Disclaimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho. .

(12/5/03--12/18/03)

Hiei's Christmas Dilemma - Hiei gets roped into playing Secret Santa, and draws Yukina's name! Find out what lengths he will go through in order to get his sister the perfect gift.

Hiei was cornered. There was no way out.

"Let's go to Yusuke's house today, Hiei," Kurama had said ever so innocently. God, how he wanted to kill the man. Take out his katana and just murder him. Screw the fact that Kurama had once saved him and defeated him. By hook or crook, he would murder the man, murder him.

In fact, the only thing currently keeping him alive was the presence of one particular female in the room.

"Hiei-kun? Are you all right?" Yukina's eyes stared into his, her eyes full of worry and concern. Instantly his anger melted. She could do that to him, and he hated that.

"Hn," he muttered, crossing his arms and retreating to a dark corner of the room.

"Leave him alone, Yukina-chan," the idiot known as Kuwabara stated. "He's always like that. You'd better stay away or you might become more like him."

Hiei's grip on his katana tightened dangerously.

"It's almost Christmas," Keiko stated exasperatedly. "Stop saying things like that!"

"I know!" Botan stood up suddenly, eyes sparkling brightly -- and dangerously, Hiei noted -- "Let's do Secret Santa!"

A slow smile spread through Keiko's face. "Secret Santa! That's a great idea!"

Leaving all the men in the room clueless, of course.

Well, besides Kurama.

Hiei nudged him with the hilt of his katana. The red-haired fox demon turned to face him, rubbing at his back where he had been poked.

"You could just call my name."

"Let's get out of here." Hiei said bluntly.

"Hiei, that's rude. We can't just leave."

"Then I'll leave."

"Hiei-kun? Are you leaving already?" Dammit! Hiei froze into place as Yukina approached him, those gentle, kind, compassionate eyes staring straight at him.

Ugh. He was weakening. He could feel it.

"Who, Hiei? He's not leaving," Kurama answered for him. "No, he's staying."

Damn you, you idiot! Hiei wanted to scream at him.

"Oi! What the hell is a Secret Santa?" Yusuke asked impatiently, interrupting Hiei's silent rant.

Keiko placed her hands on her hips, glaring at her boyfriend incredulously. "Are you saying that you have no idea what Secret Santa is? How clueless are you, Yusuke?!"

"God, shut up, shut up," mumbled Yusuke.

Keiko's eyes narrowed.

"Ah--" Botan sweatdropped. "Come on, you two. Secret Santa is when we all write our names on little pieces of paper, put them in a hat, and draw names. Whoever's name is on the paper is the person that you have to get a gift for, okay?"

"Stupid Ningen custom," muttered Hiei sullenly. "I'm not doing this."

"I guess that'll be okay." Yusuke yawned.

"I'll get the perfect gift for Yukina-chan!" Kuwabara grinned dreamily. "A ring...a diamond ring!"

Hiei's eyes glinted murderously.

"Then let's hurry up with this!" Botan said. "Take these pieces of paper--" She grabbed a stack of crumpled papers and handed them out. "--write your names on them, and we'll put it in--" She looked around. "--this...hat."

"I'm not doing this," Hiei repeated when a hand holding out a piece of paper was extended to him.

"But it would be fun, Hiei-kun."

Hiei froze.

God! Why was it always her?! Did she...Did she stalk him or something, and deliberately plot how to keep him from escaping this stupid Ningen world?

"It's true, Hiei. It would be fun." Kurama had traces of a smirk on his lips. Hiei glowered; his hand instinctively began to pull out his katana, but then stopped quickly.

"Hi-ei," Yusuke read out loud, his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth, a black pen clutched in his right hand. He dropped the crumpled wad of paper into the hat. "There we go. Everybody's names are in."

"What the--" Hiei was cut off by everybody's words. He swore inwardly.

"Now we just sort of...jumble these around..." Botan put a hand in and closed her eyes, mixing up the papers in the hat. "And we just pick a paper!"

The hat was passed around, and everybody retrieved a piece of paper from the hat. There were mixed reactions: Kuwabara looked deathly afraid, Yusuke was pouting, and Keiko was laughing.

Hiei scowled. What the hell was he doing here with these idiots anyway?

