Well, this started out as a one-shot fic featuring Yusuke. Then somehow it evolved into a Yusuke/Hiei fic. I love these two together, don't you? You don't? Then what are you doing here?
Disclaimer: Me don't own Yu Yu Hakusho, k?
Sometimes he would wonder why he did it. Fighting was always in his nature but now when he stopped to think about it, was there a purpose for his fighting? Yes, there were the fights to save the Ningenkai and his friends and family but it was at times like these where Yusuke wondered why he was originally called to the fight. Before he even knew about the Reikai and a god of death, he had always been fighting. Oh, they were your regular fights against bullies or people seeking revenge, but it was still a fight no matter what. Nowadays he laughed at the sheer foolishness behind these brawls. Back then he was younger, less wise, and took everything around him for granted.
But after dying twice and befriending demons, one's aspect of life did change. Three years had passed and he was still the same upbeat, enthusiastic person he was when he was fourteen. But his eyes had seen much during the last four years and there was a distinct sense of wisdom and calmness behind those once raging pools of ignorance. He wasn't about to say that he knew everything, but he did have a wider range of perception than he did before. Most likely the reason he fought back then was much more different than now. Now he fought for friends, family, truth, justice, and every other virtuous aspect.
But why was he thinking of all of this?
Was it because of the fight from the week before against a particularly difficult enemy? The fact that this demon came so close to harming his friends was more than enough to make his blood boil. This demon was unique—cunning, beautiful, and deceptive. Kuwabara obviously would fall under her spell first. Then came Kurama and then finally Hiei fell to it as well. And he just watched in turmoil as they did everything to her bid. They were under a spell naturally but for a demon like Hiei to fall for it was rare. It showed him that this demon was stronger and wiser than most of their other run-ins. Eventually he had managed to get his friends back and kill her once and for all. But the events that happened during her little reign of terror were not easily forgotten—especially by him, Urameshi Yusuke, leader of the affectionately nicknamed "Urameshi Team."
He, who had grown so familiar with the sense of fighting a foreign enemy, was haunted by the image of his friends turning on him. It was strange and very alarming at the same time. The fact that his friends were so susceptible to the demon's charm was difficult to grasp. Yusuke had grown too used to seeing his friends being so strong and nearly undefeatable. Seeing them as his enemies was frightening to say the least. He shuddered before taking a glance around his surroundings in an effort to forget the image.
The room was small. With its lack of sunlight and space, anyone could have felt claustrophobic. For Yusuke, it was a way to think. Large spacious rooms were never much of his idea of relaxing. All that empty space made him nervous. Anyone could have just come in without him knowing it and half the time Yusuke felt like he had to make noise to occupy the room. That was why he was spending his time in the hall closet. No one would expect to find him there. It was a very odd place for someone like Yusuke to be in. The darkness enveloped him in a comforting way and that was when the thoughts flowed in. He had been in there for nearly an hour now. Outside he could hear the sound of scuffling feet as Botan and Keiko began a search for him. Yusuke sighed wearily. Well, it seemed his little play of thoughts would have to end soon. Seldom would he do these things and most likely the next time he decided to hide in a little room, Yusuke would stay in there for three hours rethinking past events.
Quietly he slipped out of the room and was nearly blinded from the sudden intrusion of light before he headed outside—away from everyone else. Half-wondering what he was doing, Yusuke just leapt through the neighborhood and continued running, following wherever his heart would lead him. After a few more minutes, he stopped at the park—a quiet, soothing place. Parks were perhaps the only large areas Yusuke didn't mind staying in.
Brushing a stray lock of hair that for once wasn't held back by gel, he stealthily scaled up a tree and rested upon one of its strong branches. Eyeing the ground below him with some amusement, Yusuke slowly began realizing perhaps this was why Hiei liked trees so much. Being up there was like being on top of the world, as cheesy as it sounded. He could see everything and it most definitely gave him a better view of any sudden intruders. Snickering, Yusuke closed his eyes for a moment. Now he was even beginning to sound like the crazed youkai. Hiei was having too much of an influence on him.
"Thinking about me?"
"Don't flatter yourself."
The comment slipped out of Yusuke's mouth just as easily as he had scaled up the tree and he turned around to face the shorter youkai with a grin. True, his reply had been false for he had been thinking of the demon, but he would never admit that.
"You really shouldn't let Keiko and the others worry about you so much," Hiei said offhandedly as he watched the human staring back at him.
