YYH © Shonen Jump and Funimation. Carry On Wayward Son © Kansas. I own none of the awesomeness.
AN: A note for all of you – this actually has nothing to do with the Blood Brothers AU. At all. Stand back and stare in awe. Meant as strong friendship, but it could pass as light shonen-ai as well.
Keep Calm and Carry On
If there was one thing Hiei actually enjoyed about the humans, it was their music.
Music wasn't something that demons created in abundance. War and random acts of violence were much more common in the Makai. The screams from a burning village were more likely to be heard than the soft notes of a flute or harp. Such things did not exist there. There was no place for such frivolity, not when the distractions could mean the difference between life and death.
Hiei would have continued thinking the same, if he hadn't happened to find Kurama in his room one day listening to the radio while doing his homework. It wasn't uncommon for Hiei to show up there – even if he thought Kurama was a fool for staying, he was still the only demon Hiei knew. For the longest time, he was the only friend Hiei had. It was rather unusual for the fox spirit to be listening to music, and an English station at that.
"What are you listening to?"
"Kansas." Kurama had replied without ever looking up. "It's a classic rock band from America. They're actually fairly good."
The song stuck with Hiei for whatever reason. There really was nothing that made it stand out from any other song by way of the music itself, or the voices of the singers – it was the lyrics.
They reminded him far too much of Kurama himself.
Even though he only heard the song once, he remembered it. In the back of his mind, it played over and over again, especially right before he fell asleep.
And always, he thought of Kurama.
Kurama was having nightmares. It wasn't unexpected; going up against someone like Karasu was going to have nasty side effects, after all. Still, Kurama refused to speak to Yusuke or even Genkai about the issues. Hiei knew he wouldn't. He knew the fox was going to try and fix the problem himself, that he wouldn't speak about it to anyone until the force of the residual fear broke him in front of the others.
Hiei wouldn't let it come to that.
So when Kurama began to moan in his sleep on the way back to the mainland, Hiei was there. Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Genkai were all on deck, enjoying the freedom and life given to them by the end of the tournament. Hiei was the only one standing in between Kurama and his demons. Literally.
He sat down on the bed, one hand hesitantly touching Kurama's shoulder. The fox spirit flinched, then seemed to relax into his touch. For a brief moment, he hoped that was all he was required to do – comfort wasn't something he knew how to give, and it usually wasn't something Kurama required. Then Kurama whimpered again, reliving the final battle, and Hiei knew he had to do something more.
The song came to mind once again, and Hiei sang what he knew of it. His voice was rough enough to make him wince – as noted before, demons generally don't make music – but he kept singing, and Kurama slowly relaxed and slid into more healing sleep.
Hiei could have left then. He could have stood up and returned to his own bed. He had no desire to join the festivities on deck.
Yet he stayed, hand resting gently on Kurama's shoulder and the tune still echoing in his mind.
It was just after the incident with Kaito and his group of psycho friends. The night found Kurama and Hiei once again hiding in Kurama's room, watching the storm pass.
"Would you really leave the human world to be destroyed?" Kurama asked, never taking his eyes from the raging storm outside. Hiei shrugged.
"Maybe. I haven't decided yet."
Kurama smirked. "You merely said so to keep your image until you decide."
"Pretty much." Hiei allowed a small smirk to cross his face. "You didn't see the look on Botan's face, though. That was worth it right there."
Kurama nodded. "And yet, Yusuke does not believe you will abandon us. He thinks you'll arrive just in the nick of time to save us all." There was a note of mocking in his voice.
Hiei chuckled. "He's a fool." He glanced at Kurama from his perch on the desk. "What about you? Are you going to help save the human world out of the kindness of your heart?"
That earned him a dry look. "I have one reason for not wanting the human world destroyed. One reason to fight for it. You know that."
Hiei nodded. "I know. I just wanted to hear you say it."
The quiet conversation eventually gave way to uneasy slumbers. There were few things that could truly shake Hiei – but the feeling of utter helplessness, his soul separating from his body because he dared challenged the logic of a teenage human – well, that was something that didn't sit well with him at all.
So it shouldn't have surprised him that the nightmares came then, while he slept on Kurama's windowsill. The helplessness had brought back old memories, ones he had thought buried deep enough to never hurt again.
When he woke, it wasn't to the sound of the rain beating down on the window or his own ragged breathing. Strong arms had him wrapped in a secure embrace, rocking him gently like a mother would while Kurama's soft voice filled his ear. It probably didn't sound any better than when Hiei had sang to him, but for a moment it was exactly the rough, well-meaning comfort he needed.
"Carry on my wayward son; there'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don't you cry no more."
He hadn't realized Kurama had been awake, listening to him while he sang. He almost opened his eyes and looked up, almost said something that would break the moment.
Instead, he simply let himself relax and let the tune carry him back to sleep.