The hat made it back to him. There was only one piece of paper left. Rolling his eyes, he grabbed it sullenly and threw the hat back to Botan.

He roughly unfolded the paper, gaping at the name that was scrawled across it.

Yukina.

---

"Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit."

"Calm down, Hiei."

The forementioned ignored his so-called friend's comment. "Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit."

"God, relax!" Kurama carefully scrutinized Hiei's face. "You're turning red. Breathe."

Hiei took a deep breath, fully aware that he was really blowing this way out of proportion. But he couldn't help it. "I knew I shouldn't have played that idiotic game, I knew I shouldn't have gone to his house -- it's all your fault."

"My fault?" Kurama eyed him incredulously. "Don't blame this on me!"

"If you hadn't gotten me to go to Urameshi's house, I would still be safe. Alone."

"Hiei, you're overreacting." He hated the teasing glint in Kurama's green eyes. Again, his hand reached for his katana.

"Hn."

"So you picked your little sister's name -- your sister who doesn't know she's your sister, anyway -- for Secret Santa. I don't get what the big deal is."

Hiei took another deep breath, biting his tongue and refraining from saying the string of words that threatened to spill out of his mouth. "The big deal is," he said slowly, "she might figure out who I really am."

Kurama burst out laughing.

Hiei glowered at him.

"Hiei, it's only Secret Santa. You buy her a gift and give it to her. How is she going to figure out who you are by that?"

"I--well--" Hiei stuffed his hands in his tunic, glaring daggers at the redhead, the words sinking in slowly. She might not figure out who he was. He'd give her a gift, and everything would be all right. Nothing bad...

"Maybe you're right..." Hiei let the words escape him slowly. "But what am I going to get her, huh? I was planning to just blow this thing off. But now that I drew her name, I can't exactly do that, can I?"

Kurama shrugged. "She's your sister."

"She doesn't know she's my sister. And I haven't spent too much quality time with her, have I?"

"I don't know. But at least you know that whatever you get her, she'll at least pretend to like it, right?"

Hiei stared at him sullenly. "I can't just give her some bullshit present," he stated.

"Of course not."

"Well, then, what the hell do you suggest I get her?!"

Kurama shrugged. "How much money do you have?"

Once again, the words hit him like a ton of bricks. Judging by the look on the Koorime's face, Kurama thought he had the situation about summed up.

"You've got no money, do you."

It was a statement, a true fact.

Slowly, Hiei shook his head.

"Absolutely no money. Not even one yen."

Hiei's head seemed to be moving on its own accord.

"Nothing in your pockets?"

Hiei emptied out his pockets. Except for black lint, there was absolutely nothing.

"I'm broke," he said, voice hollow.

"I see that."

"I've got no money."

"You could always...make something..." Kurama suggested timidly.

The glare he received in return was enough to make Youko Kurama tremble in fear.

---

"This is stupid."

The words flew out of Hiei's mouth not for the first time, and most certainly not the last. Hiei glared furiously at the closest friend he currently had.

"So I've heard." Kurama gazed through various windows at what he had called a "mall." Dumb name, really, Hiei thought to himself. A mall.

"This is never going to work." They had only spent ten minutes in the crowded building, but Hiei was already losing hope. According to what Kurama had told him about this stupid Ningen holiday, Christmas was in less than a week. Three days, to be exact. How was he to find a present for his sister in three damned days?!

"If you're so pessimistic, you could always just give up and not get her anything." The corners of his mouth were twitching; undoubtedly he knew that Hiei would never disappoint his twin sister.

"You're here to help me, not be sarcastic."

"True." Kurama stopped, peeking at another window. "But it takes two to tango."

"Shut up with the stupid Ningen phrases," snapped Hiei. Honestly, the youko could really get on his nerves sometimes. Especially considering the fact that it was all his fault he was stuck in this predicament, anyway...

Kurama stopped, eyeing his friend. "Do you have any idea of what you're going to get her?"

Hiei stopped, searching his mind.

"No."

Kurama sighed.

"And you're still broke."

"Yeah." Hiei glared defiantly at him. "You've got enough Ningen money, don't you?"

"Well --" Kurama nodded reluctantly. "But not much."

