Fate: An odd, odd story. I need caffeine. Or sleep. Or something.
Disclaimer: Blah. Poofle. Erg.
WHAM WHAM WHAM.
"Give me a minute, will you?" Kurama demanded, rising to his feet and pushing his homework aside.
A dark voice from outside the window made a suggestion as to what Kurama could do with his minutes.
Kurama laughed and shoved the window up. "Nice to see you too."
"It's going to start raining in -- " The sound of rain hitting the pavement cut Hiei off. " -- now."
Kurama stood aside and let the fire demon vault the windowsill and glower out at the rain. Or, to be more precise, the small lake that seemed to have been emptied over Kurama's house.
"Did you just outrun that or something?" Kurama asked amusedly.
"No, I did not," Hiei retorted sulkily. "I've been avoiding rain for a while now. I know when it's going to do stuff like this."
Kurama didn't close the window, but simply stood in front of it with his eyes half-open, hands still on the sill. "Mmm. Why do you hate rain?"
Kurama knew Hiei was rolling his eyes, even though he couldn't see the other demon's face. "What the hell kind of question is that?"
"What, you don't know the answer to that one?" Kurama shot back, grinning.
Kurama stood up straight with a flourish, tossing his hair back with his best devil-may-care smile. "I happen to like storms."
Hiei stared out the window moodily. "I hate them."
"You just don't like getting wet," Kurama insinuated.
Hiei didn't say anything, merely shifted his weight slightly and looked generally uncomfortable with the line of questioning.
"So aren't you planning on answering me?" Kurama demanded, flinging himself back down at his desk and picking up his pencil once more.
Hiei slammed one hand on the already drenched windowsill, sending spirals of steam into the air. "No."
"Heh." Kurama smirked, tilting his head back and staring at the ceiling.
"What's gotten into you?" Hiei demanded, whirling on Kurama.
"I...like...storms," Kurama enunciated, still with the half-taunting edge in his voice.
"That's not an answer," Hiei complained.
"I really don't think you're one to talk," Kurama retorted sweetly. He smiled beatifically at the dark-haired demon as thunder rolled quietly in the distance. "Don't tell me you're afraid of thunder and lightning."
Hiei seemed so bewildered and annoyed by this that he didn't even glare, but merely stared at Kurama in no small amount of confusion.
Kurama tapped the pencil on the back of his chair, raking his fingers through his hair in an effort to keep the strands out of his eyes. "I can see why a fire demon would hate rain, but I don't understand the disinclination for thunder and lightning. We have plenty of dry storms in the Makai."
"Does this look like the Makai?" Hiei groused.
"Mmm. Not really." Kurama grinned. "But you never really know, do you?"
"How would I not know?" Hiei demanded. "I know the Makai as well as anyone."
"It's getting closer," Kurama announced.
"What is?" Hiei asked, slightly thrown by the change of subject.
"The storm," Kurama said happily.
"Why is this a good thing?" Hiei burst out.
"Oh, for the love of God!" Kurama exclaimed. "What do you have against storms?"
"What, I can't just hate them?" Hiei asked irritably.
Kurama thought about it. "No," he decided. "You need a reason."
"...because I said so?"
Hiei stared again. "I. Don't. Like. Storms."
"Then you'll have absolutely no objection to coming outside with me, then," Kurama said sunnily.
"Fox, you're crazy," Hiei said with disgust. "What are you doing now?" he continued as Kurama stood, strode over to the window, and flung it open. Rain poured in, slicking Kurama's hair to his back and clinging to his eyelashes. "You're getting all wet," he observed.
Kurama tilted his head back to meet Hiei's eyes. "That was the point, yes. Come on. Let's go."
"I came here to get out of there," Hiei said idiotically.
Kurama laughed and tossed his hair, spraying water across the room. "So? Have you ever been in a storm? Really been in one?"
"Yes." Hiei bit off the word sharply, glancing down at the floor. "Once. Never again."
"Now that's where you're wrong," Kurama retorted. "We're going out there right now."
"No, we're not," Hiei argued.
