A/N: This is my first YYH fic (not to mention my first stab at posting something on fanfiction.net), so here's hoping it goes well. Sorry to disappoint all the YAOI fangirls out there.

Disclaimer: Yu Yu Hakusho: I think it goes without saying I don't own it. Which is a good thing for me—I don't think I could live up the scrutiny and pressure from all the drooling fans out there (myself included). I also apologize in advance if the thread inspiring this story is overused.

Shameless solicitation for information: Having only seen some of the anime, and very little of the manga (we're still on the Spirit Beasts here), I need fellow fans to fill in the gaps for me. When did Kurama's mom remarry? What's his stepfather's name (family and given)? I think his stepbrother is also named Shuichi, right? Anybody know his age? General descriptions of either would also be appreciated—I kind of need the information for the story to continue. Its not crucial, but it would be helpful. Thanks!


Flitting from tree to tree, he raced forward with the singular purpose of simply reaching his destination. If he hesitated to actually think about why he was going, he would reconsider his actions and abandon the journey. It would not be cold tonight—in fact, nights were pleasantly cool this time of the year. Not a could in the sky threatened rain. There was no need to seek shelter. Yet the window would still be open.

Truth be told, he didn't know why he was going, really.

Dusk had already settled over the sleepy city like a thick plushy blanket. Soon it would be dark. He actually preferred to travel in the dark—less chance for him to be seen. As it was, he amused himself with the stupid humans' vapid looks when they glanced in his direction, having felt their hair ruffled by an unnatural, otherworldly breeze as he passed over their heads. The quick ones might think they caught a glimpse of something black…something large…a bird they must have startled from its nesting place. A crow, perhaps.

Hiei stopped. Crow. That simple image had taken on a much more nightmarish connotation since the end of the Dark Tournament. For all of them. More so for Kurama, though he'd never admit it. But Hiei had seen it in his eyes—a haunted look rippling just under the surface of conscious thought. Then again, Kurama's eyes always had a sort of haunted, contemplative look.

Kurama had once told Hiei that humans had a saying: "The eyes are the window to the soul." Kurama's window—just like the one in his bedroom—was always open. If just a little cloudy. The sins of a past life… Not that the had anything of which to be ashamed. He was a demon, after all. And a damn good one at that. You didn't live to be as old as Youko Kurama without some...talent. Hiei hoped he could live half as long…

"Look, Mommy! There's a man in that tree!"

Shaken from his reverie, Hiei cursed. Stupid humans. Couldn't they see he was trying to think? Why had he let his mind get so off-track in the first place? With another muttered curse, he sped off towards Kurama's house again, the whispering breeze drifting a soft "I'm sure it was a bird…" to his ears. He smirked. Idiots. Had they truly known…

The breeze whipped pleasantly through his hair, rippling his heavy black cloak as he quickened his pace. Running was one of his few pleasures in life. The air rushing past him…the wind at his back…it was as close to flying as he'd ever come. Well, except for sailing through the air after taking a blow from an opponent. That was an entirely different kind of masochistic pleasure, though.

Then, almost as suddenly as it started, it was over. Hiei blinked. He had already arrived at the crossroads to Kurama's street. Glancing down the road, he saw "Minamino Shuichi's" residence. Light radiated out of the downstairs windows. The family was still up. The upper level was dark. Easy enough to slip in and wait.

A few quick leaps, and Hiei was perched in his favorite tree outside Kurama's home. He eased himself down the branch that took him to the fox demon's window. It was dark. Odd…Kurama would usually be in his room piddling away at his human busy work—"homework" he called it—at this time. But the window was still cracked open. Enough for Hiei to slide his fingers in, push it up and enter. Heh…always open…

Just to be on the safe side, lest a family member was in "Shuichi's" room, Hiei pressed his face to the glass and peered inside.

Kurama was in his room—already in bed, no less, his back to the window. Hiei scowled. Kurama never turned in this early. Lazy fox… He raised a finger to tap on the glass then reconsidered. After all, he had no point being here. No mission. No news. No need. Why had he bothered coming? His scowl deepened. He had been spending way too much time with these stupid humans and their incessant, trifling nee for companionship—it was starting to rub off on him. Like some sort of nasty human virus he had suddenly caught. And his immunity was slowly breaking down. Pathetic.

