Hiei stared around himself in absolute bafflement, unsure whether he wanted to turn and bolt, or demand to know what was going on. People were running around everywhere, shiny baubles and ribbons and brightly wrapped boxes in their hands. Shouts and laughter echoed around Genkai's temple, and the old matron herself just watched the insanity with a tolerant smile, seemingly perfectly content.
"Hey, Hiei! There you are!" The cheerfully boisterous voice called out from the next room, and Hiei turned to scowl at Yusuke, who was grinning widely as he moved through the center of the chaos to greet the smaller youkai. "How's it going, buddy?" he cackled, clapping Hiei on his shoulder.
The fiery youkai growled up at him, "Touch me again, and I'll remove that hand from the rest of your body." His crimson eyes flashed in warning, but Yusuke ignored him, still grinning from ear to ear, though his hand didn't reach for Hiei again.
"The holiday spirit must have gotten to you, too," Yusuke replied, obviously amused. "Or else you're sick. That's the first time you've threatened to remove just a body part. Usually, you're threatening me with death."
"That could be arranged, if you'd like," Hiei retorted, but Yusuke just shook his head, his eyes sparkling with laughter as he stared at him. "What is it?" Hiei finally demanded impatiently, unnerved by Yusuke's intent gaze, though he'd never admit it.
The leader of the Reikai Tantei blinked and shook his head, a small frown on his face. "Ah, it's nothing," he answered sheepishly, his hand scratching absently at the back of his neck. "I was just spacin' for a moment, there. Anyhow, the decorating is almost done, if you want to help," he offered, his reckless grin back in place. When Hiei just scowled mutinously up at him, he shrugged. "Fine, then. Your loss. Even Kurama's helping this year. At least stick around, though, okay? We're gonna have dinner when we're done, followed by ice cream."
Hiei's interest was captured when he heard those words. Ice cream was his favorite dessert. Surprisingly enough, it had been Yusuke who had introduced him to the icy cold stuff that melted so gloriously sweet in his mouth. It was the only cold treat that he could tolerate, and it had amused Yusuke to no end when Kurama had informed him that Hiei didn't normally like either sweet or cold things.
As if summoned by Hiei's moody thoughts, Kurama strolled into the room, pulling out one of his seemingly endless supply of seeds. Moving over the doorway, where Hiei stood, the fox gave him a slight nudge out of the way and reached up, placing the seed against the door frame, where it took root and grew into a full-grown plant, its berries red and ripe against the deep green color of the thorny leaves.
Yukina followed behind him, wielding a basket filled with a variety of ribbons. The oaf Kuwabara was with her, and as Hiei watched, his sister smiled happily at him in greeting before choosing a ribbon from her basket and handing it to Kuwabara, who reached the plant easily and tied the colorful ribbon around the plant, decorating it with gold. Hiei eyed the large human darkly for a moment, before snorting to himself, satisfied that Kuwabara wasn't about to do anything inappropriate with his sister. It was a good thing the boy was so dull most of the time, he supposed.
Kurama hid a smile behind his hand, which Hiei caught. The little fire youkai shot him a scowl in reply, but his dark looks didn't dim Kurama's good cheer in the least as he walked up to Hiei, moving so that they were both under the plant. At this, Kuwabara cracked up with laughter, his voice loud and obnoxious so close to Hiei. While the demon decided whether or not to kill the oaf where he stood, Kuwabara explained his laughter.
"You're under the mistletoe, pipsqueak," he informed the shorter demon. "And so is Kurama." Hiei was confused; Kuwabara's comment had provided little insight as to his sudden fit of amusement, other than to tell Hiei the name of the plant that Kurama was spreading throughout the house.
"That's not nice, Kazuma-kun," Keiko chastised as she walked into the room, carrying a pile of what appeared to be a long snake-like plant. "You can't expect Hiei to know what the mistletoe means. Now, if you two are finished in here, how about helping me with the garland?" she asked cheerfully, but her voice left no room for argument, and Kuwabara gulped and followed her, Yukina smiling happily as she and Keiko started chattering at each other about the decorations. Yusuke had already disappeared into the room.
Hiei turned to look at the red-haired fox, but before he had time to glare, a pair of soft lips were pressed against his own. Kurama kissed him delicately, chastely, and Hiei responded in kind, the kiss leisurely and soothing. When they pulled back, Kurama was smiling, his lips lightly bruised from the kiss.
