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Yu Yu Hakusho Fic: If Roses Are Fair

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by KitsuneSilver, May 2, 2004.

  1. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Insert standard "I don't own this show" disclaimer and "You steal, you die" copyright.

    Chapter One: Tell Me Now (That You Love Me)

    ~Kurama~

    Such a perfect day…

    The fresh atmosphere surrounded Ningenkai, completely free of the normal sweltering heat of a Tokyo summer and pleasantly breezy. Not oblivious to the weather, Kurama strolled through the park lazily, enjoying the scents and feel of the nature surrounding him and happily walking in more than a tee-shirt and weightless slacks. He was completely content.

    Stopping at a random park bench, he sat down and leaned back, breathing in the perfume of the environment around him and absently identifying the aroma of the abundant sakura and the more mundane tang of rain in the air. He hadn’t been called off on a Reikai mission for weeks, and had spent the time succumbing to an idle “ningen schoolboy” life, getting top marks in all his classes and completing every homework assignment with perfect ease. Youko was briefly entertained from time to time by the activities of Kurama’s classmates, taking pleasure in their struggling during Biology or Chemistry class and silently gloating.

    The downside, of course, was that he hadn’t seen his teammates in nearly a month. Yuusuke was occupied with either Keiko, training, or the more routine missions Kurama was not needed for; Kuwabara was spending as much time as possible with Yukina and, when Hiei was too near, following up on his desires to become a scientist; Hiei was…well, he didn’t know where Hiei was. Presumably somewhere off in Makai, working his skills down to a precise art.

    The heat suddenly spiked to his left.

    Well, perhaps Hiei was nearer than that.

    “Konnichiwa, Hiei,” Kurama called softly, leaning back and closing his eyes.
    Hearing the telltale near-silent displacement of air, Kurama tilted his head slightly in Hiei’s direction.

    “Hn.”

    Smiling, Kurama instinctively held back a gentle chuckle, not thinking Hiei would appreciate that much. The visit was timed oddly, but not unpleasant. Kurama always enjoyed a call from his favorite little youkai no faia. He so rarely had the chance to see him when not on the now rare missions, the special treat was welcome any day.

    “Haven’t seen you in awhile,” Kurama noted calmly, opening his eyes to look over at Hiei, who was still standing beside the bench. “What have you been up to?”

    Hiei shook his head sharply. “Not much you’d be interested in, kitsune.”

    “Now, now, Hiei, you don’t know that. Come sit down, why don’t you.”

    Another shake of the head.

    “Oh, come on,” Kurama berated teasingly. “No renegade youkai are going to attack you out here.”

    “You don’t know that,” Hiei returned, but sat rather primly on the very edge of the bench regardless.

    “So… What have you been doing lately? Not being tracked by Koenma, I assume. You’re off the Reikai “Most Wanted” list, aren’t you?”

    A nod this time, and Kurama smiled again.

    “Training,” Hiei finally replied. “Practicing. Stealing. Murdering.”

    “What fun,” Kurama murmured jokingly. “Perhaps I should join you some time.”

    “You should. Life here is so…dull.”

    “Not dull,” Kurama corrected. “Just no murder, that’s all. Normal.”

    Hiei leaned back against the bench, still managing to keep his posture tense and barely rigid. He appeared to be thinking before he spoke again. “If this is normal, I want no part of it.”

    Kurama couldn’t help letting a little laugh escape, biting down on it as Hiei turned to offer a lukewarm glare.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Dammit, this shouldn’t be so hard.

    Masking his ki easily, Hiei hovered in a nearby tree, watching Kurama walk languidly down a barely-worn path through the less-used sections of the park. Blossoms and ferns curved over to greet him and he paused occasionally to stroke them lovingly, not worried about observers noticing this strange action in such an obscure area. The kitsune paused to rest on a bench, and Hiei watched him awhile longer before letting the deep guard on his ki slip just a little bit, his natural body temperature instantly heating the area.

    Kurama tilted his head slightly to the side in an unmistakable request for Hiei’s company, and the little youkai complied, if somewhat slowly. Kurama still confused him – it had begun just recently, but was just as unmistakable as the kitsune’s silent request. Hiei didn’t like being confused. Darkness was his friend only when he chose to submerge himself in it, and never otherwise.

    “Konnichiwa, Hiei.”

    He dropped down from the tree as Kurama’s gentle alto voice offered greeting, muttering a quiet “Hn.”

    Now that the thought had reemerged, though, it was difficult to chase away. It wasn’t that Kurama himself confused him so much as it was whenever he was around Kurama, strange feelings overcame him and he was buried in a haze of misunderstanding and distortion. Feelings outside of self-loathing, pain, insecurity, hatred, and anger were new to him, and after a bare three years getting used to them, his four-hundred-plus body was still tense and wary whenever they emerged.

    “…What have you been up to?”

    Oh – the kitsune had been speaking to him. Hopefully, he had said nothing too important, as Hiei had been too submerged in his own thoughts to notice.

    “Not much you’d be interested in, kitsune,” he offered, shaking his head.

    Kurama smiled slightly, meaning the answer had been suffice. He would have to pay attention to the conversation now, though – there was time for his own private ponderings elsewhere.

    “Now, now, Hiei, you don’t know that. Come sit down, why don’t you.”
    Unused to a relaxed atmosphere of any sort, Hiei shook his head again. Dropping one’s ki guard was one thing, but dropping the guard on one’s defenses was quite another. A youkai could be killed in less than a minute for such a foolish mistake back home.

    “Oh, come on,” Kurama insisted, intercepting Hiei’s thoughts and thus, the reasons for his reluctance. “No renegade youkai are going to attack you out here.”

    “You don’t know that,” he answered automatically, but at the soft look in the kitsune’s gentle emerald eyes, he sat warily on the very edge of the bench. d**n that look. It could persuade him to do anything the kitsune wanted, even if Kurama didn’t know it.

    “So… What have you been doing lately? Not being tracked by Koenma, I assume. You’re off the Reikai “Most Wanted” list, aren’t you?”

    He just had to bring that up, didn’t he? Hiei was a thief and a criminal through and through, though, and there was no escaping his past. May as well grin and bear it. Without the grin.

    Hiei only nodded. But then, this was his best friend. Why not be brutally honest?

    “Training. Practicing. Stealing. Murdering.”

    Kurama smiled again in that kind way he was so good at. It drove Hiei to the brink of insanity sometimes.

    “What fun. Perhaps I should join you some time.”

    “You should,” Hiei replied instantly, before realizing Kurama must be joking. He would never leave his life here in Ningenkai, no matter how droll. But still, Hiei could push the prospect. “Life here is so…dull.”

    Kurama’s response was just as instantaneous. “Not dull. Just no murder, that’s all. Normal.”

    This was the human’s definition of normalcy? How pathetic. How fitting, but how pathetic. Normal in Makai consisted of day after day filled with murder, thievery, betrayal, and deceit.

    “If this is normal,” Hiei summarized, “I want no part of it.”

    Kurama laughed, and Hiei’s instinctive response was a sharp glare. For Kurama, though, he toned it down some. Less sharp, and more a non-threatening warning. Kurama clamped down on it, but the teasing smile remained. Good enough.

