Second Try

BY : kle10
Category: Yuyu Hakusho > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 5428
Disclaimer: I do not own YYH.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Yuu Yuu Hakusho, or any of its characters. Those belong to Yoshihiro Togashi-sama, who made a lot more out of them than I ever could have. ^^;; I just do fanfiction for fun, and earn no monetary rewards for writing it. Reviews are, of course, worth as much as silver.

Title: Second Try
Word Count: 4,472
Anime: Yuu Yuu Hakusho
Pairing: KuramaxHiei, HieixKurama
Warning: Shounen ai
Author: Kita Kitsune
Date: Monday(moon-day!), December 8, 2008
Miscellaneous Notes: Eh, don’t ask (about the random poem I made up at the beginning, either. Oo;;). Just… don’t ask. x.x It was in me, and I had to write it (I have finals this week, goddammit, I shouldn’t be writing fanfiction!). Reviews are silver love. :3 Please?

: : : : : : :

Love, love, where did you go, today…

Are you under the moon, are you wanting to play?

Love, love, do I miss you so… ?

The body tells what the heart wants to know.

: : :

It was laughable, really. Like a punch line of one of the old tragedies…

He could still see the sunlight playing against the outline of that small, dark figure. It was dawn—the sky was touched with the strangest shade of soft pink, lines of fiery gold splayed like fine brushstrokes over the clouds gathered overhead. It was about to snow. The youkai’s face was in shadow as he stood on the sill, cloak in hand and dragging slightly on the floor—he had yet to put it on. That quiet baritone was surreal.

“…it has been a good run, Kurama. But it is time to end it.” Each word was like a blow unto his heart, and jade depths widened in no small amount of disbelief. A soft smile reached out from his slightly-numbed chest, but the words were calmly clear.

“…I do not believe you.” The figure at the window tensed, garnet depths narrowing and minutely scanning the area in a fleeting motion—to be well-informed of any sudden attack that might be forthcoming. The instantaneous check completed, that indifferent red gaze bore down upon the redhead seated upon the bed, in the yet-darkened room as the sun behind him had not quite fully awakened.

“I did not pin you for one that would take the path of denial rather than reality, fox.” That smile over the kitsune’s face canted a hint warmer, and slender fingers moved over the well-worn, comfortable fabric beneath their tips. Jade depths turned to the motion, confident enough that Hiei would not leave until the conversation had reached its mutual end. Despite the hankoorime’s urge to simply flit out the window and leave him behind in more than one way—no, Hiei respected him far too much, and the two demons were too wound within one another for the Jaganshi to break off the link, so easily.

“It is not denial.” Dark lashes partially covered faintly glimmering emerald hues as they moved once more to the figure so poetically outlined by light, before him. “I simply do not believe you, Hiei.” A snort was heard from the window—and to this the redhead quietly stood, hands pushing him gracefully from the mattress to his feet as deliberate steps allowed him to approach the figure only a meter or so away. One soft hand rose, digits tenderly tracing the outlines of a pale, unmarred cheek. Although the hankoorime did not turn from the touch, those crimson depths opposite his own were unreadable. Their gazes were even, Hiei’s position on the sill putting him conveniently at eye-level.

“Why… ?” It was the softest whisper, nearly unheard—but those ruby depths frowned, a wrist coming up to brush Kurama’s hand from his face as his own canted off to the side, gaze idly averted to a corner of the slowly-lightening room. The pain deeply buried within his—former—lover’s gaze was too much, as he was unaccustomed to strong emotions such as this, which the humanized fox was so rife with. He did love Kurama. He did want to stay by the kitsune’s side, and help him fight the inner battles the redhead could not win, on his own. He did want to stay within those safe arms that held him as though he were the single most important person in all of the Three Worlds… if anything, it made him feel wanted. But, he did not want to give of himself. Hiei was strong. Hiei was independent. Hiei did not need a weak-willed kitsune that had an irritating tendency to boss him around, enrage him as well as make him feel a slow painful ache in his chest whenever the fox was sad—whenever Kurama did not shield his depression from him. A human world full of restrictions and regulations was taxing upon a formerly carefree, wild youko spirit…

Hiei was not Weak, unlike Kurama who allowed others to dictate his actions. The most prominent example was his mother, and the façade the redhead suffered to keep up her blissful ignorance of his true nature. Hiei steeled his thoughts, that utterly expressionless stare returning to swiftly-moistening verdant hues. The unshed tears merely collected in the eyes, causing the bright irises to glimmer tragically against the sun that began to poke out from the horizon to greet his back. None fell. Kurama was far too experienced with holding his emotions in to the extent that Hiei was surprised the fox didn’t contract ulcers and migraines from all the stress it must be to continue his unflinching mirage of cool, collected dignity. That smoothly-featured face hardened, determination not flashing in his dangerous eyes but instead lining the set angle of his jaw.

