Chapter 17: Epilogue
(6 Months later)
"You want me to do what?!" Kurama said, red eyebrows rising.
"Oh come on, just spread your legs like this and then put your hands over your head and hold there and there." Hiei said, pointing.
"Uh, I don't think I can spread that wide." Kurama said softly. "Are you sure we need this?" He asked, pointing down.
"Does it have to be so tight through the crotch?" Kurama whined while squirming.
"Trust me. You don't want a rub burn." Hiei said, reaching down to make sure the nylon wrapped around Kurama's waist and running down through his crotch was firmly secured.
The red head held up a metal prong, with three jagged spikes on one end. When he pulled on the other end, the jagged end spread wide. "And what the hell is this?" He asked.
"It's a draw. You put this in a crack, thread a rope through this end, when you pull on the rope, this end spreads wide and gets lodged. Like this." Hiei put the device into a circle made by his thumb and forefinger then pulled on the one end causing it to expand and lock into the opening.
Quietly Kurama asked. "How do you get it out?"
"Oh, their disposable, they don't have to come out."
"Cripes and there's no problems with that." Green eyes went wide at hearing that remark.
"No, the next guy coming along will dislodge it…if he can." Hiei said, wondering what the problem was.
"And how long have you been doing this?" Kurama asked.
"Years….I usually plan my vacations around training drills. Keeps me on my game and I don't get bored." Hiei said, readjusting the harness around his waist and crotch while making sure the rope attaching them together was also secure. "Now, you ready?" He asked.
"How did I let you talk me into this?" Kurama muttered.
"Trust me. You'll going love it once we reach the top." Hiei smirked and started climbing. "Follow what I do and stay close, but not to close, loose debris might fall and you could get hit and lose your grip."
"Lovely." Kurama muttered, waiting a moment for the black haired to get a few feet up before he would 'try' to follow.
Hiei had managed to drag Kurama to his favorite place, The Cliffs, for a three day weekend getaway. Though the red head had been thrilled to go, he didn't realize Hiei expected him to climb. He had been more interested in doing the hiking trails and they had done a few over the past two days, but now, on the last morning, they were going up.
Hiei assured him that the one cliff they would be climbing was what hikers called the 'baby step'. It was only about 75 feet up and 2/3 of it was just a steep incline that they really didn't need the gear. The last 1/3 however was a wall to where you had no choice but to climb straight up the rock face. That's where the two were at now and Kurama was starting to feel a little apprehensive about being able to make it to the top.
Feeling the rope go taunt around his waist, Kurama looked up to see Hiei hanging a few feet above him by his finger tips and trying to find a foot hold. When he was stable, red eyes look down at him and he heard. "You coming?"
The red head just nodded and started grabbing rock, making his way up as best he could.
After about a half an hour, or what felt like an eternity to Kurama, Hiei made it to the top and crawled around on his stomach to look over the edge to watch and guide him.
"You're almost there. Place your hand to the left a little more. You've got a longer reach than me." Hiei informed.
The red head did as instructed and within a few minutes he was grabbing the smaller figure's hand and was hauled over the ledge. He'd done it. He'd made it to the top. A surge of pure adrenalin rushed through him as he looked at the spectacular view of the camp grounds below. "I did it." He muttered.
"That you did." Hiei said, crossing his arms and looking out at the view as well.
"I can't believe it." Kurama sat down, exhausted, but hyped. "I did that….I managed to climb up a freaking rock face….I've never done anything like this in my life…..what a rush…..I see now why you like it so much….the sense of accomplishment you must feel and…it feels like your sitting on top of the world." The red head had obviously gotten into one of his rambling modes. Hiei usually ignored them, but he finally decided to put an end to this one by plastering his lips to the rambling ones.
Giving into the kiss, the red head's hands came up to play with black hair until they separated.
Pulling apart, Kurama smirked. "I take it you want me to shut up."
"Yes." Hiei said softly.
"What made you think that would do it." The red head smiled.
"I had one of two options." The black haired said, shrugging.
"Oh and what was the other one?" Kurama asked, his green eyes sparkling.
Hiei stood back up and positioned himself right in front of the red head to where his crotch was right in the man's face.
"You wouldn't dare." Kurama actually gulped. "Not up here."
"I never said I wasn't a PDA person." Hiei smirked.
Kurama struck out with his teeth like a snapping turtle, causing the black haired to jump back with a smirk.
"We can only stay a few more minutes." Hiei said, moving to sit down as well.