    “So, Hiei,” Kurama began, starting up the conversation again, “what’s the reason for this unexpected visit? Please, don’t tell me we have another mission.”

    “Not that I’m aware of,” Hiei replied distantly, unconsciously becoming lost in his own thoughts again. Those frustratingly unreadable feeling were surfacing again, but if he was ever to find peace of mind again, he needed to sort them out and stop running whenever they appeared.

    “Kurama, you’re…adept at sorting out feelings,” he stated bluntly, delving into the subject before he could give it a second thought. Kurama’s confused expression and slow nod were not a positive reaction, but they were an accepting one, and that would suffice.

    “Hiei, is there something – are you feeling something…new? Strange?”

    Well, of course, ningen-heart, Hiei muttered darkly in the confines of his own mind, glaring at the dirt. “Yes,” he answered instead. He couldn’t be feeling it too… No. Definitely not.

    Kurama leaned back again, looking up at the sky, a peculiar expression on his face. He appeared to be thinking hard, which was something, at least. If nothing else, he was trying to come up with an answer.

    “Can you explain it? At all?”

    “Hn,” Hiei muttered, giving himself time to orchestrate a decent response. His first instinct was to say that no, he could not, but perhaps that was wrong. Perhaps he could describe it, at least to a degree, if not completely.

    He thought, long and hard, but it led him only so far. Kurama smiled encouragingly, though, spurring him to go on thinking.

    “I suppose it isn’t clear,” Kurama said finally with a soft laugh. “Just try speaking, then. Begin with what you know and keep talking until you can’t talk about it anymore.”

    Hiei nodded slowly, turning to face Kurama and meeting the glittering emerald pools of his eyes. He choked slightly, then cleared his throat and began speaking.

    “It’s confusing… A huge mess of emotions and feelings that won’t sort themselves out and that I’m too unfamiliar with to understand. It leaves me in the darkness and I don’t know what to do.”

    Kurama nodded slightly, which was also encouraging. “Do they come about at any particular time?” he asked gently.

    Tell him tell him tell him say it tell him say it it’s not hard say it do it tell him…

    “When I’m with you,” he blurted, unable to stop himself. Uncertain as to why it might be a bad thing for him to tell Kurama, he shook his head sharply, resting his forehead in the heels of his hands as he felt a fierce headache creep up.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Kurama drew in his breath sharply, letting it out in a hushed sigh.
    The signs all point to one thing, but it can’t be true… It isn’t true, it can’t be…what do I tell him?…

    “Hiei…you love Yukina, don’t you?”

    Hiei jolted out of his hands with a start, staring blankly forward, his normally brilliant wine-red eyes clouded and confused.

    “Yes,” he murmured automatically, sounding oddly mechanical and eerily hollow.

    “Does that feel anything like what you feel now?”

    He nodded stiffly, his eyes never moving from the spot they had focused on, his normally sharply alert eyes still hazy and almost a dull grey-pink.

    “But more so, right?”

    “Yes.” His voice was a hushed whisper, so different from his normally hard, cold tones that it was frightening.

    Nothing about him was normal anymore. This revelation has perhaps startled and even frightened him more than Kurama had anticipated, but his actions were startling and unnatural. Kurama was frightened.

    “Hiei,” he began, trying to go about fixing his friend. “Are you alright?”

    A rushing torrent of words was his fast-paced response, and did nothing to calm Kurama’s clearly too-tense nerves. “You’ve just explained to me, Kurama, that I’m in love with you. Do you know how strange that is? That my best friend is now the object of my desires? That even knowing your history as Youko, even knowing how many lovers you’ve had and how few friends you’ve kept, even knowing all I do about you, I still fell in love with you?”

    Kurama winced. Hiei had spat the word “love” as though it left a stinging and bitter taste in his mouth, as though the last thing in all of three worlds that he wanted was to be in love with the kitsune. Of course Kurama was unused to youkai not wanted to love him, but someone finally did, and his best friend, no less… Somehow, this hurt. His best friend didn’t want to love him.

    “Hiei, you don’t have to…”

    “You don’t understand this at all! I don’t choose who I love! I love you because… I don’t even know why I do! All I know, kitsune no baka, is that you’re a part of my subconscious now, and I cannot be with you without feeling this – this – this sparkling something I can’t understand. You make my heart hurt, baka, but it’s not in a way I don’t like. All I know is that only you have the power to truly hurt me anymore and giving you that much power scares me.”

    “Hiei,” Kurama began placidly, trying to sort out his own tangled emotions, “it’s alright. You’re unused to being in love – you’re even unused to loving Yukina, you’ve done it for such a short time now. It’s new, and anything this…big, this important, when it’s new, it’s scary. But–”

    “You don’t understand…”

    “Hiei, I’m here to talk whenever you want.” Despite circumstances, Kurama smiled caringly. “What don’t I understand?”

    “This is all new and yes, it frightens me, but the point is that is you don’t love me in return, it’s all meaningless droning on my part. Kurama,” he said desperately, turning to the kitsune with shining eyes. Were those tears?…

    “Kurama, tell me you love me. Please, tell me you love me.”

    Kurama started, jerking back in surprise. But it posed an interesting question. He had never really thought of the youkai in that way, but now that the question had been raised, what was the answer? Sorting through his mind and the knotted feeling roiling within him, he picked out the ones that were stirred when Hiei, and only Hiei, was around. Interesting… This was new…and not exactly unwelcome, either…

    “Hiei…”
     
    #1 KitsuneSilver, May 2, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2004
  2. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Two

    Chapter Two: Catch My Soul (Keep It Safe Forever)

    ~Hiei~

    Baited breath. What does that even mean?

    Hiei waited silently, his breath catching and his chest tight. Whatever it meant, he knew he was feeling it now. His vision should have been dulled from lack of oxygen to his brain, but rather, it was sharp, clear, and dead-focused on Kurama. His bright red eyes began to water slightly, begging him to blink as his mind protested the exact same action. The kitsune in question was only looking up to the sky, the emerald pools hazy and unfocused as a light drizzle began to fall.

    Make or break my world, Kurama. Kill me or save me. Please…

    “Hiei, I…” Kurama paused, uncertain. Kurama didn’t look at him, and Hiei didn’t move. He was frozen in the tense pose of a tiger stalking its prey, eyes never leaving Kurama’s as he listened for his friend’s next words. As more time passed, he became more and more certain that Kurama would flee, giving him a cryptically unclear answer and leaving before the youkai could puzzle it out.

    “You’re my best friend, Hiei,” he said instead, surprising Hiei, thought the youkai didn’t show it. “I can be myself around you like no other. I love you for that. But Hiei,” he continued, beginning what Hiei was sure would be a severely heartbreaking statement, “I don’t know if you love me as a friend or in a romantic sense, but you’re so new to both sensations that you can’t tell me.”

    “They’re different?” Hiei asked, sounding for all the worlds like a confused child. Kurama nodded in response.

