"Mint Chocolate Chip"

Disclaimer: I do not own Yu Yu Hakusho. I do own the poem, and plot of this story.

Warning: May be some violence, hinted references to sex, angst, and OOC-ness. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Story Note: You will notice that Kurama starts to go from talking in past context into present, as if he were in the flashback/scene. This was intentional, even though I messed it up a bit ^^;; He's going between different levels of consciousness because... well, you'll see. I was trying something new.

Author Note: This is a prequel to "That Window". I decided to do this in a completely different style. Of course, I hadn't meant for Kurama to sound this sarcastic... ^^;; I hope you enjoy. Other companions to "That Window" may be written later.

Dedication: Actually, I'm still on a writing break. But since I've started it, I've posted (including this) two new fics T.T Doesn't sound like much of a break, ne? The reason is that I wrote the first (Tree Tears) as a birthday fic for my koibito, but it was of such poor quality that I felt bad and wrote this one... so this is another (belated) birthday fic for my koi! (Callisto Firestarter) It's not much better, but two is better than one... I think.

End Note: You should probably read "That Window" after this ^_^


My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

Not the white frothy stuff, I mean the cheap corner store green kind.

And no, not because it matches my eyes. (Which, by the way, it doesn't. That green is a mistier moss green. Mine are emerald.) I just do. Simple as that. I don't care if I'm supposed to eat elegant things because I look like I would. I just like the green corner store kind.

It doesn't taste special. It doesn't look special. It isn't special. At all.

But it doesn't matter.

I mean, if everything had to be special, then nobody would like it, ne? And if there were nothing considered 'not special', nothing would be special.

Make sense?

I suppose not.

But I just thought, if somebody didn't like it... why did it exist? And as strange as it may sound to have compassion for a flavor of ice cream, that's exactly what happened.

I remember the first time I had it. There's this store around the corner of my block, and Shiori, no, Kaasan took me when I was four. She held me in her arms, all smiles, as I stared at her blankly.

"We'll try something new today, ne, Shuu-chan?"

And I was thinking, 'None of this is new to me, damn ningen.'

"Are you upset, Shuichi?"

'If you consider being trapped in a pathetic human body for four years, listening to nothing but incompetent baby talk a means to be upset, yes. Yes I am.'

"I'll bet we can wipe that frown right off your adorable face, ne? I know what we'll do, we'll get you some ice cream. Would you like that?"

I wonder if all youkai have a spot for ice cream. Hiei is attached to... 'sweet snow'... and Yusuke seems to be taken by it too. And I actually received a card from Mukuro (yes, Mukuro) saying she wanted me to bring her three gallons back when I visited next. She said she hates ningen stores (not that she's allowed in them, anyways) and I'd be damned if her palace had electricity, much less a freezer. She had tried making Hiei do it, but Hiei claimed that it always 'melted' before he got back. (All 38 times.) It would be an acceptable reply if he weren't half koorime and one of the fastest demons in Makai.

Either way, the wheels in my youko charged brain started moving in the process of:

Smile. Make sounds of agreement. Get food.

And that I did.

And when she brought that green frosty confection to my lips (with a tiny tester spoon) I ate shamelessly. And it was like a tiny cool heaven.

"This is the only flavor they had..."

And that's when I started to love that flavor.

But that doesn't make is special.

Because only I know.

And I am not special.

Nothing cannot defend nothing.


I was beginning to feel like a shelter.

No, I don't pick up animals off the sides of streets. Heck, I can understand their language (I'm a youko. You know, fox.) I *know* what they're actually saying.

Believe me, when a cat mews at you, it isn't trying to be 'cute'.

Either way, I was beginning to feel like a shelter... or psychiatrist.

It had all started when Keiko-chan had come to talk to me after the Dark Tournament.

"Kurama-kun... I don't know what to do... Yusuke... I know I can't interfere with his battles but... it hurts so much..."

I really didn't know what she expected me to say. So I just told her:

"Keiko-san, even the dirtiest street dog has a garbage can to go back to."

Funny what slips out of your mouth when your mind is blank. Of course, it was better than what I'd originally started to say. (Well, it's not as if she's the first female in distress Youko Kurama has dealt with.)

"Oh. Thanks. A garbage can?"

She started to laugh, and her teary red eyes crinkled.

Sweet girl, really.

"A figure of speech."

And I smiled my charming mask of a smile.

"...he does sort of resemble a dog, ne?"

You have no idea, Keiko-san. No idea.



