap about my taking this into my own hands. Yeah, I'll get it anyway, but at least I didn't cause any trouble. As long as she doesn't pull her hypothetical crap... Looks like I'll have to wait on them.... Where are they anyway?
Tarukane took the brothers down into a hall leading to the back of the mansion. They turned into another hall. "This is where I keep my prized animals. Aren't they beauts?"
"...Nice freak menagerie." The younger Toguro muttered under his breath. Tarukane laughed like it was the greatest joke in the world. He continued walking them down the hall until he stopped at a large room blocked off by a bulletproof glass wall. The creature in there appeared to be a giant bear with an alligator-like tail and reptilian face. It was covered with thick layers of matted hair and spikes went to its tail. It swatted a mammoth claw at the bulletproof window and wagged its long deep red tongue, drooling.
"Heh heh... She thinks it's time for food. Her name's Helen and she's the masterpiece of Middle East genetic engineering. She could probably tear a lion or a tiger apart like it's a toothpick or something. I don't know. Never tried. She does love it when we bring in cattle for her." He turned to the brothers. "Okay, you've been amazed by this. Now it's time for your end of the bargain. I want you to show me the extent of your powers."
"I really don't want to." (Cha-ching! I smell a discount!) Toguro took off his jacket and walked into the room.
"Hey, what're you doing?! If you die, Yukina'll never be able to be managed! She doesn't have the capacity to take commands!"
"My brother will surprise you. He always does," the elder Toguro said to reassure Tarukane.
"My job consists mainly of things that I don't enjoy doing. Just by looking at me alone you wouldn't think that I love animals..." He flexed his muscles a few times, and each time he did so, his muscles slowly grew larger and larger until they doubled in size. "This is about thirty percent. This'll be plenty."
Helen lunged to attack him. Toguro grabbed her massive arm and slammed a fist into her stomach. He whole midsection was blown to bits. Toguro turned around and walked out cooly, glancing at his hand once for blood.
"That... That was... Amazing! Amazing! I gotta make you guys my bodyguards! I'll double, no triple your pay! I... I... Goddamn this is great!"
/And there was none.