    “Slightly, yes. When one loves a person as a friend…” Kurama began, struggling to define “love” to his rather stoic friend. “When someone loves a person romantically,” he began again, taking a different tack, “it’s often described as the ultimatum of all emotion. You’re content in all aspects of being, even if subliminally, and the love is, for the most part, unconditional. Nothing but the one you love has the power to truly hurt you, and if they take that chance, you’re hurt beyond all other emotion. You’re half of a whole that is completed by the one you love, but you’re your own whole for the only time in your life, and when – if – the emotion is returned, that makes it worth all the risk.”

    “Sounds sort of fanciful,” Hiei replied, finally moving to sit back on the bench, blinking furiously.

    “Perhaps,” Kurama allowed. “Love as a friend, in a non-romantic sense, is…sort of like love romantically, but much less intense. The beloved friend is a part of who one is, and can help or hurt them equally, but cares enough that they won’t hurt. Real friends won’t hurt, at least.”

    “Hn…” Hiei murmured dazedly, pondering his own feelings against what Kurama had just described. It sounded accurate, but it was best not to make judgment until hearing completely how one loved a friend.

    “Friends become part of your soul,” Kurama added softly, looking at Hiei. “They become part of who you truly are inside, very slightly shaping your personality. They leave marks on your heart that never go away…marks that can turn dark if the friend abandons you. They always change you, normally for the better, even if you don’t notice it.”

    The feelings still indiscernible blurs spinning inside of him, Hiei compared the two explanations. He cared for Kurama in ways he had cared for no one, ever. He made him happy in ways he had never been happy before. He felt odd when he was with Kurama, and yet he felt odd without him, too.

    Half of a whole…

    I love him.

    “I love you as one would a lover,” he said quietly, his eyes still focusing on the ground. “More than a friend. A mate.”

    Kurama gasped inaudibly, taking quick breaths in slight gasps as he looked at Hiei. After all his years as the lover Youko, someone he cared for loved him. Someone he would gladly spend the rest of his life with.

    But would he want to spend his life with Hiei as a mate? He treasured the youkai’s friendship more than any, opening up to him and showing sides of himself he could show nowhere else. Hiei opened a new door for him, and with Hiei, he could truly be himself in every aspect of the words. He cherished the freedom the little youkai gave him, and adored Hiei as he had no other in a thousand years.

    But mates…

    It was such a delicate topic, and so precious and carefully spoken of for kitsune. Traditionally pack animals, kitsune loyally mated for life, refusing all others once one had been chosen. He knew many kitsune who had taken mates, but many more who kept the carefree life he had once known, using sex as a toy, a plaything, a tool for gaining power and poise. All the kitsune he knew of who had taken them had been friends with their mates for years upon years, and knew them better, perhaps, than even they knew themselves. He had known Hiei for a bare six years, and the little creature was still such an enigma to him. Normally Kurama loved a puzzle such as he, but in such a situation as the choosing of mates, puzzles were not the game.

    “Hiei, I love you as a friend like no other,” he repeated in a hushed whisper, not trusting his voice for much more. “But Hiei, mates…

    “Not mates,” Hiei stated, completing his thoughts viciously bluntly.

    “Kitsune mate for life,” Kurama explained, still reeling from the shock. “I never planned to go that far, with anyone. It isn’t your fault.” For some reason he felt the need to reassure his friend that he was not to blame, though he didn’t really think Hiei had heard him.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    I should have known…

    “Not mates,” he said flatly, his voice hollow.

    “Kitsune mate for life.”

    He heard nothing beyond that revelation. Truth be told, he had known kitsune were lifelong maters, but hoped he would be good enough for his friend. Apparently not. And yet, Kurama insisted on fabricating the explanation, going on about how it wasn’t Hiei’s fault, how there wasn’t anything he could have done to change Kurama’s mind, how it had always been his plan. What mindless drivel. He had no interest in listening to the kitsune no baka any longer, but something rooted him to the bench and refused to let him leave.

    Love.

    He still loved Kurama, even if the foolish ningen-heart didn’t return the feeling. There was nothing he could do to stop that. No matter how little he wanted an unrequited love, he could not shake his feelings for the kitsune. Just as he could never stop loving Yukina, his sister, his twin, he could never stop loving Kurama, his partner, his best friend.

    “Hiei?”

    “Nani?” His tone was sharp and cold, filled with disappointment and sadness. Kurama felt his heart break.

    “Hiei, would you like to spend the night at my house?” he asked, noticing the rain begin to beat a steadily heavier pattern on his back and switching to such safe subjects as the weather. “I would expect the storm to turn to lightning and thunder later, and it wouldn’t be safe to sleep in a tree.”

    A sharp nod. “Hn.”

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Take it and run…

    He knew the classic Hiei “Hn” was the only answer he would receive, and it satisfied him. Quite a different thing, however, was the direction this revelation had taken their relationship.

    The two – or more accurately, Kurama – brought the conversation to something safe – weather – to purposefully stay away from the entwined and tangled emotions brought out of Hiei’s confession. Hiei took and ran with it, Kurama could see, just as eager as he to escape from these confusing new feelings. Hiei and he were equally accustomed to Hiei’s spending rainy nights in Kurama’s bedroom, but never would the atmosphere be quite as tense as Kurama could see it would be now. Hiei often slept in Kurama’s bed, sometimes with him, sometimes letting him move to the floor. Hiei would not do that tonight. Even if Kurama slept on the floor, the scents of him in his bed would torment and confuse Hiei, and he would get no sleep. Sleeping in Kurama’s room at all was a risk, but when the choice is a sleepless night versus being fried to a crisp by lightning, he would easily choose the former.

    Kurama began the walk back to his house, not hearing, but knowing Hiei was trailing him evenly. Kurama’s walk was languid and slow, as he was accustomed to walking through the park in this manner, but it would not surprise him to turn around and see Hiei, usually lithe and ready to spring, tense and rigid. He did not turn, though. He walked forward and never looked back.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Why?

    First, he hesitated, not sure if sleeping at Kurama’s house was the wisest choice. The realization soon came, however, that the rain and lightning storm would be dangerous for sleeping in a tree, and he was in no way comfortable with spending the night at Yuusuke’s house. Kuwabara’s was out of the question.

    Somewhat reluctantly, he followed the kitsune, slightly stiffer than usual. As he walked, he thought.

    Kurama had made it clear that he had never intended to choose a mate, but that didn’t necessarily mean he never would. Just as clear was the fact that he loved Hiei as a close friend, but that didn’t necessarily mean he would never see him as a lover. The possibilities were there, but needed to be taken advantage of. And Hiei was not ready to take advantage of them, not yet. The progression of their relationship was too new, even questionable.

    As these thoughts came to him, Hiei questioned the possibility of choosing whom to love. Perhaps he could choose. Perhaps he could choose to stop loving Kurama. The more he turned the idea over in his head, though, the harder it seemed. It appeared it would be easier to choose to love someone than to choose not to love someone you did by nature alone.

    Perhaps, though, was the tricky question.

    Perhaps he would spend the entire night at Kurama’s.

    Perhaps.

    Kurama…
     
    #2 KitsuneSilver, May 2, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2004
  3. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Three

    Chapter Three: Keep Me Sane (Please Save My Life)

    ~Kurama~

    It will be alright.

