Sleeptalk

by Momo no Hana

Kurama says I talk in my sleep.

I asked him about it once, and he told me that all he hears are mutters, fragmented words or mindless moans. I don't talk in my sleep, then. I mutter. A lot of people do that.

But Kurama talks in his sleep.

He probably doesn't know about his…tendency. I used to stay at his house, and I never passed a full night without being woken by the sound of his voice. I always had to get up off the floor and look him in the face to see if he was really asleep. The words were so clear, hardly the meaningless nonsense some people spew out. He would talk as clearly as if he were awake. Even now, I'm not sure he was asleep.

"Hiei," Kurama murmured the night after our trial in Reikai. I had crept into his room, katana in hand, ready to slay him while he slept. I would have killed him if I hadn't heard him speak in that tearful, desperate voice. "Hiei, I'm so sorry… I never meant to hurt you. Please, I'll do anything you want."

I lowered my katana, staring at his closed eyes. I had never heard him talk in his sleep before, so I thought he was awake and pleading for his life. But when I looked down at him, I saw tears coursing down from his closed eyes. Frowning, I stepped away from the bed, deciding I could hear him out in the morning. I went and settled down on the windowsill, planning to wait for him to wake up.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up naked and in bed. I started to move so that I could find and murder Kurama for taking advantage of my trust again, but when I sat up, I felt…good. I stretched my legs and arms a few times, surprised to find that my muscles were no longer tense and painful. He must have performed some healing technique while I was asleep. I glanced around the room and was further stunned when I saw the breakfast laid out on the bedside table. Toast and eggs, pancakes, and two glasses of orange juice and milk, respectively. Food!

I shoved some of the food in my mouth, not caring if it was poisoned because the guards in the Reikai prison hadn't bothered to feed me that week, and opened up the note that was tucked under the plate. It encouraged me to eat as much as I could but warned me that eating too quickly could make me sick. The note went on to say that my clothes were on the desk (I looked, and they were there, washed and ironed and folded neatly), and that Kurama had given me a bath. Bemused, I raised my hand to sniff the rosy fragrance on my skin, then ran that same hand through my hair and found that it was no longer greasy or tangled.

He had been trying to make up for his betrayal. And when he got home that afternoon, we never spoke of our past hardships. We both knew they were forgiven.

He slept well after that. At least, for a few months…

"DON'T!" Three nights after the end of the Dark Tournament, I woke to a scream. I jumped to my feet, katana in hand before I knew where I was or what was happening. I glanced around the darkened room wildly, my eyes finally landing on my fitfully dreaming comrade. "PLEASE DON'T TOUCH ME, KARASU DON'T, PLEASE!"

The next day, I followed Kurama to school and perched in the tree outside his classroom. I watched him all day. I watched how he assured his classmates that he wasn't sick, just a bit tired from studying for a test. I watched how he jumped and covered his throat when one boy touched him on the shoulder. I watched how he excused himself so that he could go to the bathroom, only to lock himself in a stall and cry.

When I talked to Kurama a few days later, he asked me what I thought of him. I knew he wanted me to assure him that he wasn't shallow, that he was strong and smart and brave, that he was more than a beautiful face and a delicate, mountable body.

I told Kurama the truth. I admired him. He sobbed and fell into my arms, the story of Karasu's obsession pouring from his lips.

He told me how it had started. Karasu stole a touch, caressed his neck and hair and criticized the imperfection of the human body. He told me how, when he tried to plan a strategy to defeat Karasu, his imagined scenarios always ended with cold fingers catching his throat and tearing him apart. And he told me how Karasu had come to his room in the Hotel Kubikukuri…the same room I had shared with Kurama, except that I had been out training that night. How Karasu had pinned him to the bed, caressed his neck lovingly. How Karasu had made him cry like a girl, begging not to be raped while his teammates were only a room away.

By the time Kurama finished his story, I felt sick. That night—I shouldn't have left the room. I told him as much, but he shook his head, saying that I had been right to leave. If I hadn't trained that night, I would not have mastered the Black Dragon before the Finals. I would have been killed…

Kurama cried in his sleep for a few nights after that. When he pleaded with me to help him, I used the Jagan to erase his memories of the night in the hotel. His nightmares of Karasu never stopped completely, but they have lessened. Kurama made me promise that when he was more mature, when he could handle that kind of situation, I would restore his memories. But no matter how much he matures, I know I will never give those memories back.

Yet…not all of his dreams were bad ones…

"Kuronue, you shouldn't obsess so much over that pendant," I heard Kurama chide contentedly a few days after defeating Yakumo. I slowly got up and peered at his face, but his eyes were closed and his heartbeat was slow. "It's not nearly as pretty as you are."

As we ate breakfast together, I casually asked him about Kuronue. We spent the morning and part of the afternoon together. He talked about how he had been friends with Kuronue when he was a cub, and how they went separate ways for some reason he didn't even remember. He talked about how he had spent thousands of nights longing to see his friend. He talked about reuniting, reconciling, and promptly falling head-over-heels in love with Kuronue.

When Kurama stopped talking so that he could make lunch (had that much time really passed?), he confessed that I reminded him of Kuronue. I turned away, both to hide my startled blush and to wonder why being compared to a dead bat demon made me feel so good.

That night, Kurama timidly offered to share the bed with me. I climbed under the covers, and for most of the night we lay facing each other. I woke up the next morning on my back with his warm body curled up at my side. His cheek rested gently against my neck and his warm breath fanned over my chest, making my insides tremble with a strange excitement. I brushed some bangs out of his face, and he smiled, murmuring my name in his sleep.

We fought Sensui a few days later.

When I became Mukuro's heir, I was kept very busy. I didn't have the chance to sleep beside Kurama for a long while. Instead, I became immersed by my own dreams. Nearly every night I dreamed. At first, it was almost innocent. I would remember his warm laughter and gentle voice, and my subconscious would dare me to wonder if his lips were as soft and sweet as they looked. From there, my dreams progressed to something deeper, hotter…wetter. I was so confused that I eventually talked to Shigure about the dreams. He informed me that they were a sign that I was growing up. And about time, too, he snorted as he shooed me from his office.

It's taken a great deal of courage for me to come back. But now, standing on the branch of a tree outside Kurama's window, I feel that tremble of excitement. I breathe in the late night air, and my breath quickens.

I knock on his window. Kurama lifts his head from the desk, where he fell asleep reading, and looks around in confusion. He sees me at his window and leaps from his chair, hurrying to let me in.

He asks me if I'll be here long, I say maybe. He murmurs that he missed me, I admit that I missed him as well. He offers to share the bed with me, I accept. Just like old times.

"I'm so happy you're here," he says softly. The lights are out, but the moon fills the room with a blue glow. Kurama is laying on his back, one arm bent above his head and the other resting across his stomach, almost as if he's modeling for an artist's painting. I roll onto my side to look at him, expecting to find him asleep, but this time his eyes are open, gleaming like emeralds in the moonlight. "I haven't had anyone to talk to in so long."

A/N: So… Tell me what you think. Not my best work at all, but I thought it was cute. Ending was kind of abrupt, though.