Author's Notes:  This takes place after Yukina is rescued and before the tournament, but there shouldn't be many spoilers in this.  This fic is a cliché, but it's
one of my first cliché's and it was inspired by Hiei's refusal to play cards with Kurama in the series (in my translation, Hiei said, "No!  You're a very adept
man.")  I think he had a reason for not wanting to play against the fox; this is my take on that very cute part.
Category:  Anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yaoi, TWT
Warnings:  fluff, possible humor/language, PWP, shonen ai, very slight lime
Pairings:  KuramaxHiei
Author:  Arigatomina

Adept

Dark lashes lay still against pink-tinted cheeks and Yusuke could feel his own face growing warm a few seconds before his mouth opened and loud, raucous  
laughter erupted.  Bright green eyes blinked at him, but he couldn't help it.  Shaking his head, he managed to gasp in a quick breath, softening his voice till he
was merely giggling.  "Kurama!  I just can't believe *you* of all people...!"

"What is that supposed to mean?" Kurama asked softly, glaring a bit at his friend.  Yusuke was sitting in a chair across from where he stood, the teenager bent
over the table with a hand clutched to his mouth.  "I don't see anything funny about this."

The boy looked insulted and Yusuke slapped a hand on the table once before calming himself.  "Damn!  That's gotta be the best laugh I've had for a while,
now.  To think that *you*--"  His word stopped when Kurama turned away suddenly and he could see the boy's shoulders tense beneath his magenta outfit.  
"I..."

"I should not have told you."

"Hey, don't go all shy on me now," Yusuke said quickly, raising his hands when green eyes glinted over Kurama's shoulder.  "How did you expect me to react?"

"I thought you would understand, after all, you and Kuwabara are very close."  Dark brown eyes widened suddenly and Kurama took a slight step back,
predicting the eminent cry.

"Are you kidding?!  Me and that-that-hell no!  Look, Kuwabara's great and all, but I'm definitely straight!"

"You don't have to be so defensive.  I didn't think that about you.  I thought that because of your close friendship you would understand how I feel."  Kurama
watched the boy calm down, his arms tightening where he'd crossed them over his chest.  "I've lived in this world long enough to understand that my feelings
are not so unbelievable, even here.  Why are you so surprised?"

"Well..."  He was still trying not to shiver at the idea of him and Kuwabara, but Yusuke shook his head quickly to rid himself of the image.  Waving a hand at the
chair across from him, he waited until Kurama had taken the seat before propping his elbows on the table and leaning forward.  "I admit, I thought you were
kinda...feminine the first time I saw you.  I'm not that surprised to find out you're gay."  The chair made a sharp noise on Kurama's kitchen floor and Yusuke
blinked at the hard glint in those emerald eyes.

"I am not gay."  The boy across from him blinked in rampant confusion but Kurama's expression didn't soften at all.  "I know what that means, and it does not
equate to me.  In general, I am no more attracted to men than I am to women.  If you must put me in a category, then I would be considered both, not one or
the other."

"Oh.  Damn, you just don't look experienced at all, and I've never seen you look at girls."  Those eyes were dark and Yusuke decided not to ask.  He knew
Kurama had a past life in the Makai world, but for some reason he kept forgetting that.  When he thought of the red-haired teen, he only saw Shuuichi, the
human teenager.   It was hard to imagine him as something else.  "Okay, but still, it wasn't that you like guys.  I just can't see you with Hiei, you're complete
opposites."  Kurama raised an eyebrow at him and he grinned suddenly, running a hand over the back of his neck.  "And he's so short!"

Kurama's eye twitched, and he smirked.  "You think I would prefer Kuwabara, then?"

"Eww, that's not funny!  You just gave me the worst possible image.  But seriously, why Hiei?  I thought fems liked big muscular guys."  That eyebrow was
raised again and Yusuke set his chin down on his hands, waiting.

"Fems?  I don't know exactly what that means, but I don't think I like it."  Yusuke gave a quick laugh but Kurama waved a hand at him.  "It doesn't matter.  You
don't consider Hiei to be muscular?  I would enjoy hearing you tell him that."

"Uh...well, okay.  Guess you got me there.  But he's still short."

"I suppose you would prefer someone tall," Kurama said softly, smiling when Yusuke nodded.  It obviously took the boy a minute to realize what he'd done.

"Hey!  I'm not the one who likes guys, here!"  Glaring at the smiling redhead, Yusuke let out an irritated huff.  "Fine, if he's your type, that's up to you.  But he
has the personality of a...a..."

