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Yu Yu Hakusho Fic: "If Roses Are Dark"

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by KitsuneSilver, May 14, 2004.

  1. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Yu Yu Hakusho Fic: If Roses Are Dark

    Part two [following "If Roses Are Fair"] of the Silver Obsidian trilogy. See part one for standard disclaimers and et cetera.

    Chapter One: When the Leaves (Fall in My Wake)

    ~Hiei~

    He flew on the night’s wind, blurring from tree branch to tree branch so quickly, he wasn’t even sure he was moving at all. His thoughts were blurred and unclear, but the call kept ringing in his ears, no matter how fast he ran…

    But…but I love you…

    And he responded.

    No, no you don’t. You trick yourself, you manipulate so much, so often, you don’t even notice when you’re doing it anymore, but you do it, do it so often, you may as well be controlling all the events of the world to suit your own selfish needs and wants.

    Oh, your wants… You think you want me, you foolish bastard, but you don’t know what the fµck you want. You’ve tricked your own mind, trapped yourself in the corner of a corner, and hell if I’m going to be the one to break you out.

    Kurama had lied to him – he had confessed his darkest and most forbidden feelings to the kitsune, and he had been lied to in response. His trust for his friend evaporating more and more each second, he continued running blindly through the trees until he noticed a sparkle of light, just barely peeking over the horizon, signifying daybreak.

    Stopping with some effort and nearly tripping over himself due to his speed, Hiei looked around. Unsurprisingly, he had run to Kurama’s school, Meiou High or some such thing, where he often waited for the kitsune to be freed from what Kurama claimed to be classes, necessary to his “normal ningen boy” façade. Or so he said. But who knew it that was real?

    Who knew if any of it was real?

    The kitsune was worried over his safety, but no one was ever worried over his safety. So then, that was a lie, too. That was a lie because no one, in hundreds of years, no one had ever wondered if he was safe, hoped he was doing well, prayed that he would survive to see another day. Now when Kurama claimed to, it had to be a lie. Had to be. No one could care for something Forbidden, especially not someone as beautiful and elegant as Kurama.

    Beautiful and elegant…

    That was the problem, wasn’t it? Kurama was known across all of Makai as the lover Youko, one of the most breath-taking creatures ever to be born, but what may not have been so well known was that he never planned to take a mate. Eager females, and even some males, had flocked to his door, sensuality in full play, coy smiles toying with this perfect creature. He had taken them, of course. He was Youko. That was his game.

    But in the end, all was the same.

    They were all thrown away. Discarded. Useless.

    In the end, it was all Forbidden.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Turning and walking towards his home, Kurama gave himself yet another mental slap in the face. He had finally, after all these hundreds and thousands of years, had the opportunity to take a mate he could truly be proud of, rather than one of the hookers who had nasty habits of showing up for one-night stands. And he had told him he didn’t want him.

    He had thought it was true, of course. Youko lied, and lied often, but not when it would hurt him. Not when it would hurt someone he cared for. Not when it would hurt Hiei.

    He had truly thought he didn’t want Hiei. He had truly thought the youkai wasn’t mate material, so to speak. Hiei was his friend, his best friend, and someone he could live with forever, but the newly acquired ningen side of his personality protested taking Hiei when he wasn’t certain he wanted him, and the Youko side wasn’t sure Hiei was what he wanted. A burning argument was raging inside of him, and no clear conclusion was evident. Only murky half-truths surfaced and showed their faces, and any that seemed promising enough to pursue proved evanescent, fleeting, too much so for him to grasp.

    The trees knelt down beside him worriedly, tickling his senses and brushing his arms.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    As deeply as he immersed himself in the conviction that Kurama didn’t love him, Kurama couldn’t love him, Kurama never loved him, a stray thought lingered near the back of his mind and wouldn’t leave him be.

    But what if he does?

    What if he did? Could the youkai be making a terrible mistake, a mistake that would cost him any chances at happiness he may once have had? Assuming he had any chances at happiness to begin with, anyway, was he now giving them up?

    No. Leave me be. I don’t have time for this.

    Don’t have time for what, though, was the new question. What if Kurama truly did love him? Then, by turning away this chance, what was he giving up? What didn’t he have time for?

    A ferocious inner battle raged between conscious thought and unconscious hoping, and it tore at Hiei’s mind in a way he had never known.

    What if he does love me?

    But what if he doesn’t?

    What if I’m giving up the only chance I’ve ever had for real happiness?

    What if I’m falling into a lover’s trap that’s been waiting for hundreds of years?

    Go back and see him.

    Don’t let yourself be betrayed.

    Find him.

    Don’t.

    You have to.

    You can’t.

    GO.

    NO.

    Hiei shook his head fiercely, nearly falling from his perch and just barely regaining his balance. Clinging to the branch with one hand, he stood upright and leapt gracefully to the ground.

    Who are you to call yourself graceful? snickered that voice again, the one trying to dissuade him from seeing the kitsune. You’re nothing, nothing, compared to him.

    Who says I’m trying to compare myself to him? Hiei retorted evenly, his thoughts blank and monotonous.

    You are; just admit it.

    No. No, I’m not. I’ve never tried to compare myself to him. He’s more than I’ll ever be, and I have no right.

    Worthless bastard.

    Yes.

    Hiei walked aimlessly away from the direction he had last seen Kurama.

    What if he does?

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Kurama walked in a daze, not seeing where his feet were taking him and trusting instinct to lead him home. He had long since moved into his own apartment, luckily, as he didn’t have to worry about prying okaasan and otousan and otouto.

    He didn’t need that right then.

    He didn’t think they did, either. They didn’t deserve the brunt of his self-hatred. No one did, which left the burden on himself.

    But he didn’t want that either.

    Enough of weakness, he berated himself. Take your responsibility in hand and don’t try to shift your problems to someone else.

    Of course. He was a thousand years old and more, and he could handle a bit of emotion. He had done it before. He could do it again.

    …Right.

    Snapping out of his reverie, he noticed his body actively tugging off his tee shirt and tossing it to the laundry, and followed the action by draping himself in a thin silk nightshirt and pants. Slipping between the covers of a Western-style bed, the kind he had grown so used to when living with Shiori, he tried to drop off to sleep, a normally easy task at four in the morning.

    …Right.

    His thoughts kept pulling him back to Hiei.

    Where are you?

    Are you alright?

    Will you make it to tomorrow?

