Disclaimer: I don't own anything. It's nothing new, it's nothing old...well, alright, it's pretty old.

Notes: This is almost a mystery sort of story because I won't be telling you what really happened that night ((you'll find out in a few minutes what that night relates too)) until the middle of the story or possibly the end. So HA!

Ahem- Anyways, don't get frustrated if you don't understand at first. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out nor should it be too confusing. So I hope you enjoy it, and please review at the end.

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Embrace the Winter Snow

Chapter 1

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The winters were always coldest in the stony emptiness of Mukuro's halls. Thick snowfall insulated the palace, which was buried in four feet of the white powder.

Hiei growled as he stared at the trees, branches weighed down with the snow. Wind whipped over him, the cold biting at him like a knife. The window ledge he sat on slowly grew colder as the damp mildew of the early morning froze on the stone.

The diminutive fire demon gave another growl as he pulled his white scarf up, covering his mouth and nose. Wrapping his black cloak tighter around his small frame, he stared out into the white world.

He hated winter. The season only reminded him of the most painful things in his life, the worst memories. Winter only made him hate his own existence even more.

First brought on by the sight of snow and the bitter cold was the memory of the Koorime, his birthplace, his family, his home.

How he hated every one of those things. The land of the frozen-hearted Koorime, his birthplace, and his curse. For him, there was no such thing as home, nor such a thing as family. Not any more.

Thoughts of these last two things only brought on the second reason he hated winter. The same cold wind blew the night he left Ningenkai, the same frozen snow covered the ground in a blanket of white. Winter was the last time he had gazed upon the only other caring face in the world.

Kurama.

Hiei closed his blood red eyes at the memory of the fox. Happy moments were rare in his life and it cut him deep to know that most of them revolved around the kitsune.

The white-frosted forest greeted him once more again as he opened his eyes. Then again, he reminded himself, he was also involved in one of the most painful memories.

Which is where he links back into despising winter.

The fire demon shifted yet again, pulling the cloak around him tighter still. Indeed he was a fire demon, and an ice demon also, so he never did quiet reach an uncomfortable temperature concerning heat or chill. The motion was one more symbolic of protection, wrapping his own blanket around his fear and pain.

He pulled the cloak a little tighter.

But, as his insatiable depression returned to thoughts of the fox, his chamber doors opened. Hiei did not turn, nor did he even twitch as he, instead, gracing his guest with the sight of his back.

Mukuro, with a wave of her hand, instructed the guards flanking her to position themselves at the door of her heir's spacious room. Said fire demon sat, wordless, on the stone ledge of the window, back presented, and cold red eyes scanning the frozen landscape.

The robotic woman frowned slightly. Hiei had only sunken deeper into this weird depression he was in. It happened every winter, ever since he had come back, stating that he would no longer need leave to visit the Ningenkai. Mukuro was still unsure of what had happened.

"Good morning, Hiei," she began as she quickly yet quietly crossed the room. "How are you feeling on this cold day?"

"Skip the pleasantries, Mukuro," the fire demon said in a cold, smooth voice. "What meaningless task have you thought up for me this time?"

The mechanical lord smirked at her heir's back as she walked up to him. Making no effort to hide the expression, she leaned against the wall, watching Hiei stare into the forest.

"I am in need of a messenger," she began and paused, knowing Hiei would interrupt with disdain.

He did not disappoint her.

"Hn. Why tell me? You have hundreds of servants at your beck and call," he growled, eyes not leaving the white scenery.

"Ah, but for this I need a special messenger," Mukuro replied, her smile growling ever so slightly. Hiei did not look at her, nor made any sign of replying, so she continued, drawing her own gaze over the snow. "I need to get a message to Lord Urameshi of Torano."

At this, Hiei's head shot around. His cold, widened eyes stated at Mukuro. She glanced at him before looking back outside.

That had certainly gotten his attention.

"A messenger is needed right away and, seeing your relations with the lord, and your lack of activity, I have selected you for the mission."

There was a long bout of silence in which Hiei's deep crimson eyes searched Mukuro. He found nothing and his eyes grew cold, returning to the white world.

"Hn. A special messenger is not needed. Get someone else to take your damn message," he replied in a voice as cold as ice. Mukuro raised her real eyebrow, accustomed to, but still not approving, of Hiei's attitude.

"This is not a request; no choice is involved. You will be delivering my 'damn message.'" Hiei growled but said nothing more and so Mukuro chose to continue, "Here is the letter; I have sent it in ningen style to ensure no...complications occur."

She set a long wooden tube down on the stone beside Hiei. She turned and began walking back out. "Deliver it to Lord Urameshi. I will expect you back in seven days time."

"Hn," Hiei snorted in disdain, causing Mukuro to turn back towards him, "I will be back before the hour is over."

Mukuro frowned slightly. "Guards!"

Hiei looked over to her finally as the guards walked through the door, serious expressions on their faces and swords at their sides.

What was Mukuro thinking now?

"Lord Hiei is not to be emitted into the castle for one week's time." Hiei gave another snort as the guards nodded at the command and where dismissed to tell the rest of the palace guard.

As Mukuro turned back to the door, she added, "And Hiei, don't try to read that scroll."

But the fire demon was already gone.

OOOOOOOO

Yusuke whistled an absent-minded tune as he swept the ramen shop he now owned. Well, he and his wife, Keiko.

"Urameshi!" a voice, high pitched and, honestly, not the least bit manly, called from he front of the shop. With a smirk immediately finding his lips, Yusuke ducked under the doorway curtain and into the dining section of the restaurant.

No one was sitting there now, no one eating the food that was actually becoming well known in the parts. Of course, the fact hat it was almost eleven o'clock at night, along with the hanging "closed" sign, may have had a bit to do with the lack of life.

"Hey, Kuwabara!" the now-twenty-one year old called out, and his best friend grinned a silly smile.

"Where's the food?" he asked teasingly. Yusuke shrugged.

"You're late. No time-keeping skills; no food. You're loss!" Yusuke replied as he set the broom down. He gave a sigh as he looked around the spotless restaurant.

"Where's the Mrs.?" Kuwabara asked as he leaned to look around the ex-detective into the kitchen where the staircase was.

"Oh, Keiko went to bed," Yusuke replied. "I think she's coming down with something, so I offered to close up shop."

"Well, then, you wanna stop by an arcade?" Kuwabara asked, having never really matured past fourteen."

Then again, neither had Yusuke.

"Yeah," he replied happily, a smirk on his face, "let me just put the broom away."

"Alright. Then we can catch the-" Kuwabara never finished his sentence as a brief ki flickered over his senses. It was familiar, too familiar. Yusuke had frozen, too, looking up to meet Kuwabara's gaze.

The sound of the door behind the orange-haired man opening on its softly creaking hinges triggered the bell and it rang through the shop. Soft, almost soundless footfalls landed in the foyer of the restaurant. Booted footsteps.

"That's funny," Yusuke muttered, looking straight at Kuwabara.

"Yeah," the redhead continued, "because that almost sounded like-"

"-Hiei."

OOOOOOO

I know, short chapter. I normally write about ten pages' worth for one chapter, but these are all mostly short chapters. Sorry.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed it and please review.