"Good enough," Hiei decided, and continued to walk on.

Now, Hiei was a very sensible and practical person. The sensible and practical side of him knew that he was truly wasting his time on this. He knew nothing about Yukina except that she was his twin sister. Come on, like he had said, he hadn't exactly spent much quality time with her, had he? He didn't know anything about her. So what was he to get her for this holiday called Christmas?

The fact remained that he had to get her something.

He couldn't bring himself to disappoint her, try as he might. He loved her as a brother should love a sister, and this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show his love for her without bringing too much attention to himself.

But he still didn't know what he should get her.

"Do you think she likes jewelry?" Kurama asked, pointing at a jewelry store. When Hiei shrugged, Kurama continued to walk along, muttering something that suspiciously sounded like, "Good, I didn't have enough money anyway."

Stupid.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

"Hiei, we only have three days, you know that, don't you? After today, you're only going to have two days left."

"You've only been repeating it every single day."

"Only to remind you," Kurama said lightly. "But you've got to get her something. Fast."

"I know that."

"Why don't--Why don't you just give her a bouquet of flowers?" suggested Kurama, continuing to look at an assortment of stores.

"Last resort," Hiei replied simply.

"What?"

"Last resort," he repeated. "If all else fails, I'll get you to grow me some roses."

"Ah. Smart."

But in all honesty, he really didn't want to give Yukina just a bouquet of roses. Of course, they would be beautiful. Kurama always grew the best plants and roses. But he wanted to give her something else. Something that he'd taken the time to find, something that would be perfect for her.

Now if he only knew what that was.

---

That day had proved both uneventful and unfruitful. Absolutely nothing had happened.

"You're too picky," Kurama had stated lightly. "Just pick out something that looks nice."

"This gift has to be perfect," had been his reply.

"Because this will make up for all the years you never spent with her? All the years you caused her suffering and disappointment and misery?"

He had glared daggers at him, immediately shutting the red-haired youko up. Now inside, that was definitely the truth, but he wasn't about to let Kurama know that. No doubt about it, if he were to ever admit it, Kurama would never let him forget it. Ever.

Okay, so that really wasn't the point right now. He could try to murder Kurama later on. Right now, he was intent on finding a gift for Yukina, with or without Kurama's help. Frankly, Kurama hadn't been much help, what with all his sly and sarcastic comments.

God, nothing seemed to be perfect enough for her! Any kind of jewelry that caught his eye simply didn't compare to the Hiruseki gems she could cry out at any moment, any sort of stuffed animal didn't seem good enough, and the last resort was clothes -- like he even knew what her size was, or what kind of clothes she liked.

And of course, there was still the fact that he was penniless.

Honestly, this Christmas deal was just some dumb old Ningen holiday that had been made to ruin his life.

But he had drawn her name, and he was stuck buying her a present.

"Dammit," he mumbled, rubbing his forehead. "Why did I have to get myself stuck in this stupid thing?!"

He stared out from his spot on the tree branch.

The sky was dark, with a full moon staring back at him. Making up his mind in a split second, he strapped his katana to his side, and flew off into the night.

---

He found himself back on that oh-so-familiar spot on yet another tree branch, watching his sister sleep serenely. Maybe if he watched her sleep for a little, something would come to him, and he would be able to buy something for her.

Maybe.

Damn, she looked so pure and innocent. It was hard to imagine that they were related, much less twins. He never thought that anyone could be so important to him.

Most kids hated their siblings, and constantly bitched about how they pissed them off.

He couldn't say anything like that. And as strange as it sounded, he sort of wished he could feel a bond like that with her... Hell, any kind of bond would be way better than the "bond" they had right now, at this very moment.

"Back again?" Her voice startled him, ever so slightly. He turned and saw the elderly Genkai with that all-knowing look on her face. That look pissed him off.

"Hn." His black clothes rustled in the wind. "Spying on me?"

"You're one to talk," Genkai retorted. "Watching your sister every single night."

Hiei shrugged carelessly. "She'll never know."

"I never figured out why you didn't just tell her." Genkai leaned against the shrine building, looking up at the black-shrouded figure. "Between your jagan and your sister, your own flesh and blood, she's more important to you, isn't she?"

