Okay everyone, I'm back with a new story. Thank you all so much for the great response to my last story. I should know from one of my previous stories how much you all enjoy it when our boys have kids.
I'm going to try something different this time. This won't be quite so fluffy as my last story, not until the end anyway. No babies, no weddings, no new pairings. Though I did have fun with the Yusuke/Kuwabara thing last time this will be my usual Hiei & Kurama, Yusuke & Keiko, Kuwabara & Yukina and Koenma & Botan.
Here goes, let me know what you think.
Full disclaimer in my profile. I do not own YuYu Hakusho.
Hiei flitted through across the rooftops of the familiar city. It may have been three years since he had been here but not much had changed. He knew he should have come back sooner but there had been so many changes going on in Makai and he had been unable to until now.
If he were honest he would admit that he had allowed things in Makai to prevent him from coming back. Memories of his time here in the Ningenkai came flooding back to him. Though he resented the time he had been forced to spend here he had to admit that they were some of the best times of his life, in the end they were also some of the most painful.
Seeing his destination ahead Hiei brought his mind back to the present. If he dwelled too much on the past he might return to Makai without the answers he sought. Flitting to the familiar window Hiei peeked in. Though a few things had changed it was still unmistakable who lived there. Kurama.
Pushing on the window Hiei shouldn't have been surprised to find it locked. He was only delayed a few seconds as he picked the lock before slipping inside. He took a moment to look around the bedroom before walking through the apartment.
The furniture was the same only moved around slightly. The fox's books still graced the bookshelves with the occasional picture. As expected there were pictures of the redhead with his mother and a few of her new family. What surprised him was the lack of other pictures. Looking around Hiei realized there wasn't even one picture of their friends.
Curious he went back to the bedroom. On the night stand by the bed stood only a portrait of Shiori. Kurama's favorite picture of him with his best friend was missing. Ignoring the pain in his heart Hiei went to the desk to look for signs of where the Youko might be.
He found what he sought in the second drawer of the desk in a folder marked pay stubs. Taking note of the name and address on the folder Hiei flitted out the window.
In less than an hour Hiei was looking up at a sign that read 'University Books'. A flash of red caught his eye and he turned his attention to the window of the book store. Inside he could see the familiar redhead smiling at a little girl as he showed her a book.
Though his former partner's smile was beautiful Hiei knew it wasn't genuine. When Kurama smiled for real there was a sparkle in his eyes, that sparkle was missing now. Kurama moved away from the window and before he knew it Hiei had pushed open the door and gone inside.
Hiei's trained ear easily picked up the sound of his former partner's soft alto voice and he smiled. Moving closer he watched and listened as Kurama spoke animatedly about the book he was showing the little girl. After a moment the girl rushed of excitedly calling her mother.
As the girl hurried away Kurama's smile faded and he looked almost sad. He placed several books back on the shelves before turning in Hiei's direction. The fire demon waited to see what reaction his presence would have on the fox. Disheartened, Hiei watched as another false smile crossed the redhead's face. "Hello, is there something I can help you find?"
Hiei stared a moment, allowing Kurama's voice to wash over him. "Fox…"
A brief look of confusion crossed the redhead's face before realization dawned. "Of course, right this way."
Hiei followed as Kurama led him through the store. Halfway down one of the isles of books the redhead stopped and pointed. "I have only one small book on foxes themselves but there are a number of very good animal books with excellent information on them."
Hiei shook his head. "What the hell are you talking about? Kurama, what's wrong with you?"
Kurama looked startled at the hostility in Hiei's voice. "Kurama? I'm sorry, you must have me confused with someone else. My name is Shuuichi."
To prove his point the redhead pointed at the name badge on his shirt. Hiei stared at Kurama. "Alright Kurama, I get it. I know you said you were going to stay in this human life until Shiori died but I won't let you pretend you don't know me Fox."
The redhead looked distressed. "Who are you? How do you know about my mother?"
Hiei eyed Kurama wearily. "Something's not right here, I can't even feel your youki. I need to talk to the detective."
Hiei was momentarily relieved when Kurama relaxed at the mention of their former teammate, at least until the fox spoke. "Detective? Are you with the police? Doesn't youki mean demon energy or something? And what does this have to do with my mother?"
Hiei shook his head, Kurama was starting to confuse him. "I know I've been gone a while Kurama but you can't tell me you don't know Yusuke."
A brief spark of recognition lit Kurama's green eye. "You know Mr. Urameshi? He's a regular customer here. He buys a lot of manga. I didn't know he was a policeman though."
Hiei's mouth fell open in disbelief, he almost felt like laughing. "This is some kind of joke right?"
A slightly wounded look crossed Kurama's face. "I'm sorry but no, I really don't know what you're talking about. If you'll excuse me I should get back to work."
When the fox would have turned away Hiei grabbed his wrist. "Wait! You really don't know me do you?"
Red hair swung as Kurama shook his head. "No, I'm sorry I don't."
Not sure what to think of the events of the last few minutes Hiei looked down at the wrist he still held in his hand. A frown crossed his brow as he took in the scars he saw there. The question in his eyes was obvious when he looked into the fox's green eyes. Snatching his hand away the redhead blushed as he rubbed where Hiei had held him. "I had an accident a couple of years ago, or so I'm told. I don't remember much about it."
When it didn't look as though Hiei would respond Kurama turned away again. "Kur… Shuuichi wait. Does the name Hiei mean anything to you?"
Green eyes showed no sign of recognition as Kurama looked back over his shoulder. "No, I'm sorry, it doesn't."
Hiei stood there some time after Kurama walked away. Without looking back Hiei left the store.
