Battle, to most people, was not the time to appreciate aesthetics.
Hiei, however, was not most people.
He thought, as he watched Kurama battle Touya, that even if he was a plant wielder, even if his natural element was earth, as Hiei's was fire and Yusuke's air, he seemed to belong with fire more than solid, stable, unchanging earth. From his physical form, too filled with colour, glowing too bright to be real, to his style of fighting, quicksilver adaptation, he was nothing like the element he represented.
This was a battle between fire and ice, and he found himself – on one detached level – fascinated by the contrasts. Touya's fury, Kurama's unemotional response – the raging ice-master, the calm blaze of the redhead's determination. Touya's icy blue hair, Kurama's brilliant crimson mop. It was almost poetic, or so he would have thought if he had been given to poetry.
He had often wondered why he had gravitated naturally towards fire all his life. With his ice ancestry, it would have been simpler to concentrate on that aspect, yet he had chosen to master fire. Kurama had said that it balanced out his personality.
The expressions of one's spirit energy were a reflection of what lay within; contrary to most people's beliefs, Hiei had no fire demon blood in him. His rage and hatred had led him to fire, he thought; but Kurama had told him that everything contained its opposite within it. Then he had laughed, lost in thought, and told Hiei that he should probably master ice as well, to bring out both halves of his soul.
And what, he wondered, could bring out the other half of Kurama's soul? Would it be his fury that manifested, or his discipline? Would it be his humanity, or the youkai buried within, the supernatural being that shone through the too-bright shell?
That was the other half of Kurama's soul, he thought – the unrestrained, angry, unstable fire that Kurama had never shown in his life, the fire of his heart, mirror and anti-self to the calm clear ice of his mind.
The unrestrained, angry, unstable fire, Hiei realised, that he himself represented.
He stilled his thoughts, displeased at the direction they were taking, opened his eyes and watched the other melding of fire and ice fighting for his life.