"Let's Fly as the Birds Do…" Eternity

8/22/02

By: Hikari Nanase

E-mail to: hikari1612@netzero.net

Notes: Although this chapter is called Eternity, it is not a memory like the chapters: Touch, Embrace, Kiss, and Love. I just wanted to mention that since a few people were a little confused. I'm very sorry for the complication there. Paradise 6 is the sequel to 'Let's Fly…'

Special thanks to: Morgan Kitsune, Irene, and Benishouga for their wonderful 'Let's Fly as the Birds Do…' fanarts, Kuro Hoshi for her deep letter and marvelous poetry, Lynn for her 'Let's Fly…' cosplay photos, Akiko Yuy for an extremely cute win amp skin, and Cyekitty (Imouto-chan!!) for her Fidelity, Revere, and Love wallpaper!!! *Huggles to all* Your thoughtful presents will be posted on my website. If anyone wants to see them before then, contact the artists for permission first ^_^. All of you are very sweet. However, I also want to give a huge hug to everyone who read this fic! It has been a fun and meaningful project because of your support!

Warning: Mature content.

                                                                For My Loving Family and Uncle Doi

~*~*~*~

                The beginning and the end are an everlasting circle… A silver and gold ring bound by the splendor of the rose… and the stings of the thorn…

~*~*~*~

                The sun was pouring in from the window- along with it a fresh breeze, which took the silk drapes with it in waves. Black hair bristled, almost dancing in pair to the gentle gusts. His eyelids twitch a little, slowly opening to morning's greeting of birds chirping not far away. Rising, the sheets that had entangled around his body slipped quietly to the mattress- revealing his slim form and smooth skin.  The one next to him was still sleeping. Quietly… Softly… he smiled down on him and pulled the blanket to cover the other's shoulder.

                That bit of movement caused him to rise- a couple of deep green eyes peaking through thin red strands of hair that were curtaining his fine features. The redhead curled in, and rubbed himself against the feathery pillows and bedding. He smiled up to him, lazily, and yet affectionately.

                "Do you know what makes me happy?" Kurama asked, the corners of his eyes glinting along with his gentle smile.

                "…What…?" Hiei replied, lying back down next to him.

                "Waking up and having the first thing I see… be your face…"

                The fire demon smiled back, flipping onto his abdomen to kiss his friend on the forehead.  "Hn… Do you have to go to school today?"

                "Hiei…" His lover scolded as much as he did tease. "You ask me that every morning... Of course, I do."

                "Hn." The response, being only a minor sound, was a mixture of displeasure and consideration. The fire demon grinned a bit, bringing his arm around his friend's waist and offering a modest squeeze. "You and your books…" Hiei whispered into his ear, causing the short hairs there to blow. Lips fondling, they kissed at the corner of Kurama's jaw. The redhead sighed, and lowered his eyelids. "Well…" Hiei continued softly, blowing his red strands again. "… How long before you need to go?"

                Turning over slightly to glance at the clock, Kurama chuckled. "…One hour…"

                Eyebrows rising in surprise, Hiei drew away from his lover's ear and curled against his side. "That's enough time, I suppose."

                Giggling, as he flipped towards the demon, Kurama caught Hiei's hand resting at his hip and kissed it. "We have plenty of time, Hiei… So before I leave…" He lifted his head to lay another kiss over the Jagan, to which the smaller delicately closed his eyes. "… What do you want to talk about?"

                Uncurtaining his shimmering ruby irises, Hiei squinted. "… How should I know? You're the one who does all the talking."

                With that, the other grabbed the pillow from beneath Hiei's head and smashed it against his face.  "Silly, must you always be sarcastic?"

                Hiei laughed lightheartedly as the pillow was moved away from view and he saw Kurama hovering over him- lovely crimson sidelocks pouring from the sides of his striking face. Pulling his jagged bangs back with his right hand, the fire youkai used his left to pull Kurama down by the collar of his pajamas.

                "Sarcasm is the language shared amongst intimates." Said Hiei heatedly, while the redhead took the liberty of nuzzling him on the nose.

                "Hiei," he smiled. " You use sarcasm with everyone."

                A scowl. "And you say I always kill the mood?"

                "Well, it wouldn't be fun if it always was you." Rising, with his lover laying straddled between his legs, Kurama cocked his head to one side while both his hands intermingled with his lover's. "Besides… I'd like to think we're competitive regarding all aspects of our lives."

                Tracing his thumb over some of his friend's smooth nail beds, Hiei thought for a moment before taking his turn to speak again. "It's hard… to compete with someone who's already more skilled and intelligent than you."

                "Oh?" Kurama taunted with the rise in his voice. "And who, pray tell, is the better?'

                 Hiei's consistently stoic face was, at present, as soft as the morning light that permeated through their white drapes. The glow of pre-dawn gave the fire demon an evocative golden aura that so very well suited his creamy complexion. "…You…" he said simply, before closing his eyes and trying to fall back asleep.

                 "Me?!" Was the redhead's exclamation, accompanied with a bright smile. "What makes you say that? You're the one I always talk to for advice…"

                "It doesn't matter…" Blanched Hiei, eyes now tightly shut. " There's a difference between being the listener and being the doer. You, Kurama, are the doer, and- without neglecting the fact that I sound like a cliché ningen philosopher- actions do speak louder than words…"

                "Well, that doesn't make me better than you."

                "Hn." Frowning, the fire demon went on his stomach and gathered a cuddly pillow from beneath him. "You merely keep asking me for justification so you may flatter yourself..."

                "Now that is a lie."

                "Tell it to Enma." Was Hiei's muffled retort. There was nothing like burying your face in cold fluffiness during the first hours of daylight.

                Kurama, on the other hand, shook his head. "Hiei, you're impossible."

                "And you're so simple-minded that you're also impossible."

                Leaning over Hiei's back, the redhead hugged him securely about the shoulders. "Simply impossible?"  He chuckled faintly. "That's an oxymoron."

                "And no other word describes you better than that!" The other announced triumphantly.

                "Fine." He huffed, while reclaiming his half of the bed. "Be that way."

                "Naturally."

                His lover socked Hiei on the side with his narrow elbow, eliciting an indignant groan. Hiei gave one lustrous eye to Kurama, whereas the other seized the opportunity of Hiei's attention by grasping the little demon by the chin and planting the juiciest kiss ever… for this particular date- for now. Without delay, the youkai found that he was momentarily shoved into a warm haze of delight before his friend slowly pulled away. Vision blurred for a minute, it wasn't long before Hiei focused on Kurama's playful grin. This kind of grin was a part of a language his lover had produced about a year ago. Finally, after much practice, the smaller understood the lingo gesture for gesture.

                He sighed heavily. "What do you want?"

                Becoming serious, Kurama stared at him with his chilling green eyes. His voice went firm, as he said: "I need you to get someone for me… on behalf of an acquaintance."

                "Oh?" asked Hiei, growing to be very interested. He cracked all of his knuckles before pulling both slim arms behind his head. "Who's the poor victim?"

                "No- no…" His lover eased. "I only need you to find him, and bring him to the authorities. The person I'm after is a human. Therefore, no killing."

                At the last sentence, Hiei clearly winced. "No homicide?"

                Rubbing the other's sinewy, but finely carved belly, Kurama delved his sharp nose into Hiei's bristly hair. "No homicide."

                A shrug. "What's the occasion?"

                "Well, I have something of a favor to return to… my acquaintance, and I think this is the best way to do it."

