A/N: Why yes--the solution to being too busy to update your multi-chapter fic is to start a second multi-chapter fic. I'm brilliant that way. Just so you know going into this: yes, I will tell you everything. No, I will not do it anytime soon. :)
When Yusuke woke up, his first impression was that he'd traveled backwards in time.
He didn't even have to open his eyes before remembrance set in. There were things you recognized too deeply to need to see them, or hear or touch them; things that you were just aware of, with a sixth sense. He didn't know where he was or how he'd gotten there, but he knew who was with him.
And because of who was with him, he didn't feel the need to open his eyes.
There are ways you move and speak that in a hundred years, I wouldn't forget. Yusuke shut his eyes tighter as her voice spoke softly inside his head. Could he remember exactly what Keiko moved like? How her hair shifted on her shoulders when she turned her head? The exact nuance of her voice? All of it seemed so far away. Even the memory of what she'd said was only an echo. He wished something would take its place.
Though unspoken, his wish was granted. Someone spoke, and this time it was a voice Yusuke heard with his ears and not his imagination, quiet but real. "He's waking up."
The second person, the one who hadn't spoken, shifted slightly. He was sitting closer than Yusuke had originally guessed. How many years had it been since Yusuke had seen them--either of them? Although, technically, you still haven't seen them. So how many years since he had sensed their presence when he woke, scented them in the air? It was still comforting somehow, even after so much time and strife. But then it occurred to him to wonder what the hell either of them were doing there, and that finally got him to open his eyes.
The three of them were inside a cave, lit by a mixture of weak daylight struggling through the entrance and strategically placed plants that were glowing softly. Hiei, the one who had spoken, was methodically and viciously shredding one of the plants; Kurama, the one who was sitting near him, was pointedly ignoring this. Instead, Kurama's attention was fixed on Yusuke, his expression grave. "How are you feeling?"
"Nostalgic," Yusuke replied immediately.
Kurama smiled slightly, without it reaching his eyes. "I can sympathize. Can you move?"
Yusuke stretched experimentally. He could tell immediately he was in bad shape--he felt like a truck had driven over him a couple dozen times, and then he'd slept for a week in a cold dark place. Still, nothing seemed broken. And Kurama's expression would have been far different if Yusuke had been in any serious danger. He recalled Kurama had asked him a question. "Looks like I can."
"Stand up," Hiei ordered from across the cave, without looking at him.
Yusuke gave it a shot, but his knees buckled under him and a dull buzzing filled his ears as his vision fled. When he came back to full awareness he realized he had collapsed, but Kurama had moved quickly to keep him from hitting his head.
"What are you two doing here anyway?" he wondered aloud, looking at Kurama's half-concerned, half-annoyed expression.
"Obviously, caring for you," Kurama replied.
"Why? I can take care of myself."
Hiei gave an expressive snort. "I seriously doubt that," he muttered, still intent on mutilating the plant.
"I second the doubt," Kurama said. "If I recall the human term correctly, Yusuke, this is an intervention."
Yusuke blinked, then narrowed his eyes. Neither of you can bring me out of this. Neither of you tried to when it first happened. "Thanks, but no thanks."
"That's not an option," Hiei said curtly, finally looking at him. "Do you think the two of us got together like this on a whim? You're going to listen to us and see reason before you leave this cave."
"I don't need people I haven't seen in ten years telling me what's wrong with my life," Yusuke shot back. I know just fine without being told.
"Nevertheless, Yusuke, you'll have to listen to us. Wherever we were in the past, whatever's happened, we're here now." There he went, halfway reading Yusuke's mind. That always happened with Kurama. "Furthermore, in the state that you're in you can't fight either one of us, let alone both of us. So you'll have to deal with our good intentions until you're stronger, at least."
Yusuke had realized that from the moment he woke up and sensed that both of them were nearby--that he wouldn't be leaving anytime soon. A part of him didn't even mind. If he could have somehow gone back to the time in his life that they'd been a part of, when all of them had been together, he'd have done it in a heartbeat. "Maybe so. But I don't need this."
"You know how much you do," Kurama contradicted softly, giving Yusuke a look he couldn't stand--one of pity. Kurama looked like he would have said more but stopped as Yusuke stumbled to his feet again, warily half-crouching with hands braced against his legs to keep from falling again.
"Where do you think you're going?" Hiei asked sharply.
"Outside, before I piss my pants," Yusuke replied, taking a few tentative steps. "And I do not. Need you two, I mean."
"Yusuke, out of every action you've taken in the last decade, not a single good thing has come of it."
"Oh yeah?" Yusuke lurched unsteadily towards the entrance, feeling his muscles complain. He must have really taken a beating. "I can think of one thing."
Pausing to rest his hand against the cave wall before venturing outside, Yusuke turned and looked over his shoulder. "You two are talking to each other again."
Both demons blinked; both of them carefully did not look at the other, not even the slightest hint of a glance. Yusuke turned and stumbled outside.