    Kurama walked rather briskly towards his home, considering the rain and not wanting his rather light outfit to be too drenched. Hiei skulked along behind him, which was rather odd for both, as Hiei always kept perfect pace with his friend when the two walked together. Kurama valiantly ignored the oddity, in view of the circumstances.

    Noticing the park had rapidly emptied out as mothers noticed the clouds looming overhead and older children wanted to be home before the rain began, Kurama wished, for what must have the been third time on that walk alone, that the weather could be better and still, the park would be empty of ningen bystanders. Not that he didn’t like children, but the young ones seemed to enjoy playing in and thereby wrecking the wildlife, and the older ones enjoyed picking the flowers and playing Frisbee near the greenery, trampling it in their frantic attempts to catch the flying disks. As if to consol him, the friendly plants curved over towards Kurama, gently offering what little comfort they could. A young sapling knelt over to tickle his cheek playfully.

    Hiei, on the contrary, was prowling through the trees secretively, as was his way. Ducking from tree to tree, he stood beside and behind them, being careful to go against his natural instincts to leap through their branches and shorten the trip to Kurama’s home. The ground provided less cover, but in the murky weather and accounting for the lack of youkai in Ningenkai, it would suffice. He couldn’t understand why none of the ningen had stayed, despite the rain – it deterred battle and clouded one’s vision, true, but ningen were not known for battling or their warrior ways. He had never been too caring of the rain, as it naturally combated his fiery nature, but most other youkai he knew were rather fond of it when they weren’t engaged in battle.

    The walk passed easily enough, both youkai and youko stubbornly ignoring the Talk that was begging to be had. Kurama was still unused to caring for someone in response to their caring for him. Normally, the easily handled unrequited romances were one-night stands he never thought of again. Hiei was simply unused to loving and being loved.

    As a friend.

    Of course.

    They reached the house in minutes, though neither was really sure how long it had been. Kurama thought hours. Hiei thought more.

    Thankful that Shiori worked long hours and was bound to be out of the house, Kurama stepped through the doorway, leaving Hiei to take his normal route through Kurama’s bedroom window. Toeing his shoes off in the front hall, he dropped his paper-thin jacket on a coat hanger a slid it into the front hall closet, purposefully taking his time before ascending the stairs. As he took the steps one at a time, he shook his mane out, flinging droplets of water over the hardwood.

    Reaching his room, he found Hiei sitting lazily on the windowsill, looking out the window. Rain pelted down in large drops on the window.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Rain…

    Assuming Kurama thought he was watching the rain, as he sometimes did, Hiei refocused his gaze on his reflection. How he could have thought someone as beautiful and perfect as Kurama could ever love someone as imperfect and forbidden as himself, he didn’t know. He supposed he had just been drowning himself in false hopes, praying that perhaps, just maybe, someone, anyone, could actually love him.

    Why he had chosen Kurama, though, he didn’t know. The ningen-heart was perfect in every way and could choose any mate he wanted. Or didn’t want, as the case appeared to be.

    There was that assumption again; that one could choose whom or whom not to love. It was an unsettling one, somehow, that Hiei could have chosen who would be the object of his desires, and subconsciously chosen Kurama, feeding off his desires for the kitsune and invisible fantasies of a life with love until it was too late to go back. Yukina loved him, he knew, but it wasn’t the same. Kurama had even explained to him how the two were different loves, and still he drew the comparison.

    “Hiei?”

    “Hm?”

    Turning his head just slightly, Hiei let the kitsune know he was listening, keeping his eyes on the rain now rather than his reflection. He didn’t want to see himself anymore. He didn’t want Kurama to see him anymore. He was Dark. He was Sorrow. He was Forbidden. He was Wicked, and the kitsune did not deserve that. The kitsune deserved something much more than he could give. The kitsune deserved to be loved by someone he could love in return.

    “Uhm…Hiei…?”

    “Yes?” he asked distractedly, apparently having missed Kurama’s question.

    “You’ll be spending the night?”

    “Of course,” he answered, noticing all too late his unintentionally frosty tone. “Don’t worry,” he amended, trying to gloss over it, “I’ll be gone before your ’kaasan returns.”

    “I know you will,” Kurama replied, in perhaps a slightly too-friendly manner. “I really appreciate your doing that. Leaving the house before Shiori comes home, I mean.”

    “Questions can be hazardous,” Hiei said vaguely. Kurama nodded.

    “So, Hiei,” Kurama began again, trying valiantly to cover the awkward silence. “What have you been doing in Makai these past few weeks?”

    Ignoring the fact that Kurama had asked the same question in the park, Hiei answered with slightly more detail. “Training – in the forests, on my own. Swordsmanship mainly, and Kokuryuuha once or twice. Practicing Rengokushou, when there was nothing else to do. Stealing to keep myself entertained – I got a few rather nice pieces from a mansion of some sort. Murdering other youkai. Anyone who stood in my way.”

    Kurama nodded again at the last item on Hiei’s list, smiling slightly and indirectly recalling his days as Youko.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    It will; I will be sure of that.

    Taking a deep breath, he contemplated the current…situation, for lack of a better term.

    The basics were simple. The basics were straightforward. Hiei loved him. Hiei was his best friend. He did not love Hiei as more than a best friend.

    But then the basics became complicated, and suddenly nothing was simple anymore.

    He wanted to keep Hiei as his best friend; he wanted that more than anything. Hiei let him be himself in every sense of the words. But how often did relationships of a sexual or romantic nature work out so perfectly? How often could they be captured and tamed, kept in a silver lacquered box on a shelf? How often could that pretty little box be opened again when the relationship was over, but the sex and the romance re-captured, re-tamed, re-toned to nothing more than close friendship, and kept in a different silver lacquered box on a different shelf? If Ningenkai had taught him nothing more about romance, it was that such things never happened, and when they did, it meant terrible, terrible secrets were being kept on either side and the idealistic fairy-tale friendship would not last.

    He had no “different shelf.” He had no “different silver lacquered box.” He had only Hiei and his heart, and the two were divided, and would not be brought together. They were not two puzzle pieces to fit together neatly. They were mismatched badly. One was smooth and bittersweet, while the other was jagged and dark.

    “Hiei?”

    “Hn.”

    “Hiei, onegai…”

    “Aa, nani?”

    Kurama smiled, just slightly. Hiei had turned around and was now perched precariously in a manner which would never support an even fractionally less balanced creature.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    “Hiei, would you do something…for me?”

    Instantly, images upon images of sexual favors swarmed Hiei’s mind before he shook them off, reminded himself that Kurama wasn’t Youko anymore, and the favor had to be much more mundane. Giving himself a sharp mental shake, he focused his gaze on the kitsune’s eyes and nodded solemnly.

    “Would you just go sit on my bed?” he asked tentatively, his voice soft and almost frightened. “Please?”

    Starting slightly, Hiei gave himself another mental shake and, rather than respond to the question, moved off of the windowsill to the mattress, perching on the edge, legs dangling slightly over the side. Kurama sighed softly.

    “Come on, Hiei, you can be a bit more comfortable than that,” he berated teasingly. Hiei looked at him.