                As his lover whispered, Hiei starred on with one hand fiddling with the redhead's sidelocks. Faking to consider his friend's situation- which would be responded to with a positive outcome on his part anyway- the fire demon somewhat lost himself as his sense of touch entangled itself within the threads of hair… hair that almost literally melted against his fingers. Kurama's explanations, though sweet and polite, went in Hiei's right ear and out his left. Out of instinct, his awareness drifted back to earth upon hearing:

                "So, will you do it?"

                He quietly lifted his touch out of his friend's strands, and crossed his arms. "Hn. Why not?"

                 "Good." A kiss to an adorably squishy, pale cheek. "After you turn him in, would you mind meeting me after school?"

                Wrinkling his face, Hiei stubbornly snapped. "What is this? A two-for-one deal?"

                "If it were a deal," Kurama corrected. "You would be getting something out of this undertaking in the first place."

                "That's another thing, what am I getting out of this? Now that you've mentioned it?"

                "That's simple." The other replied, raising a finger to point. "Me."

            Snorting, and then laughing, the fire demon punched his lover's shoulder. "That's cheap."

            "No, it's not!"

                "Yes," Hiei laughed. "It is! You don't receive a person as pay for running dumb errands. Take that back before I change my mind!"

                "All right."  Kurama said confidently. "Half a gallon of Strawberry-Vanilla Swirl."

                   The deadly weapon: frozen milk and sugar. Buy the sweet-tooth fire demon a truckload, and he'll love you forever even if you were ranting Kuwabara Kazuma or super-wired Botan. If Hiei had been a fox demon like his neighboring friend, his kitsune ears would have perked up with a twitch and a 'toing' at once. "Half?"

            "One." His lover decided with a deep nod.

                "No." Hiei protested civilly. "I want two flavors, two gallons."

                "One gallon." Kurama pressed. "We don't have enough space in the freezer for all that ice cream."

                 From beneath the blankets, Hiei crossed his legs while arrogantly raising his nose to the air. "No deal."

                The other thought quickly. "Then half a gallon of one flavor, and half a gallon of another."

                He opened one eye, sliding his pupil to its corner. "What flavor for the second?"

                "You pick."

                "No, you."

                Hiei was letting him decide? How very interesting indeed. Perhaps it was some sort of experiment. For this reason, Kurama selected his flavor prudently. "Black Cherry with Chocolate Chunks."

                "Done."

                As if they were signing a contract, they kissed each other tenderly at once. It was a quick peck, if anything, but the embrace after it was certainly quite nice. The redhead lowered his eyes as he sensed Hiei's palms move up and down his backside in massaging motions. It was practically therapeutic. For the fire youkai, he enjoyed the way the encirclement of his friend's arms felt as though they were growing tighter and more possessive with each passing second. They were about to fall asleep this way, clamped onto one another like screws and bolts, when there was a faint tapping at the door. The door creaked slightly as it was pushed open by half a foot. Peering into the minor opening was Shiori's face, beaming softly at seeing the two still snuggling in bed.

                "I won't be needed at the office for another two hours." She explained in a willowy voice. "I can make breakfast; what would you like this morning?"

                "Pancakes, please!" Enthused Kurama. Hiei rolled his eyes.

                Shiori nodded, already having known what her son wanted from the beginning, and later turned to the smaller. "And for you, Hiei?"

                "Anything is fine." He answered coolly.

                "French toast?" The woman suggested.

                "If you like."

                The door was pulled shut again- Kurama's human mother grinning to herself all-knowingly.

                " 'If you like.' " The redhead mocked with an affectionate snort.

                To counter this unexpected attack on his ego, which was as sensitive as a minefield, Hiei increased the pitch of his voice and repeated: 'Pancakes, please!' He had originally intended to say this in a particularly girly way, however his joke came out sounding like a teenaged boy going through the worst parts of puberty. Kurama guffawed hearing the manner by which Hiei's tone unmistakably cracked around the word 'please'.

                "Ah-hahahahaha! You sounded like a pimply fourteen year-old!"

                "Shut up!"

                "Hahahahahaha!!!" Kurama was virtually vibrating in the youkai's arms from unreserved laughter. It came to a point where Kurama could no longer hold onto Hiei without risking crushing his petite body. Thus, he rolled in the opposite direction, hugging himself as he felt his sides rip, his spleen give way, and his cheeks burn. Sitting up on the shaking bed, dreadfully humiliated and vaguely concerned that the bed would cave in on itself, Hiei did not hesitate in shoving Kurama off the mattress in one hearty push.

                "Hahahahaha- uh? Ah!" 

                Tumbling onto the floor, nearly knocking himself unconscious because of the nightstand, Kurama rubbed his sore side and looked up to Hiei with a superficial pout. Totally not buying this charade, the fire demon shook his head and glanced at the ceiling before veiling the redhead with a thin sheet and dropping down one of the pillows next to him.

                "Hn. Go back to sleep, stupid."

                Seizing the graciously bequeathed pillow, his friend spread out comfortably on the floor and then rolled up into a luxurious cocoon.

                Snicker. "Sure thing." Snicker.

                "Baka."   

                But the little demon smiled.

*****

                He exhaled deeply from beneath the thick canopy of leaves hanging over his head. Last night there had been a small, gentle shower and the scent of it lingered about the air today. As Kurama walked, he grinned happily to himself recalling how he and Hiei sat by the misty window of his room to watch the drops of icy water collect on the glass and run down its rim. In these moments, they only shared a word or two about the blossoming flora or the resplendent radiance of the sun peaking through the crystal of Shiori's glass wind chimes. That their way. The best tête-à-tête held no words, but rather, subtle expressions upon the face.  Kurama gazed upon his lover adoringly as the fire demon leaned his forehead against the frigid windowpane.  Hiei shut his eyes then, fogging up the glass with his hot breath. He'd later lift his haunting irises to the other, the pools of red sucking him in and- could it be?- praying to him.

                More than once did Hiei give him that look, which- of course- resulted in Kurama quietly locking the door. Flirtation was always the appetizer for the deeper forms of, as Hiei would put it, 'fraternization'. Keeping in mind the honors of loving making, however, they held each other at bay with mere teasing and three or four caresses. Their intimacy had ended with the both of them beautifully nude and sweating moderately- both of their eyes still watching the crystal clear water tapping on the glass, the plants, and the roof of their home.

                  Catching their breaths, the fire demon had been astonishingly charming by preparing a steam bath for- surprisingly- one. He then left Kurama to his thoughts and privacy, leaving the bathroom to pick up their clothes from the floor.

                 Hiei reminisced the last time he had done this. It was a little over a year ago. Kurama was ending his junior year now- the stress of entrance exams having worn him to the limit. The fire demon, likewise, was overly occupied with Mukuro and the revolution of the Makai government. Jumping between the two worlds, Ningenkai and Makai, was becoming an awful hassle; and in the back of his mind, the youkai dimly feared for an extended partition between them. Mukuro had been extraordinarily lenient, but with his inauguration as Tactics General and ruler of one-sixth of Mukuro's territory- he had a feeling her leniency wouldn't last.

                  Kurama's grin faded, comprehending this reality. He had discussed the issue with Hiei before. How sad Hiei was, actually bowing his head down with a downhearted expression set upon his otherwise blank face. The redhead shuddered to see it, and therefore looked straight on into the sunset- saying nothing about it except: ' All things… will fall into their proper places.'