I sighed. I was already at the door. What youkai *couldn't* notice that unruly ball of youki bounding his way? But such thoughts left my mind when I opened said door.


He looked exactly like a street dog.

His hair was long. I mean, 'fertilizer-gone-horridly-wrong' long. His youkai marks were fading away but he had soot all over him so you could barely tell the difference. His claws were grown out, and he was wearing the most confused/hidden fear/annoyed/pissed/...embarrassed expression.

"Uh... I've been sort of avoiding everyone because of..."

I nodded to cut him off. It was a pet peeve of mine, people stating the obvious. (Which happens often when you're in league with a toddler, clueless grim reaper, delinquents, and Reikai in general...)(Not that anybody noticed, though.)

"I thought you could help me?" A hopeful request accompanied with a smile.

"...I'll see what I can do. How about you tell me while I look for a pair of scissors..." I took another look at his hair. Screw the scissors. Get me the hedge cutter.


Snip. Snip. Snip.

"So, what happened?"


"Don't worry. Nothing said here will go beyond this room." Honestly, that did not help my 'feeling like a psychiatrist' problem.

"Okay... well... I was sleeping..."

No, really? I hadn't noticed from the fact that you're only in your boxers.


"And I started having this dream..."

"A battle dream?" This was judging from the sweat matting his hair.

"Err... no." Blushing. I almost smiled. Almost. But my youko past reminded me to keep my face straight when trying to get information out of another.

"It was... a dream about Keiko."

Ah. And now I had the whole picture.

And the rest is private.

...let's just say my advice helped, and Yusuke decided to use me as a free psychiatrist from then on.

And the word seemed to spread. (The way the name 'Youko Kurama' does in the Makai underground.)



It was amazing how that voice hurt my ears more than the youkai whistle. But Youko Kurama was used to loud, screeching, screaming, and I lived.

"Hai, Kuwabara-kun?" I smiled. Smiling is a heavy weapon, I would know.

"I wanted to talk to you..."


"Well, I have this problem. And last week when Urameshi seemed really embarrassed when I asked him why he got a haircut, he said that you gave him it while you guys talked. So I thought, since we're like, team mates and all, we could have a conversation?"

"Sure." As long as I don't have to touch your hair...

"Oh. Great!"


"...would you like to come in?"


Makai rule 197: Never invite a vampire, or any youkai in to your home.


Note to self: Include ningen to above rule.


"...so you want to date Yukina-san?"

"Uh... yeah."

"...but you're afraid of Hiei cutting you into little diced pieces of fried human."

"Well, not that descriptively, but yeah."

"And you want me to help you?"

"Well, that shrimp is really protective of her. He probably likes her too..." Poor oblivious human.


"But Yukina-san wouldn't like a dark shrimp like that!" He brightened, thus amusing me. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

"How about you talk to Yukina-san about this, and if Hiei opposes, you three can work it out."

"Yeah! And prove to that shrimp that she wants me, not him!"

I had barely managed a smile as he ran out the door.



I blinked at the phone.

"Hai? May I ask who this is?"

"Ah, Yukina-desu."

"Hello Yukina-san," this was new, Yukina-san using a human phone to call me...

"Etto, I'd heard from Keiko-chan you're great to talk to..."


"It's about Hiei-san and Kuwabara-kun..."


I stepped into my room and noticed something strange right away.

There was a black cloak draped over my chair, and something was lurking in the shadows.


And the shadows rustled.

"Hiei-san? What is it?"


"What's wrong, Hiei-san? Are you injured? Has Koenma summoned us?"

"...what do you live for...when you live for... when you have nothing to protect?"


"...what do you exist for... when there is nothing to live for, Kurama?"


"I don't understand." Glistening amber eyes flickered at me from the shadows as his voice trembled.

And I felt something pull at my chest. I felt something pull at my heart. My core.

I don't understand either, Hiei...


I don't remember what I told Hiei. I don't think we touched the subject.

I do remember that I gave him some sweet snow, and he actually talked to me. He asked me something...

Something I don't remember...

It probably wasn't important.


It continued like that, now even Hiei came to talk to me sometimes. About Makai. About Mukuro being intolerable. About Yomi. About Yukina. About Kuwabara.

But I didn't mind that much.

It was great amusement sometimes, and let me understand my friends and human emotions a bit more.

But there was a minor problem... they started to ask me about me. They wanted to know if I'd ever gone through something like them.

I wonder if they noticed.