    Nodding, the youkai crawled back to the fluffy rose-scented pillows, leaning back against the headboard and pulling his knees up to his chest, looking for all the worlds like a frightened child.

    Why had Kurama asked him to sit on the bed, posing the question as a favor to him?

    Breathing deeply to calm his shattered nerves, Hiei tried valiantly to disregard the powerful aroma of roses and thereby disregard his powerful feelings for the kitsune. But neither were to be ignored, and neither were to be pushed aside so easily. The Talk loomed closer every second, but the Talk was one thing Hiei could ignore for the time being, and so he did.

    Perhaps the smell of roses was rather nice… It filled the room and registered pleasantly on his senses, and immersing himself in the sensation, he forgot about Kurama.

    Kurama looked over with a fond smile as his friend closed his eyes and breathed.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Hiei had to be ignoring him; it made sense, and would be a distraction from the feelings he was so unused to. Kurama didn’t mind. Or, if he did, he told himself that he didn’t, and that made it not so bad.

    His heart tearing slightly, he thought about Hiei.

    The fire demon had never, from what he had gathered, been involved in a romantic relationship before. And if he had, it had not involved much, or any, actual love. Having never been involved in a romantic relationship, he had never experienced the pain of unrequited love, or being left by someone he loved.

    Hina and Yukina don’t count, he reasoned. That’s completely different.

    He would be the fire youkai’s first “crush,” as well as the fire youkai’s first “letdown.” But the question arose of whether or not he could stand putting his already tormented friend through the pain of such a loss. But, if he didn’t, he would be giving Hiei a blank relationship of hollowed feelings, completely fake on his part, fooling Hiei into believing. He couldn’t do that.

    Hiei would be hurt, no matter what direction he took their relationship. No one had ever put him through these kinds of choices in the past, but then, he had never cared so much for the other’s feelings. Hiei had changed him so much…

    The things you do to me…

    Hiei…
     
    #3 KitsuneSilver, May 2, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2004
  4. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Four

    Chapter Four: Make Me Promise (To Never Leave Home)

    ~Hiei~

    “Oi, kitsune,” Hiei said suddenly, opening his eyes. Kurama, who had been getting a head start on his weekend homework as Hiei meditated, started slightly and turned.

    “Yes, Hiei?”

    “When the rain lets up more,” he began, pointing to the window, where the rain had already lightened considerably, “you want to go outside? Back to the park?”

    Kurama tilted his head slightly and blinked. Back to the park?

    “It’s too cramped in here,” Hiei explained, shifting uncomfortably on the bed. “Not enough space. I want to be able run if I feel like it.”

    Hiei knew this was an odd request, and Kurama’s room had always been large enough for him in the past, but, truth be told, the smell of roses was getting to him, more than he let on. Everywhere, the aroma filled his senses, every way he turned, the acrid stench attacking him, and there was no escaping it. It made him dizzy, trying to avoid it. Aside from that, being outside and able to run gave him excellent opportunities for escape, should the conversation take a turn he didn’t approve of.

    “Alright,” Kurama granted, a bit surprised at the request, but unwilling to question. Ulterior motives were Hiei’s to know, not his.

    Rather than flit off the bed and out the window in a black-tinted displacement of air, as Kurama expected he would, Hiei stood slowly and stretched, raising his arms above his head and even yawning. He walked, slightly bleary-eyed, to the window, sitting on the sill and looking out at the rain as it still beat lightly on the glass. In a wickedly forbidden way, it was kind of…pretty.

    Raising an arm to the latch, he opened the window, but his movements were almost mechanical and thoughtless. Having taken these actions so many times before, it was true that he did not need to think, but his eyes were never so blank and weary, as they were now. Distracted, and confused, and just tired.

    So tired…

    Mentally exhausted…

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Kurama, too stood and stretched, watching Hiei gaze contemplatively out at the rain, now no more than a sporadic drizzle. A drizzle dripping lightly on his floor as it was carried in on the wind, but Kurama didn’t really care about the floor. He didn’t really care about much of anything but Hiei. Hiei and the abiding reminder that the Talk needed to be had.

    Who would instigate it, though?

    He didn’t really care.

    Opening his mouth to speak, about what, he didn’t know, he promptly closed it again as Hiei left, leaping gracefully out the window down to the grasses and the bordering road below. He watched the little youkai walk in tight circles under “his” tree, stretching his legs and performing extremely basic punching and kicking moves in slow motion, with precise accuracy.

    What had he said earlier? He wanted to be able to run if he felt like it… But what would make him feel like it? Would Kurama make Hiei want to run? To flee? Would this be so uncomfortable a situation that Hiei would leave of his own accord, off to wallow in his self-pity and utter misery in a cave somewhere?

    The very thoughts sickened him, and Kurama walked slowly down the stairs, contemplating how to go about this discussion.

    But what was left to believe in when he didn’t care?

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    Sideswipe…enemies on every side…

    High jump kick…unobservant little foes…

    Forward jab…sluggish muscle-bound opponents…

    Roundhouse kick…quick adversaries of any size…

    Carefully executing each move, he suppressed his speed to the point where he was almost standing still, his balance being strained to the utmost as he tried not to alter his stance or move his feet any more than absolutely necessary. He felt Kurama moving down the stairs, into the front hall, pausing to slip on his shoes, and heard him open the door. He too was being slow and deliberate, calculating each move to a pinpoint and doing no less than could be done to ensure even that which did not need ensuring.

    Stupid kitsune.

    But with affection.

    Of course.

    Silently and unnoticeably, he waited for the kitsune to approach, but was greeted with no such movement. Rather, Kurama walked directly from the front door down the walk, and into the street, apparently ignoring Hiei completely. Finishing the spinning punch he had been in the midst of performing, Hiei flit down the block, catching up to Kurama and walking beside him in perfect step.

    “So glad you decided to join me,” Kurama said.

    Hiei, surprised at the dry humor, made no outward reaction but to toss a casual glance Kurama’s way, eying him quickly to gain a preliminary sketch of his discomfort. It was not apparent. Kurama appeared to have taken on what could easily be called a Hiei-like mask, dispassionate and indifferent.

    How Youko of him.

    “As though I had a choice,” Hiei responded evenly. He had, in fact, had a choice, he knew, but he wasn’t about to give up a chance to, once and for all, sort out what he felt for Kurama, perhaps in a manner that would assure it would never return. “I won’t let this opportunity slip,” he amended, his tone flat and uncaring.

    “Of course.”

    Neither will you, Hiei murmured to himself. It was clear he was just as eager to get this discussion done with, to sort out the feelings Hiei was having.

    The feelings I was having… Why was he so willing to help me sort out my feelings? Just because they were for him?

    Not likely – he was too experienced a casual lover for that. He would never do such things, spend, and possibly waste, his time for one want-to-be lover. Probably not even twenty. He could have anyone he wanted, and he didn’t appear to particularly want Hiei.

    Why did he want to help Hiei?

    Was it a pity aid? That was disgraceful, especially for such a regal one as Youko, and Hiei did not suspect he would ever stoop so low. So it wasn’t pity… Sympathizing? Could Youko have had a miserable childhood, and feel as though Hiei, whose life had been little more than pain, deserved no more? It was doubtful, as Kurama had never mentioned such a past, and was not the type to hide something so life-altering. Sorrow? But at what…?

