Disclaimer: No, I don't wanna do a disclaimer. This is now a Claimer: I own Yu Yu Hakusho. Yeah. Suck on that, YT.
A/N: One shot series, written when the mood strikes. It will move in chronological order, and could be viewed as a multi chapter fic, I suppose, if you squint hard enough. CU.
A huge thanks to Jordan, my wonderful beta and dear friend.
Summary: A story told in snippets of how Hiei's life is, rather unwittingly, affected by his teammates' children. And he's got no idea what he's in for.
With apologies to Dr. Seuss.
Oh, The Places You'll be forced to Go!
by Touch of Violet
Kid, you'll move mountains
The hospitals doors opened of their own fruition and Hiei and Kurama stepped in, side by side. The first thing the fire demon noticed was the smell. Even the lobby of the hospital smelled like cleaning fluids and death. It made his nose burn, and he would have plugged it if he felt so inclined. But he didn't feel so inclined, so he just snorted and crossed his arms against his chest.
The second thing he noticed was his sister standing next to a desk off to the right, smiling at them and waving them over. He exchanged a glance with the red-head next to him before the two of them walked over, in synchronous step. They stood in front of the desk, Hiei just barely a head taller than the piece of furniture, and an older man who sat behind it grunted at them.
"Sign in," he ordered, waving a hand at several clipboards on top of the desk.
Hiei stared down at the clipboards before casting a casual glance at his sister.
"It's necessary to get inside," she said, a gentle smile on her face. She pointed at a square, white sticker on the chest of her dress that stated her name. "So they know who has come in to the hospital to visit and when."
"Safety precaution," the older man grounded out, his eyes narrowed.
"Safety precaution?" Hiei echoed incredulously. "Who would harm the already dying?"
Kurama cleared his throat and the fire demon looked over just as his former teammate patted a sticker onto his black cloak. "I signed you in, Hiei," he announced before putting his own sticker on his chest. "And I think we're ready to go, so," he nodded at Yukina.
Hiei glared down at the nametag on his chest, being able to read his own name upside down, before glaring at Kurama.
"I'll take you to see him," Yukina said, stepping away from the desk. "Follow me."
Kurama and Hiei did as she urged, following behind her and walking in after her into an elevator. She pressed a button and the elevator doors closed shut.
"How is Keiko doing?" Kurama asked once the elevators lurched upward.
The ice apparition smiled fondly. "She is sleeping now, for the first time in a very long time."
"And probably the last time in a very long time," Kurama added softly.
Yukina nodded, and Hiei noticed how exhausted she looked. Her red eyes seemed weary and her skin paler than normal.
"Have you been here the whole time?" He asked, sounding rougher around the edges than he wanted.
Yukina turned to face him. "Yusuke called when Keiko started going into labor while they were still at their home. I went over to," she stared down at her hands before rubbing them together, "I went over to their house to help with some of the pains of labor."
"So you've been with Keiko the entire time she was in labor?" Hiei asked.
She nodded once.
"Which was, for how long, exactly?"
The elevator doors opened and Yukina stepped out. "Thirty eight hours," she answered over her shoulder, walking down a hallway.
Kurama and Hiei followed behind.
"You must be tired, Yukina," Kurama said.
Yukina kept walking, throwing a smile at him over her shoulder. "A little, I suppose. I managed to nap here and there."
They turned down another hallway, Yukina pressing open two wide, wooden doors to pass through. The noise level shot up once they stepped through those doors, Hiei's ears picking up the distinct sound of that came from the wailing of a newborn baby. His nose twitched, and he noticed the smell changed in that part of the hospital as well. It no longer smelled like cleaning fluids and death.
It smelled like excrement and life.
He wasn't sure which one he preferred.
"Here we are," Yukina announced, stopping before a large glass wall. Kurama and Hiei stepped towards the wall, peering inside the glass. There were at least twenty small cribs, filled with twenty small human infants. Some of them had blue blankets, and some of them had pink blankets. Some of them were crying, and some were fast asleep.
Hiei smirked slightly at the scene before him. Human children under glass. Delicious.
"Where is he?" Kurama asked, his eyes narrowed but a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. "Though, I'm pretty sure I can see him."