No reply.

"She'd better be." There was an edge to the elderly woman's voice. "Yukina loves her brother more than life itself."

"Hn." Despite what he was saying, Genkai's words had really struck a chord in him. Okay then, Yukina loved her brother. Which was him. But she didn't know it.

Genkai was talking, but he wasn't listening. He was too busy going over his options in his head.

Option 1: He could tell her. Simple as that.

Option 2: Forget about it. He wasn't going to tell her. He had made a promise, a vow. He had sworn, when he'd gotten his jagan, that he would never tell her he was her brother. He never broke a vow. Never. And besides, it would be too confusing, too strange.

But he had to wonder, what would her reaction be when--if-- she ever found out the truth. Would she be happy? Or would she be...

Disappointed?

That was what he feared most. What if she was disappointed with what she found? For all he knew, she saw her brother as some great, glorious, Prince Charming sort of a figure. If she ever figured out that he was really her brother -- nothing but a thief, a bandit, a criminal -- she would most likely be disappointed.

"Problems?"

"Eh?"

"You've been spacing out for the past ten minutes. Has the idea for a perfect gift finally come to your head?" Her voice was slightly taunting.

"Perfect--" Hiei's eyes narrowed. "Reading my mind?"

"Didn't need to. It's all on your face. Sometimes, a jagan isn't needed."

Hiei's eyes narrowed once more. Surely that was her way of making him regret his decision...

"Listen to me. Yukina loves her brother more than life itself. She's never met him yet, and she has no idea what he's like, if he's a kind soul, a demented youkai...She doesn't know. But she still loves him with an unconditional love."

"Hn." A small sigh escaped him. What was he going to do now?

"She's waking up."

"Eh?" Hiei looked into the window, startled to find his sister sitting up in bed, rubbing her eyes tiredly. Without so much as a wave goodbye, he sped off into the night.

---

"Any ideas?"

"What do you think?" Hiei glared at the red-haired youko, crossing his arms over his chest in the classic Hiei gesture. "And don't start with the 'We only have two more days' shit with me."

Kurama raised up his hands defensively. "I just want you to know that we need to use our time wisely, Hiei. Can you really find your perfect gift in forty-eight hours?"

Ergh. What was up with people calling it a perfect gift anyway?! It didn't have to be perfect...just reasonably close to perfect, that was all...

"Why don't you just ask her what she wants for Christmas?"

"Baka. Then she'll know I'm her--whatever it's called--Secret Santa."

"So?" Kurama shrugged. "She'll find out anyway, on Christmas Day."

"I want to do this on my own. I want to find a gift for her on my own."

Stubbornness was imbedded deeply into those words.

"Do you want to know what I think?"

"Wouldn't matter." Hiei laughed hollowly. "It's hopeless. I'm not going to be able to get her a gift by the twenty-fifth."

"I think I know what Yukina would want for Christmas."

"Yeah? What's that?"

Judging by the sly look on his friend's face, Hiei had a feeling he didn't want to know. And when the words escaped Kurama's lips, he wished he hadn't heard them...

"Her brother."

Silence fell, like raindrops descending to the ground. For a moment, Hiei simply stood there, paralyzed, mouth slightly open. Then his countenance hardened, and a maddened expression slid over his previously shocked eyes.

"Damn you, kitsune..."

Kurama laughed. "It's true. Ask anyone. Even Kuwabara. They'd all give the same answer."

Hiei digested this new piece of information. Was that what Genkai had been hinting last night when she had oh-so-subtly mentioned, "Yukina loves her brother more than life itself."?

"You don't know that," Hiei said sullenly.

"Why do you think she's been searching for you ever since she realized that she had a brother? You don't think she's just searching for you for the heck of it, do you? She wants to meet you. She wants to meet her brother."

"You know I can't do that."

"The jagan issue?"

Hiei didn't need to answer.

"You want to give her the perfect present, don't you?"

A shrug.

"You know you do."

"What use is it if I do, Kurama?" Hiei spat out almost violently. "If what you're saying is true, then her perfect gift is if I tell her I'm her brother. And you know I can't do that."

"Hiei, your sister's happiness has got to be more important then your jagan."