    Perhaps Kurama viewed Hiei as a valuable partner, and did not want to further break his already fragile spirit. That would not lead to such help, however; only to discounting and disregarding him.

    No… Kurama saw something more in him. Kurama saw something he wanted to keep, not just a toy he would want as Youko, but something that lasted longer, something more…meaningful.

    And then he realized.

    Kurama wanted a friend.

    Kurama wanted him to keep his spirit.

    Kurama wanted to help him.

    Because Kurama wanted a friend.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    “So…Hiei…”

    “Hm?”

    “…How are you feeling?”

    Hiei gave him a sidelong glance and snorted. “You’re pathetic, you know that?”

    “Really, Hiei, I’m just trying to be cordial. How are you feeling?”

    Shaking his head, Hiei sighed softly. It was time for the Talk, and they both knew it. Kurama knew that he didn’t want to initiate it, but didn’t want to force Hiei to do it in his place. Neither choice was a pleasant one, and neither choice would leave them both satisfied, but one needed to be decided on, and the Talk needed to be had.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    “Fine, kitsune,” he answered shortly. “I’m feeling fine.”

    It was Kurama’s turn to shake his head and sigh. The silence was a tense one, and filling it with blank chatter and meaningless questions was only a means to fill it with something. Something was better than nothing, but Hiei was not usually the talkative type, so the burden fell on Kurama to strike up conversation.

    “Really, Hiei?”

    Yes, kitsune, I’m feeling fine.

    No I’m not…

    The unspoken comment was easy to identify, and easier to hate.

    ‘You don’t look fine to me.’

    But I am fine.

    …No I’m not…

    Help me…

    Kurama…
     
    #4 KitsuneSilver, May 2, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2004
  5. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

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    I must say your story has caught my attention :) I like the charachters espacially Kurama. Mind you I have never seen this show but from what I have read so far I am really enjoy the story. I only have your last post to read but so far keep up the good work! i love the dialogue and I think that is your strong point =D
     
  6. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Five

    Thanks to Kylewayne for reviewing!

    WARNING that this chapter deals with fairly mature issues, and I won't tolerate flaming for them, as I have WARNED you. See the WARNING.

    Chapter Five: Hear My Voice (As I Ask You)

    ~Kurama~

    “Hiei,” Kurama began softly, keeping his already strained voice hushed even more. “I think it’s time we had a discussion about your…feelings for me,” he finished, covering the awkward wording with graceful tones. Hiei nodded.

    “Alright,” Kurama began, diving straight in. “Have you ever had a lover before?”

    “…Yes.”

    Not exactly an unexpected answer, but it still startled Kurama slightly. He didn’t know exactly why, but he always saw the youkai as an innocent, freedom-loving little wanderer, inexperienced in the ways of sexual…favors, for lack of a better term. That didn’t make sense, though. Hiei had grown up in a pack of thieves, and thieves took hostages, and hostages were sexually abused. In Makai, at least, ninety-nine percent of hostages taken by youkai of any sort were physically and sexually abused.

    So it was logical that he would have picked up on the basics, at least, but to have taken a lover could be a dangerous game for a thief or an assassin, and especially dangerous for one of both professions. Or, the possibility existed that he had taken multiple lovers, though Kurama instantly disregarded the notion that Hiei could have taken nearly as many lovers as he had. It simple wasn’t rational.

    “So…” he began again, trailing off slightly after the long pause he had taken between questions. “I assume, from what you said yesterday, that you never actually loved any of them.”

    Not exactly a question, but not too restraining, either. Hopefully Hiei would not be offended.

    “No…I didn’t.”

    Love was new to Hiei, this much Kurama had already known.

    But what Hiei did, or did not know, Kurama wasn’t sure, was that love was also new for Youko, and therefore, it was new for Kurama, as well. The gorgeous Youko had been famous for his sex life in Makai, taking eager lovers left and right and disposing of them afterwards with not so much as an “I’m sorry.” Love was not something he could afford, leading such a life, and as a result, he had been convinced that, as Hiei probably thought of himself, he had no heart. No heart beyond what was biologically necessary, at least, and even then, he wasn’t always sure.

    Kurama had fabricated what he felt for “his” ningen okaasan into full descriptions of love, both friendly and romantic, but in truth, he knew little more than Hiei. From what he knew of ningen fairytales, almost all of which dealt with love of some sort, he had been fairly accurate, but having never really experienced the emotion for himself, he couldn’t say. Perhaps he was right, perhaps he was wrong.

    There was that damned word again – “perhaps.” Perhaps he could explain emotion to the little youkai no faia. Perhaps he knew how best to handle the situation. Perhaps he knew how not to break his friend’s heart. Perhaps he knew what love was.

    But perhaps he did not.

    “Have you?”

    “Have I what?”

    Hiei looked him over carefully before continuing, his dark eyes piercing, and distracting Kurama as he tried to think. “Have you ever loved any of the ones you took?”

    What interesting wording. “Any of the ones he took.” Kurama had thought of each conquest as more of a game than a theft, but the little youkai had a point.

    “…No. You know, I don’t believe I have.”

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    No. You know, I don’t believe I have.

    They were each a game to him. Each a twisted labyrinth of a game. He never cared for how he hurt them; never cared for their feelings. He cared for the power it gave him, the sense of lust and adrenaline and the electric rush, and the ultimate control. In the end, that was what it was all about – power. It was a game, catching and taming a new toy, and it was fun, and then it was command. Power was everything; emotions were nothing.

    He may have agreed with the kitsune, once. Once, until he had felt those emotions, lost that power, and wanted that prize.

    Now he knew the importance of those feelings, and knew what a part they played in these games of the mind, and knew how they took control of him and yet, how he controlled them with his will.

    And he hated them.

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Hiei…I want to help you…but I don’t know how…

    “Neither of us has ever known love…” Hiei murmured pensively. Kurama nodded. How depressing.

    “So we’re both new to these emotions – to this…situation.” Kurama wished he could come up with a better word for it, but “situation” seemed to fit, and that wasn’t his biggest problem at the moment.

    It was new to them both, and uncharted territory was dangerous. Love, or the lack thereof? Emotion, or a blank metal wall? A steel wall that couldn’t be climbed, a sleek, flat pane – or was it pain? It didn’t matter anymore – unable to be scaled? Was that what love would bring? Would it destroy them both, before they even had the time to know what it was?

    They couldn’t let it, and yet, at the same time, perhaps they couldn’t afford not to. They couldn’t afford to let it in, to let it become a part of who they were, couldn’t let it to the point where it would tear down their very souls when it all came crashing down. But at the same time, they couldn’t afford not to know it, backwards and forwards, to understand it to the utmost before combating it.

    And could love even be combated, and would they still survive? It was a dangerous game, one so full of variables neither understood that the turn not taken could result in both of their demises.

    Kurama didn’t like dangerous games when he was not the one in control.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    “Alright,” Kurama said matter-of-factly. “You love me as a mate.”

    Hiei winced.

