Fandom: Yu Yu Hakusho

Summary: A chance meeting turns into a deeper understanding of a rivalry that never was. It's Kuwabara and Hiei's unexpected encounter and how the term "brother" took on a whole new different meaning.

Title: Cargo

Author: Hana Rui

Characters: Kuwabara and Hiei

In true gentlemanly fashion—as he would often profess to having—Kazuma Kuwabara grunted and hoisted the semi-conscious guy's weight upon his shoulder, taking care not to make it any less obvious that he barely liked what he just did. Although he would be first to step up and pick Hiei off the ground whenever the said fire demon got arrogant enough to kill himself in a fight and fail, a drunken Jaganshi Hiei burdening every sense of his being like this was a whole new different matter.

He shifted the weight on his shoulder and turned to go, only half aware and not in the least bit concerned that the insufferable youkai's face had rather violently slammed against the edge of the counter in the process. It was not his intention, of course, always priding himself a fair fighter, but he was nevertheless glad that the situation seemed to be working on its own to settle the score for him.

"Moron," he heard the guy groan. "I'll get you for that."

He huffed and grumbled, "You'll forget about it in the morning," as he opened the door and seriously considered enlisting its aid in spoiling the asshole's face a second time.

It was by mere accident that they had ran into each other earlier that evening—or rather, Hiei had ran into him literally, knocking him flat on his back with a nasty lump on his head. He had meant to burst out in a string of tumultuous cuss words, but the low-set youkai had beaten him to it by calling him "brother", and then "moron" shortly afterwards.

Pissed out of his mind and barely aware of what he was doing, he had inadvertently followed the shorter guy into the bar. He only meant to tell him off—hoping to land a couple of punches if he were lucky—but he was immediately blown out of his injurious intentions when the youkai handed him a bottle and quite gravely, almost threateningly, told him to sit down. Not the friendliest way to get invited to a drinking session, but where Hiei was concerned, Kuwabara knew it was as legit as it could get.

Besides, he could sense something was not right with the usually unruffled guy—inviting him to share a drink was troubling enough—and his human instincts quickly kicked in and told him he needed to be there for a friend.

He soon enough realized that this could well be the worst lapse in judgment he could ever make. But, by then, it was all over. Hiei had just about said everything there was to say to push all the wrong buttons and had subsequently spent the next couple of minutes conked out on the floor. Nevertheless, Kuwabara didn't have the heart to leave a drunken man to fend for himself. Not even a bullheaded one named Hiei.

It was only when he stepped out and into the cold misty sidewalk, the door closing with a gentle click behind him, that the red-headed ningen found himself wondering what to do next. He never bothered finding out where the youkai supposedly lived. And after discovering that he and Kurama were not really lovers—as what he had assumed all this time—Kuwabara did not really know where else to take his dead-drunk cargo.

He decided to piggyback the guy—more for the said guy's comfort because he's considerate like that—and start walking home while thinking of the best course of action.

Of course, the most obvious thing to do was to offer his hospitality to the guy and give him lodging for the night. But Kuwabara knew better than to tempt fate like that.

"Yukina..." Hiei mumbled into his ear, so suddenly that his heart began to flutter despite himself. "I need to tell her... I can't let her... Yukina..."

"Shut it," he hissed under his breath, fighting off the nagging urge to throw his rival into the ditch and be done with it. As if it wasn't enough that the youkai had spent practically the entire evening telling him he wasn't good enough for Yukina. That he would never be good enough for Yukina. The drunken Hiei said it over and over, in various hurtful expressions of contempt and disapproval that it eventually overwhelmed whatever bit of sympathy Kuwabara had initially felt for him.

His anger had pulled him up to his feet—violently knocking the barstool he was sitting on in the process—and he was just about to pull the unbelievably tactless guy outside to settle things in a manlier way when the youkai suddenly slipped from his barstool and fell to the floor with a heavy thud.

So now, here he was, his wrath once again overruled by his very human instinct to help a friend, even if said friend happened to have the worst attitude of any demon he had ever met.

Hiei kept on mumbling out his thoughts in his drunken stupor, and Kuwabara was almost thankful that the guy was no longer coherent enough to hurt him any worse than he already had. The red-headed ningen walked on, occasionally shivering in the cold midnight breeze. He looked up into the cloud-laden sky and sighed, wondering how different things would've been if he and Hiei started out as real friends, in all sense of the word.

Would they have been best friends if they didn't happen to be rivals for one girl...?

As if in answer to his unvoiced question, Kuwabara's thoughts were suddenly filled with a vision of an ice covered village inhabited by women not much different from his fiancée, and a certain fire demon's dismal fate that helped him see things from a different perspective.

"Oi, omae..." he muttered under his breath, feeling both stupid for not figuring it out sooner, and angry for not having been told the truth by his so-called friends. Seriously, you'd think they get that much joy from leaving him in the dark all-the-freaking time!

"Get out of my head, asshole," Hiei muttered back threateningly, though without much conviction. Kuwabara felt the vision get snatched out of his mind and he suddenly pictured a kid scurrying to retrieve the marbles he had so carelessly dropped on the floor.

"Ba~ka..." He drawled out the word as though savoring every single letter. It wasn't everyday he could call a demon that and not get a death threat in return.

The silence that came next was the first comfortable one they had ever since meeting each other, and Kuwabara couldn't help but smile.

The whispered plea that said, "Take care of her... brother," that came afterwards may have seemed too insipid for a genuine approval, but where Hiei was concerned, Kuwabara knew it was as legit as it could get.

Somehow, the term "brother" took on a whole new different meaning, and he barely minded the grunted "moron" that came at its tail.


Note: It's been ten years since I became a member of this site. Ten years since I found a way to celebrate my love for both writing and anime. Although I may be ten years older, and although that love may have seemed to wane in the recent years, these are passions that will never be forgotten. Alas, I have decided to break my hiatus and take the titles otaku and fanfiction writer seriously once again.

The first thing I have ever posted on this site was a poem from Yu Yu Hakusho entitled, "Deep Within". Don't you think it's just apt to comeback to the same fandom that helped launch my fanfiction writing career? :)