"Gee, when did you get so nagging?" Yusuke replied as he resumed his previous position and stared at the glowing horizon.
"When did you like trees?"
"When did you get so damn curious?"
He was clearly annoyed now, Hiei could see that much. But the demon merely continued staring in a casual manner while receiving a dangerous glare from the other. Hiei was just playing, he knew. But for some reason Yusuke just did not feel like making up smart remarks like he would usually do. The one time he just wanted peace and quiet, he had to be bothered by Hiei—and he was known for being the silent one! How ironic could life be?
"It's a bit unnerving to see you being the cold one, Yusuke. I must say it's alarming yet quite attractive at the same time."
Now Yusuke couldn't help but stare at Hiei in utter shock. The small amused smirk on the demon's face didn't help him any further, too. "Attractive? Do tell," he said with a slight hint of sarcasm in his tone. Hiei merely grinned mischievously at him.
"Ah, so now you're talking. Well, it doesn't take much to decipher what I said before. I find you eye-catching—striking—beautiful—you name it," the demon said in what would have sounded casual if not for the intense look in his eyes when he said it.
Urameshi Yusuke was in shock.
"I thought you and Kurama…"
At this Hiei laughed. "You and everyone else! Tell me, do you really love Keiko as much as most would think?" he challenged, a glint in his eyes.
"I love her, yes. But not the same way she loves me. She's like a sister to me. Though, she fails to notice that I suppose. I guess a few years ago I did love her as something else but…things change with time."
It was a question Yusuke never thought he would be answering. Yet he felt a strange sort of relief wash over him when he did. Hiding the truth had almost become a typical thing—he had forgotten how good it felt to be honest. Strangest of all, Yusuke was spilling out his own feelings to Hiei! And didn't the demon just say he found him attractive? It was all too much for him to handle.
"Intriguing. It seems there is more to you than just the usual go-go attitude, isn't there? I would have guessed as much."
"Keep talking, Hiei. I think this is a world record for you," he couldn't help but retort. Yusuke received a glare from the spiky-haired demon before continuing. "It's true! If only I had a tape recorder—"
"Shut up, Urameshi. You really ought to stop trying to divert the subject to something else. It's a bad habit of yours," Hiei cut in bluntly.
Yusuke was stunned into silence and just turned away. How did an afternoon of thoughtful reminiscing turn into a revelation of his feelings to a demon? It was odd to think. He had known Hiei for four years now. It never struck him how exceptionally handsome the demon was… Yusuke froze before rebuking himself on his crazy thoughts. Nervously, he glanced at Hiei, who just stared back at him. Yusuke groaned mentally. Of course he had noticed Hiei's looks before but now it came back tenfold. Dammit, where had that thought come from? All that talk about attractiveness must have gotten to him.
He would have to get Hiei back.
Grinning to himself, Yusuke joined Hiei on the ground and placed his hands in his pockets. Blinking innocently at Hiei, he spoke. "So what's this? You said I like to change subjects, eh? Well, guess what? I'm about to do it again. What's this saying you find me attractive?" he inquired, stepping closer to Hiei so he could spot every distinguishable feature on the youkai's face. And most definitely, Yusuke could see discomfort in those ageless dark eyes.
But Hiei just crossed his arms and remained unmoving.
Yusuke pouted before bending down slightly and grabbing Hiei's arm out of its position. "Come on! I told you about Keiko. I think I deserve something in return," he pointed out as Hiei glowered at Yusuke dangerously.
"Curiosity killed the cat, Urameshi."
Ah, so now he was playing it as if he never said anything. Well, Yusuke could play that too.
"Fine. You never said anything. We forget this ever happened. I never told you about Keiko and you never told me what you thought of me. We go on just as friends," he said in a cold tone that surprised even himself. And he knew Hiei had been as well.
For as soon as he took one step…
Yusuke enjoyed it, oh yes he did. The look on Hiei's face as he called him back was unforgettable. He would have to imprint that picture onto his memory forever.
"Isn't it obvious from what I said before how I feel about you?"
"Sometimes people say other people are gorgeous but it doesn't mean they like them."
Hiei was silent. Yusuke was laughing. He never knew Hiei could be so damn…cute! It was the only word to describe the look on the demon's face. He looked as if someone had just taken his sword away yet there wasn't any anger—just a strange sort of loneliness and confusion. Yusuke began to feel guilty.
"Okay, okay, I'm just playing with you, gees."
Suddenly a smile.