    “I love you as my best friend.” Kurama took a breath and let it out in a sigh. “Something needs to be done about this.”

    “Kill me?” Hiei suggested, only half joking. It would solve all their problems, if nothing else.

    “Hiei, I don’t want to do that,” Kurama scolded, sighing again. “We just need a solution, that’s all. One that doesn’t result in death.”

    But death is so easy…

    Kurama shook his head, presumably thinking something like what Hiei was. Death was easy…but death was weak. Cowardly. They could not submit to such a thing. Hiei turned away, frustrated.

    “Can we even be partners anymore?” Hiei asked tensely. “ I don’t think I can ever look at you the same again.”

    “We can!” Kurama insisted. “We have to! I need you, Hiei, I need you to be there for me. I need you like I’ve needed no one else in over a thousand years.”

    Hiei looked over weakly. Don’t say it, just don’t say it…

    “Please…”

    S**t.

    “Alright…” he submitted, clenching his hand into a fist at his side. Damn his inability to refuse the kitsune’s pleas. Damn the kitsune. Damn it all.

    “What about the ningen woman?”

    “Shiori?” Kurama asked, confused.

    “Yes, her. Don’t you love her?”

    “No.”

    Hiei looked at him carefully. “But you would sacrifice your life for her… Youko pays his debts, but he doesn’t put himself at risk for those below him…”

    Kurama looked away.

    Hiei scrutinized him, going over again the facts of the incident in which Kurama had been about to sacrifice himself for Shiori, but Yuusuke had stepped in at the last moment, offering himself to the Mirror of Utter Dark in Kurama’s place.

    But Yuusuke had stepped in at the last moment…

    Manipulator…

    “You did it,” he accused quietly in a sudden rush of understanding. “You meant for it all to happen. You orchestrated the entire event.”

    Kurama still did not look at him.

    “You knew Yuusuke would sacrifice himself instead of you. You knew his judgment would be clouded and he would instinctively want you to live and do anything necessary to get that to happen. You meant for him to be there when you used the Mirror.” Hiei felt as though he was suffocating, hoping vainly for Kurama to whirl on him and shout that he was a liar, that it wasn’t true, that he would never do something so risky, and at the same time knowing it wouldn’t happen.

    “I have never known love,” Kurama repeated softly. “I owed the woman, and I repaid my debt in a manner which would get me all that I needed and still leave me with all that I wanted.”

    “But,” Hiei began again, speaking words he knew would result in nothing he wanted, and yet, needing to say them all the same, “you don’t want to know love in me? I am offering you a chance to know the love you have never had, in a lover, not a friend, and still you turn me down?”

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Kurama choked slightly, feeling burning hot tears prickle the corners of his eyes, the sense rising again that he was not going to be able to successfully leave this discussion with his friend’s heart in the condition it had been in before this entire mess had begun.


    “Yes,” he replied, his voice barely a whisper as he struggled to get the word out. “Hiei, I don’t love you as any more than a wonderful friend,” he began anew, spurred on by his desires to leave this entire ordeal behind them. “Maybe I could someday, maybe I could teach myself to, but would you really want that? Would you really want to go on knowing you had a lover who had to teach himself to love you? You deserve so much more than that, Hiei, so much more than I could ever give you. I don’t want you to be tied down and limited by what little I could offer.”

    Hiei walked on silently for a long moment, apparently digesting the question, maybe forming a response, but Kurama couldn’t tell. His face had taken on that flat mask it did whenever thoughts were roiling around that he didn’t, or didn’t want to, understand.

    The wish had appeared, as it often did in these sorts of situations, for things to all go back to the way they had been before…before…no, not before anything specific, just before. He didn’t know to what before, but not now, not yesterday, not last week, just…before. When they had been called off on routine missions every few weeks, when their relationships had been amicable and easy and nothing had been interfered with by these odd feelings of love and care.

    But the wish was foolish, and the wish was impossible. The feelings wouldn’t go away, and there was no going back to before.

    “Before” was gone, and “later” was now.

    “But…but I love you…”

    Hiei’s sudden response shocked Kurama out of his reverie.

    “Hiei, I –”

    “…‘Don’t love you,’” Hiei finished for him. “You don’t have to tell me again… I know…”

    In that instant, Hiei looked less like the wickedly dispassionate assassin and Forbidden Child than he ever had. He was not dark. He was not the first thing to come to mind when the word “black” was mentioned. He was not cruel, or evil, or menacing.

    He was an abandoned child who needed someone to love him.

    “If you want my heart, Hiei…you can have it.”
     
    #6 KitsuneSilver, May 3, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2004
  7. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

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    Hi!^^
    Can you just explain a few Japanese words for me since I am clueless to what they mean. =)

    What is "the kitsune ", "Baka", and "youkai" ?

    I so love the way you go into details. My fave part in chapter two has to be this:"

    “Slightly, yes. When one loves a person as a friend…” Kurama began, struggling to define “love” to his rather stoic friend. “When someone loves a person romantically,” he began again, taking a different tack, “it’s often described as the ultimatum of all emotion. You’re content in all aspects of being, even if subliminally, and the love is, for the most part, unconditional. Nothing but the one you love has the power to truly hurt you, and if they take that chance, you’re hurt beyond all other emotion. You’re half of a whole that is completed by the one you love, but you’re your own whole for the only time in your life, and when – if – the emotion is returned, that makes it worth all the risk.”

    “Sounds sort of fanciful,” Hiei replied, finally moving to sit back on the bench, blinking furiously.

    “Perhaps,” Kurama allowed. “Love as a friend, in a non-romantic sense, is…sort of like love romantically, but much less intense. The beloved friend is a part of who one is, and can help or hurt them equally, but cares enough that they won’t hurt. Real friends won’t hurt, at least.”

    It's rather cute the way you defined the love of a friend and being romantically involved with someone :) Ooo! more to read!
    Keep up the good work! :cool:
     
  8. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Translations

    These are the translations for all [or if I've missed some, then most of] the Japanese words I've used so far.

    Ningenkai: Human world [Ningen: Human]
    Reikai: Spirit world
    Makai: Demon world
    Konnichiwa: Good day
    Youkai no faia: Fire demon [Youkai: Demon]
    Kitsune: Fox
    Kitsune no baka: Idiot fox [Baka: Idiot, stupid]
    Oi: Hey
    Nani: What
    Onegai: Please
    Okaasan: Mother [’Kaasan: i.e., “Mom”]

    I find it fascinating that you liked that part of the chapter. I've never actually been in love, and have no idea what it's like, hence that really amuses me.
     
    #8 KitsuneSilver, May 3, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2004
  9. KitsuneSilver

    KitsuneSilver The Darkness cometh...

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    Chapter Six

    Chapter Six: Be My Light (In the Unending Darkness)

    ~Hiei~

    His heart.

    The proposition had never been offered to him before, by anyone, anywhere, and he didn’t know what to say. Much less what to feel.

    Instinct overtook him and he felt a surge of regret before he even began speaking.