    …Do you know how much I care?

    …Do I know how much I care?

    …No.

    I don’t…

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Unbidden, he found himself at Kurama’s doorstep.

    How the hell did I get HERE, of all places?

    I don’t want to see him; it’s impossible.

    Why am I here, of all places?

    What the hell is doing this to me?

    Subconscious…

    Hiei wanted to see Kurama? He couldn’t possibly. It was so wrong. He couldn’t.

    And yet, at the same time, he so did, and it felt so right…

    * * * * *

    Okaasan: mother

    Otousan: father

    Otouto: little brother
     
    #1 KitsuneSilver, May 14, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2004
  2. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Two

    Chapter Two: I Look To (You in the Night)

    ~Kurama~

    Maybe if he had been looking, he would have felt a carefully shielded ki outside his window, lurking in the crown of the vibrant willow growing there. But he wasn’t, and he didn’t. And maybe if he had, he wouldn’t have found it anyway.

    Rolling over in his bed, Kurama glanced at the clock and sighed loudly. The neon red “4:37 AM” blinked at him innocently enough, but it was doubtful that this early, he would get much sleep, if any. Besides, today was Saturday, which meant it was only one day of school left before the weekend and he had an obligation to go.

    He burrowed down into his pillow and moaned. Schoolwork was not what he needed just then. Not when a certain little youkai no faia was haunting his thoughts.

    “I should have left when I had the chance! I should have seen you didn’t really love me and left before all this ‘feelings’ crap came out!”

    No…no, no, no…don’t go…don’t leave me…

    What if I
    do love you? Then will you stay? Please tell me you will… Please…

    The pillow was probably cutting off his air supply, but he didn’t notice. Some small, obscure part of his mind may have, but the rest didn’t care. This was more important than anything like that.

    This was more important than life itself?

    This was life itself.

    What if I do love you?

    Because I think I do…


    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Kurama rustled around his bed fitfully, trying in vain to fall asleep, ignoring his senses, not looking for anyone who might be watching over him.

    But Hiei was there, and Hiei was watching.

    Why he was watching, he didn’t know. He suddenly had an urge to remain shielded and hidden by the kitsune’s side. Something was going to happen, something involving the pair of them, and he wanted to be nearby when it happened, so Kurama wouldn’t be able to interpret his absence as unacceptable and his reappearance as reluctant.

    He scanned the area around the apartment for the umpteenth time, suspicious, despite Kurama’s insistences that no enemy youkai would attack in Ningenkai.

    Kurama insisted lots of things.

    Kurama insisted that he loved Hiei, insisted time and again, but not in the way the little youkai hoped.

    “…You’re my best friend, and I love you for it, and…”

    The pair had been in battles together before, some of which involved either of the two fighting with injuries, and yet they were both still alive. They defended each other tooth and nail, when necessary, and Hiei liked that. It sometimes made him feel weak, at the beginning, at least, but he had grown accustomed to it, and it was nice to have someone he could trust at his back.

    A sudden thought reappeared unbidden, interrupting his peaceful contemplations.

    You can’t stay away from him, can you? You weak little bastard. You don’t deserve him.

    I know, he insisted bitterly, but I can still protect him, can’t I? From a distance now, but I can still do it.

    He doesn’t love you, you know.

    …No…

    He doesn’t. You know he doesn’t. It’s true. Give up and stop trying.

    …No…no, I don’t know he doesn’t love me… Maybe it isn’t true…

    He argued with himself for what seemed to be hours, though was probably only ten or so minutes. Each time his argument lapsed, however, one pitiful thought reemerged time and again, no matter how he tried to push it away.

    What if he really doesn’t love me? Then what will I do?

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    He could practically see the words streaming across his mind in a vibrant, sharp red texts, screaming captions at his confused mind about his realization. “The Revelation has been made… what will be the result?” “The pair remains cool and distant, hiding from the Revelation…” “Will the Revelation bring positivism, or will the Silver Rose wither in the dark?”

    It made his life sound like a dαmn soap opera.

    The next decision appeared simpler than it probably was: search for Hiei and discuss his new feelings, or hide from Hiei and try to sort them out himself?

    He instantly wanted to find Hiei and talk about…everything, really, but a calm demeanor and collected thought made him realize he couldn’t do that. They had tried to talk earlier and it had lead to Hiei’s disappearance, and, assuming Kurama could even find Hiei again to begin with, having him run off wouldn’t help anyone. Kurama couldn’t expect him to stay, though. It wasn’t really fair.

    Glancing up at the clock again, this time greeted by a cheerfully blinking “6:41 AM,” Kurama dragged himself out of bed, discarded the light silk clothes he had worn to bed, and dressed in his customary pink uniform. Walking to the bathroom, he reflected again on what he could, or what he should, do about Hiei.

    He could ask him to sit down for another talk. He should let him come whenever he was ready, not the other way around. He could search for him. He should let him come whenever he was ready. He could take action. He should

    Deciding that any further reflection would get him nothing more productive than that, Kurama finished brushing his teeth and exited the small room. Picking up his bag as he passed it sitting on a chair, he walked to the foyer and slipped on his shoes, snatching up his keys from beside the door and opening it.

    The sights and tints of dawn still echoed through the sky, and Kurama breathed in deeply, letting the fresh morning dew scents of the foliage tingle his senses and wake him further. He walked with a cheerful enough expression pasted on his face, already accustomed as he was to hiding any and all aspects of his life as a Reikai Tantei from the one he ran as a ningen schoolboy.

    A flicker caught his eye, and he turned, hand instinctively raised to his hair. But the flicker disappeared, and he thought no more of it. It wasn’t Hiei, of course – there was no way the little youkai would have reappeared already, so it didn’t matter.

    What if it is? a voice taunted in the back of his mind.

    “Hiei?” he called in the direction he had seen the flicker before berating himself for even asking. If it was Hiei, he would never respond. Shielding his ki was a clear indication that he wanted to be left alone.

    The rest of the walk was uneventful, and he reached Meiou High with plenty of time before first period. He went straight to the biology lab to amuse himself, experimenting and playing with the plants and chemicals housed there.

    He kept wondering, though, about that flicker beside him on his way to school. It couldn’t have been Hiei.

    …Could it?

    No. So what was it?

    Enemy youkai? he wondered, the Youko aspects of his personality wondering for a chance to play. Unlikely.

    Yuusuke or Kuwabara running to school? He nearly laughed at that one. No, of course not.