"Dammit, it's not just that!" snapped Hiei. "I told you before--I'm not going to stain her with my sins, with what I've done. Besides, I'm nothing more than a thief. That's all I am. I'm a thief. A criminal. And I'm always getting myself into trouble, you know that better than anyone else. I'm always digging my own grave--and if I die, I don't want to cause her unhappiness. I don't want her to cry her heart out for a brother she barely knew. For her brother, the criminal."

Kurama tried to stop him. "Hiei--"

"Dammit, listen!" He was going way overboard now. "Look at me, Kurama. I'm a thief. A wanted demon. A hated demon. A brute. When she -- If she finds out...she's just going to be disappointed."

Kurama was regarding him with a look extremely close to pity. "You can't really be thinking that, Hiei."

He had calmed down by now. "It's just the truth."

"Hiei, she loves her brother. She wouldn't care what he was -- even if he was the most wanted criminal in all of Makai, she would still love him. That's how she is, you know."

"No."

"Give it a try."

"Let's hurry." Hiei pointedly ignored his statement. "We only have two more days to buy her a present."

---

We're all familiar with the feeling of dread that creeps up on you right before something extremely bad is going to happen, aren't we? Unfortunately, our dear Hiei began to feel that feeling the moment Kurama led him into yet another one of these stupid "malls."

It was the same thing, practically every time. Clothing stores. Jewelry stores. Book stores. Absolutely nothing caught his eye.

Kurama surveyed his friend's face, choosing wisely not to bring up his previous outburst. "Nothing?"

Hiei affirmed, "Nothing."

Still that creepy feeling haunted him. He shook his head forcefully, trying to shake it off, earning him a curious look from Kurama.

"Anything wrong?"

Hiei shook his head. But that feeling just wouldn't go away.

"You look sick. You sure you're all right?"

"I'm sure..." Hiei lied. Ergh. What was wrong with him?!

"You--" Kurama was interrupted by something he saw. Furrowing his brow, Hiei watched as Kurama's lips broke into a smile and he raised his hand in a greeting. Hiei was about to turn to look and see who he was waving to when a voice that could only belong to the biggest idiot on the planet spoke up.

"Hey, you guys! What're you all doing here?"

Kuwabara.

"Ohayou, Kurama-kun, Hiei-kun."

He froze, that feeling of dread filling him from head to toe.

Yukina.

"Come on, Hiei, say hi." Kurama nudged him with his elbow, shaking him out of his shock. Glaring furiously at the red-haired youko, Hiei crossed his arms and let out a "Hn."

"Two days before Christmas and he's still as grumpy as ever." Kuwabara stated bluntly.

"Watch it," Hiei threatened him in a low voice.

"Ne, Kazuma-kun, you shouldn't provoke him," Yukina said gently.

Argh. It pissed him off to no end whenever he heard that idiot's first name come out of her mouth. He was surprised her mouth didn't burst into flames, having said the name of an idiot like him.

"So, what brings you two to the mall?" Kurama asked them pleasantly.

"Uh--" Kuwabara flushed a deep, dark red. "Well, uh, you see--"

"Kazuma-kun asked me if I wanted to go to the mall with him," Yukina answered cheerfully. "So I said yes."

"Oh." Kurama arched an eyebrow. "A date?"

Hiei felt his blood pressure rising. God, he wished he had his katana right now. Screw Kurama and the Ningen laws that stated you couldn't walk around with a sword because of "danger issues."

"Ahh..." Kuwabara's face was turning an interesting shade of red, and Yukina continued to have that sweet, blissful smile on her face.

"Let's forget about this--" Kurama said hastily.

"Yeah. Let's." Kuwabara looked extremely relieved. Then something dawned on him. "What are you two doing here? I mean, I can understand you, Kurama, you're normal, but Shorty--"

"Watch it." The warning was repeated in a low, dangerous voice.

"We were just looking around," Kurama answered, trying to keep the peace.

"You'd better look out," warned Hiei, glaring daggers at the orange-headed idiot. He couldn't believe he was actually conversing with this moron. But anything, anything he would do right now to avoid Yukina.

Hey, where was she anyway?

Looking around, he saw her looking through the window of a shop that sold greeting cards and various little figurines and stuffed animals. He gazed at her. Her eyes reflected pure joy, and there was just this feeling, this emotion, this gleam, this look on her eyes.

