The wind was blowing through the open door, ruffling the red hair of the one they called Shuuichi and whose name was Kurama. His skilled fingers moved over the black and white keys of the piano, conjuring tunes made up by himself and providing the background music to his endless thoughts. Kurama paid no attention to his own playing at all, his thoughts had wondered so far, he was not really conscious of his environment anymore. However, still no one would have been able to harm him: Like a fox sleeping he would notice anyone sneaking near, smell him, feel his presence. And although he didn’t really hear his own playing, he would be aware of any sound which was out of order.
There was only one thing, the fox had not noticed yet: He was watched. So far, this was no danger, and Kurama would possibly just have kept on playing if he had known who was watching him. The Fire Demon, known as Hiei, sat in a branch close top the window and watched the fox’s mind disappear in his own music. The wind pulled on his black robes and he had to be careful not to get lost in the music, too. It was some strange music he was hearing, indeed. Enticing music with a thread telling him it was better to stay away.
Hiei felt people pass by on the street, not even looking over to the open window, as far as he could tell. He did not care about Ningens but did Kurama’s play not affect them in the least? Was it only Hiei who felt how conjuring the music was, Kurama composed? What did the fox play music for anyway? Hieie kept watching.
‘Music...’ Kurama had started his thoughts half an hour ago when he had begun his music. He had started calmly, composed in piano – ever since the volume had increased and fallen, following the intensity of his thoughts. If he had known who was watching him, he’d have played differently. ‘Hiei,...’ he thought. ‘You have been a good friend, Fire Demon. Something changed...’ Skilled fingers ran along the keys changing the theme to something more serious.
‘What has happened to me?’ Kurama asked himself, ‘I’ve always understood him, he has always understood me. Most of the time he would say just what I was thinking but now I do not even know what I am thinking myself.’ The fox remembered. He remembered leaving the Demon world and Hiei to go back to his Ningen life until the world he was coming from needed him again. The Demon world was – however – far more dangerous than those of the Ningen. He knew Hiei could very well take care of himself. Hiei was one of the strongest Demons the fox had ever met but there had been some sort of fright in his heart that Hiei might get into trouble and never come back again. Nonsense, Heiei would have said, if Kurama had told him. Why would he, Yoku Kurama, ever worry about someone like Hiei who was so strong and so cunning just like the fox himself? It mad eno sense at all, and he knew that. Kurama played on and on while he secretly wished to yell out what he wanted to know: ‘WHAT HAD CHANGED THINGS?’
His fingers stroke the piano in a loud accord, forte! Hiei trembled at the sudden act, up there in his tree and was brought back to the world from his own thoughts. He wondered what was going on with the fox. Whether this strange behavior came from the Ningen part of his friend. Strange... he had always understood the fox but he could not find any decent explanation for that! His red eyes spied through the window as he wondered whether he should pay Kurama a visit. In a swift move he jumped down from the tree and leaned against the window, not making a sound. He had caught Kurama in just the right moment, his was on the max of non-attentiveness, lost in himself. Hiei thought of making this clear to the fox by secretly tackling him from behind but it was just in that moment, that two single teardrops fell down on the fox’s Ningen hands. Hiei’s red eyes grew wide in disbelief. Nani? The fox cried? He had never thought it was even possible `These were the only teardrops falling but they were enough to confuse the fire demon. ‘Ningens...’ he thought.
But why had he, Hiei, come here anyway? He knew Kurama had to attend Ningen school and a life to manage at home. Hiei had most of his business in the Demon world, he barely looked at the world Kurama had to spend most of his time. He had not been sent to Kurama for any purpose by anyone important. He had just gone here. Out of boredom? Possible. It was true, Hiei had not seen the fox for quite a while – had he ben worried, maybe? Nonsense! He narrowed his eyes, watching Kurama.
‘Nice play, Shuuichi,’ Shiori said softly as she entered the room. She knew very well that Kurama was lost in his own play – it wasn’t the first time.
The fox softly returned from his world of thoughts, ‘Thank you, mother.’
‘Now come and eat, you’ll ruin your fingers if you play much longer.’
‘Nani?’ Kurama looked down at his fingers, they hurt already. They were wet... had he cried? Something was moving next to him, he now was aware of that. He turned his head over to the window in a swift move but it was only the white curtain fluttering in the wind. He could have sworn he had seen something black. He dashed towards the window and searched the small black shadow he knew so well. He searched the trees and branches but the Fire Demon was nowhere to be seen. ‘Hiei...’ he mumbled.