                Recalling those words of calm hope he had uttered that day, the young man smiled with the taste of bittersweetness overcoming his senses. It was like coffee- or perhaps dark chocolate: subtle, but potent. He continued to stroll down the street- loving and cherishing every moment he lived his days step by step with Hiei as his flying shadow.

                "SUPER BUDDY ATTACK!"

                Kurama braced himself for the inevitable. His ears picked-up the sound of Shidou running up from behind, launching himself into the air, and landing himself into a piggy-back position on top of his friend. Laughing airily, Kurama adjusted the person on his spine with a slight jump. After this, he bent his arms to hold onto Shidou's legs coming from either side.

                "You're getting heavy!" He groaned as he tried to head down the rest of the block toward their school.

                "Really?" The other asked carelessly from above. "That's funny, I've been on a strict diet for the past seven weeks!"

                "A diet on what?! Donuts and pork rinds?! Argh…"

                Shidou was really enjoying himself. Bob. Bob. Bob. As Kurama walked, on and off he'd see over the ivy-covered fence lined along the sidewalk. A looming branch had nearly thrashed him in the face like a whip if his enduring friend hadn't hollered: 'Heads up!' How he loved Shuiichi! Always a good friend in spite of, well, abuse.

                "I'd hate to say it, Shidou." Kurama huffed. "But if I have to carry you one more yard I'm going to collapse."

                "Aww… You can take it!" In mock declaration, he pretended to put on an invisible Yankee-doodle hat, raised an arm, and pointed onwards for their campus. Just when they were rounding the gateway, Arisu was at their feet with her arms tucked over her chest- cute countenance in a tight frown. Shidou jumped off Kurama's back immediately.

                "How can you be so cruel to him?!"  The blond chided with a threatening finger in the air. "I thought I told you to meet me here fifteen minutes before bell! I waited longer than that, Shidou! You promised you'd read my speech before the assembly today!"

                "Assembly?" Kurama asked, cracking some recently haggard joints.

                "For the Associative School Body." Arisu answered sweetly. "Elections for next year's senior office is today, Shuiichi, where on earth have you been?"

                "In the clouds, thinking of Hi-ei…" Shidou taunted, sticking his tongue out. Kurama walloped him in the stomach, making him lose the air in his gut and crumple to the ground. The redhead stood, smiled as if he didn't do anything, and ensued conversing with the pretty girl before him. It was a good thing he warmed up on his punches with Hiei this morning!

                "You are guaranteed to have my vote, Arisu." He winked. "I don't appreciate posers on staff."

                "Oh, thank you, Shuiichi-kun. As always, you eloquently slide your way out of petty excuses for not helping me with my campaign!" Although her comment was right on target and ironic, the blond meant no sourness by it.

                "I'm sorry." The redhead said sheepishly. "If you want, I'll rig the ballot." He joked.

                "Right, and get all of us suspended? I sincerely doubt it. It's not your style." Peering at the panting Shidou on all fours, she giggled and knelt down. "I told you not to torment him." Arisu tilted her head to her right, allowing a sheath of light yellow hair to slip onto the white concrete.  "Now look where it's landed you, in the dirt."

                "Oww… Shuiichi's damn strong… Felt worse than getting hit in the balls…"

                She abruptly went up again. "Too much information, thanks."

                "Well, at least you have balls. Unlike pretty little red riding hood standing here."

                Kurama grimaced as Haruhiko passed them by with only his rude comment to leave behind. Well, this comment, and the ceremonial: "Later, fag-head. I'll save ya' a hot dog with extra mayo for lunch- heheh."

                "Oh, grow-up!" Arisu hissed, watching Mr. Hotshot stride for the doors with complete nonchalance.

                "Asshole." Kurama's friend muttered, rolling up the sleeves of his uniform as he finally brought himself to his feet. "We'll see who doesn't have any balls! Right after I tear em' off his front side, and wrap em' up all nice and fresh in a sandwich bag!"

                Shidou commenced stomping in Haru's direction when Kurama grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back. "Now, be realistic." The redhead said calmly. "It's not a big deal, unless you decide to make it one. Let him be. I'd rather not see his privates smothered between two slices of toasted whole wheat, thank you."

                "Too much information." Arisu said once more with a sick look on her mug. "Why do boys always relate their… things to food? Blech…"When she recovered from her vivid and grotesque imagination, the blond faced Kurama. "Are you sure it's okay? We can talk to a teacher or something."

                "It happens." He promised with a smug smirk. "It doesn't bother me at all- simple talk with no meaning."  Then he batted an eyelash. "Reinforcement for my pride, if anything."

*****

                Honidu had lost her way going home from school. Her mother had called her teacher, who relayed to the little girl that she wouldn't be able to pick her up today and that she needed to walk home on her own. As with any daring child, Honidu was without a doubt excited beyond words. To think! A five year-old girl walking home, all by herself! Actually, her mother had instructed her to walk home with a friend, but Honidu thought it better to learn to get around the globe on her own.

                   The joy of her newfound independence and heavy trust bestowed unto her from her mother soon faded after two hours of meandering about Tokyo's metropolitan. She was a mouse amidst a maze of moving people four or five times her size, and this frightened her terribly. Biting her thumb and sweating nervously, her big blue eyes welled with unreleased tears. She was so sure she knew how to get her way home just by looking at the streets, but Honidu found that watching the streets fly by from the passenger's seat of the car was so very different from actually being out in the real world. Such a mistake she made to think she didn't need a friend to walk with.

                There was a delicate tap on her shoulder, saccharine and comforting. She jumped in surprise, and turned slowly turned around. In front of her, dressed in a pretty Chinese dress decorated with mauve peonies, was a tall and lovely woman. Her hair was spicy ginger, curling from beginning of the strands to the end. The woman smiled warmly, piercing her luscious red lips before speaking:

                "Hello, little one, are you lost?"

                Desiring to speak, Honidu was too scared to do anything, but nod.

                "Oh, poor thing."  The woman said, offering maternal gestures by adjusting one of the straps of the small child's denim jumper. "Do you know your address?"

                "Mm… mm-hmm." She squeaked, twirling a chubby finger about her pink braids. "I have an aunt I can stay with until my mommy gets- gets done with work- since home is so far away." Honidu said suddenly. "Auntie lives on top of Miho's Café- the pretty restaurant."

                "I know where Miho's is! Does a sweet, young lady with papaya colored hair live there too?"

                "That's it!" The little girl chirped with a cheerful bob. "That's the one! That's my cousin, and yeah- haha- her name is Papaya!"

                "Well, isn't that great?" Said the stranger, rubbing Honidu's elfin-sized shoulder. "I know exactly how to get there from here!"

                "Really?!" Sprung the child.

                "Definitely. Follow me."  Lending out her hand, which Honidu took instantly, the woman led the girl out of the heart of the city. As they walked, hand-in-hand as though mother and daughter, the child asked:

                "What's your name?"

                Smiling as she gazed down upon her with cavernous russet eyes, the beauty replied: "Call me Lillith, my dear."

                It took seventeen minutes- no more, no less- for Honidu to understand that something was wrong. She felt the pit of her stomach fill with nasty butterflies, especially when the woman had brought her completely out of the sight of other people. Furthermore, the grip this woman had on her wrist had been growing increasingly tighter- harsher. Every now and then, Honidu would try to loosen her hold, but trying to do so would earn a vicious jerk from the woman that sent her forward with the pull. Worse, the stranger brought her down the subway- one of the more unfamiliar of ones in Japan. Honidu had half-expected Lillith to buy a pair of tickets for the next stop to her auntie's district, but discovered instead that Lillith brought her to the convenience lockers to pick-up a strange looking package stashed within one of the cabinets. When this was through, Lillith pulled at her wrist again- as if her arm were nothing more than a dog leash- and hauled Honidu to the bathrooms.