"Scared?" Kurama teased, undoing the buttons on his shirt with one quick movement and shrugging out of the soaked garment. "Hiei the high and mighty fire demon is sooooooo scared of the rain and thunder and lightning that he won't just go outside for a few minutes. How's that?"
Hiei deeply considered throwing something at Kurama's head. "Fox, what is with you?"
Lightning arced past the window, snapping off all the lights with a bang and sending ripples of invisible electricity over everything. Kurama was practically glowing, outlined by silver and gold against the rain. "Someone doesn't know the first thing about me," Kurama said softly, backing towards the window. "I think it's about time someone learned." He spun and flung himself out the window in one fluid motion as lightning exploded outside with a deafening roar.
Hiei didn't remember moving. He just found himself staring out the window with rain pelting down on his hair and shoulders, searching for Kurama with blaze-blinded eyes.
"Looking for me? I'm touched!" Kurama called from the roof gleefully, waving to attract the fire demon's attention. "Coming?"
"You fucking stupid youko idiot, you are touched. Touched in the head," Hiei grumbled, reluctantly sliding over the sill. "If you cark it then I'm down a reliable partner, and where does that put me? In a very bad position, that's where. Where else am I gonna find someone who's gonna back me up, huh?" he complained as he leapt up. "Someone's going to have to be sane during this...thing," he added with a disgusted glare at the sky. "He--hey! Watch the hands!" he yelped as Kurama's fingers trailed along the clasp of his cloak, knocking the mechanism free.
"You'll get weighted down if you keep it on, it's raining hard enough," Kurama said innocently as the wind tore the black fabric free of Hiei's shoulders.
Hiei folded his arms and shot Kurama his best dammit-I'm-pissed-no-don't-give-me-the-youko-eyes! look. His hair fell down in soaked strips over the bandanna twisted around his jagan, which only added to his furious expression. Well, he hoped it did, rather than serving to make him look like a drowned rat.
Kurama merely smiled brilliantly as lightning seared the sky. "Are you still afraid?"
"I was never afraid!" Hiei snarled.
Fingers closed over his arm. "You're shaking."
"I'm not!" Hiei snapped, trying to regain his arm.
Kurama laughed, wild and delighted. "Incoming."
Hiei didn't remember any noise, just brilliant deep red and someone yanking him hard sideways.
As soon as he regained his sight, he wrenched his arm free and instantly fixed Kurama with the nastiest glare he could muster. "You're fucking going to get us killed! We're demons, not fucking lightning rods!"
"Ooops," Kurama said, sounding far too guileless. He usually sounded relatively...well, maybe not nice or harmless, but not exactly bloodthirsty either. He never sounded outright innocent. Well, not normally.
Hiei glared. "What. Are. We. Doing. YEEP!" he finished as lightning arced down to send a nearby flagpole into shards of molten metal. "...here," he added, his ears ringing from the blast and all systems set to RUN AWAY except for maybe his legs. They were being singularly uncooperative throughout the whole thing.
"We are here, Hiei, because you always come and see me when it rains, when it storms, and I'm getting to the point where I can't stand it," Kurama said levelly.
Hiei only reinforced his glare. "You could just tell me to leave. No bloody need to get all wet and electrocuted in the process."
Kurama smiled. Shook his head. "You hate storms. Fire and water don't mix -- it's the basic tenet of your existence. The reason behind your exile, behind everything you are. It defines you by being everything you're not allowed to be."
"When did you go from being a demon to a psychoanalyst?" Hiei inquired. He had this odd urge to examine his fingernails.
"Is that why you hate rain? Because every time you see it, you see everything you can't be?" Kurama inquired.
"I hate rain because every time I see it, I also see everything I can't have," Hiei replied quietly. "And I fucking hate storms because I've been electrocuted. Fucking Urameshi and his fucking reigun."
Kurama looked mildly amused as another bolt tore across the sky and buried itself in a nearby tree. "That was no real electrocution."
"And yet it reminds me of losing just about everything every fucking time I see it." Hiei brushed hair out of his eyes irritably, fingers sliding through wet hair. "I'm used to loss. I prefer to avoid having it thrown in my face."