"I know. I was, too."
"Why you little…"
"I knew you'd feel too guilty to continue with your little act."
Yusuke rolled his eyes but it was in a smiling manner. He was beginning to look at Hiei in a different perspective now. He was wrong when he said Hiei was unmoving and impossible to talk to. Hiei was easy to talk to—you just needed to find the right topic and the right time. Maybe the fact that Hiei supposedly liked him was also a factor. At that thought, Yusuke grinned and sat down in front of Hiei.
"Join me," he said while patting to the ground beside him. Hiei arched an eyebrow strangely before giving in. Situating himself as comfortably as he could, he turned to face Yusuke expectantly. Wracking his mind to figure out something to say, Yusuke turned to face the dark sky. "Nice night, eh?"
And it was indeed. The sun had long since passed and the sky darkened to a rich dark bluish-black. The air was cool and had a slight tinge of moisture but Yusuke loved it. No one was in the park and it almost felt like he and Hiei were in some other world all to themselves. But somewhere in the distance, the sound of cars and city life could be heard and that fact kept Yusuke from dreaming any further. Glancing at Hiei, he grinned. The spiky-haired demon was now staring upwards at the sky and the reflection of the moon's light could be seen in his eyes, giving him an almost angelic appearance. But Yusuke snickered at that thought. Hiei, an angel? Far from the truth indeed.
"So how exactly do you feel about me, Hiei? Because in all honestly, I have a good idea but I need your confirmation to be sure," Yusuke said quietly, turning around to face Hiei with all sincerity in his eyes.
"You know, Yusuke. I don't need to say it. But if it will help your helpless mind grasp the idea, then I will say it. I like you."
Hiei always had a way of understating his words.
"Good to know."
Yusuke grinned and suddenly stood up, dragging Hiei up with him. Then he headed straight out of the park with Hiei in tow like a bullet. They slowly came out of their quiet neighborhood to the bustling streets full of people where Yusuke stopped. He turned to look at Hiei, who wore an impassive expression.
Yusuke put on a crestfallen face and Hiei rolled his eyes, though a hint of a smile played on his lips. Yusuke then presumed in pulling him into a noodle shop and got them a table by the window. After ordering a few meals, Yusuke finally settled his gaze outside to the people passing by, some holding hands and laughing and others just walking alone in silence. At this scene, he found himself thinking about the past again. If only these people knew what the world really was like, he thought. Sometimes Yusuke would question himself on how things would be so much more different if he hadn't become a Reikai Detective. Then he would scold himself. He saved lives and made the best friends he could ever have, what more could he want?
"What were you doing while everyone was looking for you?"
There was a pause for a moment before Yusuke finally tore his gaze from the outside scenes to look at Hiei. "Thinking. Reminiscing. Just comparing myself to the old me, the person I was before I died—twice," he replied, a fairly severe tone put into the reference to himself. Hiei blinked and stared at Yusuke for a moment before closing his eyes.
"You're an interesting human, Yusuke," he said softly. There was something in his tone, though, that caught Yusuke off guard. Was it…concern? Shaking his head, Yusuke sighed and then looked around the restaurant.
It was a small yet homey place with tiled floors and plain walls and ceilings. But the atmosphere was filled with a cheeriness and warmth that made it very relaxing. The people there were mostly about their age, some older, some younger, but all having a good time. Yusuke spotted one boy reading a thick book while attempting to eat his noodles at the same time. He couldn't hold in his laugh when one of the single strands of noodle slipped off his chopsticks and whipped him on the nose, which therefore caused a chain reaction of him dropping the book, which then knocked his bowl off the table. The poor guy was looking at the floor in surprise as one of the waitresses quickly arrived at his table to clean up the mess.
"Here you go, sirs!"
Yusuke nearly jumped out of seat when a sudden bowl of steaming noodles was placed before him. In front of him, Hiei wore an amused smile as Yusuke thanked the waitress and presumed in digging into his meal ferociously. Shaking his head, Hiei followed but in much more refined manner. After a few more minutes of silence, Yusuke finally paused in his eating to look at Hiei curiously.
Hiei stared at Yusuke darkly. "What do you mean?"
Yusuke sighed and placed his chin in his hand, resting his chopsticks on the rim of his bowl. "Out of everyone else, you like me? I mean you hang out with Kurama for crying out loud. And I thought you two were always…well, really close," he explained.