                Shivers riveted all along the child's body. "I want to go home now!" She protested, but no sooner did she say this did Lillith lock the bathroom door. Letting go of the Honidu, she then pushed her against a yellow and sticky tiled wall while she busied herself with the mirror and her package. After re-applying some make-up, Lillith tore open the package- revealing ten bottles of white pills. Unscrewing one of the bottles, the woman filled her palm with nearly seven tablets- swallowing all of them quickly in one gulp and no water.

                Her eyes dilated, and she began to mindlessly giggle while unexpectedly removing her clothes. Honidu at last began to cry- confused above all else to see that 'she' was in truth a 'he'.

                "How pretty you are…" He gruffed, running his lengthy fingertips along her smooth and plump cheeks. "And what a pleasant dress to go along with your young body…"

                Breathing against the dip of her collarbone, and working to undo her jumper, Honidu screamed and screamed for the life of her. Lillith, or so his name was, seemed to be indulging in this as his hands quivered and his breath hastened. The drugs were giving him an unbelievable adrenaline rush. He loved it.

                "You're disgusting." A deep voice echoed.

                From the shadows of the tightly confined room, Hiei stepped out of a corner slowly- gradually revealing his pale skin tone wrapped in a sheath of gray and black.

                "Who the hell are you?" Lillith seethed, liberating the poor five-year old who had fainted.

                The fire demon said nothing, as he inspected the little girl slumped on the mildew-covered tiles. He scrunched his nose, doubly sickened. "Killing you would be a gift rather than a punishment." He whispered, brandishing his thin, but reliably sharp sword.

                Stepping back and giving a psychotic smile, the other giggled femininely as he swallowed thickly. "Now, now…" He soothed. "I'll let the girl go, if you'd do the same for me. You wouldn't be very smart if you decided to murder me."

                Instantly, Hiei disappeared from sight in a speed so fast that there wasn't even a blur. The next thing Lillith knew, he was in a kneeling position, head pushed down over his knees- executioner style. With the stress of acknowledging the fact that he may lose his life this day, and with the addition ecstasy circulating throughout his putrid blood, he began to puke on the floor before Hiei could threaten to behead him. Lillith coughed the last bits of vomit out of his mouth. After which, he felt the cool of the demon's blade touch the nip of his neck and draw blood there. Shockingly, the sensation of it felt like such a relief that Lillith almost smiled pleasurably at it.

                "It's a gift I have no intention of giving."

                The youkai's hard grip moved onto Lillith's goddess-like hair, clutching it painfully and pulling until it seemed as though Hiei would just rip it off. Instead, he began sawing at those shining tresses. His eyes widened, seeing the shredded locks descend form his back and drift onto the ground.

                "No!" He screamed. "You can't! Stop! STOP!!"

                Making no reply, Hiei pushed him further onto his knees and amplified the pace of his slashing. With every fall of ginger hair, Lillith's screaming and begging multiplied.

                "You can't do this! You're making me ugly! UGLY!!" Cried he.

                Drawing his head up, the demon slugged him so powerfully in the face that three of his teeth popped out of his jaw- two of which had shattered into most likely a thousand pieces. "You know nothing of yourself or beauty!" Hiei slated, hitting him across and leaving a black eye.

                Lillith buckled and began to wail in pathetic sobs and groans. The smaller tried not to pay attention, until he could no longer tune-out the molester's grating voice. Agitated by every possible means, Hiei unswirled the scarf about his neck and tore a handy strip. Balling the cloth, he forcefully silenced him. Lillith hiccupped, mumbling what sounded to be like: 'you can't', 'stop', and 'I beg of you'. Being merciless, Hiei paid him no heed and shaved him down to the scalp. By this time, or somewhere in between, the girl had awakened and was watching wordlessly. The fire demon eyed her warily, and she appeared to have eyed him back with the same kind of stare that would make any person worry.

                Finished with justifying Lillith the best way he could think of, Hiei stripped the rest of his scarf to tie his hands and feet securely. He then picked-up the box of ecstasy from the bathroom counter and laid it next to him. With one blow of the katana's sturdy hilt, the man was knocked unconscious.

                Honidu was shaking nearly as hard has Hiei had when he caught the fever slightly past last year. The demon crouched next to her and touched her face. She instinctively recoiled and tried to bite his hand, but Hiei was too swift. With both palms, he framed Honidu's countenance and stared into her irises intensely. The ward covering his Jagan slipped from his forehead, the third eye emitting a wondrous indigo glow.    

                " When I snap my fingers, you will fall asleep and remember nothing of what has happened. Rather, you will recall going to your relative instead of your home. You had been taken care of very well. You played and laughed, until you were very tired and needed to rest…"

                Her cobalt eyes deepened in color. Eyelashes fluttering, she nodding off the second the sound of Hiei's fingertips clicked. As she lay limp in his arms, he hefted her without giving Lillith one last, disdainful look. Offering the criminal that kind of attention was too generous.

                Tracking the molester down wasn't too difficult. True, Hiei had to go underground to fill in the blanks of what he knew of his target, but being very astute- and having the third eye- his hunt was relatively short-lived. After seeing what this psycho was planning to do to this little girl, Hiei began feeling sorry for Kurama's 'acquaintance'- whoever that may be. It truly must have scarred his heart to have his sister… touched like that and yet not be able to do anything about it. If that happened to Yukina-

                Hiei tried to stop thinking about it. It was over now. He took care of it.

                As he flitted from rooftop to rooftop- searching for the linked ki signature of Honidu to her cousin and aunt, the little bubblegum-haired girl stirred and rubbed softly against his cloak and chest. For a moment, Hiei couldn't resist the temptation to look down upon the child. The fire youkai caught himself growing sentimental for the little tike, and immediately tore his eyes away when he apprehended that absurd, but pleasant melting feeling he got once in a blue moon. It would have been nice to take care of his own sister like this at such an innocent age, but you can't undo or redo what's already done and past.

                This was very embittering. It was always when he saw children- happy children, human or not- did Hiei feel as if he missed something that should have been appreciated from the start. 'Never mind.' He thought briskly as he stepped lightly onto the wooden pane outside a bedroom window. 'No second chances.'

                Just as the little child had described, there were small accommodations about Miho's café. Two rooms to be precise, and there were a flight of stairs that led down and straight to the family restaurant. The room he happened to have landed at was girly beyond belief. Pictures wallpapered the cramped vicinities, a comforter of strawberries and bananas draped the bed, music boxes, a small vanity mirror complete with European chair and drawers, and- Hiei shuddered- stuffed toys. Knowing human children, and the females of the species of course, the youkai figured there would be no other place so perfect for the young one to wake-up in.

                Picking the lock with ease, Hiei slid up the window and carefully made his entry. He was about to step on the bed that was directly situated by the pane, when Hiei heard Kurama's nagging in the back of his mind.

                He removed his boots, and then stepped onto the bed.

                The moment he laid Honidu's sleeping form on the mattress, the door swung open and there was dead silence. The fire demon calmly examined the child's sweet face before turning to the trespasser- or to be politically correct- the owner of the room.

