Finally, this is the last chapter. On the day I finished this story, the whole plot for One Last Memory (sequel to One Last Wish) came fully to my mind, so I probably will start writing it when I get a new notebook (not computer, just a writing book. I'm rather old fashioned, in a sense). But first, I want to continue working on Reflection of the Moon. I've been neglecting it for quite a while. My head is ready to explode. I have 7 story plots in my mind, and I'm sure each one of them will be more than 10 chapters (although they are not all on Yu Yu Hakushou). I hope that you will continue to support my writings. Thank you all for making it to the last chapter.
The dry twigs and branches of the tress trembled in the wind, like the hands of an old woman, fragile, wizened, but full of stories. A few lone brown leaves continued to cling onto the branches, looking as if any tiny movement could shatter them, yet they still could not bear to let go. Why were some humans not even better than the leaves?
The warmth in the spring wind had long left, leaving a bitter cold aftertaste in the breeze. Although it seemed harsh, it never hurt anyone, other than forcing people to stay in the cozy comfort of their home and relishing the feeling to being at home and together with your loved ones.
After a honeymoon of cruising around Makai and revisiting places they were once so familiar with, Kurama and Hiei returned to Ningenkai and the feeling of home swept them away once they entered Kurama's house (or maybe it should be called their house since they are married now).
A huge sting of explanations followed, starting from the very beginning (when Kurama came to Ningenkai) and leaving nothing out. Shiori was in the state of shock for a few minutes, and then gladly welcomed them back.
Grasses began to wither, turning brown and parched, as if dying, but deep under the soil, their roots remained lively. Everything seemed dormant on the surface, but as long as their hearts were alive, they would all wake up again.
"Hiei! Come and see this!" Kurama exclaimed while waving for Hiei to come over. The latter came with a puzzled expression as he saw Kurama kneeling in front of something. "What is it?"
"The plant you gave me! It's so tall now, and . . . and there's fruits all over it!" he gushed out, excitement evident in his features. Hiei took a look. Yes, the plant was a bit taller, with ripe red fruits all over it, but other than that, it was pretty much the same as they saw it last time. Except that the big green mushroom shaped shrub no had polka dots. He saw absolutely no reason why Kurama should be so overjoyed about it.
"Don't you see, Hiei?" Kurama said with an exasperated sigh, "I finally remember what species of plant this is. If I'm not wrong, this is called The Beginning of Love (sorry if it sounds corny, I have no more ideas), and is one of the collections of five plants in this species. It doesn't grow on soil, water and sunlight, but on the love the person who grew it has in his heart. And when the love of that person has matured to a certain level, it will bear fruits. But the usage of the fruit is still unclear, as this plant is extremely rare and nobody who has grown it had ever seen it bear fruits. So we are the first to witness this. Aren't you exited?"
"Of course, of course, fox," Hiei replied in a "so what" tone.
"Hiei!" He said in admonishment, "Don't you have any feelings for this plant? We watched it grow from the first moment of its life, and I feel as if I am its parent or something, and now there are fruits! And to think that our love made this happen. It's impossible to not feel anything!"
"Hn. I'm already feeling too much form my own good. I don't want to get killed once I return to Makai."
"I know, I know. You've said that thousands of times," Kurama said with a hint of wistfulness as he remembered that Hiei's one year holiday was almost over, and he would have to go back by the end of this month. Yet he brightened up quickly, "But if you don't feel anything here in Ningenkai, I'm going to personally kill you. Anyway, where did you get this plant? Even I have never seen it before you gave it to me."
Hiei fidgeted a little, a habit he had picked up every time he had to confess something embarrassing to Kurama. "A witch gave it to me. She said that if I give it to someone . . . I have some feelings towards, then that person will return the feelings." He managed to not blush, but still looked extremely uncomfortable.
Kurama pulled him down and gave him a light kiss. "You loved me from so long time ago? Then why didn't you say earlier? You don't need the plant to earn my affections. I had given it to you long before that, but only you didn't notice."
"Hn. Then why didn't you say earlier?" Hiei retorted, settling onto Kurama's lap.
"Well, if someone wasn't so stubborn about concealing his feelings and hadn't avoided me for almost half a year, then maybe I would have confessed long ago."
"I'm stubborn? You were the one who was acting as if the whole world had nothing to do with you, and desperately trying to hide every time you let something off. I wasn't even sure if you liked or hated me." He said with a mug smirk, knowing that he was right and Kurama couldn't retaliate.
"Stupid, stubborn, indecisive jerk," Kurama muttered without heat, then stuck out his tongue.
Hiei blinked and stared at him for a while, then burst out laughing. Soon, they were in a heap on the ground, laughing uncontrollably. Perhaps they were laughing at their own lack of courage, casing the loss of so much time. Or perhaps that they're finally together. Or just because of their happiness at being around each other.
"We were both idiots, weren't we?" Hiei asked once they had stopped their fit of laughter. Before Kurama could reply, a sweet scent akin to honey and mango mixed together wafted into their noses. Unconsciously, they were already lying on the ground beneath the love plant (we'll call that for short).
"Do you suppose the fruit is edible?" Kurama asked.