It was the look he wanted to see on her face when he gave her his present.

Slowly, he walked to his sister. He was about two feet behind her when he saw what she was looking at.

His breath caught in his throat.

It was small, but it was perfect. It was a glass angel, with every single detail imaginable carved into it. The wings were beautiful, the figure was stunning. But what caught his attention the most was its face.

There were two tiny holes carved for eyes, and the nose was a small jagged edge. Its mouth...

It was curved into a small, serene smile. Yet traces of sadness were embedded in it.

It was just like her smile.

Right then and there, he knew he had to get that for her. That was the present. It was the present he had been looking for all this time.

"Yukina, do you wanna go get some food?" Kuwabara asked, waving her over.

Yukina's head slowly turned, and a panicked Hiei ducked into the nearest store--a lingerie store, much to his chagrin-- while she approached Kuwabara.

"Well, see you!" Kurama waved politely to them. "At the party on Christmas, right?"

"We'll be there!" Kuwabara answered, and the two disappeared into the food court.

Kurama walked slowly to where Hiei was standing: At the doorway.

Of a lingerie store.

"Hiei, I don't think you really want to be standing there," Kurama noted with a smirk on his face.

Hiei turned around, and immediately stepped out. He grabbed Kurama by the wrist and proceeded to drag him to the store that contained the gift.

"What is it?"

Hiei stopped in front of the window and pointed. "That's the gift."

Kurama took one look at it and smiled. "It's perfect, isn't it?"

"Whatever. Let's just get it."

"Same as ever." Kurama stepped into the shop to purchase it. Hiei followed him silently.

They emerged from the shop a few minutes later, the weight on their shoulders considerably lighter. Kurama handed the plastic bag to Hiei.

"Well, well. Aren't you glad we got that over with?"

"Hn."

"I've never seen you get so worked up over something before. I have to say, I'm going to miss it."

Hiei fumed silently. Some friend he was....

And unfortunately for him, it didn't even occur to him to ask Kurama who his Secret Santa was...

---

A mere day before Christmas, Hiei was faced with the problem of wrapping up his sister's gift. How was he to know that the damn store only put it in some dumb old cardboard box?! And they'd only given him some cheap white plastic bag, too. Stupid Ningen world...

So here he was, back on his tree, leaning against the bark, glowering balefully at the cardboard box.

What now?!

Although Kurama had refused to disclose the price of the glass angel, he had hinted that it hadn't been a very cheap present. Hiei had given him a short "thank you," but that was about it. Although he could have asked him to buy him some wrapping paper, he felt he'd asked him enough.

So anyway, Kurama was off the list.

The only problem was, Kurama was the only person on the list.

"Gah. I've got to stop relying on that youko for every single thing."

But really, what was he supposed to do? His only belongings were his clothes, his jagan, and his katana, none of which would really make very good wrapping material. Dammit! He hadn't gone through all of that hell to buy her the so-called perfect present just to give it to her in some plain cardboard box!

By hook or crook, he was going to get some decent wrapping paper.

The question was how.

"Hiei-kun? Is that you?"

Hiei damn near fell out of that tree. As he stared down at the figure below him, with her ice-blue kimono and sea-green hair, he asked the God above why He enjoyed torturing him so.

He gave her a short, curt nod.

"Anou, Hiei..." She trailed off, wringing her hands. "Would you like to go to the shrine with me?"

Hiei blinked. "Genkai's place?"

She nodded. "Hai."

He stared down at her for the longest time. He knew he shouldn't...

"Why?" he finally asked.

She shrugged, a light blush covering her features. "You don't have to if you don't want to," she said hastily. "I was just wondering..."

A sad expression was reflected in her eyes. Inwardly, he cursed himself.

He knew he shouldn't, he knew he shouldn't...

But the things we know we shouldn't do are usually the things we end up doing.

---

"Anou...arigatou for coming," Yukina thanked him meekly.

"Hn." Hiei shrugged carelessly. Her present was tucked underneath his black clothes, leaving a slight bulge at his side. He prayed she didn't notice.

Silence.