    Hiei searching Ningenkai for something?

    He caught himself then in his routine cycling through the possibilities. No, of course it wasn’t Hiei. That was foolish.

    He mixed a curious purple liquid and purified water with a pH of 7 and withdrew a few drops.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Having returned to Meiou after watching Kurama try to sleep, Hiei nestled into “his” tree and dozed sporadically, keeping comfortable. Kurama would arrive soon, if he wasn’t already there, but that was something Hiei would have to ignore until – no, unless – the kitsune was threatened. He had used his speed to reach the school quickly, so it was doubtful Kurama had arrived yet.

    Indeed, minutes later, Hiei looked down, sensing a familiar and unshielded youki. Kurama had arrived and entered the building.

    Hiei noted that, without his mental consent, he had dropped a few branches, level with the biology lab’s window, hidden amongst the leaves.

    He draped himself over the branch and watched Kurama.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    I love him. Now that that’s settled, what do I do about it?

    It was as if the little cartoon angel and devil of his conscience had appeared on his shoulders, each calling out different things.

    You want Hiei. You never wanted any of them. Talk to him.

    Ignore it. It’ll go away. It always does.

    You want Hiei.

    Ignore it.

    You never wanted any of them. Talk to him.

    It’ll go away. It always does.

    “No it won’t,” he said aloud, covering his mouth quickly as he realized he had spoken. A drop of the purple liquid hit the floor, and it bubbled slightly. Apparently the purple was some sort of acid.

    Cleaning the mess, Kurama thought.

    The flicker, as I was coming to school…

    What if it was?
     
  3. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Three

    Chapter Three: To Take Away (All of My Pain)

    ~Hiei~

    Sun was glaring into his eyes, too bright to see…

    He rolled over and nearly fell…

    Fell where? There was only the tree…

    Nearly fell…

    Nearly fell off the mountaintop…

    Barely regained balance, everything was safe…

    Lost his balance, safety was gone…

    Fell over the cliff, fell off the mountain…

    Fell to the ground, hundreds of meters below…

    Fell into waiting arms, everything was all right…

    Red hair tickled his face, the catcher leaned over…

    Catcher was leaning over, leaning over to kiss him…

    Silver hair flicked his chest, the catcher leaned over…

    Catcher was leaning over, leaning over with a dagger…

    Blood stained his hands, blood leaked from his head…

    “Shineh…”


    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    The day passed easily enough, and, for the majority, without thoughts of a certain red-eyed little youkai. Only once during his lunch break did Kurama think of Hiei, and even then, he didn’t have much time to. He had received the highest mark on another Biology test and was flocked with both girls and boys, each clamoring for his attention. The girls to get time to “hang out” with him, the boys to “cash in” on his intellectual secrets and leech off his popularity.

    It was in Advanced Japanese Studies, his last class, that things really got…interesting.

    He looked out the window as one boy asked a particularly stupid and obvious question, and saw a Hiei-shaped shadow lurking in the trees there. He quickly brushed away the possibility of it actually being his friend, but it was nice to watch. It somehow made him…less lonely.

    The shadow shifted a bit, but didn’t disappear. If it had been Hiei, he would have been shifting from a crouched kneel to a reclining lie. He appeared to toss his head.

    The wind shifted, and the shadow vanished. Despite berating himself for it later and the startling child-like tones the sound implied, Kurama whined mentally.

    Aw…c’mon, Hiei-kun, where’d you go?

    You left, of course…

    You left, when you were never really there…


    And he thought about Hiei.

    Everyone you’ve ever loved, or at least, tried to love – they’ve all left you, haven’t they? You don’t like love… It has a nasty habit of betraying you…

    I wonder about you, Hiei…

    I wonder, if someone did love you, if someone loved you unconditionally, as a partner, as a friend, as a – a mate…would you love them back? Would you have the courage to love them back?

    Will you ever tell Yukina that you’re her brother? Will you ever be able to face that she might, for one in millions and millions of chances, one out of those millions might let her be disappointed? But more of them will let her love you?

    Sometimes, when I’ve exhausted everything else, when I can’t wonder any more about you…

    I wonder if anyone’s ever kissed you goodnight…


    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    A crisp, cool wind, not unlike the one that had washed the park the previous morning, blew through his tree, and Hiei stirred. A one-eyed glance through the leaves at the sun told him it was around one o’clock, and Kurama would only be at school for a few hours more.

    That dream…

    Kurama, catching him, nearing him, almost kissing him…

    Youko, dropping him, nearing him, almost killing him…

    It had all been so realistic, so frightening, so…so Kurama.

    He could deny it to himself all he wanted, he could tell himself it wasn’t true, he could berate himself for even thinking it, but the facts remained clear: Kurama was a cold-blooded killer. And he loved him anyway.

    Dammit.

    Maybe he loves me… Maybe he was telling the truth…

    Hiei flickered from his tree to another one near the window he knew Kurama sat by around this time of day. He knelt on the branch, watching the kitsune as he studied. Crouched over on the branch, watching his friend as he worked, waiting to see if he would be noticed, Hiei thought about Kurama, and it was strange.

    The ningen façade is something we’ve all become used to by now, it’s nothing new. It doesn’t startle me anymore.

    But it annoys me, doesn’t it? It annoys me, it infuriates me, it makes me want to run down there and show you off for what you truly are, to tell all those ningen how foolish they are and how blinded they’ve been… But I don’t. I can’t. Because of you. Because it would hurt you.

    Because you’ve developed a new life around this façade and breaking it would break you, wouldn’t it? And I don’t want that, do I? No, I suppose not…


    He spoke then, and he spoke to Kurama, though he knew the kitsune couldn’t hear him, and so it was to himself.

    “Ai nutseru, kitsune…”

    Please won’t you love me back…

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Walking outside after his last class, Kurama glanced over to the tree Hiei sometimes waited for him in, hoping, but not at all expecting, to see him there. He was not disappointed.

    Won’t you come see me, Hiei? I have something to tell you…

    He won’t believe you, you know.


    That was probably true. He wasn’t known for being a loyal lover and had already told Hiei he never planned to take a mate. There was no reason for Hiei to think he would be loyal now, and even if, by some divine interference, Hiei did agree to take him, the issue of ownership would undoubtedly arise, and though Kurama would never dream of thinking he owned the independent little youkai, it would be tricky to convince him of that.

