Title: Hard Day's Night
Fandom: Yu Yu Hakusho
Pairing: None (though can be read as Hiei/Kurama)
Rating: PG-13 to be safe
Summary: After the fight with the Mashoutsukai Team, Kurama is left with a deadly plant in his body and a lack of youki. Yet the next day, he's all but normal. What happened in between?
Warnings: Some graphic descriptions of injuries.
Author's Notes: This is the first in a series of little bedside fics I'm planning on writing. They'll center mainly on Hiei and Kurama, with a bit of Yuusuke thrown in here and there. None of them will be yaoi or shounen-ai, but they can be read that way if one so chooses.
Ruka's kekkai was gone, the enchantress demon nowhere to be seen. Yuusuke and the women were flocked around Kuwabara, questioning his condition and congratulating his victory.
Hiei couldn't have cared less. His eyes were on the lone, red-haired figure still slumped against the side of the ring. Hiei went to him as quickly as he could without appearing panicked, kneeling beside him. "Kurama?"
Green eyes opened wearily, and Kurama looked up at him. "Hiei." His voice was a broken whisper. "How's your arm?"
"Don't concern yourself with it." He studied the plant growing out of Kurama's arms. Kurama's hands shook visibly even where they rested against the ground, and Hiei frowned. Reaching up, he tugged the ward over the Jagan down slightly, freeing the third eye and focusing on Kurama's youki. He drew in a sharp breath—the blazing green aura that usually surrounded Kurama's body was all but gone, reduced to a faint, sickly-looking yellow-green glow. Hiei bit the inside of his cheek, re-covering the Jagan. "Your youki's nearly gone."
"I know," Kurama said softly. His eyes followed Hiei's down to his arms. "I can't do this here."
Hiei nodded curtly. "Hotel?" Kurama nodded, the motion barely detectable, but made no move to rise. Hiei frowned. "Can you walk?" This time, Kurama shook his head, and Hiei sighed. "Fine."
He slid a careful arm around Kurama's shoulders, helping the redhead lean away from the ring. "D'you think you can get an arm around my neck?"
Kurama made a motion as if to try, and a flash of pain distorted his face and he shook his head. "I can't—"
"It's fine." Hiei shifted his other arm under Kurama's knees and lifted him. His frown deepened—Kurama should have been heavier, deadweight, but instead he was surprisingly light—blood loss, Hiei decided. Subtract a few pints of blood from anyone and they'd weigh less. He tightened his grip. "This won't be pleasant, but it will be fast. Try not to scream."
Kurama turned his head into Hiei's chest.
Hiei bent at the knee, bracing himself against the ground, and leapt up. He landed in the upper beams of the spectator seats, then jumped again, towards the forest. Every landing jolted the redhead in his arms, and Hiei could feel every slight hitch in Kurama's breathing as he gasped slightly in pain. But he never screamed or cried out—the loudest noise Hiei heard from him was a faint whimper.
It was little more than five minutes before he landed on the balcony of their suite at the Kubikukiri Hotel, but it felt far longer. Hiei balanced on one foot, using the other to nudge the sliding door open. Crossing the room, he deposited the shaking redhead on his bed, closing the door and the blinds. The room descended into soft semi-darkness, and Hiei stilled momentarily, letting his eyes adjust.
He returned his attention to Kurama, his brow furrowing in worry. The remains of Kurama's jacket still clung to him, tattered pieces sticking to his skin with dried blood as glue. Hiei's eyes flickered to Kurama's face. It was drawn with pain, dangerously pale. "What will you do?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Kurama rasped. "I'm going to kill it."
Hiei's eyes widened, just a fraction. "It'll kill you."
Kurama's eyes fluttered closed. "It'll kill me either way."
Always the fighter. "Fine." It came out harsher than he intended, and he felt his expression soften. "What should I do?"
"Nothing. Just…" Kurama's glazed, too-bright eyes focused on Hiei. "Stay? I need…"
He didn't finish. He didn't have to. Hiei nodded in understanding. "Do what you need to."
Kurama nodded. "Thank you." His body slackened, muscles previously tensed by pain relaxing. His eyes seemed to lose their light, staring blank and unfocused into nothingness. Hiei shuddered—Kurama looked too still, too lifeless. The faint rise and fall of his chest was the only sign of life. Gently, he reached out and closed Kurama's eyes.
It was going to be a long night.
The sun had set.
Kurama had barely moved in the five hours that had passed, save for the random spasms that sent his body into shaking fits. Those were the only times that Hiei touched him—he held Kurama down, keeping the redhead from thrashing to the point of self-injury.
But except for those times—those infrequent moments when he could protect Kurama from the outside world while the redhead battled fuck knows what within himself—Hiei felt useless. He had pulled one of the chairs from the suite's common room up beside the bed shortly after Kurama had gone into the healing trance, but—as was his nature—he was unable to keep still. His hands fidgeted, he needed to be doing something. He had busied himself with small tasks—bathing the thin sheen of sweat from Kurama's skin, smoothing the damp red hair back when it threatened to slip into Kurama's mouth.
Using a wet face towel, he had managed to soak the tattered pieces of Kurama's jacket off, depositing them in a trash basket beside the bed. The dried blood had them stuck them fast to Kurama's skin, and Hiei worked slowly and carefully, saturating the area around the pieces so that he could remove them without pulling at the sensitive skin around the wound. He had no idea if Kurama could feel outside pain from within the trance, but he chose not to take chances.
He glanced at the digital clock on the bedside table when he had gotten all of the pieces off and sighed—another hour. Reaching over, he switched the lamp on to give himself more light, lifting one of Kurama's arms to check the wound.