‘Are you alright, Shuuichi?’ Shiori asked concernedly after watching her son jump up from the piano in such a hasty move. Kurama looked back at her setting the table.
‘Yes. I think I just played too much.’
Hiei had hid himself in the branches as soon as Shiori had entered the room. He knew that she was somehow related to Kurama but Ningen’s still weren’t his favorite companions. Not at all. Anyway, Hiei had seen any of Kurama’s move, he had read the lips forming his names and he had very well taken note of Shiori’s concerned voice as she spoke to the fox she called Shuuichi.
What was wrong with the fox? Once again, Hiei asked himself the same question. And he knew he was worried about Kurama. He watched him eating, smiling into his mother’s eyes as she told him about various unimportant events of the day. Kurama did not talk. He just smiled at her and Hiei felt uncomfortable. Now he did not understand himself... uncomfortable? Why? Maybe it was because he would have liked to sit with him. What a ridiculous thought!!! Sitting with the fox on a Ningen table, eat and chat?! Hiei, somehow disgusted by himself, left the place to return to his own and Kurama’s origin world.
‘I’ll be back tonight, mom,’ Kurama called leaving the house, his pink jacket over his shoulder.
‘Yes, Shuuichi, have a nice day.’ She knew she could not keep him in the house for long. Shuuichi was a strange, unique boy. Some of the time, she did not understand him but she trusted him nonetheless because although he was still young, he acted extremely thoughtful and composed and this gave her the feeling that he was safe, wherever he went. She could be sure he came back, they loved and cared for each other. Some of the time, Shuuichi would leave her a rose on the table, just because. And those roses were not just roses... They were beautiful, red and almost prefect. She did not ask where he got them from, he might have taken care of them himself. Shiori knew his son had a very good hand with flowers, though she could not imagine where he would grow them. There were many flowers in his room – the most beautiful and colorful one she had ever seen – but no roses.
Kurama headed straight for the Makai, knowing exactly where and how to enter it secretly. He stopped suddenly. He was followed, he knew the faint sound which only those could hear who knew it exactly. He could see the fast movements from the corner of his eye and the slight shadow melting with its environment. Of course, now that Kurama stood still, there was no other sound than the birds and the wind ruffling through the leaves.
‘Hiei,’ the fox said with a slight smile on his face and just loud enough to let his friend hear him. Within a second the Fire Demon stood right next to him, not saying a word.
‘Longing for the Ningenkai?’ Kurama asked.
‘Nonsense, baka,’ Hiei answered as they proceeded along the empty road, ‘just made sure you haven’t forgotten you kai of origin.’
Kurama nodded. ‘I haven’t. I was on the way to it... for no purpose.’
Kurama knew Hieie well enough to grasp the meaning of his friend’s hn. ‘You don’t believe me.’
‘No.’ Hiei’s eyes looked ahead, sternly. Kurama lead his friend to a small field with trees on it, suddenly not feeling the need anymore to go to the Makai. He felt superior towards Hiei in this world. Hiei knew that Kurama was thinking this way but only hesitantly sat down under the tree, next to him.
‘I was looking for you,’ Kurama said calmly.
‘Thought so.’ Hiei snorted.
There was a long pause. The field was not empty... children were playing on the other end of it, far away. Kurama and Hiei could hear them yelling. The fox knew very well that Hiei was not comfortable around humans but so far away they would only slightly bother him. They stared into their direction and listened to them and the wind blowing around them and the tree above them.
‘You cried,’ Hiei said suddenly.
‘NANI?’ Kurama’s head twirled around. Hiei did not repeat himself. Kurama had understood him, that was enough. He hoped to find out what in the world could make someone as strong as the fox cry.
‘You watched me.’ It was not a question, it was a fact Kurama had spoken out loud.
‘Yes, I cried.’ There was no point in denying it, especially when Hieie had seen it with his own sharp eyes.
‘Why?’ was the short one’s monosyllabic answer to the facts.
Kurama was startled by Hiei’s directness. He had to catch himself again before he could even try to answer. Yes, why had he cried? He did not even know himself, not really. He wondered whether Hiei had any idea about crying at all.
‘Have you ever cried, Hiei?’ the fox asked eventually.