    Please won’t you come see me, Hiei? he asked silently, even looking around halfheartedly for his friend. Of course, he was nowhere to be found.

    He walked slowly, or at least, slower than usual, still hoping, somewhere in the back of his mind, that he would see his friend running through the trees beside him, flickering towards his house.

    His walk sullen and dejected, he let go the possibility of seeing Hiei and walked with his gaze fixed on the ground. Step…step…step…

    A black flash lit the air to his left for only a fraction of a second, and so Kurama didn’t see it.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Darting through the streets in quick blackish flickers, Hiei sped toward Kurama’s house, intent on getting there before the kitsune. Stopping short on the highest branch of a nearby tree, his cloak swishing around his legs as he took a fraction of an instant to regain his balance, Hiei made a decision.

    He leapt in through the window and sat cross-legged on Kurama’s bed.

    Quickly calculating the distance and speed of Kurama’s pace in his head, Hiei figured he had another ten minutes or so to himself. That was a painfully brief meditation period, and he didn’t feel like doing anything under five or six hours at the moment. He needed something else to do, and while Kurama could occupy himself in the apartment for hours on end, Hiei was bored in seconds.

    So he thought.

    Kurama: indefinable, unmatchable, unreachable, untouchable, so beautiful…

    Hiei: definable, passable, graspable, findable, so plain…

    1. Antonym – Kurama : Hiei :: beauty : unattractiveness :: grace : awkwardness :: perfection : mediocrity :: everything : nothing

    He’s everything you’re not.

    Don’t you think I know that?


    A snicker ricocheted through his mind and his teeth clenched.

    Of course; just making sure.

    Ahou. Saru.

    Ah, ah, ah, little one, but I can’t do that. I’m just as much a part of you as…as he is.

    Don’t you DARE compare any part of me to him.

    I’ll do what I please, little one.

    DON’T call me that.


    A wicked laugh echoed through his mind, and Hiei started as Kurama entered the room.

    “Hiei!” Kurama said, startled.

    “Hn.”

    “What are you doing here?” he asked, laying his bag on the desk and walking over to stand before the bed.

    Hiei looked away a moment. ‘Trying to figure out how to talk to you.’ No, his pride would never stand for that.

    “I was waiting for you, kitsune.” Perfect. Not too blunt, but not sentimental or “romantic.”

    Kurama smiled slightly, though Hiei could see it was strained and almost forced. “…Why?”

    “…To talk.”

    Kurama smiled again, kind and warm this time, and sat beside Hiei. He tentatively reached a hand out and, after a long pause, laid it atop Hiei’s.

    “I’m here.”

    * * * * *

    Shineh: Die [also Kurama’s keyword to activate the Death Plant]

    Ahou: Fool

    Saru: Go away
     
  4. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

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    Has anyone told you that you are a very good writer? In all honesty you are!
    Your stories are always enjoyable never dull. Your characters all well developped and the conflict amongst them is a plus. I am loving where this story is heading and you cannot help it but feel for the characters. =D

    Keep up the fantastic work and keep on posting! :)
     
  5. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Four

    Thanks going out to Kylewayne for your positive reviews! =^ ^=

    Chapter Four: And You Give (Me a Second Chance)

    ~Kurama~

    "Kurama…"

    "Hai, Hiei?" Kurama smiled gently, gazing down at Hiei through half-lidded eyes. Hiei looked away, his face tinted.

    "…Ai shiteru…"

    "I know," Kurama whispered soothingly, squeezing Hiei's hand slightly. "It's okay, Hiei. You can tell me whatever you need to."

    "…Kurama…" Hiei began, trying to force himself to reveal his thoughts to the kitsune. "It's okay. …Tell me whatever you need to." "It's okay." "It's okay." "It's okay."

    Kurama looked down at the floor, trying to give Hiei a small bit of privacy.

    "Kurama, I…" he trailed off.

    "Tell me when you're ready, Hiei, and not before," Kurama murmured. "I can wait."

    "I can wait." "I can wait." "I can wait."

    "Please won't you love me back…"

    Kurama couldn't help himself, sitting up straight and looking out at the wall. Hiei himself was slightly surprised at the innocent ring to his tone, the almost pleading need behind it. He felt, and was sure he looked, like the small child he had accused Kurama of thinking him.

    "Hiei, I…"

    "…Don't love you," Hiei finished, just the way he had the last time he had asked Kurama to love him. "It's – I–"

    But he couldn't bring himself to say it. It wasn't okay, Kurama knew, and he was the only one who could do something – anything – about it.

    "No, Hiei… I…I can't–"

    "Please, Kurama," Hiei interrupted, "don't finish."

    In a flash, he was up, perching precariously on the sill behind the bed. "…I can't bring myself to hear it."

    He didn't really just say that. He didn't.

    Oh, gods, he did…

    "Romantic…"

    "Hiei, no – I–"

    Hiei was gone.

    "DAMMIT!"

    Kurama pounded on his bed, cracking the headboard and hearing the springs creak. He didn't care. It didn't matter.

    Very little mattered anymore, and the one who did had just fled out the window.


    * * * * *
    ~Hiei~

    He ran faster than he thought he'd ever run before, flying on the wind and only vaguely aware of his surroundings and location. He had to get away from Kurama, and he had to do it now. Not only had the kitsune's feelings – or rather, the lack thereof – been confirmed, but he had tried to cover it with some sort of explanation.

    Hiei wanted no explanation. He wanted Kurama, and if he couldn't have him, he would flee, no questions asked.

    He would take three days or so to himself in Makai, at the least, before returning to Ningenkai. Maybe more. Three weeks at most.

    As he flew on the night wind, tormented thoughts burst forth, threatening to overcome him, but he fiercely pushed them away. Too many appeared, though, and he couldn't combat them all.

    He loved the fox, loved him so much…

    Never known this sort of love before, can't let it get away…

    Kurama holds your heart in his hands, he can do whatever he pleases…

    Kurama doesn't take lovers, he uses them…

    You can't tell him everything, he'll betray you like all the others…

    NO!

    Hiei stopped short at Genkai's temple, wavering slightly, coat spinning round his legs. He took a breath and turned to the only person he could think of to count on.

    "YUKINA!"

    After a long moment, his twin opened the door and trotted out, giving him a wide smile and bowing. "Hiei-kun!" she cried, stepping closer to him. "How are you doing? What did you come here for?"

    "I came to see you," he replied calmly, the smallest hint of a smile gracing his own face. "How are you doing?"