"A fire demon?"  His friend made a face at him and Kurama's smile widened a bit as he sighed.  "He *is* belligerent, isn't he.  His spirit is what attracts me the
most, though he does have beautiful eyes."

"Yeah, all *three* of them."  Kurama let out a soft laugh and Yusuke leaned back in the chair, his eyes trailing up to the ceiling.  "So, what do you want me to
do?  You call me out here and tell me this.  What?  Did you just want to tell someone?"

"No, there is something you can help me with.  I would involve Kuwabara to make it more reasonable, but I didn't think he could handle it.  And Hiei might kill
him afterward."

"Eh?  You *definitely* don't want to tell Kuwabara that you've got the hots for Hiei.  He might let *you* by with something like that, but he'd throw it in Hiei's face
every chance he got."

Kurama nodded, knowing exactly how easily Hiei got riled by the klutzy orange-haired ruffian.  "Right."

"So...what do you want *me* to do?" Yusuke asked again.  He was completely willing to help, though he still couldn't picture Kurama and Hiei doing *anything*
like what he fantasized with girls.  He wasn't a baby, but he'd never cared to learn about gay guys before so he really didn't know much about it.  Kurama had
the oddest expression and he blinked at it, wondering why he felt like scooting his chair back.

"Do you know how to play poker?"

* * *

It was nearly one in the morning by the time Kurama found the youki he'd been searching for, but it didn't really matter.  It was the weekend and he'd have the
house until late Sunday afternoon, a rare occurrence any more.  The power was slight, obviously suppressed by more than the band Hiei kept about his third
eye.  That would diminish the Jagan's power, but the youkai was still hard to find.  But Kurama managed and he wasn't too surprised to find himself in a park
not far from his own home.  It was close to Yusuke's home as well, easily accessible in case Botan showed up with another assignment for them.  Hiei tended
to flit between the spirit world and the ningen world, but Kurama wasn't surprised that he chose to sleep in the human world.  There wasn't anything there that
could threaten him.

It was dark in the park, the occasional light not reaching into the trees.  Kurama expected to find his target in the tallest tree, and he wasn't disappointed.  The
black figure was barely discernable through thick leaves and he came to stand at the foot of the tree, his eyes directed upward.  There was no movement, but
he was certain Hiei knew he was there.  His own spirit power was less in human form, but he hadn't suppressed it at all.  Hiei would definitely feel the youki,
even if he were asleep.  It was a shame, though, he'd never seen his comrade sleep and he thought it would be an interesting sight; Hiei with his guard down.  
A few minutes passed before Kurama sighed softly, his lips curving into a smile.  Hiei wasn't going to ask him why he'd come and he wasn't surprised.  "I've
been looking for you."

The small shape didn't shift, but Kurama could make out a slight glint in the darkness and he knew those cat-shaped eyes were focused on him.  His smile
turned into a smirk.  "Yusuke and I have been talking.  We have a challenge for you."  He could imagine the uncaring expression on his friend's face and he
turned his back, hiding his own expression.  "I told him you wouldn't be up to it, but I couldn't bear to hear him brag so.  To think he could beat you so easily..."  
There was almost no sound, only the wisp of Hiei's black cloak as the short demon was abruptly standing behind him.  Kurama's smile widened for a second
before he cleared his face and looked over his shoulder.  Those eyes were narrowed, and he looked at him for a moment.

"Well?"

"Ah, then you *are* up to it?"  Kurama blinked as if he were surprised and he glanced away.  "I didn't think you would accept a challenge from us."

"Us?"  The red-haired ningen was up to something and Hiei had the feeling it wasn't a fight he was being challenged to.  "I can take you both."  Kurama's lips
twitched and he frowned at him, not sure what to make of the odd expression.  Then it cleared quickly.

"Ah," Kurama said softly, "I'm sure you could...  Yusuke's waiting at my house, come with me."

* * *

"What is this?"

It was hard to keep a straight face, especially when Hiei looked ready to whip out his sword at the slightest provocation.  Keeping his grin in check, Yusuke
lifted the deck of cards and shuffled them with a flourish.  "A challenge for you, Hiei.  Kurama here says you're good at anything you try."  The black-haired
demon flicked a look towards the teen in question and Yusuke smirked at Kurama's quick nod.  "But the way I see it, you can fight just fine.  That's just
strength and speed.  A card game, though, that takes skill.  And Kurama and I are good, real good.  I told him you wouldn't stand a chance against us, but he
insisted you should have a try at it."