Yukina pointed a finger against the glass at a crib in the center of all the other cribs that held a small human child wrapped in a blue blanket and fast asleep.
Hiei turned his head to study the infant better. He looked, even from a distance and behind glass, almost exactly like the spirit detective.
The poor child.
"Yeah, he looks like Urameshi, don't he?" A familiar voice asked, before the sound of loud slurping filled the hallway.
Eyebrow twitching, Hiei turned his head away from the children under glass to see Kuwabara slurping at a drink in his hand and holding a paper sack; Botan stood next to him, holding on to two more paper sacks and smiling brightly.
Kuwabara finally released his straw. "Poor kid, gotta carry around that ugly mug with him for the rest of his life."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Kuwabara," Botan chided. "When I look at him, I see Keiko."
"Well, for his sake, I hope you're right," the oaf nodded, grinning at the three demons in the hallway. "Hey guys."
"Hello, Kuwabara," Kurama greeted politely.
"You brought her back a burger?" Yukina questioned gently from somewhere behind Hiei.
Botan smiled, nodding and holding up one of her paper sacks. "Got one for Yusuke, Genkai and you, as well, Yukina. I didn't know anyone else was coming."
The ice apparition said, "Thank you, Botan. I'm not hungry just yet. Why don't you take them their food?"
"Baby," Kuwabara said with a sigh in his voice, "you gotta eat."
Hiei rolled his eyes.
"And I will, Kazuma," Yukina insisted. "Please make sure Keiko gets her burger."
Botan quickly waved goodbye at everyone standing before the glass wall before taking the paper sack from Kuwabara and turning on her heel and taking off down the hallway.
"An hour before the baby was born, Keiko said she was going to give up if we didn't promise her all the burgers she could eat from her favorite fast food place," Kuwabara explained, taking a step closer towards the glass until his nose was almost pressed against it. "The Yukimuras, Shizuru and Atsuko went home about twenty minutes ago to sleep and Botan and I got some food." He turned his head so that his cheek pressed against the glass and smiled at Yukina. "Guess you weren't alone for long."
She smiled brightly and approached him. "I'm just happy all of our friends could come and celebrate this day with us. It's always a happy moment when a child is born."
Hiei inwardly scoffed, but never the less stepped towards the glass again to study the child that he had traveled from a different world to see.
"What is his name?" Kurama asked, raising a hand to rest it on the glass.
"Keiichi," Kuwabara answered with a grin and Kurama responded with his own.
Again, Hiei inwardly scoffed. If the boy acted like his father half as much as he looked like his father he would certainly never live up to that name.
Yukina sighed and Hiei looked at her from the corner of his eye just as she rested her head against Kuwabara's arm. "He's beautiful," she stated wistfully, and that settled all conversation in the room to stillness.
Hiei glared at the couple next to him as the oaf adjusted his arm to pull Yukina against him before bending down and kissing the top of her head. He thought about reaching over and pulling the oaf's arm out of socket, because it would really be pathetically easy. But he noticed that Yukina relaxed against the human, her features softening, and any and all weariness leaving her eyes.
He grunted quietly and forced himself to look away, eyes scanning over the twenty or so human infants in the nursery. Keiichi was one of the few that were sleeping, somehow able to find rest even though the others around him were wailing.
And considering who Keiichi's father was, it wasn't at all surprising.
"He was," Yukina began, pausing to bite on her bottom lip, "he was having trouble latching on. And Keiko was so exhausted. The nurses brought him here to give her a chance to rest and to bottle feed him."
All three males stiffened slightly, unsure of what to do with that bit of information.
"I'm sure he'll pick it up in no time," Kuwabara said matter-of-factly and rubbed her arm reassuringly. "We've all seen the way Urameshi eats."
"Hn," Hiei agreed and Kurama chuckled.
The fire demon let his eyes wander over the infants, wondering why his attention seemed to keep snapping back to the little boy in the center of the room. He assumed it was either because the boy had been positioned in the exact center of the room, and therefore in the exact center of his line of site, or because he gave off just the slightest, tiniest bit of spirit energy.
It certainly wasn't because he felt any connection or attachment towards Keiichi. The infant was just as much a stranger to him as the other twenty or so infants in the room behind the glass wall. Even if he did look just like the spirit detective.