"I wonder why Kuwabara offered to come and get us." Kurama said, still enjoying the view. The orange haired had called the night before on Kurama's cell phone, because Hiei never kept his phone on, and offered to come and get them so they wouldn't have to take the bus.
"I don't know." Hiei said, but knew it probably involved his sister in some way. "You ready to head down?"
"And just how do we get down?" Kurama asked. "You can't expect me to climb down the same way we came up."
"No, we're going over the other side." Hiei said, pointing with his thumb over his shoulder.
The red head stood up and walked the few feet to the other side. Looking over the edge, he saw nothing but a straight drop and a small 'eep' escaped his lips.
"Don't worry. This is the fun and easier part. We'll be down in a manner of minutes." Hiei informed, joining him at the edge.
Kurama wondered if it involved pushing each other off, while also wondering where Hiei had hid the parachutes.
Small booted feet hit the ground about 10 minutes later and Hiei fumbled with his D ring, managing to get the rope unhooked. Quickly moving to his right he looked up to see where Kurama was. "You need to push off harder." He yelled up.
The red head seemed to hear him as he did as told and pushed off hard from the rock face. This allowed him to free fall several feet down the rope before his feet hit rock again. Kurama paused to readjust his feet and hands before pushing off again and finally landing on solid ground.
"You okay?" Hiei asked as he watched the red head land then bend over at the waist, grabbing his knees as he sucked in deep breaths.
"Yeah." Kurama gulped, standing upright. "I think….. I forgot…..to breathe the…. whole way down." He managed to get out.
"Congratulations." Hiei said, slapping him on the back. "Your first successful climb."
Green eyes just rolled.
A few hours later the two had packed up their camping gear and were hiking out to the main entrance. Just as promised, Kuwabara was pulling into the parking lot as they cleared the trees.
"Hey guys, how was it?" Hiei's partner asked, jumping out of the truck to help throw their gear in the bed.
"Good." Hiei said, securing his backpack.
"What did you think?" The orange haired asked Kurama.
"I liked it. I just don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon though." The red head smiled, stretching his back. "Thanks for coming to get us." He added as he went to get into the back of the crew cab.
"No problem….thought it would be fun to take the little girl on her first long trip." Kuwabara said, getting in behind the wheel.
"And why's that?" Hiei asked, getting in the passenger's seat.
"Just wanted to get out, get some fresh air." Kuwabara shrugged, starting the truck.
"What's she done now?" The black haired asked, looking over at his partner.
"What makes you think Yukina's done something?" Brown eyes looked to see a black eyebrow rise in question.
"Nothing." Hiei muttered, breaking eye contact and seeing the McDougal's coffee cup in the cup holder.
After about an hour into the 4 hour drive back, the conversations had ended and the three were quiet.
"You hungry Kurama?" Hiei asked. Not getting a response, he turned to see the red head passed out, laying across the back seats. "Okay, spill it." He then said, looking to his partner.
"Spill what." Kuwabara fringed innocence.
"You didn't have to come and get us. You wanted to get away from Yukina for the day and driving the eight hour round trip to get us was just the excuse you needed." Hiei said, still not getting an answer, he goaded. "Fine, I'll just ask Yukina when I see her. I'm sure her version's better anyways."
"She's putting me on a diet." The orange haired finally broke, looking in the rearview mirror.
"He's out and besides, he doesn't care about your life." Hiei huffed.
"Bite me." Kuwabara grumbled.
Hiei just waited and after a few minutes, Kuwabara continued. "She's all of a sudden afraid I'll have a heart attack or something. She's putting me on a strict diet and I can't eat out anymore. She's going to start packing my lunches starting tomorrow."
"Why all of a sudden." Hiei said.
"Keiko's dad had a heart attack scare over the weekend and he apparently eats at the same places I do." Kuwabara said his eyes on the road.
"Is he alright?" The black haired asked.
"Yeah, but tests show his cholesterol is through the roof and he's always had high blood pressure so…." Kuwabara shrugged.
"Good luck." Hiei smirked, knowing the man would need it. When Yukina set her mind on something, it was a long time before she could be persuaded otherwise.
"She's got everyone at the station working for her, making sure I don't eat out and if I do I have to get a salad. I really needed this trip so I could eat. Man would have never started eating meat unless they knew it was good for them." Kuwabara said.
"I see…and just what did she expect you to eat on the road." Hiei wondered.
"She packed carrot sticks and a couple of, I don't know, some type of tofu sandwich on rye bread, plus diet sodas. It's right up your ally, so if you want it, it's in the cooler behind your seat." Kuwabara said.
"I'll pass." Red eyes rolled. He never could handle anything Yukina made.
