A/N: Well, this chapter just about wrote itself, so here it is, the final installment. Hope you all enjoy, and thanks for the reviews! I should be starting another Hiei/Kurama fic soon.

Chapter 10

Kurama thought that after the incident with Kuwabara, it would be best for him to stay away from the temple for awhile. Unfortunately, he wasn't always capable of acting in his best interests.

He knew full well his justifications for returning only two days later were perfectly ridiculous. Kuwabara had undoubtedly related some heavily modified version of their argument to Yukina to sooth any fears she might have over the way they had stormed off so abruptly; there was no need for him to do the same. But sadly, he had developed an excess of affection for the little koorime girl, and even though he trusted Kuwabara more than Hiei did, he wasn't content to leave Yukina's care completely in his hands.

This of course was only an excuse to return; he knew full well what the real reason was. He was lonely. He missed Hiei's sporadic appearances at his window, and he was soothing himself the only way he knew how with Yukina's company.

Kurama could only help Yukina didn't feel smothered by all the people trying to take care of her. For him it had begun as acting as a sort of emotional bridge for Hiei, expressing the brotherly urges Hiei could not; then it had developed to him expressing what he could not express to Hiei. All that was needed was for Yusuke to develop some sort of rabid overprotectiveness for her, and Yukina would have the whole compliment of Team Urameshi on her back, seeing as she lived with Genkai. It was a good thing she had such a calm disposition.

When Kurama arrived at the temple, he courteously rang the bell and was informed by an irritated Genkai before he could speak that "whoever you're looking for is outside somewhere, I don't know where," before she closed the door again. Kurama took it in stride. Genkai wasn't used to these sorts of interruptions, and if she hadn't known who Kurama was calling for it meant she'd already had to deal with guests today.

Kurama started across the grounds at a leisurely pace, in no hurry to interrupt Yukina if she was with Kuwabara. When he did locate her, seeing her from a distance as he came over the top of a gentle rise not really sufficient to be called a hill, he was surprised to find her with a figure not large and boisterous, but small and dark. It wasn't Kuwabara, but Hiei that she was with.

Kurama stopped in his tracks to appreciate the rare sight. Hiei and Yukina, together, alone - and he hadn't even had to threaten Hiei with death and dishonor to arrange it. What's more, Hiei had come back from the Makai without his knowledge. Kurama tried not to feel hurt that Hiei had not yet visited his window; maybe he had just gotten back. He had always known Hiei's first visit was always to Yukina, he just hadn't known it was an actual visit.

Kurama's thoughts turned towards Mukuro, and without thinking he extended his ki towards Hiei's, curious both as to what injuries and what powers Hiei might have gained.

Hiei felt the touch, of course, and looked up sharply. Kurama offered a small wave, noting that as expected, Hiei was utterly exhausted. He hoped Hiei would allow him to aide in his recovery process.

Hiei broke away from Yukina and came swiftly towards him. Kurama stayed where he was, wanting to speak for at least a moment without Yukina nearby. Looking past Hiei he realized he needn't have worried, for Yukina was returning to the temple.

"Welcome back," Kurama said when Hiei was in hearing distance. He didn't get a reply, and he had not expected one. "When did you get here?"

"Last night."

"I must say, I was surprised to see you talking to Yukina," Kurama teased immediately, curious and fully expecting to have that curiosity satisfied. "And neither of you shriveled up or exploded from the contact. Imagine that, it's almost like you could speak to her whenever you wanted to, isn't it?"

Hiei stopped dead in front of Kurama. His face showed no anger at Kurama's taunting, only gravity. "She knows."

Those two words immediately made Kurama break into a cold sweat. "She... "

"She knows," Hiei repeated, unusually solemn. "She overheard you talking with the idiot."

Fear of Hiei's wrath immediately caused Kurama's mouth to start babbling without his brain. "Hiei, I didn't mean for her, I swear - "

"Stop it, fox," Hiei said, in a voice devoid of emotion. "She heard everything."

The implication of Hiei's words hit Kurama with sudden force, rather like a train wreck. Everything. Yukina had overheard his confession of love; and she, innocent that she was, had related it to its object. The only time he had spoken of it aloud, and he had been caught.