    "Oh, I'm doing quite well, Hiei-kun, but–" Yukina paused, as though searching for the right words. "That isn't the whole reason you're here, is it?"

    He turned away to look at the ground, and shook his head. "Iie, Yukina, I do have something to ask you."

    "Come sit inside, then," Yukina offered, "I have tea ready there. Genkai-san is away, so the temple is empty except for me."

    Nodding, Hiei walked behind her to the table inside and knelt on a cushion sitting there.

    "Now," she began again, pouring two cups of the steaming liquid, "what is it that's wrong, Hiei-kun?"

    "Yukina, you knew your mother well, correct?" Hiei began, stopping himself just short of saying "our mother." Yukina nodded.

    "And you loved her as she loved you."

    Yukina nodded again, looking slightly confused. "Is this about someone you love?" she asked tentatively, knowing that if it was, Hiei probably wouldn't be very open to talking about it.

    Hiei paused, longer this time, looking at his mug as he drank. When the cup was drained, he replaced it on the table and continued looking away from Yukina, this time focusing on the table.

    When he finally spoke, it was blunt and perhaps colder than he'd intended. "Yes."

    "Who is it?" she asked kindly, in that sweet manner both she and Kurama had perfected.

    Once he had begun, it was difficult to stop. "Kurama."

    Yukina smiled. "And I suppose, from what you've asked, you don't think he loves you too."

    "He doesn't. That much is true."

    Yukina only smiled.


    * * * * *
    ~Kurama~

    Kurama slept most of Sunday morning off, ignoring his alarm clock blasting at him at seven AM. Hiei was gone and Hiei hated him and Hiei was never coming back and nothing was worthwhile anymore and…

    And everything was wicked.

    He finally rolled over to the familiar ringing of the telephone, picking it up and answering calmly and coherently, despite too much sleep.

    "Moshi moshi?"

    "Oi, Kurama, it's Yuusuke," came the chipper reply. "Guess what?"

    "You and Keiko-chan are getting married," Kurama answered sarcastically.

    "Yeah, rig – OI! Not funny!" Yuusuke snapped. "No, actually, we have a mission."

    Kurama groaned.

    "Aw, it's not bad," Yuusuke consoled. "It's routine. There's no stronghold or castle or anything to get through; he's just really strong. We have to stop him from doing damage to Ningenkai, that's all."

    "Mm-hm," Kurama replied, shaking his head.

    "Can you get a hold of Hiei?" Yuusuke asked. "We can't find him and I don't really want to try."

    "Sure," Kurama said, putting on the fake, perky tone he used in school. "No problem. I'll find him and we'll be at your house in a few hours. Or less."

    "Yoroshii. Ja!"

    "Ja, Yuusuke," Kurama returned softly, hanging up the phone.

    Finding Hiei. What fun. Especially now that the little Jaganshi had so misinterpreted his attempt at revealing his love.

    Best be on his way, though, Kurama supposed. Delay would do nothing for his brittle nerves.

    Perhaps he ought to begin his search at Genkai's temple. Hiei often resided in the lone tree growing in her yard, not to mention the fact that Yukina was there and she would be the first person Hiei would go to for strength.

    Walking to the door and kicking on his shoes, Kurama left his apartment, running just faster than a normal human could towards Genkai's.


    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~
    Talking with Yukina, all his problems suddenly seemed less…problematic. Kurama was no longer his first concern, and love was a triviality he had survived without long before the kitsune. Yukina was happy, and all was right with the world.

    True, she had eluded to her visions that Kurama might love Hiei more than he thought, but didn't mention them directly, and Hiei was grateful. He didn't want to humor the possibility of Kurama actually loving him romantically, and keeping it from being said made it easier to shun. Yukina must have noticed this, he thought, but she continued to dance around it, and he, in turn, ignored her hints.

    "Hiei-kun, where are you going after you leave here?" she asked placidly. "You can't be going back to Kurama's – or at least, I assume not – so what will you do?"

    He smiled inwardly at his plans. "Makai."

    She started, sitting up a little straighter, eyes a little wider. "Makai? Hiei-kun, you – you're not seriously going through with that – youkai there know of your connections to Reikai, to Yuusuke, and you can't–"

    He put up a hand to stem the flow of protests and smiled at her. "Yukina-chan. It's alright. I can take care of myself there. It won't be a problem, and there's no need for you to worry." Though it's nice to know someone will.

    "Mm-hm… I suppose so, but promise me something?"

    He tilted his head slightly.

    "Promise me you'll be careful?"

    Another smile, slightly laughing. "I promise I'll be careful, Yukina."


    * * * * *
    ~Kurama~

    "Goodbye – be careful."

    "Don't worry."

    "I'll try."

    Kurama flew up the steps, gaining speed rather than losing it, and arrived just in time to see Yukina re-entering the temple after a discussion with, he assumed from the voices he had heard, Hiei.

    "Yukina-chan," he said warmly, bowing slightly as she turned around.

    "Hm? Oh! Kurama-kun! Irasshai," she replied, bowing as well. "I'm afraid you've just missed Hiei, though."

    "Yes, I noticed," he said, smiling. "Do you know where he's gone to?"

    She shifted slightly, brushing back her hair and turning her gaze to the ground. He looked her over concernedly, wondering what was so wrong with his question. "Yukina-chan?"

    "Ah – yes, he went…he went to Makai."

    Kurama looked away as well, shaking his head slightly. "I thought he might." Dammit. Why does he have to make this so difficult?

    Part of it's your own fault, of course.

    …It is, isn't it?

    It is.

    Of course…

    "…Kurama-kun?"

    "Ah! Yes, Yukina-chan. How rude of me," he covered with a shy smile. "Gomen ne, I must have missed – what did you say?"

    To his relief, she smiled in response. " I only asked if you came to see him, or me."

    "Oh. Actually, I did come to see him. Or more accurately, to inform him that we have just been assigned another mission, and Yuusuke asked me to find him. But I suppose, now that he's gone, we'll have to get by without him, won't we?"

    Yukina looked at him kindly. "I'm sure you could ask Koenma to find him, couldn't you? After all, he's only just left, and there aren't many ways he could get there."

    "Yes, of course," Kurama replied with a nod. "I'll go ask Koenma now. Arigatou."

    "Of course."

    Kurama smiled as he left.

