Once More, This Time With Artifice

Hiei glared down at the box the miko had just handed to him with a hesitant smile and nervous laughter. It was behavior that she normally only exhibited when she had made a mistake, or was trying—and failing—to make up for something. Looking between her and the box, he tried to think of anything she had done in the past—or would be doing in the near future—that required his forgiveness, and came up with nothing until he recalled a similar situation, at the same time of year, one year ago.

If his eyes could have widened in shock and narrowed into a glare at the same time, they would have, but as biology stood, his reactions settled on widening for a fraction of a second before settling on glaring at the miko in question as he threw the box back at her—which, by some misfortune, she actually managed to catch—and adamantly told her, "No, I refuse!" Then he turned to leave.

"Wait, Hiei!" Those words, had they come from anyone else, would have been completely harmless to one such as him. However, from the mouth of a powerful, experienced miko, they became her will and he slammed into a barrier with a groan. She had not quite yet learned how to tone down her power to only restrain rather than maim.

"Onna…" he threatened, turning back to the sheepish miko and her box of poison.

"Look, Hiei, I'm sorry for last year, but you know it's tradition for girls to give guys chocolate on Valentine's Day, and you're special to me, so you deserve to know you're appreciated, and what better way than through tradition…"she rambled. He continued to glare and ignore her until her final outburst of, "And how was I supposed to know that chocolate would put you in the hospital for a week!"

The argument had merit, he grudgingly admitted. He had eaten his share of Ningenkai sweets, but had never eaten a bite of chocolate, and this "delicacy" was not available in Makai, so he had no way of forewarning her. But he was still bitter about it.

He then noticed she had begun to open the box. Knowing there was no escape from this barrier, he kept his eyes on it, determined not to be caught off guard again. To his surprise, rather than little brown lumps, these were white. Kagome reached into the box and picked one up, offering it to him. "It's white chocolate, which technically isn't chocolate at all, it just tastes like it. Kinda."

When he finally took it from her hand, hers went to her back pocket to bring out her cell phone. After last year's incident, he was sure she had the number for Reikai emergency services on speed dial. The miko did not want to be the death of him, for all her well-meaning actions since he'd met her did to harm him.

Hiei contemplated the little white lump in his hand. It looked different than the chocolate from the previous year, and though it smelled similar, there was also a heavier scent of chemicals. Knowing there was no way he would be allowed to leave without fulfilling her Ningenkai tradition, he popped the candy into his mouth, chewed, swallowed, and waited for the worst as he contemplated the interesting flavor the thing had left on his palate. Not bad when he wasn't going into immediate poison-shock.

She stared at him in silence for a full two minutes before a smile cracked on her face and she put away her cell phone before leaping forward to hug him. "You're not convulsing!" she cheered.

Hiei rolled his eyes. He had no doubt: this well-meaning little miko would be the death of him.


AN: Thanks for reading the beginning of my new product of whimsy. I have a couple more situations in mind, but there will be many more, and I will be taking requests.