Happy Birthday

This is for everyone who has recently had or will be having a birthday. Close your eyes and make a wish…

Hiei stared at the full moon, the only light in the sky tonight. The stars were hidden by thick purple clouds, but the moon had broken through the barrier and lit the sky as best it could. The white glow of its reflected light was almost ethereal in its effect, the ghostly glow of a phantom pearl cutting through the deep bluish purple of the night sky.

From his place amidst the branches of the majestic oak that towered above ground, turning all the other trees in the park to mere twigs in comparison, he almost felt that he could reach out and touch it. Pull it from the sky and hold it in his hand.

The fire demon scoffed at his own imagination. Such silly thoughts were useless, and he had no time to entertain pointless fantasies.

So then…why had he thought of it?

The serene, thoughtful look dancing within his crimson eyes quickly halted to an unreadable glare at whatever happened to cross his field of vision. It was this day. He always became somewhat reflective during this particular twenty-four hour period.

But in another four hours or so, it would be over, and everything would go back to normal until the circle completed again.

It wasn't that he hated this day, he didn't. If nothing else, the stoic fire demon felt hate required far too much energy and emotion to be directed at a day. No he was merely…resentful? Yes, resentful.

But, no matter. Soon it would be over, and he could stop thinking about it.

"Happy Birthday, Hiei!"


Gracelessly, Hiei fell out of the tree.

He landed on his back, and his head had slammed into the ground because he'd been too surprised to react. But the grass was thick and soft here, and he'd suffered worse falls with gapping wounds. Although he could feel several bruises forming along his back and a small knot forming on the back of his head, they would all fade in a day, maybe less. The headache he was certain he'd experience come morning was a bit foreboding, but there would be no lasting damage.

"Are you okay?" Botan asked as he pulled himself into a sitting position. He opened his eyes, which had closed of their own accord when he landed, to see the ferry girl kneeling beside him, concern clearly swimming in her startling pink eyes.

Hiei just stared for a moment, still not quite able to comprehend the situation. She hadn't said what he thought she had, had she? Surly he had misheard her. But was that even possible?

"What did you say?"

He watched her smother a giggle behind her hand, amused by the priceless look of shock evident on his face. "Happy birthday," she repeated sweetly.

The usually calm, controlled fire demon sputtered helplessly for a moment. It was certainly entertaining to see the ever prideful and reserved Hiei caught off-guard.

"But how did-"

"Completely by accident really. Spirit World files are a disaster area, it's no wonder we're never entirely certain what's going on in the world. Koenma had me re-organizing them, or organizing, I suppose. Anyway, I just kind of stumbled across it." Hiei stared in almost horror. "Don't worry, I figured you'd probably want to keep it to yourself. I haven't told anyone."

He relaxed a little at that. He took a deep breath and slowly released it, mind finally wrapping around the recent events. "So, why are you here?" he asked, both his voice and face returning to their respective masks.

The question seemed to surprise her, amethyst pools widened just a bit. "Well, I couldn't very well ignore such an important occasion could I?"

Garnet orbs widened considerably as he stared in shock, his mask shattered for the second time that night. "What?"

"It's your birthday, Hiei," she replied softly with a sweet smile. "I couldn't let it go by without celebrating."

It was then that the fire demon finally took note of her appearance. Her white sundress floated to just above her knees, and he guessed that, had she been standing, it would have flowed around her legs in the breeze. Her sky blue locks had been pulled into a half-ponytail, the unrestrained tresses hovering about her like wings. The moon itself seemed to have gifted her with its glow, and she seemed more celestial than any star that dared to peek through the night sky.

She held out her left hand, and he saw she was holding a small box wrapped in shiny silver paper, and a cupcake with white frosting was sitting on top of it, a thin, blue candle pressed into its center.

He simply watched as she lifted the cupcake off of the box before holding the silvery square out to him, not bothering to try to conceal the shock and…pleasure he felt coursing through his veins. Red eyes rested on the offered gift, then the ferry girl offering it.

"No one ever wanted to celebrate me before," he said softly but evenly. "I was a…mistake. A disgrace."

He watched lovely amethyst darken to almost blue in sympathy, a willingness to share whatever hurt he might have felt, but there was no trace of pity. Never pity. "Well, I'm here, and I want to celebrate you." She clasped his hand and placed the box in his palm. "Happy birthday," she repeated softly.

Hiei remained silent but ran his finger under the tape holding the paper together.

"It's not anything…useful, actually really pretty useless. But I thought of you when I saw it…"

Under the wrapping paper was a relatively large jewelry box that when opened revealed a silver dragon, the front claws outstretched, its snakelike body curling around itself as if preparing to take flight.

After several moments of admiring his gift, he saw Botan's hand reaching out. "You don't want it," she said flatly. "Here, I can take it back and give you the money instead-"

He pulled back quickly. "I want it." His grip on the keepsake tightened.

"Really?" For the first time he could remember, her expression mirrored the blank mask he was so proud of. He nodded, never taking his eyes off her, and watched her break into a bright smile that sparkled in her eyes and lit her face. "Okay."

Still smiling, she retreated the cupcake she'd set to the side to give him his gift and placed it on the ground between them. It smelled sweet, sugary with cinnamon and vanilla perfuming the air around them. Cupping her left hand around the candle, she produced a small, plastic lighter and held the tiny orange flame to the thin wick. Within seconds, the pleasant smell of melting wax wafted from the bright yellow flame.

Satisfied, Botan let the lighter fall to the ground beside her and carefully lifted the cupcake to eyelevel with him. Softly, she began to sing. There weren't enough words to really sing the song, but it sounded like music to him.

"Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday dear Hiei,

Happy birthday to you."

"Close your eyes…" she instructed softly, almost whispered once she'd finished. Slowly, he allowed his eyes to drift closed.

"And make a wish…" she continued in the same soft, sweet tone. Make a wish? What did he have left to wish for?

"Now blow out the candle." Eye still closed, he blew gentle breath over the small flame and the air was fragranced by the subtle scent of candle smoke. Garnet orbs opened to see her watching him intently.

"Did you make a wish?" He nodded slowly, and she smiled sweetly. "Do you think it will come true?" she asked, never breaking eye contact.

He felt his breath hitch as she leaned closer, her original intention of giving him the cake forgotten at the last second. Instead she pressed her lips against his, her free hand resting against his cheek.

His eyes fluttered closed as he returned her gestures, wondering how she'd known his wish. Bottom of Form

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