Okie dokie, folks, I'm back to my regular Hiei/Yusuke fandom! Here goes fic number two that stars this pairing. We need more of these, dammit! I've only seen literally a handful out there with this pairing. So this is my little addition. Need I say there will be yaoi? I think not.
Disclaimer: Me don't own Yu Yu Hakusho, k?
The Kaleidoscope Syndrome
The wind was harsh. It blew across the deserted landscape, whipping the bare trees and causing a low moan to echo painfully in the distance. The ground was arid and the sun hid behind ghastly red clouds. Amongst the vastness there traveled a lone figure. His face was hidden under a hood and the tanned cloak he wore flew about wildly with the wind. This did nothing to hinder him, though. He went on in a slow, easy pace and didn't seem to notice the bitter conditions around him.
Then from the horizon came a distant yell. A gang of youkai, all ranging in different sizes and colors, came marching as one with determines looks in their eyes to the cloaked figure, who merely stopped to watch. One demon, presumably the leader, looked particularly fierce with his yellow eyes glowing blazingly as he raised his arm, a large club in hand.
"Down with you, Urameshi!"
The youkai hammered down on the smaller figure only to wind up with a fist in his gut. With a heavy grunt, he sagged to the ground lifelessly. The other youkai froze in their pace and stared at the figure, aghast. The latter smiled slightly and lifted his hood, revealing a mane of long white hair tied into a ponytail. Strange markings adorned his otherwise youthful face and dark brown eyes glittered brightly as they stared down at the youkai.
"You know, attacking unwary strangers is rather rude," he said, his tone humorous.
The youkai moved away fearfully.
"We are not afraid of you!"
Urameshi Yusuke grinned to himself before bending down before their fallen leader, charging up his Rei-Gun at point blank range. "Oh? Then I suppose you'll come and save this one, right?" he inquired, the blue light from his fingertip making shadows dance around his face ominously.
The youkai took but one glance at their leader before fleeing away quickly, weapons cast aside recklessly. Yusuke narrowed his eyes and withdrew his attack at the fallen youkai. He stood up and pulled on his hood once again, reverting back to his ningen form as did so.
"Damn youkai have no sense of loyalty," he muttered under his breath before turning away to continue on his journey.
The weather was still as angry as before. Eddies carrying dirt and sand hit Yusuke relentlessly and still he paid no heed to it. The Makai was known for making trouble for him and he welcomed it with open arms. A long time ago he would have complained. A long time ago he would not have even been in the Makai, making the trip he was now. But a long time ago was gone and Yusuke had to deal with the present. Daydreaming about life in the Ningenkai was futile where he was; it would only get himself killed and Yusuke planned to live for many more years.
All at once, a sudden pained vision crossed his mind, causing him to falter slightly. A memory entered his mind—one where he was still just a small boy and innocent. It was winter and he was with Keiko, throwing snowballs at her while she tried in vain to finish her snowman. Yusuke closed his eyes and scrunched up his eyebrows to clear his head. And just as suddenly the vision came, it was gone. The dark-haired man opened his eyes slowly, breathing in deeply at the strange sensation still ringing clearly in his mind. The occurrences of these flashbacks were increasing with each passing day and getting worse. Occasionally Yusuke found himself mixing up what happened the day before with what happened a year ago. He wasn't sure when it began—he wasn't sure of anything anymore.
Only one thought remained constant: he had to keep walking. A journey across the Makai, though, always entailed danger especially when one was the successor to Raizen and even more so when he was stepping into territory that was not his. Yusuke thought to himself wonderingly. It had been many a year since he last visited Kurama. Even if their predecessors had been rivals, Yusuke still considered the kitsune to be one of his closest friends. There was nothing to compete in anymore. They each had their lands and that was it. The only thing that kept it from being perfect was the fact that the youkai living within each of their lands still considered them to be eternal enemies in the names of Raizen and Yomi. Nothing could be done to settle the rivalry. Yusuke hated disputes.
So it was only natural that as he got closer to Kurama's territory, more youkai would arrive to confront him. Even though he had ordered a safe passage for Yusuke, it did little to stop those demons who saw him as a threat. But whenever Kurama had visited his lands, the youkai there did nothing. They only let him pass with almost reverent looks in their eyes. It made Yusuke wonder to himself. Perhaps had he not been so hotheaded and temperamental when he was younger, he would have been able to command more respect now. A small smile made its way to his face. How things changed with time.
The dark-haired man looked up wearily as another onslaught of youkai approached him. He was almost at the gate to Kurama's castle now. The youkai wore red uniforms bearing the emblem of their master, a rose.