“We do nothing different, kitsune. Day after day it is the same tedious routine.” Hiei lowered his voice, a soft hiss edging the tone. “I grow weary of it.”

“You’re... bored… ?” A quiet blink greeted that—and the ebony-haired demon saw a brief flicker of heart-rending agony before it was swiftly concealed behind yet another habitual smile. Kurama’s smiles were all so… false. Save the smirks in battle, very rarely did a genuine one reach into his eyes amidst the numerous covering curves that assailed his face, daily. A strange contrast to Hiei—he did not smile, but the few that escaped under unforeseen circumstances were true. His mouth tightened upwards at a corner, a twisted, mocking after-image of the defiantly arrogant almost-smiles that flew over his face during a particularly enjoyable battle.

“Hn.” Long fingers moved to brush along the bared skin of the fire youkai’s arm, emerald depths falling to watch the action in an absent habit. They trailed over bandages wrapped around only the Jaganshi’s forearm—no black dragon tattoo lay beneath them, this side of his chest. Hiei was still in his original position, the Kokuryu-bearing arm facing the cold winter air as he stood upon the sill at a slight angle, the dark cloak clutched in the bandaged fingers and dragging down to collect in a few wrinkled folds on the smooth wood floor. The next comment was the breathy exhale of a word, a sigh, or merely a scarcely-concealed brace to battle the pain that was no doubt raging within.

“Hiei…” Molten green depths rose from beneath scarlet bangs—still glimmering sadly in the newborn rays that began to touch the ceiling of the kitsune’s room. “Why didn’t you tell me?” The Jaganshi’s chin raised a notch, in unconscious defiance.

“Perhaps you do not know me as well as you assumed, if you could not tell.” The effects of the verbal blow caused another flash of pain to seep into that verdant gaze… and Hiei turned away, whirling the cloak about his shoulders—the action successfully causing Kurama to withdraw his hand from the undamaged, bandaged arm it had rested upon. Garnet depths turned towards the sky, seemingly caught at the breathtaking beauty the half-sunrise granted those who could see it—but they weren’t, really. “You knew this wouldn’t last, kitsune. It was only another chance, after betraying me for Yuusuke...” The comment was bland, and held no accusation. It was merely a statement of fact—nonetheless, Kurama winced, and a brief smattering of images relating to the statement crossed the redhead’s thoughts as that endearing black blur disappeared from his windowsill and into the cold winter morning, where small flurries of white had already begun to dance in the air.

Closing the window and turning, the kitsune slumped softly onto the cool glass behind with a shuddery sigh. His tears had long since ‘dried’—although none had fallen—as the threatening moisture that had collected within them had vanished with the other’s departure. No, he would not blame Hiei. He never could—hell, Kurama couldn’t even hate him. It had been nearly a year since they had permitted themselves to indulge in one another’s affections… and the kitsune had taken it all in stride, not allowing himself to shut Hiei off after he’d been dismissed so curtly from his previous ‘lover’ status and instead only keeping up the friendly smiles and teasing that personified his—then platonic—relationship with the little spitfire. Stepping over to the bed, that lithe form stretched out on its back upon it, a hand coming to rest over his stomach in thought as green depths closed, allowing his mind to—at last—wander into memory.

He recalled their first stint of a relationship—back, before they had joined the Reikai Tantei, and had plotted that heist of the Three Sacred Artifacts for six months. They had been drawn together, not long after Hiei found him, after Yatsude… but once the items were retrieved, it began to get tricky. Kurama had seen the liaison as a distraction from his own pain, a last-ditch effort to greet his death at his mother’s expense with the comfort that, at least, he had found a lasting love that he could share without his youko self’s shallow tendency for one-night-stands—it had nearly been enough to cause him to regret his decision to let the Mirror take his life. Nearly. Kurama had left the group after they returned from the Reikai, back then, with the intent to spare Hiei the pain of loss—as well as assert that the Mirror could be used for his own devices. He had not told the Jaganshi the price the Artifact extracted from its user.