"Hey, guys," a soft voice called from down the hall, and the group turned to see their newest member.
Yusuke and Botan stood side by side, the ferry girl holding on to his arm and smiling brightly, while the spirit detective rubbed the back of his neck and looked at his friends with soft, shining eyes.
"Hello, Yusuke," Kurama greeted. "How are you feeling?"
The new father shrugged a shoulder and tried on a smile. "Pretty good. Tired."
"I tried to get him to eat," Botan said, directing her attention to Yukina. "But he wanted to say hi."
"Genkai stayed behind," Yusuke said, also directing his attention to Yukina. "In case Keiko wakes up, you know. Don't want her to wake up alone."
"You should get some sleep too, Urameshi," Kuwabara stated, giving his friend a sweeping glance. "You look like hell."
Yusuke grinned and stepped forward. Botan relinquished her hold on his arm and he used his now free hand to grasp Kuwabara's shoulder. "Thanks a lot," he said. "Really, I feel the love, Kuwabara."
"You do look like hell," Hiei agreed, crossing his arms against his chest. For once, the oaf had said something reasonably intelligent.
Yusuke turned his grin to the fire demon. "Well, hi to you too, Hiei." His features softened and rubbed the back of his neck again, his brown eyes shining as he looked at the fire demon and then at the fox demon. "Glad you guys could make it."
"Like any of us would miss this!" Kuwabara exclaimed, wrapping his arms around Yusuke and giving him a noogie.
Yusuke fought against him, trying to pull himself out of the hold. "Hey, watch the hair, Kuwabara! Man, you're lucky I haven't slept in two days!"
Kurama shook his head and chuckled. "Some things never change."
Hiei let out a long, suffering sigh. "Unfortunately."
"Boys, boys," Botan intervened as she laughed. "Please, you'll set a bad example for the children."
"They are children," Hiei muttered and Yukina giggled at him behind her hand.
Kuwabara relinquished his hold, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "I guess I'll go easy on ya for now, Urameshi. At least until Keiko checks out of the hospital."
"Yeah, yeah," Yusuke waved a hand dismissively and turned his attention to the nursery. He scanned the room with a grin. "So, which one's mine again?"
Kuwabara gave a loud scoff before grabbing Yusuke by the shoulders. "You're joking, right? He's the one in the center that looks just like you! Don't even joke around like that, Urameshi! You're bound to give the kid issues. And having you as a father really should be issue enough!"
Botan, Yukina, Kurama, and a reluctant Hiei gathered around them before the glass window, each one peering in at the little baby boy in the center.
Yusuke let out a low sigh. "Man, he really does look like me."
Kuwabara tightened his hold on Yusuke's shoulders as he nodded. "I just can't believe one of us has one of these."
"They really should regulate these things," Hiei agreed.
"Oh, he's full of jokes today!" Yusuke laughed and clapped Hiei on the back good naturedly.
The fire demon glared at him, and though Yusuke did remove the hand from his back, he kept the grin on his face. The new father looked incredibly tired – dark, purple bags around his eyes and deep lines set in around his mouth.
Kurama stepped forward, standing in between the former spirit detective and the fire demon, and put a hand on Yusuke's shoulder. "You said Genkai was here?"
He nodded. "Yeah, she's in the room with Keiko. You want me to get her?" He asked, jamming a thumb in the presumed direction of their hospital room.
Kurama shook his head. "How long has she been here?"
"Oh, she's been with us for as long as Yukina has. As soon as Keiko went into labor."
"Yes," Yukina agreed with a smile, "we came over and tried to help, but Keiko was cleaning the house. She would only allow me to lessen the pain a little."
"Cleaning the house?" Botan echoed. "Whatever for?"
Yusuke shrugged his shoulders. "Hell if I know. Doctor didn't want her to come to the hospital yet, so, she cleaned the house. We tried talking her out of it, you know. That just because she was in labor didn't mean she had to do labor. Does she listen? No. I married her; I never said she was sane."
"And Botan and Kuwabara?" Kurama continued, looking at the blue haired ferry girl, "how long have you two been here?"