"Suit yourself, but I'm stopping at McDougal's again when we hit the city limits." Kuwabara said.
"Did they bring back the omelet?" The black haired wondered.
"No, but they have this new barbeque rib sandwich that's to die for." The man said, licking his lips and patting his stomach.
"I'm sure you will." Hiei muttered, looking out the side window. "What makes you think I won't tell on you?" He had to know.
"You're my partner, partner and I know I can always count on you." The orange haired said, though there was a plea in his eyes.
"Hey, um…me and Kurama are taking the Sprite to the car show this coming weekend." Hiei said, looking out the side window.
"Your first show huh?" Kuwabara asked.
"Yeah, Kurama's going to follow me so we can drive around while the Sprite's on display." Hiei informed.
"Sounds like a plan."
"Would you like to tag along?"
"Why not…there will be plenty of vendors there and I'm sure you'll be dying so…" Hiei shrugged, still looking out the side window.
"You sure Kurama won't mind?"
The black haired looked in the backseat at the red head. "No, he won't mind, but he wants to drive, so if you think you can sit with your legs in your chest for a few hours in the Z….."
"Okay…..thanks." Kuwabara said. Hiei had never invited him to do anything outside of work. So he wasn't quite sure how to take the offer, but if it meant a chance to eat out, fine. Who knows, he might just have some fun with the shrimp.
Just as the sun was sitting, the F-350 pulled into the warehouse, turned apartments, district. Hiei jumped out and keyed in so he could open the garage door.
As they unpacked their gear, Kuwabara grabbed a brown wrapped parcel out of a storage box in the bed. "Here, Urameshi wanted me to give this to you." He said, handing the item to Hiei.
Taking the parcel, Hiei looked at it. It was about 2 inches thick and about 8 x 11 in size. It felt hard, yet padded. Having an idea as to what it was, he then began to worry when Kuwabara added.
"He told me to tell you that she said she couldn't find exactly what you wanted, but found this and hopes its okay…..whatever that means." He shrugged.
"Thanks." Hiei said, trying not to sound disappointed. Seeing green eyes looking his way, he shoved the item in his pack.
Saying goodbye to Kuwabara, after another offer from Yukina to come over for dinner, the two headed upstairs to Kurama's apartment. After Hiei had healed from his injuries and went back to work, the red head had found a job. It wasn't hard, for he was correct in believing he could get a job at another high profile company. He accepted a desk position that was 9 to 5, five days a week, no traveling required and was quite happy to have a 'normal' routine. He spent as much time as he could with Hiei, though it was difficult sometimes as the black haired had to work evenings and some weekends as well. The times apart were needed though and neither complained. They just did what they needed to do.
Hiei would go with Kurama sometimes to visit Shori and have dinner. Kurama would visit the Kuwabara's as well, though they both found excuses not to stay for dinner and both never talked about the future. Hiei never voiced his fears that Kurama might just find someone better than him and move on and Kurama never voiced his fears every time he heard about a fire, car accident or a risky rescue.
Finally letting his mother talk him into it, Kurama sold the house. It really did come down to him not being able to maintain such a large home, well, large for just one person. So they sold the ranch home and he took his 1/3 rd of the profit and invested it in an apartment that opened up in the building where Hiei kept his cars. Hiei still had his beach house and the two split the time for whatever worked at the moment.
The red head could not have asked for a better place to live. The views through the floor to ceiling windows along one wall were awesome as they looked out over the piers. The other three walls were cinderblock and the concrete sub-floor had been covered over with hardwood flooring in a dark cherry color. At 800 square feet, the space was one opened floor plan with a few large concrete columns here and there for support. The only doors in the whole place were the front door and the one to the bathroom, everything else was in full view. Kurama had some minor construction done when he first moved in, adding shoji walls placed around one corner for what he turned into a closet and other than that, everything had been to his liking. Unlike the over decorated, high priced furnishings of the penthouse, the loft was under furnished, with a basic sized sectional and coffee table in the living room corner. A large bookcase took up the wall behind the couch, containing books as well as his fox figurines, stuffed animals and a few framed photos. A king size platform bed with green sheets, along with the fox coverlet and two nightstands made up the bedroom area. The kitchen area was just a row of Hickory cabinets with glass fronts, chocolate brown marble counter tops and stainless steel appliances. A glass top, black metal dinning room set with 4 chairs sat on a large black Asian style rug just off the kitchen. There were very few wall decorations or nick-knacks laying around.
"I need a shower." Kurama said, starting to strip as soon as the door closed. "Care to join me." He said.
