Recap: Komeko woke up from her unconscious state, but the baby had not made it. To better her healing, Koenma removed her energy cuffs.
Everyone sat in the room next to the one Komeko rested in.
“What was all that about?” Yusuke questioned.
“Yeah, she sounds like she’s in a lot of pain. Not to mention I’ve got a headache from that power release. What’d you do to her?” Kuwabara accused.
“Is she going to be alright?” Keiko asked with worry laced in her tone.
“What even happened to her? She was fine when we left the hotel room this morning.” Botan sighed.
“Enough! I’ll answer all your questions if you just be quiet and listen to me.”
The now adult-sized Koenma sat down in the chair on the left side of the room so that he was in front of everyone. They locked their gazes on him expectantly.
“Komeko is a very rare type of demon. Few have heard of her race because of how long they have been hunted and how low their numbers have gone. It’s possible that maybe a handful of them still exist, but even that is pushing it.
“She is a Tsuiseki demon. Any demon can smell scents and have a general understanding of whose scent is whose, but the Tsuiseki take it much further than that. They are able to hone in on a scent and track it down no matter how far from its source they are. Their sense of smell is at least a hundred times more sensitive than any other demon’s and far more than any human could imagine.
“Her kind has been hunted down for their tracking abilities. Since they are capable of finding anyone, anywhere, at any time, as long as they have their scent, they were considered a threat to hiding demons. Eventually, they were killed to near extinction. She is the only Tsuiseki that I know of personally.
“Many years ago, I found Komeko and she worked for me for a short period of time. To pay her for her efforts, I gave her the energy cuffs that she was wearing. It helped to conceal her energy and since her job was here in the human world, I wanted to keep her very well hidden. She grew attached to the cuffs and kept them. She’s worn them the entire time she’s been here.
“Her injuries were so bad that even though Botan and Yukina tried to heal her, she needs her own energy back to get better again. Who ever attacked her hurt her very badly. Beyond that, there are other circumstances surrounding the situation which may affect her even more severely than the physical issues.”
“Like what?” Kuwabara interrupted.
“We found a small child with her. It seems that she was trying to protect her from her attacker, but the baby did not make it. There was some connection there for Komeko and I believe that it will scar her more than we will be able to know.”
The prince sighed to himself and the others around him looked just as forlorn. Even a small frown momentarily graced over Hiei’s features.
“I thought the Tsuiseki were just a myth.” Kurama mentioned.
“So did I. They used to be a bedtime story to haunt demons with.” Hiei added.
Kurama nodded his head in agreement before his gaze landed back on the doorway and an intense need to protect Komeko filled him.
Komeko’s mind swirled in an onslaught of nightmares. Images flashed before her eyes of the small demon she had met in her dream and the baby that had died with her. Karasu floated in and out of focus, the baby cradled in his grasp. The girl was ripped from Komeko’s arms and she was thrown away like garbage. Some of the nightmares made sense, but more of it did not follow logic. The last one was of Karasu’s mirth-filled eyes staring her down as she writhed in agony with his bombs going off around her.
She awoke with a start a little while before dawn peaked across the horizon. She felt very sharp and alert, despite the grogginess that wanted to fog her. A pleasant scent hit her nose and her lids fluttered fluidly. She turned her head and locked eyes with Kurama. He was seated besides her, a book closed on his lap.
“Good morning. How are you feeling?” he asked as he stood up from his chair.
She mentally did a check of her body, began to sit up, and stretched her limbs in a test. She hissed when she felt her torso claim its protest of the movements. Kurama was closer now and gently laid a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t push yourself too hard. I know the extent of your injuries and you should be thankful you’re alive.”
Komeko inhaled deeply and sighed. The bed she was on felt less stiff beneath her and she realized she was back in the hotel, but she wasn’t sure which room until the scent of the other males hit her nose. The two strongest were of the demon beside her and Hiei, so she assumed they shared the room.
Her head gave a small ache at the overwhelming intensity her senses now had. She rubbed her wrists absentmindedly and found even her skin to feel hypersensitive as well. The most powerful and dominant feeling came from Kurama’s rose like scent. It filled her lungs and merged itself into her veins, pumping into her heart and overriding nearly everything else, but her mind still flickered between the reality of yesterday and the nightmares of last night.
Sadness filled her and everything blurred in her line of sight. She lifted her hand to her face and touched the tears that started to fall. She felt weak in her moment and just wanted to forget anything existed. She was surprised by the shift of pressure on the bed as Kurama sat down beside her. Mindful of her injuries, he placed his arm over her shoulders and encouraged her to lean on him with a gentle push in the right direction.
Komeko let herself do just that, but she did not sob like she did with Botan. The sorrow she felt ebbed around her thoughts as they stayed silent. Kurama’s touch swirled over her bare shoulder and down her unscathed arm in comfort. He realized the scars from his rose whip had vanished with her power release.
How long had it been since someone really held her like this? How long had it been since she let her emotions really take her where they wanted? How long had it been since she had taken those damn cuffs off? She left the questions unanswered and subtly nudged her face more into Kurama’s chest, taking in every whiff she could of his intoxicating aroma.
“You smell amazing. Did you know that?”
He looked down at her and smiled. “I was unaware, but if it makes you feel any better, you do too. You were covering your scent all this time and I have no idea how to describe it, but you’re very pleasing to the senses.”
A small smile spread across her lips and she snuggled into his warmth, accepting the comfort and the complement. Her mind returned to its previous path quicker than she would have liked. In response, she voiced some of her thoughts.
“I keep thinking about her, the little girl that I had with me. I haven’t told anyone about this yet, but I knew her before I saw her.”
Separating her gently, but not going very far, he looked at her questioningly. “How so?”
“Night before last, I had a dream about a girl that visited me. She gave me little information, but told me she was going to be taken and she needed my help. Our race has a connection that works in our blood to make us able to contact each other. This baby was so young that the only way she knew how to get a hold of me was in a dream. I didn’t understand it until I saw her.”
Kurama’s face turned serious. “Komeko, who was it that took the child?”
Her face darkened and her energy flared in anger. “Karasu and the older Toguro brother. Those rotten bastards killed her. I was just trying to protect her. The whole reason they brought her here was because of me and I couldn’t keep her safe. I may be the reason that she and her family were killed. I have no idea how many of us are left, but I know that she was a rarity. If I could just get my hands on those murderers…”
She trailed off and her energy spiked to a peak before she calmed down. Kurama remained serious and felt anger fill him as well; his arm curved itself around her shoulders a little more tightly as his own feelings kicked up.
“Kurama.” He looked down as she spoke softly. “Do you know where Koenma put her, the baby I mean?”
He noted that her expression was very child like in its curiosity. “I’ll ask him afterwards, but I’m sure she’s safe.”
Komeko nodded and sighed before working to stand herself up. Kurama stood with her and helped her maintain her balance. She could feel the pain that still ebbed around her torso, but it was getting better. Her stomach let out a growl in hunger and blush crept onto her cheeks as she smiled up at Kurama.
“How about some breakfast?” He offered.