Author's note: It's so great to be writing again Oh, how I've missed Kurama and Hiei! And the whole gang, of course…. It's been a long time since I've written an entire story that wasn't a one-shot…years! Please be kind (but not too kind. Let me know what I'm sucking at!), and let me know what you think :) Well, on with the story!
Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own these characters or this world or anything that has to do with them. Congrats, Togashi-san :D
Hiei's vision blurred as he flitted desperately from tree top to tree top in the Ningenkai. Every now and then headlights shone in the corner of his eyes, making his head want to explode. "Damn ningen contraptions," Hiei thought to himself. Blood slowly leaked from a wound on his side.
Unwillingly, he slowed and swayed, black spots swimming in his vision. He wanted to stop completely, to lie down and simply let oblivion take him. He pressed his hand to his forehead and ripped at the seal concealing his jagan, needing its extra strength. The jagan glowed dimly; Hiei's powers were greatly diminished, and he had barely enough strength to call out for help. ~Kurama he called weakly. Hiei sank to his hands and knees, both shaking fervently. Sweat dripped down his forehead and off his nose. Hiei moaned. Telepathy, one of his most basic skills, was too strenuous for his body to handle in its current condition. "Not enough…" Hiei slumped to the ground, as a mist began falling from the sky, soaking through Hiei's cloak and chilling him to the bone. He breathed heavily and sighed as darkness washed over him.
Miles away, Kurama sat bolt upright in his bed. ~Hiei! he called out mentally. Nothing. ~HIEI! Again, nothing. Throwing the covers back, Kurama leaped out of bed, dressing quickly. "Please wait, Hiei, I'm coming," he whispered. He threw open his window and leaped outside, ignoring the pain that flared in his knees as he landed. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he was off, heedless of the rain that had begun falling. Reaching out with his energy, he felt wildly for any trace of Hiei, for any tree's memory of Hiei being in its branches recently. For fifteen full minutes, Kurama searched desperately, finding no trace of the little yokai.
Kurama halted suddenly and closed his eyes, feeling droplets of rain coursing down his skin, chilling him slightly. He tried to ignore the wetness, focusing all his mental strength on the task at hand. There it was again. A flicker of ki, Hiei's ki. He tried to pinpoint the exact location and finally growled in frustration. His spiritual awareness was pitiful as Shuichi Minamino. The dim signal came from roughly two miles east of Kurama. That was all he was able to decipher. Kurama sprinted off in the general direction it was coming from. Again, Kurama hoped beyond hope that Hiei would be whole enough to be helped when he finally found him. He recalled how strained and weak Hiei's telepathic call for help had been.
Picking up his pace, Kurama raced through trees, streets, and anything else that happened to be blocking his path to Hiei. Kurama ran the two miles in a mere five minutes, a feat to make any normal ningen question the fox demon's humanity. Building up his strength again, Kurama reached a small tendril of spiritual awareness out, searching for the familiar ki. At first, Kurama was frightened to discover that he could no longer feel the fire demon's energy at all. But just as soon as the fear crept in, it was quieted. There, not too far away, Kurama sensed the smallest inkling of Hiei's energy.
Exhaling a breath he had not realized he was holding, Kurama dashed toward a nearby copse of trees, Hiei's usual blazing energy diminished to a mere fog. Finally spotting the small figure, Kurama gasped, rushing to Hiei's side. The fire demon lay so still that Kurama feared he was already too late. Kurama admonished himself. How could Hiei be emitting any energy if he were dead? Kurama gathered the limp form in his arms and embraced him, eliciting a moan from Hiei, possibly the most beautiful and frightening sound Kurama thought he had ever heard.
Kurama quickly assessed the damage to his partner's body. He felt Hiei's head gingerly, hoping to find no head injuries. He was rewarded with only the feel of Hiei's firm, sturdy skull beneath his fingertips. Kurama sighed in relief. He continued looking over the fire demon's body, finally coming to the gash in Hiei's side. "'Che. Damn it." Kurama took his own shirt off, not minding the rain now pelting his bare back as he leaned over Hiei and wrapped the cloth around the wound, trying to stop the crimson flow that seemed intent on depleting all the blood from Hiei's body. Having done all he could for the side wound, Kurama quickly assessed his options, calculating Hiei's chances of making it the two miles to his house. He had no choice; he would die out here in the rain, and Kurama would catch his death of cold standing here with him. Kurama came to only one conclusion. He needed to get them both back to his house, and he needed Hiei to be as sheltered from the weather as possible.