"No…I'll get one later." Was all Hiei said, going to the refrigerator and grabbing a bottle of water.
"Oh okay." The red head said, trying not to look too disappointed.
Waiting to hear the water turn on, Hiei then went over to his pack and pulled out the parcel. He hadn't wanted to do it this way, but now he needed to make sure it was what he'd ask for. He had wanted the red head to open it so they could both see it at the same time, now he just told himself if it was okay, he would rewrap it and give to him later.
Moving to the glass dining table, he opened one taped end and slid out a book. It was white leather with gold trimmed pages. The book reminded him of those classics you could order through the mail.
The title on this book, in gold script, read. 'The Complete Adventures of Youko Kurama, Spirit Fox, Legendary Thief''
The book had a gold ribbon for a bookmark and he opened it where it was placed to see the story Kurama had mentioned. 'The Tales of Fox and Bat' Pale lips smiled, this was what he'd asked for.
Turning the book to the table of contents, he noted the rest of the stories. Titles included the following.
Fox and His Merry Men
The Tales of Fox and Bat
Fox V's the Hunter
Fox Meets a Spirit Detective
Fox and the Betrayal
The Tales of Fox and Dragon
So Kuroko had managed to find the complete works. 'She's definitely good at finding the hard to find.' Hiei thought. She had always managed to track down what he was looking for at the time and she didn't disappoint this time, in fact she went well beyond what he had hoped for.
Lost in studying the book, Hiei didn't hear the water turn off or hear the red head come up behind him and he was actually startled to feel arms wrap around his waist. "What's that?" He heard.
"Um…I wanted you to be able to open it, but I wanted to make sure….here." Hiei said, turning to hand the book to the red head.
Kurama took the book, his eyes widening as he read the title. Twitching fingers then opened it and green eyes took in the table of contents. Hiei hadn't realized there were illustrated pictures as he saw lean fingers turn a few pages then trace over one that showed a bat flying.
"Where….why….how?" Kurama muttered, looking at him.
"You seemed to miss your old copy and with your memory, I knew you just didn't lose it somewhere. Wherever you left it, you must have had a good reason so….." Hiei shrugged.
"But how…?" Kurama wondered. "Did you manage to find this?" Green eyes blinked, trying not to water.
"Yusuke's wife Keiko knows a woman who deals with hard to find books. She's managed to find me copies of things that are out of print, so I just put in a request and…." Again the black haired just shrugged.
"You are something else, you know that." Kurama smiled, putting the book on the table. "Mother's going to be surprised to know it was a series." He added giving Hiei a hug.
"I'm glad you like it." Hiei said.
"I love it and how much do I owe you?" They kissed and Kurama pulled back, wrinkling his nose. "You stink." He said.
"I'm glad, let's just say it's a gift and you smell like a bed of roses." Hiei grumbled.
"Thank you, I found a new shampoo." The red head smiled.
After Hiei had showered and the two had a light dinner, they headed to bed, each having to go to work first thing in the morning.
Stepping out of the bathroom, Hiei crossed the loft to the bedroom area, near the windows, to see Kurama reading his book.
Settling into bed, the black haired turned onto his side facing the red head and watched.
"Would you like me to read some to you?" Kurama asked.
"Sure." Hiei said.
"I'm at the part where the Bat and Youko break into a castle to steal a gold mirror." Kurama said. "So the two having managed to get away from the guards, were now running through a bamboo forest and…….are you listening to me?" He asked when he looked over to see red eyes closed.
"Hum, yeah…" Hiei muttered.
"With the guards in hot pursuit, the two ran…are you sure you're listening?" Kurama asked again, again looking at the small bundle.
"I'm awake." Hiei said, trying to suppress a yawn while moving to sit up some.
"Would this help you to concentrate?" Kurama smirked, taking a hand and placing it under the covers, where he began to grope the smaller figure.
Hiei gasped and began to squirm. "You don't….expect this….to help me….listen to you…. do you?" He managed to pant out, exhausted, but getting aroused.
"Maybe." The red head said, going back to his book while still groping. "So the two….." He turned to face Hiei when he heard.
Placing the book on the nightstand, Kurama rolled over so he laying on top of Hiei. "So I'm the brute again…that's good to know." He smiled and began kissing pale lips. Pulling back he said. "Let's just see how much of a brute I can be, shall we."
Hiei gulped as he had the feeling he wasn't going to get much sleep tonight and wished he had taken a nap in the truck like Kurama had.
End Chapter 17
Though the saga continues in: We Don't Need Another HERO……