Category: Anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yaoi
Warnings: shonen ai, possible sap (I doubt it, though), short
Email: [email protected]
Complete Archive: www.geocties.com/arigatomina
www.fanfiction.net under Arigatomina
Pieces of black plastic littered the grass, bits of filmy tape curled among blades of green. Such a mundane cluster of human creation didn't appear to have any significance. But that had been the piece of evidence he'd searched for with undying patience. Hours were meaningless to the youkai, red eyes going over every tape in the Reikai library, checking, searching. He wanted that tape, his cold voice expressing the need to view the scenes of horror and violence perpetrated by the ningens, heartless humans. The need was even stronger than his desperation for return to the Makai; Yusuke's bribe had kept him, gained his assistance. But the tape lay in ruins amid healthy grass, hints of something glinting in those deep, unreadable eyes. And Kurama didn't understand, guesses were useless with Hiei. He wanted to understand.
Those eyes turned to him, wide in an eternally youthful face. That face was elfin, curving as if made only to frame the cat eyes that bore through whatever they gazed upon. Black eyebrows barely reached out from beneath the white headband, but he knew they followed close to those eyes. Dark, unruly hair trailed down, wisps accentuating his pale, flawless skin. The bits seemed to have escaped the defiance of gravity that lifted the rest of his thick hair, holding it back till it met at a point like the flame of a candle. So appropriate, his black hair resembled a black flame with sparks of white instead of blue within the fire. But he didn't look dangerous. He looked like a child, oddly innocent. It was those eyes more than his small stature. His statement was too schooled, those eyes too deep, and he stepped forward, tilting his head back as he barely reached Kurama's shoulders. One eye narrowed, but his raised eyebrow was hidden by the band of white that covered his jagan.
"Why?" Kurama murmured, keeping his own statement as blank as Hiei's. "You didn't even watch it."
"Do you think it held anything I don't already know?"
His voice was mocking, a slight rise to express the humor. That voice was at odds with his appearance, deep and
masculine as if it originated in some thick chest. It was capable of bringing terror to those much larger than him and it
never failed to send tingles through Kurama's nerves. The tone was light. He recognized that and wondered if he really
had missed something that should have been obvious. "I don't think that," he said softly, his own voice odd in his ears after
that low growl. "But I thought you would watch it, or use it. You could have gotten back into the Makai. You know they
would be glad to send you back in exchange."
"Would have been," Hiei said sharply, the corner of his lips twitching upward. Kurama's green eyes were blinking at him
and he knew the ningen thought he hid his feelings. He wasn't fooled. "Do you think me a fool, Kurama? Why didn't you
leave me there?"
"Hiei..." The small demon turned, presenting him with the black cloth of that long cloak. He stared at the white scarf
wrapped about Hiei's neck until red eyes glinted over one narrow shoulder. They hid something, but they always did,
hiding the emotions so very deep inside. The tree was a few feet away and he turned when Hiei sank down against it, face
tilted as if asking why he hesitated to answer. His fingers brushed the white cloth of his sleeves and he glanced away. "If
you stayed, you might not have a way back."
"Why would I want a way back?" Kurama flinched away from him and Hiei's eyes narrowed a bit more before his face
cleared. He knew humans now, well enough to read clearly. At first he had been certain it was a game, that the red-haired
male played at being a kind-hearted human whose love for his mother ruled his life. The teasing was done to keep up the
ruse, the small smiles, glittering green eyes all a part of the impression of an easy soul. But it wasn't. Those averted eyes
were not easy, they were clouded and dark within the thick black lashes that partially hid them. It had taken time for him
to become familiar with the pain closed in those eyes, so long that he was amazed he'd been able to miss it before. Not a
flash of inspiration, but he felt he'd known and not admitted to what he saw. Kurama's shoulders were forward, his arms
wrapped around his waist as if he wanted to cave inwards. He knew the signs and he turned away from them, closing his
eyes against the daylight. "I left when I heard the hole would open, do you forget that? It was my chance to return to the
Makai. And then, I was there. And you let them bring me back when I was unable to protest. I ask you why?" His lashes
flickered a bit at the indrawn breath near him, but he didn't look. "Answer that, and I'll tell you why I destroyed the tape."