                They stood frozen in their place as they looked at one another. Grassy green eyes focused on his bloody red ones. Contrary to what Hiei would believe to be her primary action, the girl at the door did not scream or shiver. He slowly rose from his stooping position, standing on her bedding quite erect. Hiei's feet sank into the squashy mattress, making the youkai subconsciously wonder if perhaps he could steal something of the same brand one day.

                She was an attractive young lady, but unlike Arisu, she did not have a tone of softness sheathing over her features. Sharp nose, bright visage- though firm at the moment, and thick, flowing tropical hair that curled just at the tips. He noted quickly her first movement: piercing lips, and her hesitation to move forward.

                To Hiei's mind, she made the correct decision to refrain from drawing closer. However, he did not expect her to say in a very level voice:

                "Who are you? Why are you here?"

                Equally to his surprise, the demon responded without thinking:

                "I'm a friend helping another."

                 The teenager said no more after that, but her eyes did roll over her sleeping cousin on the bed. Seizing the opportunity of her lost attention, Hiei blurred out the window.

                Irises drifting to the pane, she didn't flinch to discover that no one was there. After a moment of blank thought, she scrunched her eyebrow and grinned.

                "A real cutie." She mused to herself, while padding up to her sleeping cousin. "Wonder why he didn't come to the front door? Hmph, go figure." Sitting at the corner of the bed, she pulled a bit of blanket over Honidu. "Only guardian angels come through windows, ne?"

*****

                Kurama waved goodbye to Arisu and Shidou as they went in the opposite direction of the sidewalk. The redhead smiled cheerfully, and strolled his own way, coming to a stop right beneath a large maple tree. Peering up, his eyes glistened as he found Hiei lying back with his arms drawn beneath his head. Apparently sensing his lover's presence, Hiei opened one eye and looked down.

"Did you get him?"

                Hiei nodded before he leapt from the tree trunk, his appearance graver than his lover would have expected.

"I caught him in the act." The youkai confessed, though without much emotion. Kurama's eyes widened, a wave of startle and perplexity washing over his face.

                "Oh, Hiei…" He moaned- eyebrows gathering together in regret. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to give lack of the details. I thought it would be better not to say anything, seeing as it may be harder for you to not get angry."

                The other glowered, but breathed-out evenly to keep his self-possession straight. "I understand your reasoning, but it makes me wonder why you didn't take part in the ordeal. Knowing you, I would have anticipated for you to will some punishment on this…" Hiei stopped to rid his tongue of a strange, rotten flavor. "This utterly stupid human."

                "Ningenkai has a lot of problems," The redhead agreed. "Sometimes just as bad as the Makai. In all honesty, the ordeal is not over yet. I have my own responsibilities to take care of, and I'm very grateful that you were willing to have dealt with the dirty part." Kurama then blinked, having noticed a certain article of clothing missing from Hiei's usual wear. "Your scarf?"

                Hiei looked down at his cloak, finding a vacant spot at the neckline where the familiar white material should have been. "He wouldn't shut up."

                "Gagged him?"

                A nod from Hiei, which was reciprocated with another by Kurama; following this exchange were two demonic smirks.

                "Well done."

                His lover fastened his eyes dourly. "Hn. What now?"

~*~*~*~

                They walked to the outskirts of Tokyo, where the worst parts of the capital lay. Kurama frowned to himself as they proceeded for one of the buildings at the corner of the block they were on. The building was in total decay. Moss was creeping about its bricks, which were once white but now yellow, cracks were making themselves present, and a foul smell seemed to radiate from the aged cement. Hiei and Kurama climbed up the stairs of the fire escape. Its iron railing and steps screeched unsteadily, and copper-colored rust coated everywhere. Finding the window of their destination, the fire demon withdrew his katana and unscrewed the bolts that held the iron cage in place. With the blade, he also began to carefully scratch away the painted-over latch.

                As soon as there was enough space between the glass and the wooden frame, Hiei used the tip of his sword to pry the window open. This took some considerable effort as it seemed that the window hadn't been opened for what could have been decades before either of them were even born. When there was enough space to slip though, the redhead instructed his friend to remain outside. This order wordlessly obeyed, he ducked his head and pulled his other leg in.

                What a mess. Clothes were left carelessly on the floor, on top of broken lamps, and tables. Empty pizza boxes were stacked like bricks and leaned against one another like dominos. Kurama tiptoed away and around the chaos, nearly ramming into an ironing board as he twisted from a pack of roaches feasting on a forgotten piece of chicken.  

                "I've tried to keep those bastards down, but I think they're immune to Raid."

                Haruhiko was standing in the dark hallway, and was visible through the room's open door. In his arms was a basket filled with little girl's clothes. On top of those clothes was a doll that was coming apart at the seams… and the head, and the arms, and the legs. Adjusting the load to his right and hiding it from view, Haru snorted angrily. "What the hell do you want? It must be important if you're fucking stalking me." He stared at him insolently with cold, steel eyes. "Spiddit out."

                Walking towards the hallway- avoiding the trail of ants and spoiled pasta- the redhead met the other.

"I wanted to thank you." Kurama said simply.

                "Thank me?!"  This was truly unexpected; his eyes thundered in disbelief, and he nearly dropped his sister's belongings in a heap on the sullied floor. He did jolt faintly, and this caused the rag doll to slide from the mountain of clothing. Before it could be attacked by dust, mold, and pests, however, Kurama swiftly caught it.

                "Yes," he replied. "For everything you have taught me, I want to thank you."

                The boy snatched the doll from his hands. "You're nuts!"

                Kurama grinned in good-humor. "I thought you said I didn't have any?"

                "Ugh. You're fuckin' weird." He laid the doll back on the laundry. "Weird and stupid."

                "Really? Quite funny you should think so." Following Haruhiko out of the hall and to the laundry closet, Kurama proceeded. "Did you honestly think that I wouldn't figure out that you were 'Bird Watcher'?"

                To this, Haru froze in mid-movement. He had just opened the washer and was about to load it when the other's question reached his ears. He did not move to look at him.

"And you say only poetic people are fags. Hypocrite, don't these pictures mean anything to you?"  Hand delving into its pocket, it retrieved a deck full of photographs. Momentarily, Kurama gazed upon them, then later shoved them a few inches away from Haru's face. "I'm not stupid. I figured it out once the projects were turned in. If I hadn't been so caught up with the hell you've given me, I would have realized this sooner."

                Without thinking, he vehemently grabbed the photos and threw them into the trashcan filled with dryer lint. "How is this poetic? It's just bull shit that got me an 'A'."

                Not a word left Kurama's lips as he silently watched the pictures thrash into the bin. "Subconscious language from your mind, Haruhiko.  You wouldn't have gotten that grade if these pictures were as superficial as you claim them to be. Why were you so captivated to take pictures of birds on a cable line? Do you really think it was a momentary muse? When you do things you don't understand, there's always a deep reason behind it. You, Haruhiko, are the bird- an animal often associated with freedom and enslavement."

                "Oh yeah?" He scoffed, dumping everything- save for the toy- into the machine and covering it with cheap detergent. "I think you're just shoving your brains into my face!"

                "You think so? I'm not surprised.," Crossing his arms, Kurama leaned against the shutter door of the closet. "Very well, tell me then: why did you put black crows into negative?"

                The door of the washer was slammed down, and the settings were briskly cranked into place. "Don't know. Don't care. Happened two years ago. Don't care."

                "Is that true?"

