They had, amazingly, outlived their humans. Hiei often remarked on how stupid Yuusuke had been; when Keiko died, he killed himself to follow.
"I don't think you guys would really understand. I wouldn't want to live on like this without her around to keep me in check. I might end up like..." He had stopped then, giving them both meaningful looks, before leaving their sight forever. While Kurama said nothing, Hiei stealthily palmed the tiny, black gem that marked all he had lived for over the past seventy years.

Kuwabara had lived longer. Kurama often remarked how admirable Yukina was to stay with him, watching him grow older and casting the illusion of age on herself daily as their half-breed children went about their totally unremarkable lives. The mark of Koenma's chosen investigators had not touched them, but their grandchildren...
Yukina did not kill herself to follow her husband, but stayed to watch over her children and grandchildren—quiet, refined, and gentile to them all. Hiei was quiet at Kuwabara's funeral, which he insisted he was only attending out of respect for his sister, but Kurama noticed him, yet again, palm a tiny dark gem.

"I thought we would somehow die trying to save those two idiots." Hiei said, reaching up to aggravate a spider that was running its web between the heavy wooden beams of the temple. Kurama sat on the steps, watching him. "I imagined we'd be caught trying to get them out of some mess."

"I love how you say 'we' like that. It has such a permanent ring to it." Kurama said, inspecting his fingernails now. The spider quickly bored both of them. "And how ironic that you'd use it in such a context. I'd hardly peg you for taking a shot for either of them."

"I've kept that idiot out of trouble far more than you give me credit for," Hiei snapped "I wouldn't let that fool die so stupidly."

"Oh, yes. My memory isn't what it used to be. All the times you stuck your foot out in front of him. Better to have him die of a severe brain hemorrhage than die fighting." He smiled up at Hiei, to take the bite out of his words. "I'm sure he would thank you for it."

"You can be such a bastard sometimes."


"Would you die for me?" The question comes hot out of the darkness, but Hiei doesn't have to look to see Kurama standing below him. His green eyes--still green, even though his human form had long since been abandoned--reflected the full autumn moon. The night was hot, and the trees looked like they were on fire.
"Don't be stupid." Hiei answers. "We both know that I'm going to die first."


Neither of them knew what they were fighting for anymore. Kurama's ears could faintly hear Yomi calling orders to him, echoed by Mukuro calling to Hiei. Ally or enemy made no real sense now; the only real loyalty on this battlefield was between a fox and a freak, and no one knew the difference between them when they attacked.


"We shapeshifters have always called it the age of sorrows." Kurama said, his voice surprisingly calm. Hiei's face reflected that serenity as his shaking hands moved quickly to stop blood that was flowing fast--too fast. The spark of life in his eyes was fading now, and he gripped Hiei's arm with strength he could feel draining away.
"We call it that because we know things are never to be the way they should; not in this lifetime." He fumbled desperately for Hiei's face, and barely kissed him goodbye before he was gone.
Hiei did not cry, this time. Instead, he called unwavering to Kokuryuuha, to give them both a proper burial.