‘I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me. Sometimes you know me better than I do... and you watched me.’
‘You were lost in thoughts. They made you cry.’ Hiei said matter-of-factly. ‘What were you thinking, fox?’
Kurama was still started although he did not show. Hiei probably knew anyway. Yet, he knew very well that the Demon next to him could have had no idea what he really had been thinking of..
‘I was thinking of you, Hiei,’ the young voice brought out with some effort.
‘Nani?!’ Now it was Hiei’s turn to be startled. His red eyes had grown wide but Kurama did not see it, he was still looking straight ahead at the children playing. Kurama did not repeat himself, he waited for Hiei to say something better than nani but all the short demon could do was wait. He was at a loss of words. So it was Kurama’s task, after all, to speak again.
‘Have you ever cried,’ he repeated, his voice practically demanding an answer.
‘No,’ Hiei snorted, ‘Not that I can remember.’
‘There are a million reasons to cry, Hiei. It has nothing to do with weakness. A Ningen who can’t cry will sooner or later destroy himself.’
‘Reasons?’ Hiei raised an eyebrow. Some wind from behind played with the short black hair. Kurama still did not see it. He could not look at Hiei. Not right now. But Hiei saw the fox... and how serious he was.
‘Pain, maybe. The pain of loosing someone forever.’
‘Death, maybe or an eternal goodbye. Fear, possibly, too. Being scared that something might happen could already be enough to make a Ningen cry.’
‘Bakas.’ Hiei shook his head slightly.
‘No, Hiei. Ningens work differently from us. They need to cry sometimes,’ Kurama explained calmly.
‘You cried,’ Hiei reminded Kurama flatly. ‘Why? Death? Fear?’
‘Confusion, maybe. I was not really conscious at that moment.’ Kurama knew that Hiei could not really understand but the Fire Demon was interested and it was good that way.
‘What do I have to do with all this?’ Hiei said, now not only curious but also a little nervous. His heartbeat grew a little faster. If he had made the fox confused, scared or anything, he would want to change that as soon as possible. He had not really admitted it but it had affected him that Kurama had shed tears.
Kurama was desperately searching for words. Hiei would not understand him, he knew. How could he ever tell him? For the first time since they had sat down under the tree, the fox looked at his friend. Green eyes met with red ones. Hiei’s look revealed anticipation, a longing to hear the truth Kurama had never seen before. He was caught in a trap by Hiei, he would have no choice but speak.
‘Hiei...’ he started, ‘I was worried about you. The only reason I wanted to come to the Makai this time was to see you are alright.’
Hiei just looked.
‘I don’t know how to explain. Things have changed a little and I don’t know why.’
Hiei kept looking. Kurama’s nervousness increased and he knew Hiei took very well note of it.
‘I think I have... I am in love with you, Hiei.’
‘Na.......ni?’ Hiei’s eyes widened even more and his body tensed at the unexpected news. Yes, he could have seen that before, but he would have never thought.... ‘Love?’ he asked, his own nervousness increasing.
Kurama looked away, slightly blushing. ‘I don’t know why... Hiei.’ He felt uncomfortable now. Maybe it would have been better not to tell him. Maybe he should have never even thought about it. What would the Fire Demon think now? Would he... but the fox could not keep on thinking.
‘Good,’ Hiei said. ‘Then it is two of us.’
‘Nani?’ Kurama for once did not understand his friend at all.
‘I am not mistaking, I guess, Love is the feeling of caring about someone special, the strange feeling to belong to someone and a emotional flush every time you see that someone.’
Kurama blushed even more. ‘Hai...’
‘Good. I love you, Kurama,’ Hiei said reasonably.
‘Nani?’ Kurama’s head twirled around one more time and the question whether Hiei was sure was absolutely unnecessary as their eyes met. They were sparkling with hope and love – Hiei’s as well as Kurama’s – Hiei displayed a unique smile... happiness was spreading from his face and body as he leaned forward and kissed the fox’s mouth passionately.
Kurama knew he had been mistaking – Hiei could understand him and knew very well what love meant. He kissed back and felt wonderful this way. The kiss seemed to last forever until they finally parted, staring in each other’s sparkling eyes.
‘How long?’ Hiei asked.
‘Long enough...’ Kurama answered not being able himself to tell when the change inside him had started.
‘Fox?’ Hiei asked after a long pause.
‘We are bakas.’