                "Psh. Thought it would look cool that way."  Carrying the doll and making a grab for the sewing kit on the laundry shelf, Haru stubbornly marched for another room.

                "You turned crows into doves by doing that, Haru." Explained the other who was not far behind. "I think in the back of your mind, you knew that too."

                "And this means something to me how?"

                They came to Haruhiko's quarters where he plopped carelessly on top of his futon. The futon didn't even have a covering over it, and its stuffing was puking out of unattended tears. The pealing wallpaper, the yellow glue, and the sheer nothingness of the room did not escape Kurama's keen observations.

                "You know what it means. I don't have to repeat your thoughts out loud. I would be 'rubbing my brains into your face' if I did that, wouldn't I?"

                "Hmph."  The tin box of the sewing kit was hastily opened. Haruhiko plucked a needle from its pincushion and quickly slipped thread through the eye. Obviously, the boy had done this more than once before. The rapid and indelicate way he was mending his sister's doll reminded Kurama of the way Hiei sewed his own clothing after a grueling battle or narrow escape from looming death.

                "The real reason I'm here, aside from thanking you, is to tell you we caught him."

                "Caught who?"

                "You know."

                Looking up from his cross-legged position, Haruhiko spat: "Yeah, right. As if a gay lord like you would know anything about it."

                It was best to ignore that comment. It was despicably false, and they both knew it. "You're not the only one with good connections, Haru. Actually, It would be wrong to say that we caught him as Hiei was the one who really took care of it."

                "Your boyfriend?" Incredulously he asked. Shaking his head, he started sewing again. " I don't get you."

                "Of course not, which is why I'm weird, right?"

                "Why would you do that for me? And why now?"

                For these questions, Kurama felt benevolent. "I thought it might take away some of the anger in your heart; if some sort of justice in the name of your sister prevailed. I waited this long to do it understanding that you probably would have wanted to do it yourself."

                "Well, you obviously changed your mind." Finished with the toy's head, he started on the leg. "How come?"

                "You gave up. I saw that."

                "So you decide to take pity on me 'cuz I couldn't take care of things?" He went to the disjointed arm. "You've got some ego."

                "I agree with that statement, only with the exemption of your perspective. It wasn't pity. It was something I owed you."

                "Which brings us back to where we started, huh?"

                "Right. If you hadn't sent that chain letter, I wouldn't have realized how much can be lost and gained… and what truly matters in the end."

                "So in thanks you took care of the sicko? Ha! Only you would thank someone who was trying to destroy you. You're nuts "

                "Maybe, but I understand my motives rather clearly… unlike you."

                "I do what I do 'cuz it's fun."

                The doll was mended, and he set it aside. It leaned against the sun-bleached wall, limp body lifeless but there. There was another metal cage that locked over the Haruhiko's window. Its rusty bars shattered the rays of light that tried to phase through the deteriorating building. The doll, because of the light, was both pretty and ugly. The afternoon sun made its dress brighter and its button eyes sparkle. However, the shadows of the shafts made it look old and worthless. The redhead blinked before speaking again.

                "No." Kurama countered. "You do what you do because it makes you feel less lonely."

                "Jack shit."

                Striding up to the window, the redhead dug his fingernails into the pane- chipping the wood and scratching the paint. Flexing his muscles, Kurama forced the immovable panel up with so much force that splinters and skid marks bristled along the edges. He then gripped around the bars, sensing its cold temperature touch the pit of his stomach. A slight breeze struck him in the face, making his hair fly in a peculiar sort of dance. Closing his eyes, his skin felt the heat of the sun gradually disappear.

                "Loneliness is such a dangerous thing… It leads to disparity and it comes from so many sources." Putting one arm through in between two bars, Kurama unbolted three of the screws on one side of the fencing. 

"Ridicule"

'CLING.' A screw fell onto the asphalt below.

"Betrayal"

'CLING.'

 "And hate…"

'CLING.'

Pulling his arm back in, he turned back to Haruhiko who was plainly eying him in astonishment.

" The three things that destroy a person- the three things we must learn to forget." He paused. "I understand this, and Hiei does too. Everyone feels loneliness from time to time, but people must have faith in believing in future bliss… even if it's just an intangible fantasy."  Sighing, he looked down on his feet.  They were striped with early moonbeam and shadow. "That's why man struggles to survive… Very few people have the ability to touch joy."

"So we steal it from one another instead."

"Exactly."

In spite of himself, the boy smiled. No one had ever given up his or her time for the sake of talking to him before. Time. Someone gave him their time. A foreign sensation, similar to relief, kissed his spirits. Haruhiko wanted to remain angry, especially at the idea that Shuiichi- of all people- was the one to give that bizarre kiss… so to speak. Instead, however, he found himself basking in warmth, settled within a psychological embrace, and profoundly touched. Touched, embraced, and kissed by a few honest words... All that were from Shuiichi.

"I'm the bird, huh?"

                Kurama nodded. "And so are we."   With that, he pushed the cage open, allowing blue light to spill into the room entirely. He was about to jump out when he remembered an important detail. "Oh, and by the way… After all this time, Naru still happens to think you're charming. If you're smart, which you are, you'll let yourself be loved."

                Not looking back to see the baffled expression on Haru's face, Kurama leapt from the pane and joined Hiei's side. The two of them then flitted from building top to building top…

                Flying in the mantle of night.

*****

                -----------Original Message----------

From: RedFoxtail_7@yahoo.com

Date: Wed, 16 March 00:44:38 –0700

To: H.A.Kairu@hotamail.com

Subject: You were right

                I did what you suggested; I talked to Haru today. I didn't stay at his place for long, but I'm sure he got a feeling of my good intentions. I don't think he'll be too much of an asshole anymore, but if he's having a bad day, I have no problem with letting him take it out on me.

                Thanks again for the silk roses you sent me. As usual, you're right; you'd be surprised with what you can do with silk! My mom really likes them. She's never seen such an exquisite shade of sapphire! Did you put French perfume on the petals, by the way? They smell lovely. Oh, and you must tell me more about how you are doing in England with your mother and future husband. I'm also so glad you've found a fiancé. I wish the best for you.

                As for Hiei, yes, he's still here. Right now he's staring at the laptop monitor as I write this.

                Now he's telling me to shut up.

                Now he's telling me to stop typing what he says.

                Now he says I'm stupid.

hgUYhgu945yjr908YtjmioeFJgje00ej0yejooe00ws036TK4-yi5023-kyklh

                734h8hr84q439JY4f04094-3-5ikh095uihk6996k40g5k03JY956JY05YK060UK60U0K6g9595hjhjjjjjjjjhhjj

                !!!!D&F(*Tyjjgeooee&&0TJ3EHO094KHY0R5JKSigi9y05-3jkgnogtj9r976949496GJOLDFLgi893939333@@

Sorry about that, he tried to get ahold of the keyboard. He's fuming. Apparently I'm better at protecting my belongings than he is.

Ow! He bit me! The little punk BIT me!

Always Your Student,

Shuiichi

P.S. Hiei says hi.

$%$^&GBUIYGU888ijjt9owlwlwnqiou3htowlltI4995IJN3020JT-0496UJ49TJLkg4to49t4osmvmnjspalmz9tj403wmgog%

NO I DONT

                Click. Send.

                "Hiei! That was rude!" Kurama blew on his recently bitten finger. It was glowing cherry red and the tooth mark on it could clearly be matched with the one fang that gleamed out of the corner of Hiei's elfin mouth.