"Of course, I'll explain the rules to you," Kurama said softly, smiling at Hiei from where he'd sat down across from Yusuke.  "I'm sure once you know how to play
you'll do great."

"A game?  You expect me to play a *game* with you?"  He would have snorted at the very idea if Yusuke hadn't laughed suddenly, drawing his attention and
his scowl.

"See, Kurama?  I told you he was afraid to play against us!  Oh, he'll fight with that sword of his, but a battle of the mind?  He chickens out."  A low growl
reached him and Yusuke turned a lazy gaze at the short figure standing near him.  "Am I wrong?"

"Kisama..."

The plan was working beautifully.  Yusuke was nearly as good at riling Hiei as Kuwabara was.  It was all Kurama could do not to smile when the black-clothed
figure abruptly took the seat between them.  "I'll explain the rules," Kurama said helpfully, enjoying the complete attention Hiei turned on him.  No matter what,
there was no way his friend would back down now.

* * *

"What's the point of this?" Hiei growled, his red eyes shooting sparks at Yusuke's grin before dropping back to the cards on the table.  He was losing.  It wasn't
that obvious, but he could see the trend just by looking around at the other two players.  Yusuke's shirt was gone, but Kurama was fully clothed, not having
lost a single hand.  His teeth pressed together and he took another gulp of the glass beside him, vaguely grateful that Kurama kept refilling it.  

"What's the matter, Hiei?  You show skin every time we fight, you're not *embarrassed* are you?"  Ruby eyes glared at him, sharp points visible of Hiei's small
fangs and Yusuke let out a loud laugh, taking a sip of his own drink.

"Of course not," Hiei shot back, his hand clenching beneath the table.  He wasn't embarrassed, that was not the right word at all.  

"In strip poker, the person who loses the most hands is at a disadvantage," Kurama supplied, standing quickly.  They weren't fixing the game, though Yusuke
had suggested it.  He almost wished they had since his luck was so strong he hadn't lost at all.  Leaning over the table, he poured some more sake into Hiei's
glass before sitting again.  "As you lose hands, you lose more clothing."  Hiei was watching him with a droll expression and Kurama flashed a smile at him.  
"That makes you uncomfortable, and it makes it harder for you to win."

"Ch'.  I am *not* uncomfortable."  Brilliant green eyes flashed at him and Hiei looked away from Kurama's smile, his chin rising a bit.  They'd explained the rules
before the game started, but he hadn't expected to lose at all.  Now, he found himself wearing nothing but his pants while the redhead was completely clothed
and Yusuke nearly so.  He wasn't uncomfortable, he was just irritated.  His fingers tightened around his glass and he emptied it quickly before reaching up to
his forehead and ripping the white cloth away from his jagan.  

"Hey!  That doesn't count, does it?"  Yusuke frowned at Hiei, ignoring the warning glare.  Glancing at Kurama, he sighed when the teen shrugged.

"Surely it does," Kurama admitted.  "After all, that's part of his clothing as much as anything else."  He hid his disappointment well, reminding himself that it was
just as well.  If Hiei lost two more hands he'd be completely naked and despite the huge amount of alcohol the small demon was putting away, he didn't seem
close to being drunk.  If he was going to take advantage of him, he'd have to make the game last longer.  Unfortunately, he wasn't sure if that would be
possible.  The youki in the room increased suddenly and Kurama looked up, his eyes locking on Hiei, gazing into a bright blue jagan as the demon opened his
third eye.  

The next hand was dealt by Yusuke, and the boy blinked in surprise when Hiei quickly won the round.  "You aren't cheating, are you?"  Kurama winced and he
closed his mouth quickly, giving a light laugh at Hiei's withering glare.  "Hah!  Just kidding.  Well, Kurama, looks like you have the lowest hand, this time."

"Ah."  Dropping his eyes, Kurama shrugged off the dark blue coat he wore, glancing up in time to catch Hiei's smirk.  Then the youkai frowned and he blinked
at him innocently.

"How much do you wear?"  His jagan made it easier for him to concentrate, though it shouldn't have been needed, and Hiei was aware of the fact that Kurama
didn't usually dress so thickly.  The ningen not only had the coat but a shirt and vest as well, the articles adding up to much more than he or Yusuke had
started with.