As Yuusuke fought against Gouki that first time in the forest clearing, however… the hankoorime had caught up with him shortly after he disappeared into the trees, and had forced the truth out of him—quite literally, with the business side of his katana—for this sudden abandonment. His former accomplice did not take well to the ‘abandonment’(as Hiei saw it), which Kurama did not understand so well, not knowing the demon’s history. In Makai, one would think a youkai would be used to such a state of affairs… It was curious, but the shorter youkai was nothing if not secretive. Even after they had reinstated their relationship, so recently, once more drawn closer by the events of the Four Saint Beasts mission (Hiei had looked so worried when Genbu had sliced the fox’s stomach open from that cowardly behind-the-back lunge, and Kurama recalled the chilled sensation in his gut as Seiryuu’s ice attacks hit home—even if they had only momentarily immobilized the then-unknown fire demon) and the Dark Tournament (Kurama seemed to be perpetually doomed to be injured when fighting, especially that last bloody confrontation with Karasu, and Hiei’s constant agonizing efforts to try to quickly master the Jaou Ensatsu-Ken were nothing if not somewhat self-destructively stubborn)—the hankoorime had kept up his stoic front of independence. It was burned into Hiei’s mind that he had to be strong—not surprising, considering he had spent his more tender years (if they could ever be called that) in Makai—and as such, he had never entrusted Kurama with his own thoughts and weaknesses. That little fire youkai was as complex as he himself was, only in different ways.

Kurama knew he tended to be able to hold a one-sided conversation, even when the little demon was in the room… it calmed him, somewhat, to speak of the daily human trials he was put through, how a classmate’s blunder was mildly amusing, how his teacher once again called on him to read aloud the English poetry in their language class. Yes, given enough time and the right company, the redhead could cheerily go on for hours talking about positively nothing—and that, of course, was the problem. The kitsune was so self-sacrificing, so attuned to the needs of others, that even in his own mind he did not place himself first. The words that would run from his mouth painted the illusion that he was so very close to Hiei—indeed, he would have to be, to feel at ease enough to disclose such meaningless details of his life—but Kurama’s own musings and reactions were conspicuously absent. Hiei knew him well enough to know that it was not intentional—sometimes, the hankoorime would stop him in his absent ranting, look the kitsune straight in the eye and ask him to talk about himself. Kurama would blink, drawn speechless for an instant before taking up a warm—oddly genuine—smile, and ask Hiei to ask him what he wanted to know. The Jaganshi would snort, then, slumping back onto his perch—either the window, a corner of the room, or the bed—and mutter something about just wanting the stupid kitsune to talk about himself. Feeling inadequate about not knowing where to start, the redhead gave a good few attempts the first times it happened… but ended up talking about his mother, or old heists he had pulled as Youko, or various types of plants—and Hiei would growl, frustrated, and tell him to just drop it. It had been months, now, since the hankoorime had asked that.

That said, the kitsune was an incredibly selfish person, who would do practically anything within reason to get what he wanted. Back when they’d first started, the redhead had plainly made his intentions known (other than the dying bit) and Hiei had quietly acquiesced. Kurama hadn’t thought they would last so long as they did—and his heart was still sore from Kuronue. The bat youkai had died too soon before his own reincarnation as Suuichi… even after fifteen-odd years, the loss still tore at his heart, keeping him distant from his human classmates and thus, the usual experiences found in adolescence. The large, painful scar on his heart made the kitsune reluctant to share what was deeply within, to anyone, and had conditioned certain habits. Surely, Shiori didn’t know, but Hiei had been steadfast, saying time and time again that he would not leave the fox. Slowly, the little demon had sunk into his skin, fire wrapping around his heart in a way that warmed him and made him feel not so alone in this strange new world he had inhabited for over a decade, while at the same time soothing the deep cuts of the murdered love from his past—and all without knowing of Kuronue, at all. It made the fox ache all the more, almost overriding his sense of duty to save his mother and repay her for all she had done. Her love was of a different kind, unconditional, steady but like glass—she was only human, after all, and there would be some things that plagued him that he could never divulge. Hiei’s love made him burn to hear that quiet, dark voice, feel the warm touch of his hand, marvel at the wildness of his eyes, his soul, the innocence of his expression in sleep... Hiei had been so relieved, and so angry, when he at last realized the cost of wishing on the Mirror of Utter Dark. Hiei had watched as Yuusuke saved Kurama—the kitsune had felt him watching, even if his ki was invisible—the Jaganshi frozen still in horror… but the redhead’s small act to repay the human boy, while understandable, was inconceivable to Hiei’s too-sensitive mind. Kurama had betrayed him for the human…