                "Don't write things that aren't true!" He snapped.

                "I was only being polite." His friend admonished, turning off the laptop and pushing it to one side of the hammock they were on. The fire demon glared down on him, 'hn-ed', and laid back down. His movements were rather violent, however, as the hammock swung vigorously to and fro over the blades of grass. Sighing languorously, the redhead put on a smug grin before closing his eyes and drowning himself within the sound of chirring crickets. My, how he loved his mother's garden in the evening…

                "Kurama…"

                "Hm?" His lover replied, still not opening his eyelids.

                "What did you do in the apartment while I was outside?"

                "Is it important?"

                Hiei thought about it. "Realistically, no. For my serenity, yes."

                "Ah… And we wouldn't want an already overwrought mind like yours go on the fritz, now would we?" Grinned Kurama.

                A scowl. "Hn."

                "You could have used your Jagan." His friend suggested.

                "But that would have been rude." Argued the other.

                "Quick with your comebacks tonight?"

                "Don't mess with me."

                "Too late."

                "Fine."

                Their brusque conversation rung out a bit of amusement on Kurama's part, much to Hiei's discontent as well as pleasure. Discontent entwined with pleasure… How charming. He didn't understand the logic behind it- if any- and frankly, the fire demon learned to not give a damn about making sense of paradoxes. The reason for this was evident in the laughing redhead who really ought to have been a hyena instead of a fox.

                "… All right…" His lover began, calming down. "I simply had a quaint conversation with the very person we owe our confidence to."

                Snorting at that response and rolling his eyes, the youkai deciphered what Kurama said straight away. "You waited this long to pin your tormentor down?" Crossing his arms firmly, Hiei shook his head and stared at the sky. "You never do a clean job."

                "But you must remember, Hiei, it's my nature to stalk, wait, and fool. Pinning, as you put it, is not in my résumé."

                "Incorrect. Pinning is most definitely one of your most dangerous traits. Regardless, you never use it until you're more than halfway to death. In which case, you've turned the tables and your hunter has just become the hunted."

                "When you talk like that, it makes me wonder if you replay my fight with Karasu over and over in your mind."

                "I do." Hiei affirmed. "It was indeed very interesting. Granted, having lived in the Makai, I wasn't impressed with Karasu's gestures of affection when he bombed you everywhere. "

                One of Kurama's thin red eyebrows went up in curiosity. "Gestures of affection?"

                "Karasu may be able to manifest bombs in the atmosphere," He pointed out. " But you have to remember that his entire body was literally a chamber of ammunition." For a second, a chill of wariness went down the fire demon's spine. "Attacking you with his ki transformed into weaponry was his way of touching you. Haven't you ever thought of that, Kurama?"

                The color in his lover's face paled instantly into chalk. He grimaced, swallowed, and furrowed his brow. "I didn't realize how analytical you could be…"

                Softening, Hiei tried to make Kurama forget about Karasu's insinuendos by brushing some of his hair and kissing his warm forehead. "…Karasu chose erotica, you chose kamikaze, and I chose blitzkrieg. Everyone has their preferences, which makes me worry about yours."

                Hearing this comment made a pair of green eyes expand in their sockets. "Since when did you research on World War I German tactics?"

                A tired shrug. "Since a minor civil war and a few attacks on Enki's home front. Mukuro is not amused."

                Kurama's face clearly winced. Hiei smiled wickedly.

                "If it's not opossum, it's decoy. I know you too well, so don't think you can easily avert the direction of this conversation as you would with Yusuke or Kuwabara."

                "Meaning?"

                "No more talk about past battles. I humored you enough by letting you have your way for a minute or two." Cocking his head to the side, the youkai laid it out flatly: " What did you do to your so-called acquaintance?"

                The flat question was rewarded with an equally flat answer: "I thanked him."

                Silence. Even the crickets stopped to scratch their heads in confusion.

                "Hiei?"

                "Not surprised. You would do something like that, wouldn't you?" He rolled over on the hammock. "It's your style."

                "And this worries you?" Teased his lover.

                "Selfish idiot!" Hiei chuckled. "I refuse to flatter you with anything more than my reproaches."

                The corner of Kurama's lips twitched in irritation. "You're complicated, Hiei."

                "Yet you understand my implications?"

                "Argh…Yes. That's disturbing, isn't it? To know what you mean, when to everyone else it sounds like you mean absolutely nothing: speaking in riddles..." Suddenly, a low, deep smile stretched over his complexion. "Of course, that's your style."

                "And?"

                He turned to him. "…I admire it."

                The twist in Kurama's words made Hiei thoroughly surprised as he was half-expecting his friend to flip the conversation and take it under his control again. The redhead, being not only wise, but cunning, gave Hiei the floor of their discussion. He guilelessly handed Hiei the steering wheel of their getaway car, and Hiei was on the accelerator and helpless.

                'Is this what love is… something that runs with no direction… something that doesn't make sense…'

                His lover took the smaller's face into his hands and kissed him tenderly on the cheek. Hiei stubbornly lowered his eyes.

                'Correction… it never makes sense…'

                Kurama kissed him on the other cheek, turning Hiei's head to the side.

                'You give me control…'

                The fire demon tried to kiss back, but the redhead mischievously pulled away- the hammock swaying like a cradle as he swiftly darted.

                '…And by doing that, you control me.'

                Stretching out as languidly as a cat, the demon's eyes glazed over with cool fire. The rose bushes were collecting speckles of moisture- their leaves sleek green. Flowers shook to the chilling air, shivering on their vines. The crickets were singing once more, and if you listened closely, you could hear the wind whisper of all the things it's seen. A magical garden… right where home is. The trees were lush, but graceful- willows flying in the heavens like strands of princess hair and leaving fairy dust to drift everywhere…

                … the Garden of Eden on Earth…

                Looking down on him, the redhead outlined the Jagan with his fingertips. The mind's eye: something that trapped memories- something that trapped yearning voices… Evil vision? No.

 Sealing the space, until nothing stood between them but their own hearts, Kurama laid on top of him- kissing and kissing Hiei's warm forehead. He loved feeling his friend arch against him, leaning against his soft, wet lips and breathing feverishly along his slender neck. Their hearts were pounding- no- chirping… singing…The fire demon's hands dove possessively into his lover's long, luxurious hair- holding Kurama down and against him- kissing him hard, but carefully.

Drawing away, but still inhaling his lover's spicy breath, Kurama asked: "What happens now?"

                Hiei lazily opened his eyes, waking from an ocean of dreams that treaded lightly on his sensitive skin. His irises roamed about the redhead's features, looking then to the right and spying something intriguing there…

                There was an exceptionally large rose bush in the middle of yard. Was it white? Was it silver? Was it blue? One of the largest blossoms released its petals, dashing the dark grass with soft, large tears. In place of that rose, a fresh bud had just sprung from its protective sepal. The heart of its bloom spun on its axis, a perfect spiral that was as gorgeous as a pinwheel- a pinwheel that seized the colorful beams of day and twirled forever like an everlasting sparkle of light and dark.

                "We live… and then we die- with nothing left behind, but our stars." Hiei offered a meaningful smirk- mixed with gentleness and assertion. "Scared?"

                "No." Kurama whispered. "Why should I be?"

~*~*~*~

Listen as the wind blows,

From across the great divide.

Voices trapped in yearning,

Memories trapped in time.

The night is my companion,

And solitude my guide.

