DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything, and I might be able to come to terms with that if I didn't have to say it ALL THE TIME!
The Reikai Tentei sneaked out of Hogwarts in the middle of the night two days before the end of term. Hiei insisted on this because, though he was still weak, he did not want to be away from Tokyo any longer than he had to be.
They did not stick around for long goodbyes, because no one really likes to say goodbye. They left this magical place where, for each of them, one life ended and another began—one life in particular—the same way they came to it—quietly, without fuss. The sad, solemn, old face of the headmaster who had allowed them into his school without question, even while knowing it would disrupt the entire school year, was the last thing they saw as they left Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
But maybe it wasn't the end…maybe, just maybe, it was the beginning, for wizards, demons, and regular people alike.
"SHUUICHI!" A woman's voice pierced the still morning air of suburban Tokyo, startling a large black dog that had taken the liberty of falling asleep within the shade of the giant oak tree on the yard of the Minamono house.
The dog's ears twitched to catch the answering voice as it sat up, looking politely puzzled in his own dog way. He watched as the redheaded boy standing on the sidewalk dropped the large trunk he carried and ran to meet the black-haired woman practically flying out of the house. She caught him mid-stride and hugged him until he could hardly breathe. He hugged her back, and they both began talking at once.
"You look wonderful, Mother!"
"Yes, it's better now."
"I can't believe I let you go away for three months!"
"I can't believe I went!"
"Please tell me you really hurt that guy."
"I didn't. Hiei did."
Hiei grunted in surprise as he was suddenly swung into the air, away from the street sign he had been leaning against to keep his still-weak knees from giving out, but he was getting used to unexpected hugs, so he didn't struggle for long, and actually hugged Shiori back.
As Shiori released him (after nearly squeezing the very life out of him) she noticed another figure, standing uncertainly at the edge of the yard.
Shiori raised an eyebrow at Kurama. "You always did like to bring home strays. Who's he?"
Kurama smiled and beckoned the person over. "This is one of our hosts from Hogwarts, Harry Potter. He graduated this year and he didn't really have any suitable place to go, so I sort of…well…"
"Come on, spit it out, I'll ground you, yada yada yada, and we'll both forget about the whole scenario by tomorrow," Shiori said, a sparkle in her black eyes.
"I said he could stay with us for a while," Kurama said in a rush.
Shiori's eyes narrowed dangerously, and for the first time since Kurama could remember, she looked angry with him. "You said they could stay…without asking me?"
"Um…yes…but…I thought you'd understand."
Shiori stalked over to Harry, and Kurama and Hiei followed, while the random dog watched with lazy interest.
"Mother, please don't be angry with him. It was my idea…"
"I'm not angry that you invited him to stay!" Shiori said, sounding shocked.
"Of course not! I just can't believe you forgot to tell him that people wear normal clothes here…"
Kurama, catching the mischief in her eyes, began to laugh, and so did Shiori. Harry watched nervously. Hiei muttered to him, "You'll understand them in time, but for now, let me translate. You receive a resounding yes."
"Really?" Harry exclaimed, a look of sincere joy on his face. "Thank you!"
"Welcome, then, Harry," Shiori said, sliding deftly into the English custom of speaking. "You speak Japanese?"
Harry shook his head.
"English we will speak, then." Shiori grinned at Harry, and Harry couldn't help but smile back.
Shiori put an arm around Kurama, grabbed one end of his trunk in her hand, lifted the end easily, and said, "I'm starving. I say we go and completely ruin our dinner with junk that will slowly rot our insides. Which, by the way, is very expensive, as I found out when my credit card stopped speaking to me because I exhausted it with my manic-depressive-junk-consuming stage that picked up while you were gone and, as far as I can see, will never ever end."
Kurama laughed. "What a role model…"
"Hey, hey, hey, don't insult the woman who will feed you chocolate!"
"Why didn't she even asked how long I'd be staying?" Harry asked as he and Hiei followed the two inside.
Hiei shrugged. "She doesn't think it matters." At Harry's look, he explained. "You see, Kurama and his mother live in their own universe. It's been just the two of them for so long…before I came along, that is. They live their own way. Once you step into that house…time just sort of ceases to exist for a while." He smiled softly. "I like it that way."
Shiori had, at first, planned on taking Hiei, Kurama, and Harry out to all the best hangouts in Tokyo, but it wasn't long before she, with her mother's intuition, sensed that Hiei was far too tired and weak to do that. Knowing that he'd rather die than admit it, she had suggested that they just stay at home and rent movies. Hiei knew what she was up to instantly, and Shiori knew he knew, but they both pretended to be clueless. They had rented half a dozen movies of every kind, and sat in the living room all day eating popcorn, chips, chocolate and pizza, and then gone to their separate beds.
Now, Hiei and Kurama were lying in Kurama's bed—Hiei still couldn't think of it as their bed or their room—it was just too…Kurama—that night. Harry was asleep in the guest room, and Shiori was either sleeping or calling everyone in the phone book to tell them that her son was back home.
"Happy to be home?" Hiei asked quietly. He was in his very favorite position in the world—curled up as close as he could get to his fox, brushing his fingers through the kitsune's hair, stealing a kiss every once in a while.
"Mm…you have no idea…" Kurama murmured lazily, without opening his eyes.
"I think…I do, fox."
Kurama looked up at him, and smiled softly. "Yes, I believe you do."
Hiei smiled back, reached over, and switched on the radio (another device that Shiori had taught him to use.) Music filled the room, a song that made them both smile.
"Come along with me to my little corner of the world.
Dream a little dream in my little corner of the world.
You'll soon forget that there's any other place.
Tonight, my love, we'll share a sweet embrace
And if you care to stay in my little corner of the world
We could hide away in my little corner of the world.
I always knew that I'd find someone like you
So welcome to my little corner of the world.
And if you care to stay in our little corner of the world
We could hide away in our little corner of the world
We always knew that we'd find someone like you
So welcome to our little corner of the world."
Around the corner, a lone figure watched the house, smiling. "Good luck, you two," he whispered, and he disappeared into the night.
And above them, a young and beautiful ice maiden looked down upon the couple, her cheeks wet with tears even as she smiled her sweet and gentle smile.
I can't believe it's over! I cried at the end! I don't want it to be over! wails
Thank you so much to all the people who stuck with me all the way through this and some of the people who didn't actually review much but whom I still give credit for bothering at all (and this list goes in no order so it doesn't matter if you're first or last):
washio the spacedemon
word dreamer 999
THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU, AND IF ANY OF YOU WANT TO, YOU CAN AIM ME AT LilFoxSpirit9!
And by the way, the only reason I didn't write individual replies to reviews in this chapter is because a) I am already crying enough at ending this series—I grew really attached to it, see—and b) I really wanna go to bed…and cry some more…childish? Maybe. Probably. But that's the way I am. I HATE finishing fics!