Whatever Kurama was doing within himself, it seemed to be working. The killer plant was shrinking slowly but steadily, retreating back into—Hiei guessed—a seed. He studied the injury itself, gritting his teeth. The plant had driven deep and wide, the stems drawing the sides of the wound open and apart. Gingerly, Hiei turned Kurama's wrist to get a better look, sponging away some of the blood. Touya's knife had ripped through skin and muscle like butter, and Hiei could see exposed bone. He bit the inside of his cheek, frowning. He couldn't dress the wound until the plant was completely gone, but the blood loss was getting alarming. Glancing up at Kurama's pale face, he wondered what effect stemming the bleeding would have on the redhead's work.
He was spared more thought by a knock at the door. Cursing under his breath, he pulled the blanket from the end of the bed over Kurama's body and crossed to the door, opening it just enough to communicate. "What?"
Yuusuke's surprised brown eyes blinked at him, and then the detective frowned. "What d'you mean, 'what'? Is Kurama in there?"
"Yes," Hiei said shortly.
"Well, can I see him?"
Yuusuke sighed in exasperation, moving as if to force his way past Hiei, but the fire demon wedged his foot firmly against the door. The Japanese boy sighed again. "Fine, you little asshole. I guess I'll communicate through you."
Hiei arched an eyebrow. "There's nothing to communicate."
"Says you. I want to know how he is."
Yuusuke frowned. "Are you sure?"
"Positive," Hiei lied.
Yuusuke didn't look convinced. "Then why won't you let me in?"
"He's a light sleeper." He glanced over his shoulder, then sighed and looked back at Yuusuke. "Look, I'll—just go to bed, Yuusuke. If he wakes, I'll come and get you."
The dark haired boy looked taken aback by the sudden show of compassion. "Really? Hey, thanks, man. I appreciate it." He hesitated, then offered a quick grin. "I guess I'll go."
"Goodnight, Yuusuke," Hiei said pointedly, and shut the door.
He heard a soft laugh from behind him. "Well-handled."
Turning, he saw Kurama struggling to prop himself up on an elbow. Cursing, he crossed the room and gently forced the redhead to lie back. "You're awake?"
Kurama smiled, or attempted to. "Clearly." His voice was hoarse and shaky, his breathing uneven. He allowed Hiei to maneuver him onto his back, wincing when Hiei lifted his arm to examine it. "It's all out." He held out a seed.
Hiei plucked it from the shaking fingers, squinting at it. It was a very small, unthreatening-looking thing, really. He snarled and set the thing alight, unable to suppress a small smirk of satisfaction when it dissolved into smoke. "Have you learned your lesson?" He asked, grabbing the roll of gauze he had abandoned on the bedside table. Carefully, he positioned his hand above the beginning of the wound, then glanced at Kurama. "This is going to hurt."
"Why does that not surprise me?"
Rolling his eyes in mild annoyance, though he was almost impressed by the fox's bravado, he superheated his hand and pressed down, searing the wound closed. Kurama let out a hiss of pain, squeezing his eyes shut, and Hiei murmured something he hoped was apologetic. A moment later he removed his hand, inspecting the burn—it wasn't pretty, but the skin had closed and the bleeding was stopped. He stole a glance at Kurama's face, wondering just how concerned Kurama would be about another mark on his skin.
Kurama caught him looking. "I don't scar easily, Hiei, if that's what you're fretting about."
He snorted. "I don't fret." He unrolled a bit of the gauze, wrapping the wound quickly and efficiently and setting it down on the bed. "Give me your other arm."
Kurama did so with surprising obedience, and Hiei repeated the procedure. Kurama winced but didn't make a sound this time, and when Hiei finished wrapping his arm he smiled. "Thank you. I owe you."
"Consider this my apology for running you through."
Kurama raised an eyebrow. "Do you still feel guilty about that?"
Hiei shrugged, sitting down on the side of the bed. "Shouldn't I?"
The redhead shook his head slightly. "I wouldn't."
Hiei chuckled in spite of himself. "Yes, you would. You've been in the Ningenkai too long, Kurama. If our roles had been reversed, you'd have been worrying and nagging and apologizing for the past six months."
"If our roles had been reversed, I wouldn't have stabbed you in the first place," Kurama pointed out, and then winced, his skin going a shade paler.
Hiei frowned. "Are you alright?"
"Tired," Kurama said wearily, opening his eyes. "I'll be fine, Hiei. I just need some rest."
"Rest, then." Hiei stood, pulling the blanket back up around Kurama's shoulders. "I'll keep watch."
"No one is going to attack us up here."
Hiei smiled, an honest smile. "Who said I was watching for demons?"
Kurama blinked, then laughed. "Keeping an eye on me, Hiei?"
"Someone has to."
The kitsune smiled at him. "Come back over here." Hiei sat down on the bed again, and Kurama propped himself back up on his elbows. "Really, Hiei. Thank you for this. I wouldn't have—"
"Did you learn your lesson?"
"Did you learn your lesson?"
Kurama sighed. "'I will not insert deadly plants into my own system in an attempt to beat an opponent'," he recited.
Hiei smirked, reaching down and brushing Kurama's bangs out of his face. "Good. Now go to sleep."
Kurama cracked an eye open. "You'll stay?"
"I'll stay." One of his hands found Kurama's and held it, running his thumb over the smooth skin. Kurama's breathing slowed and evened, his features relaxing into a peaceful expression as sleep finally took over. Hiei sighed, swinging his legs up onto the bed and crossing them at the ankles, leaning back against the headboard. Keeping Kurama's hand held loosely in his, he closed his eyes and settled in for the night.
The end. Thank you for reading.