"At Christmastime, standing under the mistletoe with someone means you have to kiss that person. So don't be surprised if you see the others doing the same tonight, okay? And try not to kill Kuwabara. He's doing his best," Kurama grinned, obviously quite amused at the predicament Hiei found himself in – Yukina still didn't know he was her brother, and if he tried to break her and Kuwabara up, he'd have to explain, and he had promised to never tell Yukina of their relation.
"Oi! Come on, you two!" Yusuke's loud, demanding voice called them from the other room. "We're gonna need some help here!" With a shared look of fond exasperation for their team leader, Kurama and Hiei walked into the other room, where the fire demon paused, staring at the huge fir tree that reached nearly to the ceiling. It looked quite comfortable, actually, although Hiei noted that it wasn't one of the trees he normally slept in.
Bright ornaments were hung on the branches, and gold and silver garland was wrapped around it, weaving in and out of the tree limbs. The pale green made a sharp contrast to the colored baubles that decorated the tree itself, and Hiei blinked. He supposed that this was another Christmas tradition, but he didn't understand why Yusuke and Kuwabara were frowning up at the top of it, while Yukina and Keiko looked on, Genkai a silently amused presence in the background.
"Damn," Yusuke muttered, his voice irritated. "We forgot to put the star on, and it won't hold our weight. And we don't have a ladder tall enough. There is absolutely no way that I'm going to pull all of the ornaments off and redecorate it. Nope. Not happenin'."
Hiei's eyes were drawn to the crystal star that Yusuke held reverently in his hands, as if it were a precious, delicate object. Hiei supposed it probably was, considering how much effort had gone into the decorating of the temple. Turning to look at the tree critically for a moment, Hiei sighed, not understanding why he was about to do them a favor, but not questioning it, either.
Before Yusuke could react, Hiei had moved, grabbing the star from his hands and darting easily to the top of the tree, his small stature and quick reflexes easily keeping the tree steady while managing to not disturb a single ornament. He placed the crystal star easily on the tree and then flitted back down, stopping in front of Kurama with a satisfied smirk. Let it not be said that he hadn't contributed to the evening's festivities.
Yusuke blinked, then stared at the top of the tree, then turned to face Hiei, his warm brown eyes wide with astonishment for a moment before they crinkled up in delight. "That was amazing, Hiei!" Hiei just gave him a neutral look, careful not to show Yusuke how pleased he was with the words of praise spoken so easily by the only human, besides perhaps Genkai, that he admired and respected.
Clapping his hands, Yusuke said, "Well, I guess that's it, then, right? So how about dinner? And dessert! We're having ice cream, right, Grandma?" he asked Genkai. The temple's matron nodded in confirmation, and Yusuke whooped loudly, cheering. Walking over to Hiei, he clapped the fire demon on the back and promised, "Tonight, I'm gonna teach you the pleasures of hot fudge on ice cream."
Hiei frowned at him for a moment, not certain that he liked the idea of mixing hot and cold, but then he shrugged; Yusuke hadn't tried to feed him anything he hadn't liked so far. So perhaps this would be delicious as well. With a quiet 'hn', Hiei allowed himself to be led towards the dining area, surrounded by the warmth and happiness that had suffused the temple. Later, he'd go back out into the cold and keep watch for enemies, but for a little while, at least, he'd allow himself to indulge in just a little bit of Christmas.
As they walked through the next doorway, Hiei noted the mistletoe hanging from it. Stepping aside easily, he allowed Yusuke to walk through with Keiko first, observing that they did, indeed, stop for a moment to kiss each other, the gesture gentle and friendly. Kurama walked up next to him, and Hiei proceeded to walk with him in to the next hall, which would bring them to the dining area.
When they walked under the mistletoe, Hiei stopped, and Kurama stopped with him. Reaching up and tangling his fingers gently in Kurama's soft hair, the fire youkai pulled his lover down for another brief kiss. When they pulled back, they were alone, and Kurama stroked slender fingers through Hiei's hair, smiling when the smaller youkai growled low in his throat – his version of a purr. "Merry Christmas, Hiei," the fox murmured.
Hiei blinked up at him, and then snorted, turning to walk down the hallway and leaving Kurama behind. At the doorway to the dining area, he paused and spoke back over his shoulder.
"You too, fox."