"Keep winning and you'll see," Kurama said lightly, his eyes glinting when Hiei blinked at him.  For a second he looked so young it was difficult not to lick his
lips.  He wasn't usually so eager, certainly not since taking a human body, but his attraction for the small demon was something else.  The person in question
glared quickly and he watched Hiei shuffle the cards, his hands not moving quite as fast as they had before.  No matter how high his natural tolerance was,
Kurama could see that the alcohol was catching up with him.  His jagan might counter it enough to allow him to focus on winning, but that would just prolong
the game.

* * *

"You guys are about to see something women around the world only dream of," Yusuke said loudly, pushing his chair back.  Kurama smirked at him and he
was glad the redhead was after Hiei so he didn't feel embarrassed.  He'd never actually stripped in front of anyone, but he'd lost the hand and that was it.  In
fact, he wasn't worried about Hiei, either.  The short black-haired male had won every hand since revealing his jagan and Kurama was already bare to the
waist.  But the demon hadn't shown any interest in him at all, at least not as far as Yusuke could see.  He was completely focused on the game, and his drink.  
He seemed to like it.  Dark red eyes flicked to him and he gave a cocky smirk before removing his shorts.  For a second he came close to flushing when Hiei
looked at him without the least bit of hesitation, then Hiei snorted and Yusuke's face turned red.  "Hey!"

Despite the fact that his friend was standing naked at his kitchen table, Kurama's eyes were glued to Hiei, watching as the demon tilted his head back and
gave a shocking laugh.  Yusuke's curse only seemed to spur him on and Kurama's smile widened slowly.

"What's so funny, damn it?!"  Yusuke had heard Hiei laugh when they'd first met, but that had been an evil sound.  This was completely different and very
humiliating.  "What?!"

"Baka."

"I don't have to take that!" Yusuke growled, grabbing his clothes and dressing quickly.  He was furious, but he had to admit their little game had obviously
worked; Hiei was drunk.  His eyes flicked to Kurama and he shook his head at the small smile his friend gave him.  "I lost, I'm out of here."

"I told you Hiei wouldn't lose," Kurama murmured, holding his expression when Hiei glanced at him.  Yusuke smirked and he nodded.  "It was a good game,
though."

"Yeah," Yusuke said.  Having dressed quickly, he caught Hiei's eyes.  "You may have beaten me, but Kurama's another story."  The black-haired youkai
snorted softly and Yusuke glanced at Kurama again, taking in his pleased smile.  Suddenly his kind friend looked almost evil, an expression he'd never seen
on him before.  "You two have fun..."

"I don't plan on losing," Kurama smiled, his eyes glinting at the sharp look Hiei shot him.  "This should be interesting."

"No more talk," Hiei said softly, grabbing the cards.  He barely paid Yusuke any attention when the boy left the room, his hands shuffling quickly.  The
atmosphere was different without Yusuke, and Hiei had the distinct impression he should be on guard.  But he wasn't, not really.  In fact, he felt easy and
comfortable, his eyes sliding to Kurama as he dealt each of them a hand.  Slender fingers were playing with one of the long locks of red that fell over Kurama's
shoulders and his eyes followed the movement before flicking back to bright green eyes.  There was a challenge there that he didn't quite understand.  
Kurama gave him a slow smile and he raised an eyebrow before lifting his cards.

* * *

Kurama's lips twitched as red eyes flicked back and forth between Hiei's hand and the cards he'd laid on the table.  Finally, the eyes lifted to him and narrowed
into a scowl.  "Well?"

"I lost."  With a sneer, Hiei dropped the cards on the table, not bothering to flip them over.  He couldn't think how it had happened.  They'd gone through four
rounds with equal scores, something Kurama had told him was nearly impossible.  But they had, straights of different suits, equal numbers.  And then this.  
Glaring at the back of his cards, Hiei barely resisted the urge to look at them again, as if the numbers would change.  Even if they did it wouldn't matter, not
with Kurama's four aces.  "Ch'."

"It's not over," Kurama said quickly, hiding his smile behind his folded hands.  "You still have your-"  Red eyes flicked to him in a dark glare and he blinked,
licking his lips suddenly.  He'd wondered about it, but he couldn't help but be excited at the thought that Hiei didn't wear anything beneath his pants.  The
demon stood suddenly and Kurama barely held still, waiting eagerly.

"What's the point of this?" Hiei growled, raising an eyebrow at the wide green eyes locked on his waist.  Kurama was looking far to excited and even the warm
rush in his blood wasn't enough for him to fail to notice *that* expression.  "Stop looking at me like that."

"Like what, Hiei?"  The dark-haired youkai glared and Kurama stood smoothly, crossing the space between them.  "You aren't going to 'chicken-out', are you?  
I expected more from you."