    You always give me a reason to hope, don't you, Hiei? You've gone, left us for perhaps a month, or more, spent in Makai, and yet, you care – I know you care – and so I have reason to hope you'll return.

    Perhaps we'll have to search for you, perhaps it will take too long, but we will find you, someday. Someday you'll return, and we'll find you again, and so I have reason to hope. You give Youko a chance at love, Hiei, you heal a broken heart, and because of that, I know you'll return and I'll find you.

    "Happily ever after" does happen sometimes, doesn't it?

    It does, Hiei, and I know if we give it a chance, it can happen now.

    * * * * *

    Ai shiteru: I love you

    Yoroshii: Okay

    Irasshai: Welcome

    Gomen ne: I'm sorry

    Arigatou: Thank you
     
  6. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

    Joined:
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    Chapter Five

    Chapter Five: At Living This (Sorry Life of Mine)



    ~Hiei~

    He ran, ran so fast, the scenery blurring by beside him. Emotions were emerging faster and more often, and as he ran, sometimes they would leave him, for just a bit, so he concentrated on his running.

    Running faster running faster running faster run faster run faster run harder run more run harder run more run on the wind, fly like the wind…

    He was running from his problems, of course, but Hiei didn’t care. The point was, he was running, and sometimes when he ran, his emotions would run too, run in all directions and leave him alone.

    He soon found himself flying through the trees, gliding on the winds, which were picking up, gliding over everything and leaving everything behind, below, where he didn’t have to see it and it didn’t come chasing after him. He looked down, of course – how could he not? Attentiveness to one’s surroundings was key in Makai, and lacking it would result in certain death in almost no time at all.

    Where was he going? He didn’t know. Following some ki signal, something drawing him east, east, head east. And he headed east.

    Another signal suddenly appeared near the one he tracked – no, not one, it was two – no, it was three – he kept running, tracking the four signals as they drew him on, drew him on east and he didn’t know why.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    He had no intention of asking Koenma, of course. If Hiei wanted to be found, they would find him. Maybe it would be better for him not be found, anyway. They could use some time apart.

    Right?

    He had been telling himself that, though, since Hiei had left the first time. That didn’t make it any more true. He needed to see the little youkai, he needed to talk to him and they needed to figure out what exactly was going on between the two of them. Or maybe it wasn’t what was going on so much as it was what wasn’t.

    So rather than search around for the closest gateway to Reikai, Kurama walked calmly in the direction of Yuusuke’s house. Kuwabara would no doubt be there already, and maybe Botan would, too. All he would need to do would be to say Hiei had gone off to Makai on his own, and they would move on. They had completed missions without him before, and could do it again. It wouldn’t be seen as unusual, and everything would be fine.

    Everything would be fine.

    Yes, everything would be fine.

    Fine.

    Arriving at Yuusuke’s house mere minutes later, he rapped softly on the door and smiled when his friend opened it.

    “Hey, Kurama, c’mon in.” Yuusuke held the door open and Kurama stepped in, slipping off his shoes and noticing Yuusuke look around outdoors behind him. “Where’s Hiei?”

    “Oh, Hiei won’t be joining us today. Yukina said he’s gone off to Makai on his own for a few days.” It would probably be a few days, at least. Yukina hadn’t actually said anything of the sort, but it was a safe bet.

    “Oh, right then. Fine. C’mon, Botan’s gonna give us a briefing or something.”

    Or something.

    Kurama remembered “or something.” Hiei and he had used it so often over the last two days. But…this was different. This wasn’t Hiei, and he had no business relating the two.

    “Konnichiwa, Kurama-kun!” cried Botan in that perky voice of hers as he entered.

    How can you be so happy when Hiei isn’t here?



    …They’re not related. Don’t compare.



    But how can you be so happy when Hiei isn’t here?



    …Don’t compare.



    “Konnichiwa,” he replied with a slight bow. “Yuusuke said you would be briefing us on the new mission.” He looked over at his friend and couldn’t resist a slight jab at him. “…Or something.”

    Yuusuke glared, but made no other outward reaction, and even the glare was playful and lighthearted.

    “…Yes,” Botan replied, just a bit confused, but brushing it off quickly. “Well, anyway, a summary of your mission.”

    “That is why we’re here,” Yuusuke muttered, near-silent. Kuwabara stifled a snicker, and Kurama looked over, dignified as ever. It is, isn’t it.



    Botan shot him a Look and removed a piece of paper from some invisible pocket in her kimono. “Nothing too difficult,” she began, seemingly trying, for some reason, to be comforting. “No traps or tricks to get through. At least, we think not. No youkai who have approached your target have been trapped so far, but none of them have accomplished what they tried to.”

    “Kill the target, you mean,” said Kurama softly.

    “Um, well, yes – kill the target.” Botan laughed nervously. “Anyway, all you’ll have to do is kill him. I mean, it. It’s sort of androgynous, you see,” she explained at their confused looks. “Not that that will matter when it’s dead.” Looking down at the paper, she read something quickly and looked back up at them.

    “It’s held itself up quite well so far, but it’s just stayed in the middle of a field. The field doesn’t seem particularly special, and should give you an easier time of it. The battle, that is.”

    Hiei would be suspicious…

    “How simple…” Kurama murmured. “Too much so…”

    “What do you mean, Kurama?”

    “Doesn’t it seem too easy?” Kurama asked slowly. “A creature so powerful, sitting in the middle of a field for no particular reason, just sitting, waiting for prey, waiting for us, to come try and kill it. It kills without a care, yet it does nothing to search for more. It assumes we will come to it, and trusting in that belief, it only waits. Doesn’t it need to eat? Sleep? Even to move, for that matter? Youkai are restless creatures, and if not to meditate, which is only done in safe, well protected areas, and sparingly, I have never known one to simply sit and wait for such a time.”

    “That’s true,” said Yuusuke, now equally suspicious. “Why hasn’t it moved?”

    “Maybe it fights while it meditates?” asked Kuwabara. “You know, kind of a half-unconscious thing. Spiritual, things like that.”

    “No,” said Kurama, leaning back on the couch where he sat. “Youkai either fight or meditate, not both, and they would never trust an open space like a field to keep them safe enough to try both at once. If someone too strong came along, someone they couldn’t sense immediately, they would be killed instantly for their foolishness.”

    “Maybe you’re just paranoid,” Yuusuke suggested. “Not everyone’s as smart as you, Kurama. This guy could be relying on its strength alone and, I dunno, eating its victims to keep itself alive. From the sound of it, it’s had enough.”