"I didn't want to leave you there," Kurama whispered, turning so he could look down at those closed eyes. His voice was so
weak he knew the youkai must think him a foolish ningen. But his face was hot, his skin burning not from a blush of
embarrassment and he didn't care how he sounded. Anger made his youki spark and he knew Hiei felt the increase. Those
pale lips had curved into a smirk. "What do you have there, Hiei? I *know* you hate the humans, but there's nothing for
you in the Makai. Do you want to disappear? To spend more centuries running from those more powerful than you and
killing the weaker ones, that isn't living. Koenma told you your class was B and you ran off in anger. I thought it was
because you had hopes for a higher class, but that wasn't it, was it. You knew your chances of getting back into the Makai
were limited. You planned to get stronger and you had to get back to the Makai before you were trapped here. I
understand that, I did then. I even explained to Yusuke. But I *never* understood why you wanted to go back so
desperately." Slits of red snapped to him and he held his back straight, not flinching from the glare.
"You stood by when Yusuke was almost killed. But you were right there with Kuwabara when we went to have revenge. I
know how much Yusuke means to you. It must have been hard to turn your back on him. You were desperate."
"Baka." The youko thought he was angry, Hiei realized that and it amused him to no ends. But he wasn't smiling, even the
smirk left his face as he caught those dark green eyes. "I was tired, Kurama, not desperate. And you...what were you when
you looked at me and decided to take me back here?"
"I didn't want you to be alone." Those eyes closed at his words and he felt the anger burn when a low chuckle sounded
from the youkai. His feelings were disregarded, fuel for Hiei's enjoyment at his expense. That youki he'd used up so
recently was rearing, coiling again as if it wanted to lash out at the small demon. "Hiei..."
"I have been alone all my life."
"That's why I didn't want to leave you there!" Kurama's eyes burned and he glared at the red gaze that lifted to him lazily.
His hands were clenched around the cloth of his sleeves, crushing the fibers. If he had been a youko, he would have ripped
the threads apart with the force of his anger. He was humiliated. Hiei knew already, those eyes missed nothing, ever, they
simply refused to acknowledge his feelings. He was discarded so easily it tore him apart. "You don't care why, Hiei. If
you were angry, you wouldn't be sitting there. You wouldn't have let me find you earlier. You don't care, so why even ask?"
"Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Kurama, human blood running through weak hearts. They can't support evil, it's repelled so
easily. Why should the world be turned against them because of the past? No one has the right to see that tape." Wide
green eyes stared at him and Hiei smiled, resting his forehead on his right hand. Bandages touched as his fingers splayed
over the shielded jagan, the tattoo on his arm blocked from sight but not mind. "I am tired, Kurama, do you understand
that? I'm tired of this world, the insipient fighting, the humans needing protection, and you. I am so tired of you, Kurama.
The friendship, the smiles, the distance, I don't want any of it. Can't you see that I have nothing to prepare me for this? I
have no place in this world while the Makai calls to me. I came for Yukina. She has no need of me now."
"You could have gone back with the tape..." The anger left him as quickly as it had gathered. Hiei didn't move, his elbow
propped on one dark knee, bandaged arm barely seen within a dark sleeve. Steps silenced by the grass, Kurama moved
forward to crouch beside him, staring at the hand that covered those eyes. "Hiei, do you mean you would rather stay here
than let people see that tape?"
Lowering his hand, he stared at Kurama, taking in the badly concealed hope. He'd had a revelation during their stint in the
Makai and he thought of it now as he looked into that open face. The human world hadn't ruined Kurama. Or, if it had, it
had affected the youko as well. He'd laughed with him and the sound was one he would never forget. "You're wrong,
Kurama. I will find a way back to the Makai without using the tape. But not now." The red-haired teen leaned back on his
heels, blinking in confusion and a small smirk claimed his lips again. "If you had left me there, I might have died while
sleeping. You could have used that as an excuse. But you didn't. It's just as well."
"I don't understand," Kurama muttered, frowning at the mysterious demon. He didn't know what to make of Hiei's
statement, or his words.
"If you had left me there," Hiei continued, his eyes narrowing slowly, "I would have been forced to find a way back to the
Ningenkai. I discovered something I want to know more about."
"Your human heart is weak." Kurama frowned at him, but he nodded sharply. "During the tournament, you allowed
yourself to be tricked, used because of your kindness. It was disgusting to witness. But the youko was without a heart,
black and cold and unbending. I knew then that you weren't hopeless, that you might have a life after this ningen existence.
And then, you laughed."
"What?" He was being insulted, clearly, but the small demon was actually smiling at him, not a mocking smile at all.