Hiei was both bored and intrigued. The questions Kurama were asking about everyone's arrival to the hospital seemed absolutely tedious and caused him to want to rip his eyes out (all three of them). He didn't care when everyone got to the hospital. He couldn't see how it mattered. One thing he was sure of though was that Kurama rarely asked questions he didn't already know the answer to; and he always asked questions for a reason besides gaining information.
Kuwabara scratched his temple. "Well, Yusuke called as soon as she was admitted into the hospital. Um, what? Yesterday morning?"
Yusuke scrunched his face and looked at the watch on his wrist. "Holy crap, it was yesterday morning."
"And I got here early this morning," Botan interjected, clapping her hands together. "I would have been here sooner, but it seems Yusuke in his haste forgot to call me. He didn't forget to call anyone else, however." she narrowed her eyes at his head.
Hiei couldn't figure out why this information was important to Kurama. The fox demon was always a step ahead of everyone else, always planning something. What could he possibly be planning?
"You know, you live in a different world than me," Yusuke argued, "it's not like picking up a cell phone to call you. I have to find that … mirror, thing. Complicated, Botan."
"Hey, you should feel lucky, Botan," Kuwabara added, "his own mother didn't get here until this afternoon."
The young man rolled his eyes and sighed in annoyance. "That was because we couldn't get a hold of her until this afternoon," he said, and no one bothered to ask what she was doing that was more important than the birth of her first grandchild.
"But Keiko's parents met us here at the hospital yesterday morning." Yusuke added after a moment, his features softening noticeably. "They were real troopers through it all. So were you, Yukina," he said, touching her arm gently. "And the old hag, too, I suppose," he shrugged nonchalantly, but the affection in his voice was pathetically apparent.
It was almost funny. The old hag, and the subject of many nightmares for Yusuke, was far more of a mother to him than the woman who gave him life. And she was the only one out of all their parents who was even still at the hospital, waiting by the new mother's bedside in case she woke up, for fear of her being alone.
"Why don't you go home and get some rest, Yusuke?" Kurama prompted. "And Yukina and Kuwabara and Genkai as well. I will stay here with Keiko for a little while. And Hiei, if he wants."
Hiei crossed his arms against his chest and directed his attention to the little boy behind the glass. "Hn."
Ah. Kurama's inane questioning made sense now.
Volunteered to serve on Urameshi's team. Again. Fantastic.
"Oh, man, I don't know." Yusuke said, raking his fingers threw his hair.
"The nurses are looking after Keiichi and Keiko is sleeping. And I've spent my fair share in hospitals," Kurama pointed out. "Go home and get some rest. You'll have practically none when she and the baby are released from the hospital."
Yusuke sighed again, looking like he wanted to take the offer, but wasn't sure if it was wise.
Kuwabara punched him in the arm. "It's a good idea, Urameshi. I'm making you do it. I'm gonna take you home if I gotta pound you into the dirt to do it."
"Yes," Botan agreed. "Take a nap and then come back to the hospital. Oh, and a take a shower as well." She pinched her nose closed with a teasing smile on her face. "You kind of smell. And by kind of, I mean, a lot."
Yusuke grinned cheekily at her. "You're such a friend, Botan. Seriously. In fact, you're such a friend, that I think," he raised both arms up, making sure to put an armpit in the ferry girl's face; she gagged and tried to push him away, "I think I need to hug you." And hug her he did, wrapping his arms around her and keeping his armpit in her face.
She punched him in the gut, and when he released her with a grunt, she held a fist to her mouth and gagged repeatedly.
Yukina giggled and Kuwabara laughed.
"That was so wrong, Urameshi!" He exclaimed. "But, man, you should get going."
Yusuke rubbed his stomach and smiled at Kurama. "I think I will take you up on that offer, Kurama. I do kind of stink."
Hiei raised an eyebrow. "Kind of?"
Hiei absentmindedly stared at the muted TV that hung on the hospital room's wall. He was bored out of his mind. They had sat on either side of Keiko's bed while she slept for the better part of an hour, with a muted TV and absolutely no conversation. Under normal circumstances, he would have been perfectly content. And though his life had been nothing even close to resembling ordinary, the situation he found himself in was most certainly … different.
"Why are we here, again?" He asked, throwing a casual glance at the red head across the hospital bed.
He pulled his green eyes away from the TV screen to look at Hiei. "To give Yusuke some much needed rest."