    Kurama laughed slightly. “Maybe.”

    Anyway,” Botan interrupted smartly, “as I was saying, the mission. Since we don’t appear to think Hiei’s going to come along, we’ve got no reason to wait any longer. Come on, there’s a temporary portal nearby.”

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    A flash of red in a nearby tree caught his attention, and Hiei jerked to a stop.

    What…?



    No. Go away. This is my fight. This is my release. This is my forgetting. This is my distraction. Go away.



    But please stay with me…



    He lurked nearby, stopping mid-step, watching as Yuusuke and the fool each fell ungracefully to the ground near where Kurama had landed. They were here for a mission, of course. Probably to stop the very creature whose youki he had locked on to and was now following.

    But this is my fight…



    No, no it’s not. They have every right to be here. Reikai business, isn’t it?



    But why?



    Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to go after the youkai attached to the youki he had been following. If Reikai was after it, it could only mean danger. Real danger, not the kind he searched out when he wanted a halfway decent warm-up match after a long rest.

    But danger could just as easily be fun.

    Changing course abruptly, Hiei darted off, taking a more roundabout route to the prey.

    Give me a chance, Kurama, I can do this. I can do everything you ask of me and more. Just let me live this life of mine…
     
  7. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

    Joined:
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    Chapter Six

    Chapter Six: And Will You (Let Me Be Free)

    And Will You (Let Me Be Free)



    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Landing cleanly on the other side of the portal, Kurama crouched in the highest branches of a tree and waited for Yuusuke and Kuwabara to gain their bearings. He himself was familiar with the area, having spent some time in it as Youko, sixteen years ago.

    “Oi, Kurama! Let’s go!”

    Jumping down, Kurama landed beside Kuwabara and smiled. “Of course. Let’s be on our way.”

    They walked for hours, or at least it seemed that way, before even picking up on the enemy’s youki signal. Yuusuke noticed it first, Kuwabara soon after, and Kurama, who was distracted, soon after that.

    I wonder if Hiei will have heard about this youkai… I wonder if he’ll be there…



    Probably not; don’t get your hopes up.



    I doubt it…



    Once they had all locked on to the youki, the three broke into a run, all headed in the same direction and running as fast as they could manage.

    They arrived quickly enough, but none of them really expected what they saw.

    A tall, slim, very good looking, and very male youkai was sitting in the middle of the field, amidst dozens of dead bodies, presumably of the youkai who had come looking to kill…it. It looked over as they burst into the clearing, smiling good-naturedly and standing.

    “Irasshai,” it said warmly, bending over in a deep bow. “To my…territory.”

    “Territory? Like Sensui’s crew?” Kuwabara hissed to Yuusuke.

    The youkai laughed. “No, I’m afraid not. This is nothing like the psychic friends of Sensui. Only my home.”

    Kurama studied the enemy warily through slit emerald eyes. The creature turned to look back at him, and its smiled widened.

    “Yoko Kurama,” it greeted. Kurama opened his mouth to speak, possibly to deny it, but the youkai held up a hand and laughed again. “No, no, don’t tell me it isn’t you. I know all about what you did to that ningen woman and her child. A great accomplishment, I must say.”

    Kurama seethed invisibly, restraining himself from darting over and killing the beast himself. Kuwabara was whispering to Yuusuke.

    “How is this guy…what’s-it-called, android?”

    “Androgynous,” Kurama corrected softly.

    “Right, that. It looks pretty male to me.”

    “I assure you, my friend, I am quite asexual,” the youkai interrupted. “I am a shape-shifter, you see, one with no real physical form. You might call me the very definition of an apparition.”

    That’s enough.

    “Perhaps we may,” Kurama replied coolly. “But perhaps we may also say that definition won’t apply to you long. Unless, of course,” he amended, correcting himself, “you truly consider a ghost to be an apparition.”

    “Ah, now, it appears Youko would like to come out and play, does it not?” the youkai said, looking over.

    “And if he does?” Kurama asked, removing a seed from his hair.

    “He’s gonna have some company,” said Yuusuke, setting into a fighting stance, Kuwabara taking a matching one beside him.

    Shineh!”

    Kuwabara rushed first, Reiken at the ready, with Yuusuke not far behind. Kurama fell into the familiar line pattern, summoning his Rose Whip and snapping it beside him. At the last second, the three darted off in different directions, Kuwabara charging directly behind the creature, Yuusuke to the left, and Kurama to the right. Yuusuke doubled back around and shot up from behind, boosting Kuwabara, just before impact.

    The youkai took a solid hit from the Reiken, but easily dodged both the Rose Whip and Yuusuke’s punch. A gaping hole revealed in its back, it reared back and apparently howled to the sky, closing its eyes tightly as the wound healed itself.

    “That’s not fair!” Kuwabara complained. “None of us can do that!”

    “It can’t use a Reiken, Rei Gan, or Rose Whip,” Kurama reminded him. “We should have the advantage. It hasn’t revealed an ability to attack yet.”

    “Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have one!” Yuusuke yelled back, narrowly dodging as the creature shot down for an attack.



    “Quite right!” the shape-shifter shouted. “Reiken!”

    “What?!” howled Kuwabara. “That’s mine!

    “No it’s not!” Kurama yelled over. “He must have an ability similar to Yanagisawa’s Copy!”

    “Crap!”

    That sums it up rather nicely, I think.

    The battle passed in a flurry of reiki and youki blasts, everything moving so quickly that at times, a member of the trio would get confused and nearly attack his teammates. “Rei Gan” was shouted left and right, and Kurama was sure he saw at least five Reiken being slashed about at once. His own Rose Whip appeared to be a solitary original, though, which, while confusing, was a nice break.

    Kuwabara tripped, flying face-first into the ground and thus dodging one of the youkai’s attacks. Yuusuke leapt over him and fired a second Rei Gan at the creature, nailing it in the chest and causing it to rear back to heal itself again.

    Kurama snatched the opportunity to lash out with his whip, catching the creature around the torso and dragging it to the ground before it had a chance to properly recover. Yuusuke took the chance to fire another Rei Gan at its already heavily bleeding body, and Kuwabara followed up with a well-aimed Rei Shuriken blast.

    “Stand back,” Kurama advised, moving to stand just at the head of the wailing creature. “This will hurt you too if you don’t watch yourselves.”