"Don't ask me. You're the one who's the expert in plants," Hiei grunted. Kurama rolled his eyes, "Would I be asking you if I know?" then he reached up and plucked a fruit, which was about the size of an apple, only much rounder, and was about to take a bit when Hiei snatched it out of his hands and ate a big chunk.
A sweet and fragrant juice filed his mouth, and although it did not taste like mint (it was much better), it also had that refreshing when he swallowed it, as if he was just thrown into ice cold water. The taste was somewhat like nectar, with a hint of honey, sweet, but also with a lingering sour taste that balanced it. Even long after he had swallowed that bite, the fragrance still remained, and slowly a warm current rose to his chest, almost like the effect of wine.
"So how is it? Are you all right?" Kurama asked rather worriedly as Hiei had not responded in almost a minute.
Seeing his anxiety, Hiei purposely put on a blank face and said, "It's awful. Don't touch it."
Kurama stared at him. "No, you are lying." Then he leaned over and gave Hiei a soft kiss. "But thanks fro caring for me."
"What do you mean? I didn't do anything."
"When you grabbed that fruit away from me, you didn't want me to eat it because no one knows whether its poisonous or not, so you didn't want me to take the risk. But you know that I would never let it rest until I get the matter clear, so you ate it instead. And don't pretend that you didn't mean it."
"Well, I only didn't want you to eat it first," Hiei muttered, clearly embarrassed.
"Why are so many people afraid of you anyway? You are too cute for you own good." And he took a bit form the half-eaten fruit Hiei was still holding in his hands.
"Maybe because I can burn them to ashes in a millisecond? Sometimes I do think that you're right about not fighting, and having ones that you love is not a weakness. What weakness will you have if you never touch the battlefield? But I guess I'm a bit late a realizing that. Being powerful only tears you away form reality, away from what you really want, and then the power will be the one controlling you, and not the other way round."
"I know that you don't want to leave so soon, but your job need to be done too, and only you can do it. I'm proud of you for having a job like this. At least it's much better than what we used to do, isn't it?" Kurama said with a bitter smile as he recalled the memories he wished never existed. " You can't always have everything, and I'm already satisfied to just know that you are still thinking of me. Don't' worry, I will always be here waiting for you."
"But I don't want you to be lonely."
"I'm sure that you will come back sometimes, and maybe I can even go visit you in Makai during school holidays. It's not that far. Besides, when is a year or two ever a problem to you?"
"But . . . I . . . I just don't want to leave you." Hiei said, tracing the side of Kurama's face.
Kurama gave a small laugh. "Look who's the dependent one now. I thought that it should be the other way round, you comforting me. How are you ever going to survive in Makai?"
"Oh, shut up, fox." Then he pulled Kurama into a hug. Kurama never stopped his laughter, but soon, Hiei felt that the fabric on his shoulder was wet.
"You're crying, Kurama," he stated gently. Kurama lifted his head, wiping away a few of the tears, but said through his laughter, "Why am I crying? There's nothing to cry for. I'm not sad. I know that you'll come back someday . . ." he continued babbling, but the tears only flowed more rapidly.
"Kurama, stop lying to yourself. It's all right to be sad. If you were not, then we would not be together now. You would not be sad if we never met, but is that what you want? It's fine to cry. Don't pretend to be happy because of me. It only hurts more this way." Kurama collapsed into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably.
"Please . . . please . . . don't leave . . . we've only spent so little time together . . . please . . ." He pleaded.
"We meet, because we will depart someday, and we depart, because we will meet again. Just like the leaves on the trees, they grow to fall, and they fall because they want to grow again."
They stayed like that, in each other's arms, long after Kurama had ceased to cry. Then he eventually broke the silence.
"Come on, I'll go help you pack up."
"No, there's no need. I want to leave my things here. With you."
A huge wind blew by, sweeping off all the leaves remaining on the trees, and bring a chill that went right through the skin and to the bones. It was like an official announcement that autumn was over, and the winter had come.
Hiei stood by the windowsill, watching as daylight slowly left the world. It was a sign that he should get going. He opened the windows slowly, excruciatingly slow, as if moving an inch was the hardest thing he ever done.
"How long will it be before you come back?" Kurama asked softly, calmly, as he stared at Hiei's back. He did not cry. He did not want to cry in front of Hiei again. He had done that already, hadn't he?
"I don't know. Anything from a few weeks to a few years. But I'll be back someday." He looked at the reflection of Kurama on the windowpane. He couldn't bear to look at the real person. Then, with a deep breath, he leaped out of the window and into the darkness.
A full year had passed. Some things changed, while some stayed the same. Nature would repeat itself in a brand new cycle that had gone on for millions of years. Would humans repeat what they had done all over again? Probably not, but no matter how different, everything moves in its own circle, and the end will always be where we started.
Kurama waked numbly to where Hiei had stood just minutes ago, and leaned out of the windows, wishing that the wind would sweep his heart away. It was the exact same wish he had one year ago.
He lifted his head, staring at the pitch darkness above him. Suddenly, a speck of white drifted down from the sky. It was the first snowflake. Kurama watched as a droplet of tear leaked out from his eyes and fell in time with the snowflake to the ground.
The cycle had begun once again.