Kurama smiled, another strange smile that looked a bit off on his human face. "I'm not used to loss at all. It doesn't often happen to me. Not in a thousand years. I'm excellent at gaining things, though. But...I don't lose."
There was a long silence, broken neatly by a pale, dark-haired boy racing down the street barefoot with a whoop.
"Who the hell is that?" Hiei demanded as the boy whirled, waved crazily at the lightning, then started dancing in the gutters.
Kurama shrugged. "Not a clue."
"I don't think you understood what I meant," Hiei said quietly. "I always win when it comes to life or death. But anything else...I lose. I don't lose fights. I lose everything else."
Kurama looked unimpressed. "I don't think you understood me, either. I never lose. No conditions. No holds barred. I do not lose."
"Why do you like storms?" Hiei prompted.
"Every time it rains, I see everything I ever wanted," Kurama said dreamily. "Every time I feel lightning in the air, I feel everything I ever needed. Every time I hear thunder, I can hear everything I want. I get everything I want during storms." He paused. "Well. Just about, that is." He grinned easily. "Which seems to be a good deal more than you're getting out of this deal."
Hiei ran his fingers through his hair, ripping away the bandanna and throwing it aside. Three eyes blinked; one closed. "My hair is long," he said, sounding puzzled. He dragged the strands around and stared at them. "I've never understood that."
"Apparently, hair grows," Kurama informed him gravely. "How do you do that?" When Hiei looked at him without comprehension, he made a vague gesture in the area of his forehead.
"It's like any other eye, if you have it for long enough," Hiei replied. "Only you start to see things...understand things you have no way of knowing."
"Why did you come with me?" Kurama asked.
Hiei blinked, then put his fingers up to draw down the lid of his third eye quickly. "..."
"I'm not a fool, you know," Kurama said quietly. "But you do know that. I'm a youko in a human form...this body is all electrical synapses and impulses, just like my demon form. Rain, thunder, lightning...all my life I craved these things, absolutely had to have them. It spills over practically into mad spells during storms." Kurama smiled up at the lightning, rain lashing his face. "It's a call both physical and emotional. But why did you come with me?"
"You're going to get killed, and then I've got to find someone I can trust to save my ass," Hiei informed him.
"There's Yusuke for that," Kurama pointed out.
"Did you miss the part where I said 'someone I trust'? He doesn't know...things," Hiei finished lamely.
"What it's like to be a bundle of instincts and nerves, doing anything for the thrill, for sensation, for material goods?" Kurama continued.
"I said I couldn't stand to have you around," Kurama mused.
Hiei tensed. He really wasn't fond of where this conversation had gone -- and was continuing to go. "And?"
"You still don't get it!" Kurama threw his hands into the air. "Inari, you're either amazingly dense, in denial, or both!"
Hiei stared. "What, is it that you're barking mad? Because me, I figured that out a while ago."
Kurama stared back. "There's an easy way to do this, and a hard way. The easy way gets fast and cheap results. The hard way might last longer and be more fun in the general scheme of things. I never lose. Pick a way."
"Fast or slow," Kurama enunciated.
Hiei looked deeply suspicious.
"Pick one, or we're going to be standing up here all night," Kurama added, sounding exasperated.
"Hard way," Hiei replied instantly.
Kurama grinned again. Hiei was starting to really feel nervous when the redhead did that. "Do you have any idea what I'm getting at with why I like rain?"
"Synapses," Hiei replied, sounding bored.
"Why do you hate rain?"
"I told you."
"Yes, you did, but you didn't understand a word of it. Or if you did, you're not planning on telling me. I'm betting on that. And I want to know."
Hiei glared. "If you know so goddamn much, then why don't you tell me?"
Kurama shrugged. "You hate rain and I love rain for the exact same reason. You see everything you'll never have. I see everything I could ever want. I'm an optimist and I never lose. You're used to losing." He sighed. "You could wax metaphorical about rain and get very confused in this conversation, but you wouldn't know a metaphor if it stole your sword."