    Raising one arm at an angle and lowering the other, forming a straight line, Kurama glared down at the youkai.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    He perched in a nearby tree, carefully masking his youki, watching Kurama. Yuusuke and the fool were inconsequential; they could take care of themselves. Well…perhaps not Kuwabara, but Yuusuke would save him if need be. Truthfully, Kurama could care for himself well, but Hiei enjoyed watching him dance.

    Spin, half turn, sharp right, gliding jump, full twirl, whiplash, graceful leap, sideline… The whip became a ribbon for Kurama, an essential tool, but stunning and elegant in its deadliness. He leapt and flew with such effortless beauty, Hiei wondered why Yuusuke and Kuwabara were even necessary.

    They were doing their parts, to be sure – Yuusuke excelled in the surprise attack, and Kuwabara excelled in brute force. Both damaged the target considerably, but took their share of blows and more. Kurama had his own as well, of course. He rarely emerged from a battle so intense with no injury, unless he was toying with his opponent and nothing more. A gash bled freely across his arm and scratches adorned his body, but he could still move fluidly, and his beauty still mesmerized Hiei.

    He could barely restrain himself from leaping in to his teammates’ aid, but a pair of thoughts restrained him. Would Kurama ever properly respect him if he interrupted the battle, and would Kurama think Hiei didn’t trust him to take care of himself? Neither option could afford to be taken, and so Hiei watched and waited.

    But what if he didn’t go? Would Kurama hate him for seeing their suffering and not stepping in? Would Kurama hate him for not coming in the first place, but seeing them as weak and stepping in to save them?

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Fuuka Enbujin!

    Petals surrounded him in a crimson flurry, slicing through the youkai lying below him, cutting its skin and nearly amputating its hands and one of its legs. Yuusuke tilted his head, nodding in recognition, as Kuwabara made a face and turned away.

    Kurama stepped away, still glaring at the creature as it writhed in misery. The petals continued their work for all of a minute without his youki to help them, fluttered gracefully to the ground, as if caught up in their own private wind swirl. As they fell, the creature laughed.

    “You think a creature so weak as to be defeated by mere flower petals could have survived all these youkai, out hunting for its very lifeblood?”

    “Iie…”

    Yuusuke’s face abruptly drained of most of its blood, and Kuwabara teetered slightly in place, as if about to fall over. Kurama only gaped slightly.

    A deep, cackling laughter erupted from the depths of the youkai’s throat, and it sat up, blood still pouring from its wounds.

    “Healing seed,” it cried gleefully, holding up a small brown seed, crushing it and sprinkling it over its wounds. Kurama immediately raised a hand to his hair and felt around.

    Iie… He stole one of my seeds…”

    “It wasn’t even difficult!” the youkai squealed, nearly all its wounds completely repaired. “All the confusion, plus, I would guess, some other thoughts occupying your mind, completely distracted you! And now I’m ready for Round Two and you are…not.”

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Make a decision now, or you could lose him forever.



    You could lose them all forever.



    But you could lose him.

    Make a decision.



    Swallow your pride.



    “Perhaps,” he snapped, having dropped from the tree so quickly he seemed to appear out of thin air. “But I’m not.”

    “Who are you?” the youkai asked icily. “How do you hope to succeed where three of your…friends could not?”

    “I will defeat you. There is no doubt in my mind. You will fall this day, my friend.”

    The shape-shifter smirked. “Such big talk from such a little child.”

    Hiei snarled in response. “Such foolish talk from such a fighter. One who does not know size alone cannot win battles does not deserve to have lived so long.”

    “Rei Gan!”

    “Jaou Ensatsu Rengokushou!”

    “HIEI!”

    The attacks clashed and Kurama valiantly stepped forward, reaching out with one hand as he covered the injury on his arm with the other. “Hiei, NO! Don’t do it! You’ll never survive the backlash!”

    The attacks were not equal, however, and Jaou Ensatsu Rengokushou emerged triumphant, blasting through the Rei Gan to crash into the unsuspecting shape-shifter behind it.

    Hiei looked back at Kurama with pleading eyes.

    Please, just this once, let me do this without you.

    Kurama paused and took a half step backwards, lowering his arm. He even smiled a bit.

    But the shape-shifter was not to be forgotten so easily. It hauled itself out of the ground after another self-healing and reared back its flaming fist.

    “Jaou Ensatsu Rengokushou!”

    “Cute.”

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Hiei…

    No – he’s going to call on the Dragon!



    “Hiei…”

    Sure enough, Hiei tore off the first binding of his wards and quickly removed the rest. The dragon itself seemed to roar as he held his arm out.

    “Jaou…Ensatsu…KOKURYUUHA!”

    The shape-shifter balked, obviously not expecting the move, and stood frozen in place. The Dragon emerged, glowing a deep, rich black, and Hiei thrust his fist into it, rippling it with electric blue. Kurama took another step back.

    Hiei, what will be the cost of such a move?



    What if it doesn’t die?



    What if it comes after you?



    The creature ran from the dragon, carefully dodging with blindingly quick steps. Hiei smirked.

    “You think you can outrun the Dragon? You’re even more foolish that I’d thought.”

    “I do!” the creature called back. “And I will succeed where all others have failed!”

    Another smirk. “I don’t think so.”

    The Dragon finally hit the creature, nailing it straight in the back. It fell forward, writhing beneath the Dragon’s jaws, struggling valiantly to squirm itself free. It glowed faintly and shed its form, reappearing as a large falcon of some sort, trying to fly away.

    It nearly succeeded.

    “KYUUKETSU SHOKUBUTSU!”

    But not nearly enough.

    The aftermath was grim. Hiei lay flat on his back on the ground, soundly asleep. Kurama lay on the ground as well, though still partially conscious.

    “Is it…dead?”

    “…I think so.” Yuusuke moved to inspect the spot where the creature had lain. “Yeah – just cinders and…ew…scraps of flesh over here.”

    “So…now what?”

    * * * * *

    Rei Gan: Spirit Gun

    Reiken: Spirit Sword

    Rei Shuriken: the spirit “ninja stars” Kuwabara used in his match against Toguro Ani

    Fuuka Enbujin: Petals and Thorns [literally, Wind Petal Waltz Configuration]

    Jaou Ensatsu Rengokushou: Fist of the Mortal Flame [literally, Evil King Blaze Killing Inferno technique]

    Kyuuketsu Shokubutsu: Bloodsucking Plant
     

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