Before the youkai could strike, a soft order was issued. The soldiers ceased immediately and saluted the figure coming down from the main steps of the castle. Yusuke looked up and offered a genuine smile.
"Perfect timing as usual, Kurama," he greeted amusedly. He looks the same, he thought. Kurama was in his ningen form as well, red hair gleaming in the sun and green eyes sparkling with warmth.
"I must admit, I was a bit surprised when you said you were visiting. It's been quite a while," replied Kurama before he swept the other man into an embrace. "It's good to see you."
Yusuke froze momentarily before easing into the hold, hugging Kurama back as well. Such gestures had become rare for him. "Ditto," he said quietly.
When they pulled away, Kurama took a few steps back to gaze down at his figure. "Hmm…it seems we both like to be in our ningen forms," he commented, laughing lightly.
"Looks that way, no? So…can I go in?" replied Yusuke, arching an eyebrow at his last question. Kurama's guards remained gazing at him scathingly and he was beginning to grow tired of being outside.
At once, Kurama nodded and began to lead Yusuke up the stairs. "Yes, I'm sorry. My manners seemed to have slipped in the past few years," he said hurriedly before looking at Yusuke. "How long will you be staying?"
The dark-haired man blinked. That thought had never occurred to him before. "Not sure. Is it a problem?" he answered.
Kurama shook his head, smiling slightly. "Not at all, Yusuke," he replied brightly.
A pang hit Yusuke. It had been a while since anyone called him by his given name. After everyone he knew from the Ningenkai passed on, he had finally decided to live permanently in the Makai and to make a new life for himself. So he dropped his first name and most youkai now knew him as Urameshi. Only close friends like Kurama and Hiei still called him Yusuke. It warmed his heart to be with someone familiar again.
"You've made improvements to this place," quipped Yusuke casually as he glanced around the castle and the youkai that lurked about in the corners. It had a very Victorian feel to it—typical of Kurama. He too was influence by the Ningenkai, having remained there until his younger stepbrother passed away.
"I didn't really approve too much of what Yomi had—a bit boorish in my opinion," he replied, eliciting a chuckle from Yusuke. The redhead smiled. "Ah, so you can laugh. I was beginning to worry."
Yusuke waved a hand carelessly. "Things become less funny as you get older," he said nonchalantly.
The two entered a council room. It was mostly bare with a large circular table in the middle. Some nature paintings hung on the walls. Kurama pulled up a seat and gestured for Yusuke to follow suit. Then after several moments of silence, the redhead ordered for his guards to leave. They obeyed grudgingly and left them in private.
"Rather clingy aren't they?" queried Yusuke, smiling slightly.
Kurama folded his hands and nodded back. "Well, I had originally wanted less men but they refused to leave," he said, shrugging lightly.
Yusuke laughed at that. "Must be nice to have so many loyal followers," he retorted, eyes drifting across the room.
"They're all good men," said Kurama quietly as he watched Yusuke. He grew concerned. "Yusuke, what's wrong?"
The dark-haired man looked at him with some surprise. "Eh? Why do you ask?" he inquired.
Kurama closed his eyes and leaned back in his seat. "You look like you haven't gotten any decent sleep for one thing, and you haven't said a word about yourself. Diversionary tactics foiled, Yusuke," he replied calmly.
"Ha, I guess I should have known better than to hide anything from you," admitted Yusuke before he sighed tiredly. He looked at Kurama sharply. "I've been feeling off as of late. And it's not because I can't sleep amazingly enough. If anything, sleep has turned into my haven. When I'm awake, that's when everything spins around crazily."
Kurama narrowed his eyes and leaned in closer to Yusuke. "What exactly do you mean?" he asked curiously.
"I've been having weird relapses, Kurama. Sometimes during the day I'll all of the sudden get an image in my head—a memory. They vary, too. I just had one today of Keiko and me as kids. Last week I had one that was only a few months' old. They're getting more frequent as well. Not to mention, when I try to remember something that happened the day before, I wind up getting an image of what happened years ago. It's becoming a hassle to remember anything," explained Yusuke.
Sighing, Yusuke looked at Kurama. The latter remained silent as he contemplated the words he had just heard while Yusuke's gaze began to wonder again. He faintly heard the guards trample the floor outside in a repetitive fashion. It was obvious they did not trust to leave their master alone with the fearsome Urameshi in their midst. Yusuke frowned slightly at this.
"I must admit, Yusuke, that's quite a problem. When did it start?"
Dark brown eyes turned to meet calm green. "Umm…I'd say…maybe a few weeks ago," he answered, struggling hard to recollect everything that had happened. Thankfully, he was still able to organize his thoughts and memories but those moments where he couldn't scared him. He was never like this before.