"A what now?"
"...yes, exactly." Kurama grinned. "Now, if you'd been at all paying attention to me, not the flashbangy things nor the crazy kid down there, you'd realise that your pessimism in this manner is completely useless."
Hiei looked really confused by this point. "You're doing this on purpose."
"I am," Kurama admitted, looking studiously guilty. He glanced at the sky. "Bugger. Storm's pushing off." He thumped over to the edge of the roof and flopped down to sit, feet swinging idly over thirty feet of nothing. "I never lose, you know. Never. But I might someday soon."
Hiei looked thoroughly convinced that Kurama was totally off his onion.
"Oh great gods and little fishies, I'm going to have to spell it out for you. This is so undignified," Kurama lamented, lying back on the roof and toying with an end of his hair. "I'll warn you now, if you show up again, I'm probably going to end up tying you down and ravishing you."
Hiei bit back a snerk. "You know, your ningen admirers could come in handy for that problem."
"Oh no they couldn't," Kurama replied cheerfully. "Bit difficult to have fun like that when first off you're a demon and they're teenaged human girls who're making their pocket money by selling their knickers, and when second off you're wildly in some sort of love-lust with someone else. Puts a whole damper on the matter, you see."
"You've gotten it by now. If you haven't, I'm pushing you off the roof here and now."
"I think I figured it out. You're wildly in love with your curtains."
"Hieiiiiiiiiii!" Kurama rolled over and glared. "Now you're tormenting me."
Hiei looked thoroughly put out. "I have been drenched, deafened, electrocuted, and am now being threatened with sex. I think I am entitled to some small torment. And to get out of this detestable rain."
Kurama raised one eyebrow. "That would be off the edge of the map. Here be monsters and all that."
Hiei managed to blend looking put out and looking unimpressed quite neatly. "I am not afraid of being attacked by a youko who is in dire need of getting laid by human females."
Kurama grinned. "Yes you are."
"Ohhhh yes you are."
"I am not."
"I need to finish my homework eventually tonight."
"No you don't."
"You haven't the faintest as to what you're getting into."
"No, I don't."
Kurama then quite solemnly managed to vault off the edge of the roof and in his window without so much as visibly sitting up.
Hiei scrambled over to the edge and down as well, muttering vicious things about elastic showoff demons who spent far too much time in the sun on a regular basis.
Kurama had gone back to toying with an end of his hair, but was this time dripping onto the floor. "You don't know what you're getting into but you're willing to find out, just for the hell of it."
Hiei shrugged. "Something like that."
"Ah. Put the sword down then."
Hiei raised one eyebrow. "It's not drawn."
"And I'm trying to avoid that small possibility in the near future. Sword. Down."
Kurama whirled and crossed the room quickly. "You're going to kill me. I can see it in your beady little eyes. All three of them."
"Wha -- ?"
Suffice it to say that everyone's favourite poor, unsuspecting fire demon had never played the sport to end all sports, tonsil hockey.
That is, until about three seconds ago.
Everyone always said he smells like roses...never did. Always like jasmine and lime. Tastes like lime. What do I do now? Nothing I know will help me here...
Kurama smiled, hot breath mixing with hot breath. "You're so going to kill me, aren't you?"
Hiei considered. "If I kill you, you can't do that again."
"And if I don't, you can?"
Ravenous grin. "Do you like rain now?"
"We are not going outside."
"Fair enough," Kurama agreed, glancing over Hiei's shoulder. "That boy seems to be making encouraging gestures in our direction." He abruptly grabbed Hiei and whirled him around. "I'm not going to do a single thing you won't let me do."
"So I make the calls?" Hiei inquired.
"As long as you shut up within the next minute and bloody kiss me before I toss you out the window to deal with that sodding maniac boy."
[someone to live for...love me 'til the end of time]
Fluffy: Yes. Say hi to Rob. pets Rob Rob is such a romantic. And he does do crazy things like dance in the middle of the road during a thunderstorm while spying on demons who could eat his soul. Now be a luv and review!