A diminutive dark shadow was curled in the embrace of an evergreen tree, some kilometers away in the park. The black cloak was wrapped tightly around as though to fend off the cold—ruby depths glanced mildly upward to take in the snow-filled sky overhead. Big, fat flakes floated lazily down and began to pile on the branches. His eyes caught one and watched it until it was out of sight, vision blurring the present as his mind was full. He and the kitsune were so different…

Hiei made no mistake to project who was the most important figure in his life: Himself. He trained hard, raising his youki levels and swordsmanship through brutal exercises and giving no thought to his own emotions beneath it all. What was important was that he would remain strong. No amount of ‘love’ would ever change that… but he had been a bit misguided, in this view. Kurama was, it turned out, the one person he would always defend—despite his own strength. The kitsune had caught him, and it terrified him… he had had too many relationships that never went past a bit of flirting—his unsettled, sadistic nature drew some of the kinder ones away while at the same time attracting the shallow sort that thought they could ‘change’ him into something more ‘acceptable’. Those people were rudely awakened when they realized how little Hiei actually did care about their opinions, and those demons would then toss him aside with a few messy, hurtful words about how cold he was, how cruel he was to play them along like that.

The only thing was—he didn’t try to play them. People were drawn to him for reasons he could not explain, and every time he let someone in they ended up hurting him irreversibly. By the time he met Kurama, it was after a string of seemingly-endless shallow flings that lasted no more than a few weeks, each. Oh, there had been one, early on, that he had loved and still loved, in a part of his heart, forever—but cruel tricks had been played by a jealous onlooker, tormenting the hankoorime with lies he half-believed and nearly breaking his mind until, in the end, the best solution for everyone was just to part ways and never see each other, again…

But oh, Kurama.

The kitsune had been a breath of fresh air in his otherwise-tormented existence. The fox genuinely cared, was genuinely interested in who he was, not how powerful or cute or cruel he was. The redhead easily adapted to the Jaganshi’s sadistic side with no effort at all, and they had been perfect. …and then, the doubts began to creep into his mind. Hiei couldn’t help it—every relationship he had had involved someone discovering something awful (to their mind) about him, and dropping him instantly, turning around and biting him with words that slashed his hidden heart to ribbons. This was how he had learned that it was best to say nothing at all. His lovers could come to their own conclusions, place their own judgments upon him, and if they wished to leave because of his callousness he would not stop them. Hiei could not believe that Kurama would be any different.

Those first six months had been a cautious bubble of euphoria—which he, himself, had popped. He had stubbornly refused to enter into a relationship with the fox for a good year after the Yuusuke incident. But, after the Dark Tournament, as he was yet confined to Ningenkai… he found himself resting outside the kitsune’s bedroom window, once more. It did not take one month of nights for him to come inside, nor many more at all for friendly conversation to turn to soft declarations of feelings that had never faded—on the redhead’s part, solely, of course. Hiei would never admit to regret.

And now… now, it had only been a few weeks, and he was ‘bored’—‘bored’ of the routine where Kurama would come home, pull the hankoorime into his lap, murmur something affectionate into his ear, kiss his cheek and only then go to work at his schoolwork. ‘Bored’, because he was stuck in Ningenkai with no excitement, as the barrier prevented any demons coming through and livening things up a bit. ‘Bored’ because it was no fun to train with Kurama at all anymore, because he could predict the kitsune’s actions and reactions without conscious thought. ‘Bored’, because nothing was changing and new. ‘Bored’, because he was happy…

His thoughts stilled. The hankoorime shifted restlessly in his tree, unable to get comfortable. Irritated, he stood, flitting off with the intent of venting his frustration on the wildlife. As he could not return to the Makai, with the barrier up as it was, he would make due by slaughtering animals in some remote region of Japan’s northernmost island. It was isolated, there, and cold… perfect. Just the same as Hyouga—no. Cold meant that he would have to keep his ki up, and constantly having it raised would force his body to adapt to the expended energy. It was all just another form of training, like the Spirit Cuffs Yuusuke had worn during the last few days of the Dark Tournament.

He was strong, he would outlive this. Kurama would outlive this. This reassurance in mind, he jumped quickly into the cool sky, blurring far, far away from the Tokyo metropolis and the one particular youki that resided within its borders…

: : :

It had been two months.