Hiei spoke again, in the same monotone he had been using for the whole conversation. "She said you told him you wanted me. That you loved me. Is that true?"

Again Kurama's mouth began talking without his consent. "Hiei, I - "

"Is it true?" Hiei demanded, his voice forceful with the first hint of emotion he had shown.

Kurama realized how neatly he was trapped. Hiei's tone demanded the truth, and he owed his partner that much. Nor would Hiei allow any further evasions. There was nothing for it. "Yes," Kurama admitted quietly, casting his eyes down. "But - "

He had been going to tell Hiei that he did not expect anything to change, but a finger at his lips stopped him. He lifted his eyes and found Hiei regarding him with a mix of emotions, none of them readable to Kurama. What mattered most was that none of them appeared to be anger. Kurama let any further protestations die in his throat and waited for Hiei's judgment.

It came in the form of lips pressed against his own. Soft, trembling lips, pressing just close enough to kiss but just far enough to back away. Kurama froze. Is Hiei kissing me? Hiei's kissing me. Hiei. Kissing me.

Hesitantly, afraid of scaring him but unable to refrain from it any longer, Kurama pressed forward slightly, increasing the pressure on the kiss. Heartened when Hiei didn't resist, he stopped fighting his instincts and let his arms lightly encircle his partner's waist.

He felt the responding touch of Hiei's hands at his neck, and suddenly caution ceased to matter. He deepened the kiss and pulled Hiei closer to him, savoring the touch he had dreamed about for so long. He did not attempt to invade Hiei's mouth, letting the kiss finish as it had begun, with a soft brush of lips. All he desired was the closeness, the presence of Hiei in his arms.

They regarded each other quietly for a moment. Hiei's eyes were somehow less guarded and more open than Kurama had ever seen them before. There was a lack of apprehension in them. "You've changed," he murmured.

Hiei nodded, and leaned in for another gentle kiss. Kurama tightened his arms around Hiei's waist, drinking in the sensations he had been parched for. He was almost afraid to break the silence when their lips parted. So many wonderful things were unsaid in it.

It was Hiei who spoke next. "I think you're pretty stupid for wanting me," he said without heat. "But I'm fond of your stupidity."

"Hiei." Kurama couldn't stop himself from asking. "Can you love me like this?"

The smallest hint of a smile played with the corner of Hiei's mouth. "I hope so."

Kurama found himself starting to mirror the smile. If Hiei hoped so, then it could happen. If Hiei wanted it, then it would be so, even if it took time.

Hiei put his hand in Kurama's, gently leading him away from the open field and towards the woods. Kurama was content to hold his hand and follow.



Yukina thought happily that she could get used to spying. She had not, of course, stayed to listen to the conversation this time, but she had run back to the temple and starting watching from the balcony with a minimum of guilt. When her brother kissed Kurama she couldn't keep from giving a little cheer of delight.

Hiei, of course, was aware that she was watching. Not much slipped past his Jagan eye. Why else would he have taken Kurama off in the woods once he was sure of the fox's affection? Probably, Yukina thought happily, to kiss him again without her watching.

She was still standing happily on the balcony, watching the birds flying and the place where Hiei and Kurama had left her vision, when she felt Kazuma step up behind her. "Did they make up?" he asked uneasily.

"I don't think they were fighting, Kazuma. But they seem very happy with each other."

"Oh." Kurama stepped forward and leaned against the balcony rail, obviously ill at ease. "So... everything's okay?"

Yukina leaned on the railing next to him. "Everything's okay."

There was silence for a moment. Kazuma didn't seem his normal cheery self, but Yukina didn't know what to do about it, except wait for him to tell her what was bothering him. She didn't think he could be that unnerved by the new development in his teammate's relationship.

Sure enough, after a minute or two Kazuma spoke. "Yukina," he said in his gravelly voice. "What Kurama told me about koorime... about your love." He turned to face her. "Is it true you don't love like that?"

Yukina answered as plainly as she could. "It's true, Kazuma, that it's not a part of our society. But it doesn't mean we're incapable of love."

"Then... do you think... you could love me like that someday?"

Yukina smiled gently, and slipped her hand into Kazuma's much larger palm. "I hope so."