Yu Yu Hakusho © Not mine. Don't sue.

Promises Never Broken

Kurama stayed on the beach long after the others had retired to Genkai's hut. He watched the sun fully set and the moon rise, lending the water a silver streak. He was happy to see Yusuke again, mostly because it made Keiko happy, and Keiko deserved to be happy. Even Kuwabara and Yukina seemed to be content with life. It was warming.

Now if only Kurama could be as happy with his fate in life as they were. With a sigh, he flopped down on the wet sand and dug his toes into the waves. The stars were unusually bright that night, lending a beautiful glow to the sky.

"It's getting cold out here."

He smiled. "Why, Hiei – I didn't know you cared." he teased lightly. Hiei snorted and sat down beside him with a huff. Kurama just grinned and continued to stare at the horizon. "I figured you would stay in the demon realm. After all, you've been enjoying Mukuro's company."

Hiei tilted his head. "Mukuro is interesting. I can almost relate to her." he said quietly.

"I know. Why do you think I didn't say anything when you wanted to stay?" Kurama pointed out. Hiei said nothing, so Kurama continued. "Yusuke came back today. I believe Keiko is never going to let him out of her sight again."

Hiei actually grinned at that. "Good luck. He'll leave again when he wants to. No one can hold a demon for long, even if he is a half-breed."

"You know it and I know it, but Keiko doesn't." Kurama said cheerfully. "And I'm not going to be the one to tell her." Hiei nodded fervently. Kurama tilted his head. "Something tells me you didn't come here for simple chit-chat." Hiei's end of their blood-bond was wide open; agitation and something akin to fear flooded him in waves. Hiei was projecting, strongly. Kurama reached out and touched Hiei's arm briefly.

It was enough to make the reclusive fire apparition open up.

"Are you coming back?"

No one else would have noticed the change. Had Yusuke, Kuwabara, or even Koenma himself been listening in, it would have sounded like another callous question from a heartless demon. Exactly what was expected of him. Kurama knew him better, fully understood that, if Hiei truly had not cared, the question would never have been asked. Before he could respond, however, Hiei kept going.

"After, I mean. I don't expect you to leave with Shiori alive and well."

Kurama blinked. "Why do you ask?"

Hiei refused to look at him. Kurama almost stood up, but he restrained himself. Any movement on his part might make Hiei flee. Why was Hiei acting like this, anyway? He thought they had made their peace with their decisions back with the Demon World Tournament had finished. So why –

"If you aren't, I'll stay here with you."

Kurama felt his jaw drop. "You hate human world." he pointed out, his voice remarkably calm. "Besides, what about Mukuro?"

Hiei glanced down at him, then away, at the horizon. "She's not my brother. You are." He chuckled suddenly. "If I can travel across the entirety of two worlds searching for a sister I still won't acknowledge, I can suffer a few years in human world for my blood brother."

Kurama didn't say anything. He simply watched Hiei as the fire apparition shifted from foot to foot before finally flopping down into the sand beside him with an irritated sigh. "All right, so it's boring there. No one can spar with me." he pouted.

Kurama couldn't help it. He burst out laughing. "You mean no one wants to spar with you." he corrected in a fit of giggles. "You cheat."

"I do not. I take full advantage of every tactical maneuver." Hiei protested, a small smirk forming on his face.

"You cheat." Kurama laughed. He abruptly turned serious. "Are you that lonely?"

Hiei shrugged. "As in, do I want for attention? No. There are others to talk to, even if they won't fight me." He met Kurama's gaze then. "Can't you feel it, what being in two separate worlds does to our bond? I've grown too used to having you in my mind, fox. It feels like I can't think straight."

Kurama smiled. "I have noticed it." He looked back out at the moon. "I was hoping it was just my imagination."

"No." Hiei shook his head. "I need to know – what do you plan to do?"

Kurama sighed. "I will not lie – my original intention was to completely sever ties with my demon self and live my life as a human." he admitted. Hiei stiffened beside him, but he continued on. The fire apparition would not leave until he had the full story. "But the longer I stay here, the more I realize I can't do that."

It was Hiei's turn for a curious tilt of the head. "Why not?"

"You. You aren't the only one who's grown used to having a brother, and Suiichi does not compare to you." Kurama flashed Hiei a smile. "Yes, I will come back. Perhaps sooner than you think – with her new husband and son, Shiori will no longer be alone when I leave. Perhaps I'll come back when I've finished my schooling, and everyone expects me to leave. With the Kakai Barrier down, I'll have no problems coming back to visit on occasion."

Hiei took a moment to absorb that information. His entire body seemed to slouch as he relaxed. "Good."

"You thought I would say otherwise?"

"Fear is never rational." Hiei muttered.

Kurama nodded, looking down at the wet sand beneath them. "Hiei – let me see your sword."

Hiei didn't hesitate. He drew his sword, handing it hilt-first to Kurama. The fox demon smiled at him as he used the sharp edge of the blade to slice open his palm. Hiei's eyes widened slightly, but he allowed Kurama to do the same to his palm. With a small smile, Hiei pressed his palm to Kurama's, blood to blood.

Blood to blood.

The rush was not as intense this time, the sudden and deep knowing of each other that had come when they first bound their blood together. But it was there, and it was strong. Kurama grinned.

/Two years, Hiei. I have two years left in high school. When I'm done, I promise you, I will return to where we belong./

Hiei smirked. /A blood promise, Kurama. You cannot break it./

Kurama laughed as he pulled away, but the presence of Hiei was still strong and fresh in his mind. "Have I ever broken a promise to you?"

Hiei's smirk morphed into a genuine smile. "Never."

/----/

AN: Bleh. Not sure if I like this or not, but oh well. Let me know what you think. I try to keep Hiei in character, and yet, he and Kurama insist on thwarting me. Slaggers.