Would I spend forever here,

And not be satisfied?

And I would be the one-

To hold you down…

Kiss you so hard…

I'll take your breath away.

And after I'd wipe away the tears,

Just close your eyes dear…

Through this world I've stumbled,

So many times betrayed.

Trying to find an honest word,

To find the truth enslaved.

Oh, you speak to me in riddles,

And you speak to me in rhymes.

My body aches to breathe your breath,

Your words keep me alive.

And I would be the one-

To hold you down…

Kiss you so hard…

I'll take your breath away.

And after I'd wipe away the tears,

Just close your eyes…

Into this night I wander,

It's morning that I dread.

Another day of knowing of…

The path I fear to tread…

Oh, into the sea of waking dreams,

I follow without pride.

Nothing stands between us here,

And I won't be denied.

And I would be the one-

To hold you down…

Kiss you so hard…

I'll take your breath away.

And after I'd wipe away the tears…

Just close your eyes dear…

And hold you down…

Kiss you so hard…

Oh, take your breath away…

And after I'd wipe away the tears…

Just close your eyes…

                                -Sarah McLachlan: Possession

~*~Afterword~*~

To tear down my walls and crash into the bliss I call truth.

I've read so much beautiful fanfiction regarding the possible relationship Hiei and Kurama may have, and at long last, I decided to write one myself.

"Let's Fly as the Birds Do…" holds a very intimate place in my heart.  It's not just a story of love. It's a story of identity, and loving not just another person, but also yourself for everything you are. There are no mistakes in the way you turn out. The only mistakes there are in life are the ones you learn from and the ones that shape our world.

From pre-school to second grade, English was my second language. At the time, I was more comfortable speaking Tagalog- the standard dialogue in the Philippines. Thusly, my English was very poor.

As a result, I had been ill treated and ignored when I was four. I never really complained about it because I was totally unaware of the kind of hate that was surrounding me. I was clueless.

One day, in pre-school, I made a friend. He was an American and he always offered to play detective and racecars with me. He defended me and contradicted everyone who looked down upon me. My mom saw him one day, and according to her, this boy, Jason, went up to her and said he wanted to marry me. It was such a odd thing to say, given we were all young, but his words startled my mom: "I want to marry her because she has pretty dresses and is really nice. She's not like everyone- she's different."

At the time, I didn't understand what he meant by that. Now that I'm older, I see how Jason was different from everyone else too. He wasn't like the other kids- or even the teachers. He was good hearted. He didn't care about where I came from, what language I spoke, and all that racist crap. He wanted me to have a friend. There couldn't have possibly been a more pure heart, and I regret never thanking him for the kindness he had given me. He prevented me from being alone and isolated. He showed me not everyone was the same.

As the years progressed and I moved into elementary school, one of my teachers had to hold a conference with my parents regarding my writing. She accused my simple sentences coming as a result of being bilingual. Since then, my parents ceased teaching me my natural tongue. I still clearly understand and am able to read the language, however I forgot a lot of the crucial grammar and spelling. I can no longer speak Tagalog fluently, but at least I can comprehend it word for word.

What, then, became of my English writing? Well, even though I wasn't good at it, I loved playing with stories since seven. My parents used to tell me Filipino anecdotes until the secret conference with my teacher. Not happy with this unexpected cease of oral tradition (which appeared to me had no warranted reason), I turned to books and my own imagination. My parents additionally sent me to two-hour tutorials for three times a week, and because my uncle was also supportive of my ability to learn, I had three loving people to help me with my difficulty. By fifth grade, my reading and writing level had reached tenth, spring season. That's more than five years ahead of my class. I owe my family for that, but back then I was too naïve to realize what I had accomplished.

I think it's safe to say that my destiny was decided. I now see writing as my strength as well as my passion. It is mine. No one can take it away from me. It's a part of who I am, and in all honesty, I love myself for discovering what I want to do with my life: to tell stories and share my imagination with people willing to see it.

In the process, however, I lost something very important: my culture, my real language. Lots of my friends are bilingual. I lost that. I could have had that if I kept on practicing and my teacher didn't recommend my family to stop speaking it. I nod and laugh when my relatives chat, but when I try to talk, it comes out wrong. It's as though I never spoke Tagalog. I've wanted to teach myself it again, but there are no formal classes in my city and textbooks are inadequate. My parents are too busy to teach me, and my relatives, miles away. Times have changed and I have to support myself, but I know I can turn to my bloodlines when I stumble.

                Hence, there is a thin parallel between "Let's Fly as the Birds Do…" and my personal experiences. Funny as it might sound, I wasn't even thinking of my childhood as I wrote this. My mom pointed out the parallels when she snuck a peak on a certain chapter (traumatizing me for several hours as I never told her I wrote about sexuality). And that's when I found out about what my elementary teachers really thought of me! Stupid, huh? Touché!

~What about Love? ~

Romance, any kind of romance must be tested. Realistically speaking, this means that the love must be questioned. There must be arguments, fights, quarrels, and what have you? If these kinds of turmoil did not exist, then the love goes bland. That is the true test of love. "Do you promise to take your beloved wife for richer or poorer, in health and illness…?" Take these vows to the deeper meaning rather than the obvious. 'Richer' may mean happy moments. 'Poorer' for worse. 'Health' for peace. 'Illness' for misunderstanding. This is why marriage is sacred; why sexual contact is sacred- it's a promise, spoken and unspoken, of vowing to be there for the one you love so deeply.

Sad to say, but marriage and sex are losing their meaning in this world. One-night stands are so normal now, as is abortion. Yet man still has the gall to speak of morality? Sounds highly hypocritical to me.

 People (myself definitely included) may be hypocrites, but they may also change. That's the beauty of humanity. People change because of pain. They change out of seeing the truth. That is not to say that everyone changes for the better, but change- metamorphosis- in itself is a dazzling event. Naturally, then, love has to change. Between Kurama and Hiei, however, the change is more along the lines of mutual understanding and acceptance. The hard part about their relationship is the acceptance because that is something they have no control over. It's up to the people around them.

Kurama's mother will always be Kurama's mother, no matter how she reacts. This is something I always fail to recognize whenever I have problems with my family. Put yourself in Shiori's position: you're a single mother, your husband past away, you're working to feed two mouths (three if you count Hiei), and you have one child whom you would die for. Yes, like it or not, your parents would die for you. So when such an incident as losing your virginity arises, it is normal for the parent to be angered. It's not that they lost their love in you; it's simply that they're shocked at the dishonesty. The most hurtful thing between people who love each other is the lack of trust, because trust is the basis for any relationship. This is why internal clash occurs between Hiei and Kurama themselves.  Again, if this clash did not exist, their love would be meaningless.

                Love is without a doubt the greatest gift bestowed to mankind. Yet, love cannot be fed to you. You must search for it, work for it, and strive to make it happen. Love is like wine- like people- it's finer when it has experienced the lapse of years. Years, of course, are filled with tribulation. Overcome the tribulations, survive the tribulations, and the love shared- the wine between two lovers- becomes all the more sweeter.

                This is reality. Love needs pain, for pain and love together result in profound ecstasy. To get there, you have to be willing to suffer, just as Christ died for Heaven and Earth. It is no longer a question of religious moral. It is a question of the strength of your being, your heart, and your beliefs. Be pure to your thoughts, and you may have the pleasure of knowing you are not lying to anyone, above all, yourself. That's what God and Paradise are all about. Revere. Fidelity. Love. It starts with you.