    “I can have your heart, Kurama? Is that all you have to say?” Hiei glared, but not at Kurama. Somehow he couldn’t bring himself to look at the kitsune. “I thought you didn’t even have a heart, Kurama.” Somehow reiterating his partner’s name made his words seem more powerful. To his ears, if not the other’s. “Is this what you’ve done now? You see me as a pathetic, weak little demon who just needs something light in his life, to chase away all the darkness that’s shadowed me since I was born, and so you’re giving me a gift that doesn’t exist. Thank you, Kurama. Truly, thank you.”

    I don’t mean it, Kurama. I promise I don’t. Please don’t hate me. I don’t mean it. Please don’t hate me. I don’t mean it. Please…

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    Kurama looked away as well, unable, even, to see the back of Hiei’s head, which was all he was being offered. The youkai’s words stung more than he could have imagined, more than probably even Hiei could have thought. He had said he didn’t possess a heart, he had offered Hiei a gift he had said didn’t exist, and he had seen the youkai as an innocent, almost child-like one who needed a friend.

    But the sarcastic retort to what he had felt was a warm and meaningful offer cut deep, and recalled Kurama’s past and his life in a new light.

    I don’t care, I never cared. I have fathered children who have been and will be abandoned because they are unwanted, and no one cares, and they wonder who their father is, but he doesn’t care. I was loved, I was revered, I was beautiful, and what now? Now I’m dying, dying, dying behind a perfect mask, too far out of reach to be saved, because I don’t care, because I didn’t care, because I never cared.

    But now, now I care. Now I care. Don’t I? I promised myself I would, I promised myself I did, I beat down all the doubt because I didn’t want it, but now, now it rears it hideous head. Why? Because I’m guilty? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…

    I don’t care…

    “Hiei,” he whispered, an eerie calm in his voice, masking something untouchable, too far out of reach to be saved. Masking something evil, wicked, perhaps? Masking something that would not be allowed to come, masking something like hatred. Masking hatred of what, for what? He didn’t know, and he didn’t care.

    “Hiei, I don’t love you. I don’t love you. Is that what you want to hear? Do you want to reconfirm your worthlessness, to make sure it’s all the way it should be, all the way you’ve shaped your little haven to be? Does everyone hate you there? Is everyone wicked to you? Does everyone love each other, is everyone loved but you?”

    Hiei gaped at him with a mixture of shock and stunned hatred, overlaying a ripple of something strange, something like relief. Relief. That was odd. But truthfully, a part of Kurama had expected it.

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    “Kurama…” Hiei’s voice was strained and thin.

    “Yes?” Kurama answered in a steely calm, hiding his newly reiterated self-loathing and inner torments. The best we he knew to combat such emotions, after all, was to let them engulf him until they took their leave.

    “Kurama…you don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know what the title “Forbidden Child” means to me. You don’t know how it’s branded me with such unwarranted stereotypes by evil creatures out for my blood. You don’t know how I’ve tried to hide it for more than four hundred years. You don’t know what it’s like to be turned away after thinking that maybe, just maybe, I had found a love I could keep, maybe not forever, but for a little while, anyway, and let take me places I’d never even dreamed of before.”

    It was true, and Hiei could see Kurama knew it was. Kurama turned to face him. Hiei looked back.

    “…You’re right, Hiei… Oh, gods, you’re right…”

    Tears brimmed in Kurama’s eyes and he valiantly tried to blink them away, nearly succeeding, except for one lone sparkle trickling down his cheek. Hiei didn’t blink.

    “I know I am.” Blunt, cold, sharp, to the point. Wasting words was meaningless now. Comfort was trivial. Hiei wanted, somehow, to make Kurama feel the pain he felt. But he didn’t want the kitsune to break. Just feel the pain.

    “I don’t know what to say…” Kurama murmured, his voice a bare shiver of sound breaking the air. “I can’t feel what you’ve felt, Hiei, and you know…I almost wish I could…” His voice cracked slightly, and he paused. “It might be easy… Easier than this…”

    “What’s ‘this?’” Hiei asked bitingly. What was worse than his life? What was really worse? Really?

    Could anything really be worse than being Forbidden? Scorned by your own kind? A pariah, an outcast, keeping secrets from all of those who might be able to understand you? Not even knowing if anyone can help you? …Does Kurama hoard pain, too?

    Am I the only one?

    The scent of sakura blew in a light breeze overhead.

    “‘This’… This is my life…”

    “Are you happy, living this? This…life of yours?”

    “I…”

    “I want you to be happy. Because I love you. Because you’re my best friend. Because I care. So I’m asking you, here, please tell me…

    “Are you happy?”

    “…I… No.”

    “Then why do you do it?”

    “Because I don’t know any other way to live…”

    Hiei looked at his friend as Kurama turned away.

    I don’t know any other way to live, Kurama. Nothing beyond assassinating the meaningless bastards I’m paid to. You…you have another way. You have Minamino Shuuichi. You have his mother. You have another life.

    “I don’t.” A mix of regret, scorn, and hatred for the life he had been forced to lead overcame Hiei as he spoke.

    “Neither do I,” Kurama replied quietly. “Maybe I should just give up…”

    “No,” Hiei stated, more of an order than a consolation. “Don’t give up, Kurama. Your – Shuuichi’s mother needs you. Yukina needs you. Yuusuke needs you. Kuwabara needs you. The Reikai Tantei need you. Reikai needs you. Kurama, I need you. Hell if I deserve you, but I need you all the same.”

    “You know, Kurama, you told me something once…”

    * * * * *

    ~Kurama~

    You told me something once…

    I told a lot of people something, once…

    I told you I didn’t love you, once…

    I don’t deserve your love…even if I don’t want it… I don’t deserve it…

    * * * * *

    ~Hiei~

    “You told me something once, do you remember? ‘Real friends won’t hurt.’ You told me that. You told me something else once, remember? ‘I love you as a friend like no other.’

    “Which is it, Kurama? Because it can’t be both. Fate won’t let it be both.”

    “Hiei –”

    “Saying my name won’t make it all okay, Kurama. Either you’re my friend, or real friends won’t hurt. Not both. Never both.”

    “…But I love you…”

    “Stop saying that!” Hiei exploded, standing in a flash, fists clenched at his sides, feet spread slightly in a firm and demanding stance. “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!”

    The wind died down, and the scent of the sakura with it.

    Leaves, fallen from their branches in the breeze, settled on the bench, where Hiei had been sitting only moments before. Taking his place. Erasing his presence, carrying any traces of it away, as the wind always did. He was no more than a flicker in the breeze, and even then, the flicker didn’t last, and the flicker went unseen.

    Hiei was gone.

    “But…but I love you…”

    The call died as it was carried off on the new wind.

    * * * * *
    NOTE: That was the finalé of this story. Hey, I warned you it would be depressing. The last sentence ["But...but I love you..."] was intended as a variable. Choose either of the two characters and either of the two definitions of "love" that you want. I intended it to be Kurama speaking, but the definition is really a matter of preference.
     
  10. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

    Joined:
    May 1, 2001
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    Thanks for translating a few japanese words! I am so loving this story of yours! You write very well and your story keeps me coming back for more. I love how you word things in a delicate way. I so love the two main characters Kurama and Hiei.

    You treat the topic of friendship and love in a very interesting way. Keep up the good work!
     

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