Yusuke sighed and looked at Hiei guiltily. "Yeah, okay, I know. You don't like each other in that way," he said as a way of answering himself seeing as how Hiei didn't do it. But the youkai merely looked at him for a long while before closing his eyes thoughtfully.
"I suppose, like you and Keiko, there was a time when I cared for that kitsune more than as a friend," he said slowly before looking at Yusuke seriously. "But as you said before, things change."
"They sure do."
Yusuke took a long drink from his soda before starting up on his meal again. Most definitely his and Hiei's conversations were strange. They would stop for a period of time and then a sudden question or comment would spark up a few sentences here and there and then back to silence. The cycle seemed to be repeating itself for quite a while now.
"You still didn't answer my question, though."
Again with the silence. Yusuke thought vaguely to himself. It was a miracle that Hiei even stayed this long with him. It must have been more than a few hours by now.
"Are you asking me this just so you can fuel your ego?"
Yusuke ceased eating and went back to staring out the window. Yes, Hiei's comment hurt him. Yes, he had not snapped back like he usually would. Yes, he was acting very peculiar today. He couldn't explain why, though. He was quiet, thoughtful, and being everything he usually wasn't. Half of Yusuke just wanted to punch Hiei so he could reassure himself that he was all right, but now…he was just confused. Was this the result from all the things he saw and experienced in the last years? If so, why did he suddenly realize it now of all times?
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that. I just don't like being asked so many questions," came Hiei's voice, soft and apologetic.
Even Hiei had changed, Yusuke noted. He was more humane now. Yusuke smiled slightly at the humble stature Hiei adopted during his apology. That was most certainly something Hiei wouldn't have done in the past. Apologizing for Hiei was difficult back then. And when he did, it was often said in a very reluctant manner. Yusuke shook his head and grinned openly at Hiei.
"No matter. But it was an honest question. I didn't mean to annoy you, but I just find it hard to accept someone liking me of all people. I mean look at you and look at me. You're strong, smart, and a hell of a lot more experienced in life than I am," he said, his tone cheerful, yet holding a large measure of truth and sadness in it as well.
Hiei's face remained unchanged, but his eyes were alight with concern and solemnity. "You put yourself down, Yusuke. You are quite strong and you have your own intelligence that I probably will never have. As for the experience part—I am a lot older than you, Yusuke. Don't forget that. At least you are willing to learn. That's a lot more than most other people. That may be why I was drawn to you. I admired your sense of spirit and your individuality. True, your stubbornness could be annoying, but it was very honorable at the same time. I never encountered anyone—human or demon—that cared so much about his friends and family and was willing to give up his own life for them. So don't ask why I feel for you the way I do because I just do and I have good reasons for it as well," Hiei replied calmly, though his eyes glistened in the light.
Yusuke's face was in his hand as he listened to Hiei speak and when he finished, he looked up with a soft smile on his face. His eyes also looked strangely light as he called the waitress back for their check. After he paid for their meal, Yusuke took Hiei's arm and walked out of the restaurant and back to the park again. This time Yusuke took a seat in one of the swings and Hiei stood by his side in silence. They remained this way for quite a while before Hiei finally spoke.
"I hope this doesn't change our friendship, Yusuke. I can accept you not liking me back but I don't want to lose our friendship," he said quietly, though the words held so much more meaning in them than Hiei put out. Yusuke knew that and looked at Hiei amusedly.
"After all this, you think I don't like you back?"
Hiei was struck speechless and Yusuke ruffled the demon's hair affectionately.
"I don't play with people, Hiei. I'm willing to give us a shot. Hell, I'd be denying myself if I said I didn't like you in the same way. Maybe I didn't realize it before but I did today."
Yusuke grinned widely at Hiei, who looked back at him with a look that Yusuke had never seen in the youkai's eyes before. It was appreciation and something else. Perhaps it was love, but Yusuke feared to use that word. It was too strong. Maybe care. Yes, he could use that word. Looking up at the star-studded sky, Yusuke sighed softly and took Hiei's hand in his own, feeling the surprise radiate from the other but smiling when Hiei eventually moved closer to him and relaxed in his hold. Yusuke slowly began to envision something. Perhaps one day, a few years from now, he would look back at this day and wonder how much things have changed. Maybe he and Hiei wouldn't even last that long. Maybe their relationship would be short and uneventful. Or maybe he and Hiei would last for a long time and he would look back to see where it all started. Yusuke blinked wonderingly.
But why was he thinking of all this? After all, now he had a demon that cared for him. Would he need anything else?