Hiei wandered the streets for some time unsure of what to do. He could go to Shiori for answers since Kurama obviously remembered her, but not knowing what was going on he wasn't sure if he'd have the same reception, or rather lack of, that he got from Kurama.
Not in the mood to search for Yusuke, Hiei flitted to the park. Once there he flared his demon energy briefly before making himself comfortable in what used to be his favorite tree. Unless he was mistaken he could take about a half hour nap before the detective woke him.
Exactly half an hour later Yusuke sprinted into the park. He didn't waste time looking around but headed straight to the tree he had visited many times in the past. High in the branches Hiei's black cloak was barely visible. "Predictable as always Detective."
Yusuke laughed. "Hiei, you bastard! How long have you been back?"
Hiei didn't answer until he had hopped down from his branch. Hands tucked into his cloak Hiei faced his former teammate. "A few hours."
The tone of Hiei's voice made the smile fade from Yusuke's face. "Then you've seen him. How'd it go?"
Red eyes glared at him. "How the hell do you think it went Yusuke? What happened to Kurama?"
Chocolate eyes stared back. "I don't suppose I could convince you not to see him again could I?"
Hiei growled and gave his usual answer. "Hn."
Calmly Yusuke nodded. "Didn't think so. Let's have a seat and I'll tell you about it."
Once they were seated on a nearby bench Yusuke rested his arms on his knees as he began to speak. "It all started three years ago when you returned to Makai. Kurama tried not to let anyone know how much your leaving effected him but within a few months it was apparent that he wasn't handling your breakup very well."
As hard as he tried not to, Hiei visibly flinched at the word 'breakup' but he remained silent. "Kurama was a master at hiding his emotions so the first sign we had was physical. He began to lose a lot of weight. At first we didn't contribute it to depression but when he dropped out of school right before graduation and lost his job because he was late or didn't show up at all we began to realize he needed help."
Neither man looked at the other as Yusuke spoke. "With Shiori's help we got him into therapy but the wiley fox knew how to outwit the therapist. We tried getting him back into spirit detective work. You know, getting in a few fights, killing a few bad guys can help exercise a man's personal demons. That made things even worse. Kurama's fighting style had changed. He didn't toy with his opponents like he used to. He was vicious, just out for the kill even when it wasn't necessary. By the third assignment he changed again. He refused to fight with this spirit energy, it was as if he wanted them to hurt him."
Yusuke paused waiting for a reaction from Hiei. When he didn't get one he continued. "Then the worst possible thing that could have happened did. A little over two years ago Shiori was killed in a car accident."
Hiei's head whipped around, his red eyes wide with disbelief. "No."
Yusuke gave Hiei a moment to absorb the news. "Koenma was here before Kurama could be notified. Even though he knew it would be hard on her, Koenma sent Botan for Shiori. He knew that Kurama would want his mother with someone he trusted. Kuwabara and I went with Koenma to tell Kurama. After everything that had happened we knew this could destroy him."
Hiei's heart was pounding as Yusuke continued. "We were all shocked when Kurama handled it with his usual calm. Looking back we realize that Yoko must have helped Shuuichi maintain control until well after the funeral. We watched him day and night, he wasn't alone for almost three months. The first time we left him alone we came back to find his apartment a jungle of deadly plants. Luckily his plants were trained not to kill their master but he was hurt pretty bad."
Yusuke drew a deep breath. "Unfortunately we weren't diligent enough in watching him and he slipped away from us a few weeks later. Within an hour he had almost succeeded in killing himself. A hiker found him in the woods with his wrists slashed. They got him to the hospital in time but not before he needed a transfusion. After that we took him to Reikai where we kept him guarded and warded."
Hiei spun on Yusuke, grabbing him by the shirt. "Damn it Yusuke he's a fox, you can't cage him up! Why wasn't I notified?"
Angrily Yusuke shoved Hiei away from him and they faced off. "We tried! Even though he forbid us to we sent word to Alaric that Kurama needed you! The message we got back was that you wouldn't come! We tried again when Shiori died but got the same message!"
Hiei staggered back and slumped down on the bench. "I didn't get any messages. Yusuke, no matter what happened between us you know I would have come if Kurama needed me. Especially when Shiori… died."
With a deep breath Yusuke sat back down. "Kurama was wild at first, it was three days before we could even get near him. After that he was so deadly calm we wondered if he was still breathing. On he fifth day Kurama asked to speak to us, Koenma, Kuwabara and myself. He finally told us what was wrong."
Yusuke didn't look at Hiei. "He loved you Hiei but he felt you didn't love him back when you wouldn't stay with him. He was in his own personal hell having to chose between his mother and his lover. He didn't understand why you wouldn't wait the few years Shiori might have lived."
The pain that had plagued Hiei's heart since finding his picture missing in Kurama's room intensified as he listened to Yusuke. "Then when Shiori died less than a year after you left it did destroy him just as we feared but not because she died but because he felt he had lost you for nothing. If you had waited you both would have been back in Makai within a year."
Hiei was breathing hard trying to control his anger. "How do you think I felt when he said he loved me then chose her over me? He should have come to me when she died!"
Yusuke looked at Hiei. "He didn't think he could. He thought you hated him."
Hiei's jaw clenched. "I did hate him for a long time but I love him and would have taken him back no matter what."
The two sat silent for several minutes. When Hiei spoke the pain in his voice was obvious. "Why can't he remember me?"
Yusuke drew a deep breath. "After telling us what he'd been feeling he gave us two alternatives. Erase any memory he had of being a demon, including all of us… or help him die."