He stuffed his hands inside his pockets, clenching them into fists. He could have kicked himself, and then some. Why on earth had he agreed to go to the shrine with her?! Who knew what could happen? What if he accidentally spilled the beans? What if Kurama spotted them? He'd never live it down...

This had to be the most awkward thing that had ever happened to him. Here he was, alone with his sister, who didn't know he was her brother. He bit his lip, trying to stay silent, for only God knew what would come out of his mouth the moment he decided to speak.

He heard a small sigh escape her lips. Out of the corner of his mouth, he saw her wringing her hands--something she seemed to do whenever she was feeling nervous, he noticed-- and looking, well, sad.

Well, he knew he wasn't the best choice of company, but surely he hadn't done anything to make her sad...

Besides the fact that he was the very brother she had spent most of her life searching for, anyway....

The words tumbled out of his cold, hard lips: "What's wrong?"

Yukina looked up at him, a slightly surprised look on her face. "Nothing," she said, feigning cheerfulness. "Nothing's wrong, Hiei-kun."

A cheerful smile was etched into her face. But unlike her other smiles, this one was sad.

Hiei wasn't the kind of person who was really talented at reading other people's emotions, but this time, he just knew that something wasn't right.

"What's wrong?" he repeated.

"Nothing," she repeated.

"Don't lie." His voice was firm, and his reddish-brown eyes met her light colored eyes, which held a taken-aback expression.

"I shouldn't burden you with my problems," Yukina said softly.

Hiei watched her, not saying a word. She looked like a dam that was about to burst. He didn't have to say anything before she finally let it all go.

"I want to see my brother, Hiei-kun!" Tears were dangerously close to falling. "I want to see him so badly. Every Christmas, I'd always wish for him to come back. I know you told me to stop worrying about him, but I can't help it. I want to see him, I want him to come home."

Hiei bit his tongue, so hard that he tasted blood.

Look at all the unhappiness you've caused her, his mind scolded him. She's crying.

Two Hiruseki gems slowly slid down her face and fell to the ground.

"He might be dead, for all we know." His voice was hollow.

But Yukina shook her head. "No. He's alive. I can feel it."

To this, Hiei had nothing to say. What was he supposed to say?

"I wonder if he knows I care this much," she said softly. "I wonder if he even cares about me."

"He does," Hiei found himself answering. "He does."

"But if he does care about me...then why doesn't he come and tell me? Why doesn't he come home?"

"I--I don't know..."

"Is he disappointed in me?" Her words reflected his previous emotions, his desire not to disappoint her. He found himself shaking his head.

"No..."

"Then why?"

"Your brother's an idiot," Hiei stated loudly, fiercely, not at all regretting the words. "He's a stupid idiot who's made many stupid mistakes..."

Yukina tried to smile at him through her red, puffy eyes.

Feeling embarrassed for his outburst, Hiei looked up. "We're -- we're here."

So they were. The familiar building of Genkai's temple was standing right in front of them. Had they been talking that long?

"Anou....would you like to come in, Hiei-kun?"

The look of longing in her eyes entranced him, pleaded with him, begged him.

But he shook his head, and disappeared wordlessly.

---

"Shorty came?!" Kuwabara gaped at the short figure in front of him.

Once more, Hiei's grip on his katana tightened. Oh, how he longed to slice that idiot Ningen in half. Or maybe quarter him. Or even better, cut off his tongue. Yeah, that would work...

"It's Christmas, you moron," Yusuke said sarcastically. "Even Hiei would come on Christmas..."

"What, is he staying?"

"Mou! Stop making fun of him!"

Hiei was dangerously close to unsheathing his katana. But by stretching his patience as far as it could go, he bit his tongue and glared menacingly at the group.

"I only came to give my gift." Words, spat out coldly.

Kurama stepped up. "So that's what Hiei came to do! Well, then, let's let him do this."

As the words came out of his red-headed friend's mouth, Hiei suddenly realized that he didn't know what to do. The gift (unwrapped, as the rest of them noticed) was clutched tightly in Hiei's pale hands, and he was suddenly frozen to the ground.

"Well, Hiei?"

Hiei blinked. Okay. So this would be impromptu...

He wished he had Kurama's mind at this point. The man could come up with the best of plans in mere seconds! He was not so lucky...

