Alright, I know I haven't been writing much, but I haven't given it up all together. No promises on how long this will be or how often I'll update, but I do promise to finish it no matter where it takes me. I hope you enjoy this. As usual, I will try to make this story unique, but you should know by now, I will not make the road to happily ever after easy for our demon lovers.

Wow! I just noticed this will be the 30th story I've posted. Thank you all for reading and sticking with me since I started this adventure. Most of all thank you for all the great reviews. I think what I like most is hearing what you all think of my stories. So, please keep clicking that review button and inspiring me to continue writing.

Disclaimer: I do not own YuYu Hakusho nor do I make any money writing this. Yu Yu Hakusho and it's characters are property of Yoshihiro Togashi, Fugi TV, Shueisha, Jump Comics and Studio Pierrot. The only thing I own is a love for Yu Yu Hakusho and it's characters.


NOTE: This story can be stand alone, or the sequel to 'TLC'.

Chapter 1

A lone figure stood just out of sight, silently observing the family-like gathering of those he used to call friends. The dominant figure in the room of course was Yusuke. "Damn guys, we used to spend all kinds of time together. Now it's like we never see each other."

With a smile, he watched Yusuke from the shadows. The Toushin looked every inch a powerful demon lord. Taller and more muscular than he'd been as a youth, he was an impressive specimen. Mysterious tribal markings and long shiny black hair added sexy to the other adjectives that came to mind when describing him.

A husky laugh drew spying eyes to Kuwabara. "If the lords of Makai would take more time off, we wouldn't have to coordinate schedules and plan gatherings that used to be spontaneous."

Looking at Kuwabara, the observer was taken aback. Black streaks graced the once stiff orange hair giving it's new shorter, softer style a more sleek appearance. Black tipped orange ears perched on his head and the long matching tail whipping at his side only added to the new feline allure.

When a dainty hand reached up to scratch behind Kuwabara's left ear, the watcher nearly laughed when the big man began to purr. Hooded eyes shifted to the delicate Yukina and his smile softened. Of all of them, she had changed the least. Though still petite, the little Koorime had matured into a beautiful demon who obviously knew how to tame her beast. "Now Kazuma, they are not the only ones with busy schedules. As ambassador to the Ningenkai your schedule often clashes with theirs."

Rising from her seat, Keiko finally drew his attention. "Yes and it's hard to believe that even after all these years, three of the most powerful men in the three worlds spend all their time working while neglecting the important things in life. Namely us."

To emphasize her point, Keiko placed her hands on her shapely hips and struck a pose. As Yusuke quickly tried to appease his mate, the silent onlooker took a moment to appreciate the gorgeous female. Taller than most human women, Keiko had long silky tresses the cascaded down her back. Her wide brown eyes were framed by long dark lashes.

Having heard that his friends had entered another tournament a number of years ago, he now knew what their wish had been when they won. As humans Kuwabara and Keiko would be past middle age by now. Their strength would be fading and their bodies degrading in preparation for death in only a few short decades. As demons, they would now live long full lives with their demon mates.

As the group continued to talk, eat and drink, the watcher's eyes turned to the final figure in the room. Though he sought him last, this was the one person he wanted to see most. The one he had truly come all this way to see. Even knowing that his attention probably wouldn't go unnoticed long by the powerful demon, he couldn't help himself.

Hungry eyes took in the tall lean figure of the man that had once been his best friend and fighting partner. Legs, longer than he remembered, stretched out before the demon as he lounged back in a large chair set apart from the others. His hair was a bit longer and his shoulders a bit wider but not much else had changed. He was powerful, beautiful, imposing, graceful and deadly. To the cloaked figure in the shadows, he was quite simply perfect.

Suddenly unsure, it crossed his mind that after all these years he might not be welcome. The decision of if and how to make his presence known was suddenly taken from him, when the object of his attention suddenly stood and looked in his direction. Alerted to his sudden change, the others all rose and faced what awaited them in the shadows. Impatiently, Yusuke almost shouted. "Who ever you are, come out before I blast you into the next world."

With a deep breath the figure in the shadows moved forward. Slowly he pushed his hood off his red hair revealing his face. "KURAMA!"

Kurama was a little overwhelmed as Yukina and Keiko rushed forward to hug and kiss him. He tried but failed to smile as Yusuke and Kuwabara also came forward and gave him brotherly hugs. Only when they stepped back did Kurama turn sad green eyes to Hiei.

The two men stood there in silence staring at each other for several moments. Hiei's expression was unreadable, but when he saw Kurama's defeated look, he sighed impatiently and growled. "Damn it Fox, you should have sent for me. You know I would have been there with you."

Wearily, Kurama nodded as he answered softly. "I know."

Everyone watched in silence as they once again stared at each other. Again it was Hiei that broke the silence. "Are you back for good?"

Kurama hesitated. Giving a slight shrug he whispered. "I have no where else to go."

There was a brief hesitation before Hiei answered a bit harshly. "Stupid Fox. This is where you belong."

Drawing a shaky breath, Kurama's voice cracked with his next question. "I wasn't sure I'd be welcome."

This time Hiei's response wasn't as harsh. "Always."