Disgusted with himself, Hiei turned to leave and seek shelter for the night when a sudden spike in energy from Kurama caught his attention. Curious, he pressed his nose back to the window.

Kurama had rolled onto his back, giving Hiei a better view of the sleeping fox demon. The pale sliver of silver moonlight cascading through the open window illuminated his elegant features. His eyelids fluttered slightly—barely perceptible even to Hiei's keen demon eyesight—and his eyes darted back and forth under them.

Hiei smirked. Kurama was dreaming—perhaps of the exploits of a lifetime ago…or of those to come… That was the energy he sensed.

It spiked again, followed by a quick gasp. Kurama's fingers curled, clutching his sheets protectively.

He wasn't dreaming…he was having a nightmare.

It wasn't unexpected—Hiei had to confess, if he were being completely honest with himself, that he had his fair share of nightmares since the Dark Tournament ended. Not that anybody else needed to know that. Especially that idiot Kuwabara. And, admittedly, Yuske and Kurama had taken the brunt of the difficult battles. Particularly Kurama's battle against—

"Karasu…" the word escaped as a whimper from Kurama's lips. "No…" he moaned. Beads of sweat broke out along his brow. His breath quickened to shallow, labored gasps for precious air.

Damn him. Hiei spat. Even in death, Karasu haunted Kurama. He had been a formidable opponent, to be sure, and had succeeded where no other had. Karasu had gotten past Kurama's steely intellect and invaded—no, raped—his mind…toyed with him…teased him with stomach-churning homoerotic threats of "love" and placing Kurama at his side forever. All while slowly, methodically torturing Kurama's physical human body to death. Though Kurama was unwilling—or unable—to admit it, Hiei knew Karasu had shaken Kurama's human heart to the core, wounding him much deeper than just simply scratching his youko pride. But Kurama still defeated him—a testament to his strength and intellect—and had overcome. Hadn't he?

Then again, Hiei wasn't so sure even he would have overcome that.

Another small whimper caught in Kurama's throat. He whipped his head to the side, plastering some of the finer strands of his crimson hair against his sweat-drenched forehead. His knuckles were turning white from gripping his covers tightly. Wake up, Hiei mentally urged, wondering if he should enter Kurama's room and wake him. It suddenly reminded him of another human saying Kurama shared with him: "Let sleeping dogs lie." Why? What kind of moronic human advice was tat? Foxes were dogs of sorts…would that apply here?

Kurama convulsed, tossing restlessly in his sleep as Hiei watched in morbid fascination. The redhead's limbs thrashed, tangling among the sheets. His energy climbed, building into a slow boil. Unusually—and dangerously—high for someone asleep.

Enough of this, Hiei finally scolded himself. I suppose I'll have to wake him before he hurts himself, he tried to convince himself he was more annoyed than actually concerned. Frowning slightly, he slid his fingers under the window.

"No!" Kurama yelped, one arm swinging out wildly. His hand made contact with the objects on his night table, sending his alarm clock crashing to the floor with a dull thud. Something else—a drinking glass, perhaps?—soon followed, shattering merrily.

Hiei froze. Someone was bound to have heard that.

Sure enough… "Shuichi?" his mother's concerned voice echoed from downstairs.

Hiei hissed. He couldn't be seen. If he were, the stupid humans might mistake him for a petty burglar. As if any of their paltry valuables were even worth his effort…

Withdrawing into the tree, Hiei resigned himself to the fact Kurama would have to contend with his own personal demons…at least, for tonight. He prepared to leave when an abrupt explosion of mental energy scratched across the surface of his mind, inexplicably chilling him to the bone and firmly rooting him to his hiding spot.

Kurama bolted upright, screaming.


So…do you like? Do you hate? Please let me know!

I am a very slow writer, so please be patient with my updates. I swear this story is finished in my mind—I just need to find time to get it all down on paper.