"You laughed at Yusuke, youko or human, you remain the same." The sparks of hope were back on Kurama's face and Hiei
turned his eyes away, inclining his head. "I have never shared laughter, with anyone."
He hadn't forgotten, the carefree laughter that had shook them, breaking away their pain. Yusuke, resurrected yet
unchanged as he acted the reckless young fool. And they'd laughed at him. Staring at Hiei, Kurama sank down lower onto
his legs, his arms falling to his sides. "I didn't laugh much as a youko, never like that." The demon glanced at him and his
own lips curved into a smile to match Hiei's. "It felt wonderful."
"They're both bakas," Hiei murmured. Kurama's smile widened and he smirked when the teen nodded quickly. "Who
would have guessed Yusuke had demon blood mixed with his human idiocy? And he is an S class."
"Does that prove to you that human blood doesn't ruin a demon?" That eyebrow raised again but Kurama wasn't bothered
by it this time. "Humans have it easier, Hiei. If you're tired, you could rest here for a while, until the opportunity to return
to the Makai comes again."
"I'm still here, aren't I?"
"Yes," Kurama said quickly, laying a hand on Hiei's curved arm. He started to say something but wide eyes stopped him
and he followed the gaze down, staring at his own hand. Warmth reached him through the black cloth and he lifted his
fingers away quickly. Had he ever touched the youkai? Suddenly, he couldn't remember. His wrist was caught with barely
a flash of visible movement and he frowned at Hiei. "I'm sorry, I didn't think."
"Did I complain?" Hiei asked quietly, his own eyes darkening. "Where is the ease you spoke of? Why am I the only one
you shy away from? Yusuke isn't afraid to touch my shoulder, Kuwabara carried me back from the Makai, and you flinch
as if burned. And *apologize* for it."
"I..." The black clothed demon rose so quickly he almost missed him and Kurama lunged forward, grabbing his arm.
"Wait!" Hiei turned his head, staring over his shoulder with cold eyes. He tightened his grip, both hands pressing the skin
beneath the cloak. "I didn't think you liked to be touched, Hiei, that's all. I don't want to make you uncomfortable."
"I thought humans took comfort from physical contact." Glaring at Kurama's bright green eyes, Hiei was too aware of the
hands on him. They held him the same way an enemy would if he were slow enough to be caught. But they didn't feel like
the grip of an enemy. "Are you different?"
"No," Kurama said softly, watching the demon's angry gaze. He was waiting for a sign, something to tell him what he
should do. "You're right."
"I'm not a ningen, but you are. You act like one, but not with me, not when the others are gone. Why?"
"You hate humans." He felt foolish, reminding him of that fact, but he was honestly confused. Hiei's glare was dissolving
before his eyes and he felt his heart beating faster. If he didn't figure out what it was he was supposed to do, he'd miss the
opportunity. Hiei was waiting for something, giving him a chance, and he didn't know what.
"Do I look like I hate you? Ningen youko, complete contradiction that you are." His anger was gone suddenly and Hiei felt
a wave of the exhaustion that seemed to seep through him of late. He wanted nothing more than to find a limb in some
desolate tree and sleep for days. It had nothing to do with using his youki. He was tired of everything. "Let go."
Kurama's eyes narrowed suddenly and he clenched his teeth, releasing Hiei's arm. Red eyes turned from him and he
grabbed the demon's shoulders, wrapping his arms around a lightly muscled chest and holding tight. He could feel the iron
stiffness as Hiei's breath caught and he closed his eyes, leaning down on the youkai's back. "Can I take comfort from you,
Hiei? Or will you throw me off and kill me? Or worse, disappear?" The muscles beneath his arms continued to tighten for
a moment, then the dark head moved against his chest, tilting back. He looked into the upturned eyes, searching that pale
face. "Hiei?" They blinked at him, then closed and his own breath caught as a slow smile curved the demon's lips. Thick
black hair pressed into his arm and he let out a slow, tentative sigh. "You don't mind?"
"Baka." The warmth was alien to him, strong arms restricting his movement in a way he'd never allowed before. But he
wasn't a fool, Kurama was the fool for taking comfort from him. He was the one gaining from the embrace, though he
wouldn't admit it. Silky hair brushed his cheek but he didn't open his eyes, letting Kurama rest against his neck. He could
practically feel the warm breath against his skin and he was content to stand there. Until Kurama pulled away, he wouldn't
move a muscle.