Fandom: Yu Yu Hakusho
Warning: mention of violence, yaoi
Summary: Hiei has two fears. Ironically enough, they both concern the same person. (Hiei/Kurama)
Hiei has two real fears.
Oh, he has lots of little fears. Dying, losing Yukina again, having a drunken threesome with Mukuro and Kuwabara. Fears like that. But those are the little fears, and Hiei doesn't concern himself with those.
His two real fears are the ones that chill him to the bone, wrapping his heart in an icy fist. The fears that terrify him beyond all else; the fears that, if they came to occur, would be impossible to recover from.
He often reflects, thinking about how those fears came to be so awful. He certainly wasn't born with those fears. No, it would have been impossible. They came later in his life, developing slowly over months and years of contemplation.
And in his reflections, he wonders how a certain red-haired youko came to mean so very much to him.
He knows, from the beginning, that he will lose his fight with Yuusuke.
He's breaking every hard-learned battle rule he's ever known—underestimating the enemy, overconfidence, barely paying attention to his opponent's moves.
But how can he possibly think of the fight when all he can see is the pained, defiant look in Kurama's eyes as Hiei's sword impaled him?
And why, Hiei wonders vaguely as the blast of Yuusuke's energy hits him from behind, does the betrayal hurt so much?
Watching Kurama in the Ankoku Bujutsukkai is agonizing.
Hiei can't remember any other time in his life when he has been so nervous so often. He finds himself staring, wide-eyed, at Kurama as he dodges, slashes, and plans his way through his fights.
He remembers the feeling of being absolutely helpless as he watches Kurama fight with Touya, clenching his fists and wishing, wishing, as if by wishing he could make it so, that he could run forward and kill Touya, kill the entire opposing team, and help Kurama to safety.
But Ruka's kekkai crackles around him, electric and enclosing, and he can only hold his breath and watch.
He remembers Kurama's fight with Karasu.
It's one of the most terrifying moments of his life, watching the darker demon tear Kurama apart. How can such a slender body hold so much blood, and how can it survive after losing so much?
And when Kurama crashes to the ground, unmoving and pale as death, Hiei has to bite his lip to force back a hoarse cry. For a brief, horrifying instant, he thinks Kurama has died.
Karasu is down, the announcers are talking, but it's a blur. Hiei can't see anything except Kurama's horribly still body, can't hear anything except his own shallow breathing.
It isn't until Yuusuke has supported the broken, bleeding redhead from the ring and, cradling him gently, helped him sit against the wall of the ring that Hiei can force himself to unclench his fists and breathe again.
It is here, in this moment, that he realizes the first of his two fears.
Hours later, he forces his eyes open to gaze around the waiting room they have been allotted. His eyes settle on Kurama, who sits on the bed beside him, reading a book. He opens his mouth to talk, but no sound comes out.
Kurama glances up. He is still terribly pale and drawn, and there are dark circles under his eyes. But he smiles, and his entire face seems to glow with the motion. Even his eyes are smiling, despite the pain they still show.
"Hiei. You're awake."
There's relief and happiness in his voice and Hiei feels a bit of warmth creep into both his cheeks and his heart.
And he realizes his second fear.
After Sensui, Hiei finds himself slowly swimming back to consciousness in Kurama's room. It's not a rare occurrence, and he doesn't panic; only sits up slowly and looks around, searching for Kurama.
His red-haired companion sits against the wall. He isn't reading this time, isn't doing anything except simply watching Hiei through half-lidded emerald eyes. He still wears the green tunic from their fight, and blood still soaks through one of the sleeves. Hiei wonders, briefly, why the redhead hasn't bothered to tend to his own wounds.
Several thoughts hit him at once—the most prominent of which being that this time, they came very, very close to dying. They fought someone that they knew they stood no chance against, and if not for Yuusuke's miraculous resurrection they would have suffered the consequences. Hiei meets Kurama's eyes, blinks once, and then crosses the room in three steps, grabbing Kurama by his lapels and jerking him up for a bruising kiss.
It isn't lovemaking. It's sex and sex only—desperate and hungry and relieved, and if Hiei clings to Kurama's body just a little tighter than necessary, they both pretend not to notice.