You can do this, his mind told him resolutely. You went through hell and back just to get her the goddamned present, and you're sure as hell not gonna mess it up now. Just give her the present. Then you can go home.

Numbly, Hiei hoped with all his heart that his mind was working properly.

But it didn't matter, for his body was already doing what his mind had told him to.

She was standing behind the rest of them, looking gentle and pure. Throughout all this time, she had been quietly watching the scene. As his feet slowly made their way towards her, he found himself freezing up again.

What if she finds out?

No...how would she find out? He would just give her the present...

...and then leave, and everything would be back to normal again.

"Hiei-kun?" Yukina looked up at him, confused.

At a loss for words, Hiei simply thrust the present at her. Not exactly the best way to give your sister a present, but it was the Hiei way. And frankly, that was the only way Hiei knew.

"For me?" Yukina blinked.

Hiei nodded, trying to look nonchalant. "I drew your name for that--" He stopped himself from saying a string of words that should never be said, "--game.."

"I see.." Yukina smiled brightly at him. "Arigatou, Hiei-kun."

"Open it." The words came out of his mouth.

"Uh, okay." Yukina gingerly lifted the lid of the brown cardboard box. The contents were wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue. She gently unwrapped it, and when she saw what Hiei had gotten for her, her jaw dropped open.

"Hiei-kun..."

Hiei turned away, a classic Hiei gesture.

"A--Arigatou..."

He said nothing, but glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. She was smiling...and her eyes...were tearful...

"You're crying?" He was dumbfounded. She'd better like the present!

"I'm just happy." She smiled at him. Her eyes were shining.

It was the look of ultimate happiness, the look that he wanted to see on her face everyday.

His job was done.

While the rest of the Rekai Tantei crowded around Yukina, gasping and shrieking in delight at the glass angel, Hiei sneaked away, outside on the wooden porch, staring up at the full moon.

Damn, was he glad that was over with.

"Hiei-kun...arigatou." She was standing behind him, a faint blush on her cheeks. "Really...I like it so much."

Hiei shrugged nonchalantly.

"Are you--Are you leaving?" she asked, wringing her hands. "Can't you stay for tonight, onegai? It is Christmas after all, Hiei-kun..."

He turned to face her, immediately regretting it as he did so. The look on her face was enough to make him do anything. As has been said, she could make him do anything with a mere look.

Genkai's words floated back to him: "Listen to me. Yukina loves her brother more than life itself. She's never met him yet, and she has no idea what he's like, if he's a kind soul, a demented youkai...She doesn't know. But she still loves him with an unconditional love."

And as if that wasn't enough, his conversation with Kurama chose to replay itself at that particular moment:

"I think I know what Yukina would want for Christmas."

"Yeah? What's that?"

"Her brother."

He threw her a sideways look. "I'll stay."

"You will? Arigatou, Hiei-kun!"

Hiei shrugged again, crossing his arms over his chest. There was an uneasy silence between them until Kuwabara piped up.

"Yukina-chan! Look over here, they have mistletoe!"

Hiei furrowed his brow. Mistletoe?

Vaguely, he remembered Kurama explaining to him about the holiday called Christmas. Oh, right. If two people were underneath this "mistletoe," then they were to kiss each other.

Wait.

Kiss each other?

The mental image of that orange-headed idiot kissing his sister was not a happy thing.

The fact that that orange-headed idiot even thinking of kissing his sister was an even worse thing.

Before anyone knew it, Hiei had unsheathed his katana, and was brandishing it dangerously at Kuwabara. Kuwabara, instead of wisely running away for his life, had chosen to retaliate, and was currently waving his Rei Sword around at Hiei, who dodged his blows expertly. Botan and Kurama were trying to play peacemaker, and the rest of them were wisely choosing to stay out of the skirmish until somebody accidentally knocked over Yusuke's beloved eggnog. The three of them were now chasing each other around the house, knocking over various artifacts.

Oh, what a Merry Christmas indeed.

-- The End --

A/N~ Well, I was trying to make it more humorous, but it ended up being slightly more dramatic in some places...ah, well, the ending should make it more light-hearted...anyhow, Merry Christmas, everyone!!