He reached out to the nearest tree and grabbed two leaves from the branches. Manipulating their forms, he made them grow until they expanded about five and a half feet in length and three feet in width. Concentrating, he began the meticulous task of unweaving their very being, until both leaves became fibrous, like small, thin thread. He breathed out a sigh at the effort, and then wove the fibers around his friend, forming a sort of cocoon. Hiei was going to hate him for this; he hated being contained. "At least he'll be alive to hate me," Kurama thought sardonically. Kurama picked up his bundle, looking around to ensure no ningen were near, and raced off toward his home.
Ten minutes later found Kurama standing in his front yard. He had not anticipated his current predicament. It was three o'clock in the morning. Obviously, the front door was locked. Obviously he couldn't scale a tree and get both Hiei and himself inside his second story window. "Well", Kurama thought dryly, "I'm not a master thief for nothing." Pulling a seed from his scarlet trusses, Kurama leaked his ki into it, watching as a thin vine escaped from the pod, and inserted it into the keyhole. He listened carefully, his ears well-tuned to picking locks and listening for the pins in the tumbler deadbolt to click, one by one sliding into place. Kurama exhaled, and opened the door without a sound. Closing the door just as carefully, he sneaked up to his room noiselessly.
Setting the swaddled Hiei gingerly on his bed, Kurama unraveled the cocoon, afraid of what he might find. Worst case scenario, Hiei would be dead. Best case scenario, Hiei would be just as bad off as when Kurama found him in the tree copse. Hiei finally exposed, Kurama looked Hiei over once more. Both his lips and face were pale. Touching his skin, Kurama felt that it was clammy to the touch. Looking towards the gash on Hiei's side, Kurama tore back the clothing and inspected it closely. It wasn't very deep, but it bled excessively and was beginning to weep pus; in addition, the surrounding skin was colored an angry red. Kurama gasped as he noted the thin red streak that was steadily crawling from the wound, seeking its way to Hiei's heart. "Damn it," Kurama muttered. "Poison." He threw back the dust ruffle on his bed, which concealed several mysterious boxes behind it. Drawing a black leather one from its hiding place, Kurama lifted the lid off. Contained inside were several vials, all carefully marked. He sorted through them in a matter of nanoseconds, extracting several vials he had been searching for. One was labeled antididonai P., one antipyretic, and another scutum cortis. Uncorking them, he began to quickly measure their contents, a teaspoon here, a pinch there. Dumping the measurement in a mortar, he quickly ground them to the consistency of loose tea with the pestle.
Dashing quickly but quietly downstairs, he filled a kettle with water and put it on a burner. Impatiently checking his mixture for what felt like the millionth time while waiting for the water to boil, Kurama finally heard the whistle signaling the water had reached the boiling point. Kurama yanked a mug from the cupboard and poured the steaming water. Carefully, he dumped the Makai medicine in an infuser and dipped it in the boiling water. Rather than wait the infuriating five brewing minutes downstairs, Kurama rushed back up the stairs to check on his patient's status.
What Kurama found was nothing short of disappointing and gut-wrenching. The slim red vine of poison continued its ascent up Hiei's chest with alarming speed. Already, it had moved several inches. "There's not much time left. Please, fight, Hiei. You always fight. Don't quit now!" Racing against the clock, Kurama ran downstairs and dribbled honey into the cup, ensuring that Hiei would ingest the otherwise bitter concoction. Bringing the cup upstairs, Kurama knelt next to the bed and lifted Hiei's limp form to a near sitting position. Bringing the cup to his lips, Kurama wedged a pinky finger in Hiei's mouth to open it and poured the liquid in slowly. Brown rivulets trickled down Hiei's face, but some did manage to slide down his throat.
When the last drop was gone from the cup, Kurama rocked back on his heels and sat the ceramic mug on the carpet. He rubbed his hand over his eyes, running them back through his tangled locks. Standing, he slid the desk chair over to the side of the bed. "And now we wait," he thought. After an hour of careful observation, noting the poison came no closer to the heart, Kurama fell into a fitful sleep and dreamt of a hungry heart-consuming monster and burning pyres.
2nd Author's Note: Alright, first before I forget, a note on the medicines Kurama used in case anyone was curious. Antididonai is basically Greek for antidote; the P. stood for poison. Antipyretic is just a fancy medical term for fever reducer. Scutum cortis is Latin for "shield of the heart." Cor stands for "heart," and scutum means "shield." Add –tis, and you get "shield of the heart." (Thank you Reyka Sivao for pointing out that I was indeed wrong before. LOL It has been rectified, readers:) What you now read is correct.)
Second, sorry this chapter wasn't very action-y, but I had to set up the plot. There will be action to come, fear not!