"I think you did," Hiei said suddenly, his eyes narrowing to slits.  The ningen blinked at him and he stepped to the table, grabbing the small white cloth and
retying it around his forehead.  "This wasn't the only 'game' you were playing."

Kurama blinked for a second, disappointed and not a little frustrated, then he smiled.  "You're right, of course.  I should have known I couldn't get anything
past you, Hiei."  Muscles tightened when he slipped an arm over Hiei's shoulder and Kurama leaned down, smiling into Hiei's narrow eyes as the demon looked
back at him.  "But I wasn't trying to trick you," he lied smoothly, watching as one slender black eyebrow raised.  "I just thought maybe a game would help you
loosen up a bit."

Fingers were sliding up and down his chest and Hiei frowned down at them before turning his scowl on the smiling fox.  "I don't play games like that, and I don't
need to...loosen up."  Smooth skin brushed his nipple and he took a slight step back without thinking, putting himself closer against Kurama's chest.  "Stop
that."

"You don't like that?" Kurama murmured, ducking his face so it touched Hiei's neck.  The youkai wasn't looking at him and he flicked his tongue out to touch
the smooth skin there.  "What *do* you like, Hiei?"

"What are you *doing*?" Hiei scowled, his head tilted to the side to get his neck away from the redhead's mouth but actually giving him more access to the
spot.  

With a smirk, Kurama nuzzled the short demon's neck.  "Well, I *planned* to take advantage of you, but you hold your alcohol too well so now I'm trying to
seduce you."

"Seduce me."  Hiei's expression was blank for a second, then he rounded on the tall male, turning dark eyes upward.  "Why the *hell* would you want to do
that?  You idiot humans make everything so complicated."  Kurama blinked at him and he rolled his eyes.  "Just ask."

"Damn it, Hiei," Kurama growled, glaring down at the smirking youkai.  "I worked hard to get you here because you've never once so much as hinted that you
might be interested.  And now you-"  His words were cut off and he sighed, arms wrapping around a slender waist as Hiei's lips pressed his.  "Okay," he
murmured as the smirking demon pulled back, "I get it."

Hiei glared when he was suddenly picked up, his strong hands squeezing Kurama's shoulders.  "What are you doing?  Put me down."  

"The table's much too hard," Kurama smirked, tightening his arms until Hiei was pressed against him.  The youkai's tight grip hurt his shoulders, but he didn't
really care at the moment.  Glaring red cat eyes turned up to him and he ducked his head, pressing a kiss into that open mouth and muffling Hiei's comment
before it got out.  He continued toward his room without looking and was just reaching the door when Hiei's hands shoved his head back, breaking the kiss.

"I have to breathe, you know," Hiei muttered, taking a deep breath.  A small part of him was wondering at the kitsune's eagerness, how long it must have been
bottled up.  But for the most part he didn't care.  It wasn't as if he hadn't experienced his own attraction for the irritating youkai-turned ningen.  He'd just never
expected to act on it.  Kurama dropped him suddenly and he flinched, blinking as he landed on something soft and cushiony.  A look revealed it as a bed and
he frowned when hands moved toward his waistband.  "I can do that myself."

"Of course you can," Kurama nodded, his green eyes glinting, "but I want to do it.  You don't mind, do you?"  The youkai snorted and Kurama undid Hiei's
pants, pulling them down as his eyes devoured the skin he revealed.  And he smirked.  It was no wonder Hiei had laughed at Yusuke.  "You know, Hiei, it's a
good thing you beat Yusuke.  I don't think he could handle the comparison."

"His conceit was undeserved," Hiei said drolly, ignoring the heat that rose to his cheeks as green eyes lifted to his face.  "And you?"

"Ah, well I *was* a youko, after all."  The youkai raised an eyebrow at him and Kurama smirked, tossing long red hair over his shoulder.  Straightening, he
pushed his own pants down.  For the first time in years he really missed his tail, it definitely added to his sensuality, but then, Hiei didn't look too disappointed.  
Catching those red eyes, Kurama licked his lips and climbed onto the bed.  "You did say all I had to do was ask," he murmured, his green eyes narrowed in a
hot gaze.  "Hiei, can I lick every inch of your body?"  At any other time he would have burst into laughter at Hiei's shocked expression and his lips twitched.  
The youkai's mouth had fallen open and he was blinking very wide eyes at him.  It was too adorable.  "I'll take that as a yes."  

--Owari--


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