"Have you been in any fights?" inquired Kurama.
Yusuke arched an eyebrow at him. "Come on, Kurama. Have I been in any fights? The real question should be, 'Have you not been in any fights?' Practically every other day some youkai pops in from out of the blue to challenge me. If I say no they just charge in," he replied exasperatedly. Originally, he had welcomed the fights but after a few centuries, he began to grow weary from it all.
Kurama offered a small smile. "Have you eaten anything strange?" he asked.
"Have you been any place strange?"
Yusuke scratched his head. He had been doing a lot of extensive traveling the past few months, revisiting old graves and sites. There had been some odd encounters but nothing that could account for what was happening to him. Most of the youkai Yusuke met were reclusive and just seeking word of the outside world. None had put any curses on him as far as he remembered.
"This is getting most intriguing," murmured Kurama. He crossed his arms and thought hard on what Yusuke had told him. It seemed like he was starting to lose track of his memories—causing overlaps in his past and present.
"Hey, maybe I'm just getting too old."
Kurama shook his head and looked at Yusuke darkly. "You have strong blood running through you. Your health as far as I can tell is up to par and youkai don't really start to mix their memories no matter how old they are. It's not a natural cause," he stated before standing up. "You caught me at a bad time, Yusuke. I have to leave in two days—"
"For 'diplomatic reasons'? Let me guess, some renegade regional lord creating havoc in one of the small parts of your lands?" interrupted Yusuke, grinning.
A surprised look was sprawled on Kurama's face before he slowly smiled. "I take it you've encountered something similar?" he asked lightly.
Yusuke nodded quickly and snapped his fingers. "Damn annoying is what it is! I am not cut out for this ruling business. Half the time I just want to leave it to someone else but those damn youkai Raizen left behind won't let me," he retorted before he stood up to meet with Kurama. "Look, it's all right. You don't need to feel guilty on my behalf. I'll just try and find another solution elsewhere."
The redhead narrowed his eyes. "You. Alone?" he asked tightly.
"Um…yes?" replied Yusuke unsurely as he stared at Kurama.
The latter shook his head and placed a hand on Yusuke's shoulder firmly. "I'm afraid I cannot let you leave on your own," he said, his tone laced with concern.
Yusuke looked flustered for a moment before shrugging off Kurama's hand. "Hey, I've dealt with a lot of things on my own before, Kurama. I can take care of myself," he shot back indignantly.
Kurama offered him a sad look. "Yusuke, I'm worried about you. You said so yourself these memory relapses were occurring more frequently. What if it gets to the point where you're on your own and you can't even remember your own name? It may be only for short moments now but later on it might last longer. I don't want you to be alone out there. I want you to remain somewhere safe until I return and then we can really start to work on this mystery," he said forcefully.
For one moment the two stared hard at each other. Finally, Yusuke backed off, hands in the air. "Fine, fine, you damn kitsune. But who would want to watch over me, huh? I'm not a very agreeable person," he replied obstinately.
"You have many friends, Yusuke. Did you think to go to Hiei?"
Yusuke raised both eyebrows. "What? That guy's always busy with some adventure or another. Last time I visited he was off scaling some volcano. And I really don't think he would want to take care of me. And hell, I'm not even sure if I would want him to take care of me," he said, shaking his head.
Kurama smiled slightly. "You underestimate your importance, Yusuke. Hiei may not express it but he does care about you," he remarked softly.
"And," cut in the redhead, "he's the closest youkai around here. Getting to his place from mine would only take a day and a half—probably shorter for you since I know you like to charge straight on for hours."
Yusuke frowned slightly. "Kurama… Do you really think it's something unnatural? Because to be quite honest, I don't want forget who I am," he said quietly, his tone serious and without any humor.
Kurama placed an arm around Yusuke bracingly. "Don't worry, you won't lose yourself," he reassured gently.
For several seconds Yusuke remained staring at the floor, analyzing the cracked features.
"I hope Hiei's ready for some trouble."
A soft laugh escaped Kurama as he squeezed Yusuke's shoulder. "I don't think you'll be any different from the other trouble Hiei gets," he joked.
Now, don't kill me about the weird setting of the story. In actuality, I should consider this a full AU since I'm not sure whether or not it really corresponds with the anime or manga. So…yeah. Centuries have passed, Yusuke is lonely, Kurama's the same, and who knows what the hell Hiei is doing. Ah, it feels so good to be doing this pairing again.
Next part snippet: Hiei's reaction when Kurama and Yusuke show up at his door? Not good.