Eight long, long years have passed since that time in Kurama's bedroom. Hiei has lost contact with almost everyone, hearing only snippets of news from Kurama and Yukina. He has retired almost completely to Alaric, losing himself in his duties to Mukuro and the realm.
Kurama's frequent visits are slim rays of sunshine in a dark world, and Hiei finds himself looking forward to them against his will. But all it takes is a soft knock on the door to his bedchamber and a gentle alto calling "Hiei?" and something dangerously close to a smile will worm its way to his lips.
It is winter in Alaric now, and a light snow falls in the garden where they walk. Eight years have done a lot for Hiei's height, and his shoulder brushes against Kurama's as they walk. Kurama still wears his human clothing—low-slung blue jeans, a green turtleneck sweater, and a black jacket. It's all very form-fitting and feminine, and Hiei might have made a few jabs at him for it, which his friend promptly ignores. Snow is settling in Kurama's hair and eyelashes, and he looks ridiculously pretty. Hiei wonders if that might have something to do with the lull in his focus that causes him to fall face-first into a snow drift.
He hears Kurama's light-hearted laughter from somewhere above him, and looks up. The redhead is smiling at him, bending over and extending a hand to help him up. There is mirth and real happiness dancing in those emerald eyes, and Hiei feels a spark of warmth flicker within him.
Reaching up, he takes Kurama's offered hand. It is cold in his, and he silently passes some of his fire-ki into his own hand, knowing it will filter into Kurama's skin. If Kurama notices, he says nothing; and Hiei does not release his hand as they continue walking.
It is only, Hiei reminds himself firmly, to warm him.
Later that night, Hiei is woken by soft footfalls near his bed. Immediately sensing Kurama's ki, he thinks nothing of it, until he feels the corner of his bed sink down slightly as Kurama sits beside him.
He opens his eyes, no longer sleepy, and focuses on Kurama's. The redhead is biting his lip, almost nervously, and Hiei thinks for a fleeting moment that the motion is undeniably, if unintentionally, sensual. But then Kurama is leaning over him, one arm on either side of Hiei's body, and all thought flies from Hiei's mind.
"I hope;" Kurama whispers, so softly that Hiei barely hears him; "that I'm not reading too far into things."
He touches his lips to Hiei's gently, tenderly. It can barely be called a kiss, the motion is so innocent, and when he pulls away he merely blinks twice, eyes searching Hiei's for any kind of response.
Hiei, frozen, can only shake his head once. Kurama nods, and smiles softly.
"Alright. I'm sorry." He brushes one hand through Hiei's hair and leaves, as silently as he came.
Hiei doesn't sleep for the rest of the night.
The next day, as Kurama is packing to return to the human world, Hiei flickers into the room through the open window.
Kurama glances up from folding a shirt, and smiles. "Some people;" he says calmly, completely unsurprised; "use the door."
"And some people;" Hiei replies "lock their windows when they're in a territory where other people might have ill intentions toward them."
Kurama closes his suitcase and sits down on the edge of his bed. His hair is pulled back into a ponytail, save for the ever-present locks that frame his face. It's rare for him to notice such small details about his friend, but today he doesn't dwell on it.
"You're leaving, then?"
The redhead nods; looking, for the first time, a bit confused. "You knew I was. Why?"
Hiei crosses the room to stand in front of him, hesitant. "I;" he says slowly, "don't know if I want you to leave."
Kurama looks up at him from his position on the bed. "Why?" He says again, and there is genuine puzzlement in his voice.
Hiei reaches out, running sword-calloused fingers over Kurama's jaw and tipping the other demon's face up to look at him. "Because;" he says simply, and leans down to kiss him.
And for the first time in his life, he is sure of something.
Hiei has two real fears: loving Kurama, and losing him.
But after years of careful contemplation and so much—too much—hesitation, he has come to a conclusion.
Losing Kurama; Hiei has decided; would be much worse.
Right. Well, that's that then. I was supposed to go back to school today, but it snowed so school was cancelled. Heh. So I took some time to write this, because I love you all enough to give you two fics in two days.
Reviewers are the Roger to my Mimi.
Ya know, except for the lying-cheating-heroin addicted-HIV part.