"So why are we here?" He repeated, crossing his arms against his chest. Now he was annoyed. Well, annoyed was better than bored.
Kurama tilted his head to the side. "It's what friends do, Hiei."
"And again, I'm forced to ask – why are we here?"
Keiko moaned quietly and stretched her arms above her head. With a yawn, she forced her eyes open.
"Kurama?" She questioned in a whisper, rubbing her eyes with her fists. "Kurama, is that you?"
"Yes, Keiko, it's me," he greeted, turning his attention away from Hiei entirely to look down at the human woman on the bed.
She smiled sleepily at him and yawned again. "Where is Yusuke? And my baby?"
"The group voted that Yusuke needed a shower and a quick nap at home. The baby is with the nurses. I can grab a nurse, tell her you're awake?" He asked.
She nodded. "Please and thank you."
He rose from his seat and walked out the door. Keiko stretched slightly again, yawning and turning her head to crack her neck. Her eyes widened momentarily; she smiled brightly when she saw Hiei had occupied the chair on her left.
"Hi, Hiei," she greeted happily. "It's good to see you."
He gave her a single nod.
The door opened and Kurama came back into the room. "A nurse is getting Keiichi now," he announced, sitting back down next to the bed. "How are you feeling?"
Her brow furrowed in thought and she wiggled her body, as if trying to determine exactly how she was feeling. "Sore," she announced. "Like, like I'm never going to be able to sit right again."
Kurama's eyes widened fractionally before he smiled at her. "Oh."
"Did you get to see him?" She asked, grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
The redhead nodded. "Yes, we did. He looks very much like his father."
Keiko blew the bangs off her face in annoyance. "I know! I do all the work, he gets all the credit."
"Typical Yusuke," Hiei added.
The brunette laughed as the door opened, a nurse wheeling in a small crib with Keiichi nestled inside. He was awake and screaming as loud as he possibly could.
Keiko cooed. "Look what I made, guys!"
She pushed herself up, trying to sit up right, and grimaced. Kurama reached out a hand and helped her to sit up, fluffing her pillows behind her so she had something to lean back on.
The nurse picked up the crying baby and smiled at Keiko. "You want to try feeding him again?"
Keiko nodded and started adjusting her hospital gown.
Kurama and Hiei exchanged glances before both of them moved across the room to look out the window.
"Lovely weather this evening," Kurama noted, his back to the hospital bed.
"Hn," Hiei agreed, his back also to the hospital bed.
The baby stopped crying and Keiko chuckled quietly.
"Don't mind them, Keiichi," she said in a very sing songy voice, "your uncles are really just a bunch of chickens."
Hiei grunted in obvious disagreement, though whether he was disagreeing about being called an uncle or being called a chicken was up for debate.
"He's not having any trouble now," the nurse said, presumably about Keiichi being able to eat. Of course, that was the presumption, but the boys were busy staring out the window and wouldn't dare look around even if their life depended on it.
"Grab the blanket?" Keiko asked the nurse.
There was a rustling sound and Keiko chuckled again. "Okay boys, all decent. You can turn around now."
Kurama and Hiei exchanged hesitant glances before Kurama braved a look over at the bed. The nurse was just walking out of the door while Keiko was still sitting up in the bed, her top half and presumably the baby hidden beneath a blue blanket.
"He's doing fine?" Kurama asked gently, taking his seat next to her bed again.
She nodded before peering down under the blanket. "Thankfully." She looked back up, smiling at Kurama and then at Hiei – who was leaning against the wall next to the window. "Thank you both for coming. It, it means a lot."
"It's nothing," Kurama assured her.
Her smile quickly turned into a grimace. "I can't even begin to imagine what I look like. My hair," her grimace took on a sorrowful expression. "I'm sure it's in tangles. Terrible, terrible tangles that I'll never be able to get out."
The redhead looked her over and smiled. "Really, Keiko, it isn't that bad."
She shook her head and peered down at the baby. She shifted slightly, her hand disappearing under the blanket, and a moment later she shrugged the blanket off. The baby was sound asleep in her arms, and her hospital robes were (thankfully) properly readjusted.
"I still can't believe I made him," she whispered.
"Hey, I helped too!" Yusuke announced, walking into the hospital room and holding a Styrofoam mug filled with a steaming liquid.
