"I should lament to be forgotten," Shizuru murmured thoughtfully, and the words sounded to her like barely remembered poetry from when she was in school. A moment later she scoffed as she exhaled the smoke that had filled her lungs. "If only I weren't so damn used to it."
"Shizuru?" an inquisitive voice called. A familiar voice, friendly and with many memories attached, both good and bad. "Is that you?"
"Unless I'm not the Shizuru you're lookin' for, then yeah, it's me," she answered, not turning to see the face that went with that voice. Didn't stop the man from sitting down beside her of course. His presence didn't stop her from taking another drag on her smoke either, even though she knew he wasn't overly fond of the smell. She did make sure to blow away from him though, and looking at the smouldering stub between her fingers, she admitted defeat, knowing that it was the end of another cancer stick.
"I would ask what you have been doing to yourself to be so changed since I saw you last, but you're human, and that's the sort of enquiry that the fox would make, rather than me," the dark figure said, no longer as short as he had used to be, and somehow less pointedly abrasive as well.
"I'd ask when you hit your growth spurt, but the same fox told me at the time it happened," Shizuru answered, still not looking at him, so she had no visual to really confirm exactly how much height the apparition had really put on. "What do you want Hiei?"
"Amazingly enough I was hoping for company," he answered drolly, shifting his sword to his lap and leaning over it, taking in the same view as the woman beside him.
"Huh," she said, contemplating pulling out another from the packet in her pocket, and thinking back to the idea of barely remembered poems that she learned while she was still in school. "The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough." In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound, circa nineteen-eleven to nineteen-sixteen. "I'm amazed that I remember that," she mumbled to herself.
"I had not expected you, of all the persons with whom I am acquainted, to spout drivel," Hiei observed, though there wasn't so much derision in his tone as there would have been if her baby brother had said ... well, anything.
"Would you rather I said 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'?" she questioned, not caring if he understood the Latin phrase or not. It was bullshit anyway.
"No," he answered. "And not least of all because it is a foolish thing to say." So he did know what it meant. "What on earth has you quoting stupid lines that some other fool wrote?"
"Melancholy, malaise, despair, depression, resignation, after-thoughts, apathy," she said, listing off words as they came to her, all of them appropriate to how she felt at that moment in relation to the world around her. "Solitude, quietude," she continued, staring out into space. "Loneliness. Probably mostly loneliness. Everybody left me behind."
Hiei raised an eyebrow at that. He had never spoken much with Shizuru Kuwabara, largely because of her relation to Kazuma Kuwabara, the incompetent, the idiotic, the moronic, the oaf of 'team Uramsehi'.
"I'm here. I don't count?" he asked, purely to make argument. He really had returned to Human World just to seek out some company.
"You left, same as everybody else," Shizuru answered, almost blandly.
"I find it hard to believe that Yukina and Kurama have left as well," Hiei said, the same bland tone mirrored in his own voice, as though her words didn't bother him at all.
Shizuru snorted quietly to herself. They probably didn't. For a while, she didn't answer him, just thinking through the times that had gone by, and all the different things that had happened.
"That tape with the mission to rescue Yukina on was floating around my house still when she came to visit, probably a few yeas ago now. She found out the truth of your relationship to her. She cried for an hour solid I swear, pounding the carpet in my living room demanding to know why you didn't just say something," she said, giving in to her own craving and mentally deciding to screw manners.
Pulling out the pack, she grunted quietly in frustration to see that she was down to her last one. She put it between her teeth all the same, scrunching up the box and throwing it into the garbage bin that was just three feet to her left. It didn't even touch the rim. "Two points," she murmured, reaching into her pockets again, searching this time for her lighter... for Sakyou's lighter.
Hiei was silent. Yukina knew. She had cried when she found out. She had cried for an hour after that. She had cried because ... he hadn't told her.
"I honestly haven't seen her since. Think she went back to that floating island. Last thing she said to me was that I could keep all those hiroseki stones, and that she was going to follow up on some advice she'd been given," Shizuru said, flicking her lighter open furiously, shaking the bitter memories out of her head and lighting the nicotine source.
"So you're rich off of my sister's sorrow," Hiei observed, a quiet fury in his voice.
"Not like I ever wanted to see the girl cry," she answered with a shrug, not giving a damn that he was getting mad. She couldn't stop him if he wanted to stew about it after all. "And if I were rich, do you really think I'd be sitting here? A couple went to paying off debts and buying Kazuma's schooling, that's it."
Shizuru inhaled deeply, her lips tight around the filter. For a moment she held her breath, letting the smoke damage her lungs and ease her tensions before she exhaled it, watching the grey poison curl around in the air before her. She flicked the ash off the end casually.
Hiei didn't say anything. He knew it was because of him that his sister had been made sad, and he would have to live with that. Though he wondered what 'advice' she had decided to take before disappearing.
"Why are you here Hiei?" Shizuru asked suddenly. "You're not the type to decide to sit and have a conversation with a woman you haven't seen for umpteen years just because you were bored and happened to see them." Again she brought her hand to her mouth and inhaled. "Especially not when I know how much you dislike the smell of my smokes."
"They will kill you," he said, "and it would not be a good death."
"As much as you dislike Kazuma, you two really do have a lot in common. What do I care if I die sooner or later? It'll happen eventually anyway," she answered. "Like the cherry bloom, we shall find our way to death, with each passing day."
"More poetry," Hiei grumbled. "What happened to the woman who would beat up her little brother and keep even Kurama in line sometimes? The one who dragged everybody into that damned party during the Dark Tournament and provided all those human comforts during the fight against Sensui?" he asked.
"She was forgotten," Shizuru answered shortly, abruptly. "We covered that already. Everybody left her behind in their dust. You, Yusuke, Botan and Koenma, Keiko, Yukina, Genkai, Kurama, even Kazuma. Sometimes I get a token phone call from Kazuma, and most years a birthday and Christmas card with barely anything on from Botan."
Shizuru took a hard, possibly angry drag on her smoke, the paper burning down quickly to the filter as she pulled on it before she stamped her foot over the last of her stubs until she went to the shop and got a new packet.
"I came looking for Kurama," Hiei said, finally admitting to why he was in Human World at all.
"Then you're in the wrong place," Shizuru stated. "Try Genkai's temple. If he's even in Human World at all, then that's my bet on where he'll be. Unless he's doing his grocery shopping," she added sarcastically. "I tried keeping in touch with everybody, but if no one is going to leave me so much as a phone number or forwarding address..."
"I can see how that would be difficult," Hiei agreed, standing up. "Thank you for the suggestion. I will try the temple."
"You do that," she said, staring out at the view before her. She had sat down on the stone step over the jetty, and the beach, and the ocean, with only her thoughts for company. When Hiei left, she wondered if she had only imagined that, for a moment, she'd had company as she sat there.
She wondered if they even realised that they did it. Hiei certainly hadn't seemed to, and they had been just talking about it – or perhaps that was why he had gone.
"Go ahead and walk away, just like every other man, woman and child in my life," she mumbled, adding on every eventuality that had occurred to her. Male friends: gone. Female friends: gone. Baby brother: gone. All alive, well, and gone from her life.
Shizuru Kuwabara wondered if she had been cursed in her cradle, that no one hung around for long.