A small whimper slipped past Kurama's lips as he rushed into Hiei's arms. Burying his face against the fire demon's neck, Kurama held him tight. Holding him close, Hiei rubbed his back and hair.

Kurama's behavior told them all something was wrong. Stepping forward, Yusuke asked what they all feared. "Shiori?"

Tightening his arms, Hiei frowned as he looked passed the redhead and nodded. Grimacing, Yusuke swore. "Damn it. She was the last parent any of us had left."

Yusuke's words served as a reminder that each of them had lost their final ties to the human world. Though Atsuko would never have made mother of the year, she was still his mom and Yusuke had taken her death hard. One night, on one of her drinking binges, she'd gone to the store and stepped off of a curb into the path of a speeding car.

For Keiko it hadn't been so sudden. Owning his own business, Mr. Yukimura was a workaholic which lead to a series of heart attacks that eventually claimed his life. Neglecting her own health tending to her sick husband, Mrs. Yukimura succumbed to pneumonia the following winter. Prior to her parents' deaths, Keiko had resisted moving her children to Makai. With both Atsuko and her parents gone, Keiko finally gave in to Yusuke's wishes and moved their family permanently to Tourin.

Until now, the most recent loss had been Kuwabara's. As a late life baby, his parents were the oldest. After they retired they moved to a small sea-side village on the north-east coast of Japan. Some years later, while Kuwabara and Yukina were in Makai visiting their friends, Japan was hit with a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Fearing for their parents after the earthquake, Shizuru had rushed north to search for them. Unfortunately, earthquake, aftershocks, tsunami and flooding had proved a deadly combination for all three of them. When Koenma finally tracked down Kuwabara in Makai, the news was devastating. With no family left to return to Kuwabara and Yukina remained in Makai permanently.

No one spoke as each of them reflected a moment on their own loss. As the silence stretched on, Hiei worked his hands between them to remove Kurama's coat. After tossing it on a chair he swept Kurama up in his arms. Moving towards the door he growled over his shoulder. "Party's over. Go home."

Before Hiei got to the stairs, Yusuke called out. "Hiei! When he's ready, bring him to Tourin so we can pay our respects properly."

Hiei simply nodded as he mounted the steps. Not bothering to consult with Kurama, Hiei headed for his room. As he reached it a servant appeared and opened the door. As his master passed, the servant inquired. "Is there anything I can do for you my lord?"

Stopping, Hiei nodded. "Yes, open the balcony doors and bring in my evening tea."

Without a word, the servant opened both balcony doors, then bowed to his lord and left. As if sitting in front of the open doors to watch the Makai sky were something Hiei did often, there was a large overstuffed chair positioned right in front of the doors. Careful of the man in his arms, Hiei took a seat.

Wiggling around in his lap, Kurama immediately made himself comfortable with his head resting against Hiei's shoulder. For some time they sat in silence looking out at the night sky. When there was a knock at the door, Hiei called for the servant to enter.

A short. green-haired maid entered pushing a cart. Wheeling it over within Hiei's reach, the maid then poured out two cups of tea. After stirring a generous amount of sugar into one cup, she looked inquiringly at Hiei. Waving a hand, he dismissed her. When he picked up the unsweetened cup, Kurama reluctantly repositioned himself against Hiei's chest so he could accept the tea.

Taking a sniff of the tea Kurama made a slight attempt at a smile. "Lavener. You remembered."

Thinking back to all the things he'd learned from the ancient fox spirit over the years, Hiei grunted. "I remember everything you taught me Kurama."

With a nod, Kurama sipped his tea. Keeping one arm around the redhead, Hiei sipped his own tea and waited. Before long, Hiei was rewarded for his patience when Kurama finally spoke. "The Forlorn Hope lived up to it's promise. She lived a long healthy life, then passed peacefully in her sleep."

Even though Shiori had been Kurama's mother and not a lover, Hiei knew her loss was without a doubt the hardest his friend had ever had to face. The ancient fox spirit may have lived a thousand years, had countless lovers and called kings his friends, but his longest and strongest relationship had been with an insignificant, powerless human female. "I'm glad she didn't suffer, but I'm sure that hasn't made it any easier for you. I would have been there if I'd known."

With a sigh, Kurama set his tea aside. "I know you would have Hiei, thank you. It happened without any warning, so there wasn't really time to let you know. Afterwards, there were a lot of tedious details that would have bored you to tears."

Kurama was surprised at Hiei's hurt expression as he looked and whispered. "I should have been with you Fox."

Knowing words weren't needed to express how much he too wished Hiei had been with him, Kurama slipped his arms around the fire demon and tucked his face against his neck. Setting his tea on the cart, Hiei returned the embrace before lifting Kurama in his arms one again. With his arms full, Hiei used his foot to close the balcony doors before moving to the bed.

Without a word the two men undressed and crawled in the bed together. Drawing the sheet over them, Hiei pulled Kurama back into his arms. "Go to sleep Fox. Now that you're home where you belong, everything will be alright."

With Kurama's head against his chest, Hiei didn't see the doubt in the fox's green eyes. Nor did he hear Kurama's silent prayer to Inari asking for Hiei's words to be true.