Keiko looked up at him with narrowed eyes and a slight smile on her face. "Your part was small."
"I thought you would be longer, Yusuke," Kurama said from his chair.
He shrugged and sipped at his drink. "Kuwabara was snoring."
"You slept with Kuwabara," Hiei stated, sounding slightly amused.
Yusuke pointed a finger at Hiei. "Not exactly. We barely got into the house before we passed out. He crashed on the floor, I got the sofa."
"Where is Kuwabara?" Keiko questioned.
Yusuke sat down on the hospital bed next to her, looking over her shoulder at the baby in her arms. "He followed me here. He's in the hospital cafeteria right now trying to chug down as much coffee as he can. I couldn't get him to go home. I think he thinks he's gonna stay here for as long as we are staying here."
"At least your stench isn't so putrid anymore," Hiei conceded.
"Oh, gee, thanks," Yusuke said. He sipped on his coffee and reached out an index finger, caressing his son's face.
The little boy turned his head to lean more into the touch.
"Damn," Yusuke whispered.
"Yusuke," Keiko began, shifting as she sat. "Can you do me a favor? I need my chapstick and a hairbrush. Desperately."
He nodded and put his coffee down on the floor. "Where's the bag?" He asked, standing up.
"Under Kurama's chair." She answered.
"Oh, I'll get out of your way," Kurama said, standing up and moving over to the wall. His movement forced Hiei to move and take a step closer to the bed, coming up next to Keiko's left.
In all honesty, Hiei should have seen it coming. He was the closest one to her, after all. But, he didn't. And that would forever teach him to let his guard down in a hospital ever again. Because, what happened next was –
"Here's the hairbrush," Yusuke said, holding it out with both hands to Keiko.
"Oh, um," she blinked at the hairbrush before looking around the room. "Here, hold this," she demanded, thrusting the baby out towards Hiei.
"No," the fire demon argued, trying to take a step back, but ending up with the sleeping child in his arms anyway.
Keiko grimaced as she tried to brush her hair. "Yusuke, I can't do it. It's no use. I'll have to shave my head."
Yusuke handed her a small tube of chapstick and sat down behind her on the bed, taking the hairbrush out of her hands. "Can't have that – I've been around enough bald people for one lifetime. Let me help you." He started running the brush through Keiko's hair as gently as he could, the grimace on her face never leaving.
Hiei wore a grimace that matched the new mother's. The baby was stirring in his arms and he was trying his damndest to not touch the baby whilst holding the baby and was needless to say losing the fight.
Keiichi blinked his eyes open, looking up at Hiei very unsurely. He studied him for a moment, before his entire right hand grasped onto Hiei's index finger and held on tight.
Hiei tried to pull his finger away, but to no avail. The baby just lay in his hold, head nestled in the crook of Hiei's arm, and grasping on to Hiei's finger like it was a life line. Hiei glared, but the baby just closed his eyes and tried to fall back asleep.
"He smells," Hiei declared.
Keiko scoffed in offense and Kurama raised an eyebrow. "Like what, Hiei?" He asked.
With a wavering stare at the fox demon he said, "Like excrement and life."
Yusuke grunted with a smile. "That's a baby for you."
The fire demon shifted his weight on his feet, a deep scowl on his face. "I don't like this," Hiei announced, receiving a soft chuckle from the other occupants of the room.
Yusuke grinned up at him from his position on the hospital bed, a hairbrush in one hand and the other grasping on to his wife's brown hair. "Tough luck, Uncle Hiei."
Hiei glared at him before turning the glare back on the child in his arms. He couldn't believe how peaceful Keiichi looked, cuddling up to the fire demon and sleeping on without a care in the world. Surely, this child wasn't stupid enough to think he was someone safe to sleep on. Surely, this child was only behaving this way because he was a few hours old, and it wasn't an indicator of future behavior. Surely, things like this would never happen again; and most certainly this child would never view him as Uncle Hiei, tough luck or otherwise.
Then again, the child did look just like the spirit detective, and if he behaved anything like the spirit detective … nothing was certain.
A/N: Btw, "Keiichi" means "respectful first son."
Please review, and let me know what you think! Even just a happy face or a sad face will make my day.