He had not heard word of Hiei since, and… to be honest, his grades were suffering—if rather unnoticeably (it was dreadfully noticeable to him)—due to problems with concentration, chiefly. It was hard, too hard, to keep up the high expectations now—always, oh always, over the past two years Hiei had been by his side. Now, to be rid of it, so abruptly…

Kurama felt as though he were suffocating. There was a pressure on his chest, and the depression that always lingered in the back of his mind was teasing at him, once more—mocking him and his weakness, mocking his growing realization of just how much he needed Hiei by his side, to remain sane in this strange world…

It had never been this hard, before. Not in all his long days of recollection could he remember being this… crushed wasn’t the right word. Nor was heartbroken. He had no doubt that Hiei would one day return to him—he firmly believed this. It wasn’t denial. It was faith. The Jaganshi had not said that Kurama did not make him happy, any longer. Since it was possibly a new emotion for the hankoorime, the redhead did not give it a second thought, dismissing the situation as Hiei’s being unfamiliar with how to deal with being in a safe, unconditional relationship. The first month had passed without event. Well, other than the strange water that would collect around the corners of his eyes, some nights and mornings—a few droplets allowed to seep into the pillow, if that—that he would brush off as allergies or an attempt of his eyes to remoisten the bloodshot sclera from nights spent going almost obsessively over his notes. He would read a paragraph once, then blink and realize he recalled nothing of it. This would lead to a frustrated second reading, and by the third he would want to throw either the book or his notebook at the wall.

Shiori seemed concerned, as well—he had always been rather introverted, but the last few weeks he had seemed less studious and slept more. The video games her son used to strictly play only on the weekends were being cycled through—he never played any one game for too long, now. It was as though he was becoming restless, indecisive… and it worried her. Whenever she would inquire if he were all right, though, he would look up as though caught and then smile disarmingly, attributing it only to feeling the stress of school. But, school had never given Suuichi such problems before… She let it go, not wanting to pressure him into telling her anything he didn’t want to. Shiori knew that her dear, unique son kept things from her—she would merely have to wait for him to come to her of his own accord, and until then she would keep a distant, motherly eye on him, just to be safe… To Kurama, himself, he noticed her concern and worked all the harder to conceal his pain from her—he didn’t wish to worry her. The strange nature of the relationship aside (he was inexplicably grateful that he had mentioned to her some years ago that he was ‘quite possibly’ bisexual, simply to lessen the blow should he one day bring home a boyfriend instead of a girl—and she had accepted it without question, only a supportive smile and a nod), it simply wasn’t in his nature to divulge his own inner torment before he had figured out precisely what he was feeling, himself.

He knew it had to do with Hiei, this suffocating feeling, and the sinking sensation that he needed Hiei more than Hiei needed him was beginning to make him feel very weak and foolish, indeed. He was Youko Kurama! He had cared for no one and nothing, excluding Kuronue, before his reincarnation as a human—and yet… The endless worry about the Jaganshi’s state was nearly overpowering. The redhead wanted to look for him, but school duty bound him not to go too far from his home. At the same time, he wondered if Hiei had even contemplated the possibility of Kurama being this affected from his absence. …Likely not.

But oh, if Hiei had thought Kurama was strong and a worthy ally, before—he would doubtlessly be classified under ‘weak’, now. It was maddening, that this human heart and its intense emotions would carry him so far away under the tide of his usual melancholic temperament. The pressure on his chest would not cease. For the first time in fifteen years Kurama seriously considered seeing a Ningenkai psychologist…

The kitsune glanced at the clock, and winced. How did it get to be so late? …By which, of course, was still rather early in the course of the usual AM-PM day. He sighed, tossing his class’ English poetry book onto his desk, clicking off the lamp and climbing into bed. He’d bathed some hours ago, as was the usual routine, and so felt clean enough sinking into the bedcovers, nosing against the soft plush of the pillow. Fingers itched and took it between them, and a few moments later Kurama found himself nuzzling into the cool thing, arms firmly wrapped around it, holding it dearly to his chest. The usual moisture found its way to his closed eyes as he lay there, and he tolerated it for a few minutes before withdrawing a hand to have a few slim digits rub away the small, stagnant droplets. He really needed to get more sleep, and give his eyes more time to rest. This habit of his body was becoming a bit depressing—

Despite the fact it was the closest he’d come to crying, since Hiei’s departure.

~*~To Be Continued~*~

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