I wonder if they noticed I never really answered.

I wonder if they noticed that I never really told them anything...


Silly fights and stupid questions were escalating.

"Love problems" were morphing into something else.

It seemed that the more they trusted me, the deeper they went.

And sometimes, I couldn't understand.

I am a Youko. Emotion is not a natural thing. Youko live off passion. Passion of lust, passion of the hunt, passion of freedom.

Emotion was something I'd recently begun to understand. Something I had felt a few times in my past life, but could finally begin to analyze with my new human senses.

But they were so brimming with it, so full of it. So full of life, of the emotions that their lives came with.

And it confused me.

Just like the time that Hiei had stumped me...

I don't understand...

And suddenly, my thousands of years of knowledge, my great weapons, my straight A status...

Was nothing.

And every time they came to me, I would learn something new...

But unlike my homework, unlike plants, unlike fighting...

I was utterly lost.

And I hated it. I wanted them to stop talking to me... I wanted them to answer questions for me... to tell me what these feelings were...

I felt like a kit.

But I was prideful, and curious.

I wanted to know more, but I couldn't ask.

And everything started building up. Images were distorted, my complete knowledge was shattered.

And I had nothing to fall back on when I learned a new emotion.

I had nothing to help me understand...

I don't understand.


"I'm sorry, Minamino-san. Your mother... did not make it."


"Are you okay, Kurama?"

"Daijoubu, Kurama-kun?"

"Do you want to talk about it, Shuichi?"

"I understand, Kurama."

"We're here for you."

"Let's talk, ne?"

"Only a fool takes all upon himself..."

"What's wrong?"

"Are you okay?"


"Yes. I'm fine. Thank you."


And the session's started again.

They were satisfied with my fake smiles and my soft voice. They were contented with my sweet reassuring words and my straightforward responses. They were satisfied with the pointless bits I fed them to keep them from knowing.

And yet, I still couldn't understand...

And I wondered why they came to me for advice...

When I could not even ask for help.

And I felt like I was the student, and they were the teachers.

I felt like a stubborn, childish student who could not tell his teacher he couldn't read...

I wanted to know why my chest hurt. I wanted to know why I cried at night. I wanted to know why her name made its way to my lips so often...


I wanted to ask. I wanted to tell them. I wanted to tell them about the pain. I wanted to tell them of my confusion.

But I couldn't.

I can't.

I knew nothing. I told nothing.

I was nothing.

I am nothing.

So as the world shatters, and these tears keep streaming...

As I wonder 'why' and my blood pools...

I wonder if they noticed.

That I never told them...


And I wonder if anybody knows...

My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip.


I'm making circles in the hallways,
And no one's walking by,
And I'm wandering on my way,
But I'm lost here though I try.

There's walls around me, see them?
And the ceiling's down too low,
And the windows only show me when,
The scenes from years ago.

And reality seems far away,
But it's what keeps me here,
And I'm watching me as I betray,
Because thing's aren't what they appear.

I'm watching smiles that imitate,
The grin from years ago,
And I find that I can't help but hate,
The smile that's but a show.

I'm longing for the sunflowers,
I'm longing for the rain,
I'm longing for the lost hours,
I'm even longing for the pain.

At least the pain could show me,
What I was living for,
And I really need to see,
The flood that helps no more.

Tell me, am I breathing?
Can you hear me gasping, panting?
For the sting that bleeding used to bring,
Has ceased to be exciting.

I'm longing for the starlight,
I'm longing for the darkness,
I'm longing for the play fights,
I'm even longing for the stress.

Tell me, am I here?
Can you see me, are you sure?
Because even fire does not sear,
And my own vision's obscure.

I'm leaving trails of crimson,
With the scent of blood and salt,
And my legs have lost the strength to run,
As my mind is at a fault.

Tell me, am I living?
I'm just not sure no more,
And I can hear somebody singing,
And coaxing me from shore.

I don't care about it anymore,
Just take me far away,
I just don't want to stare at this damn floor,
Or hear what the demons have to say.

I don't give a damn about it,
I don't care where I may go,
I'm just sick of all this bullshit,
And the sky that hangs too low.

Tell me, one last thing,
I really need to know,
Tell me... what's this feeling?
Why do these tears still flow?


"Naa, Kurama. What sweet snow do you think is best?"

"Hm? Oh, I don't know Hiei-san... I have a spot for mint chocolate chip."


"They have some at the store just around the block. Maybe we can go some day."