Author's Notes:  This fic takes place before the Yukina episodes, not long after Hiei and Kurama were assigned to help the tantei.  I've tried to avoid first
person for a very long time, on principle.  Here I'm going to break my own 'rule' and use it for a short 'introspective' piece, just to have tried it.
This fic is told from Hiei's point of view.
Category:  Anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yaoi, TWT
Warnings:  shonen ai, angst (may be slight, I'm no judge)
Pairings:  Kurama+Hiei, reference to ShigurexHiei
Author:  Arigatomina

Nothing to say

I was confused.  

And I was angry.  

Partly at him for having done it, but mostly at myself.  Why run?  Why did I always run from everything?  One glance at a situation I was uncomfortable with,
one look at a person I didn't understand, one hint of an emotion I didn't want to feel and I ran again and again.  A protection method, yes, but a weakness
more than anything else.  And I didn't think of myself as a coward.  And yet I ran so often. Why did I have to run from him as well?

It wasn't just that he'd touched me, though that alone was enough to make me want to run.  It hadn't been the uncomfortable memories and sensations that
arose, but rather the look in his eyes when he'd done it.  That gaze drove me away even more than the icy fear of that touch.  He'd looked at me as if he
wanted to devour me.  And that was something I'd never thought to see from him.  He wasn't the sort of person to do that, not to me.

Oh, I'd never fool myself into thinking he were anything other than what he was.  Youko, fiery, sly, and infinitely clever in achieving his goals, I'd never thought
of him as the emotional human he modeled himself to look like.  From the first meeting I'd seen through the guise, right to the glitter in those bright green
eyes.  He'd fed off the adrenaline just as any demon would, but even more so because for him, victory had the same meaning as it did for me.  Victory meant
life, and pride, and knowing there was a chance to go on and get what one wanted most.  For me, that had been information at the time, for him...I think he
wanted to know that he still held his prowess.  Trapped in a human existence, that single fight had been an awakening for him, and it had proven that he still
was just what he'd always been.  Youko Kurama.

The name meant little to me back then.  Yes, I'd heard of him.  Who hadn't heard of the sly fox who'd wrecked havoc over every treasure holder in the Makai
for centuries?  Of course I'd heard of him.  But I hadn't cared.  So he was an infamous fox thief?  It meant nothing to me.  Thieves meant nothing to me.  I'd
known more than my share of them, and his name, while more known, was just another title used by a thief.  I'd taken it, made the connection, and dismissed
it.  Until I realized I could use his skills, all he'd been was a demon contact in a foreign and disgustingly mundane world.  At best, I'd used his fighting skills to
defeat my enemy.  If I hadn't heard of the sword I would never have given him another thought.

I want to believe that, and I've told him as much.  That first time I returned to his human home, I'd told him I only meant to see to it that he lived in case I had
use of him during my stay in the human world.  He'd smirked at me.  That disgusting expression he uses now with those human friends of his, he'd turned it on
me. As if I couldn't see by the glint in his eyes that he knew better.  I'd returned to him because he was a demon, and thief or not, I wanted to keep tabs on the
only contact I had with another demon.  And he was more than that, he'd guarded me when I was wounded.  There lay the issue of my return.  He'd instilled a
debt that I had yet to repay.

I have never known a person to do that, someone who wouldn't take the first opportunity to take out an enemy when his back was open.  The human had
certainly done so, Yusuke hadn't thought twice about attacking from behind.  But not the fox, not then.  I'd wondered, for weeks after, why he hadn't killed me
then, or used me for whatever purpose he cared to.  He hadn't known my name, wouldn't have realized what an opportunity he had in his hands when I passed
out at his feet.  But surely with his quick mind he'd known I was no ordinary demon wondering through the border between the worlds.  As a professional thief,
he should have used me.  I know plenty of demons who would pay dearly to have me handed over to them in such a weak state.

But he hadn't.  From that first meeting he'd done something unheard of, he'd done nothing at all.  And so I'd come back, fighting with myself over why I was
there, lying about why I was there, and trying to ignore the fact that he knew I was lying.  I think he realized it even then, that he'd gained my trust.  Those eyes
that glittered above a hidden smile had seen right through my glares and denials.  Yes, he knew from that moment, when I returned to his room, that I trusted
him.  And inconceivable as it is, he never betrayed that trust in the months that followed.  

Three times I used him, each time expecting to have that trust thrown aside.  I did it intentionally.  I know better than to hand myself to a potential enemy when
I'm weak to begin with.  He seemed to think the same, his eyes showing the confusion he didn't dare to speak aloud.  He didn't know why I would show such
trust in him when I denied having it in the first place.  I was testing him.  I went to him wounded to see if that first time had been a ruse, to see how long he
would hold to his game, if it really were a game.  And he'd deepened the trust, not once doing anything but helping me and guarding me until the wounds
healed.  I trusted him more, until the opportunity arose and I put him to the final test.

I would use his skills as a thief, and in doing so help him gain that which he most desired, the life of that human mother he'd come to shelter.  I surprised him.  
Why, I'm still not sure.  He knew I was searching for Yukina, he'd heard my dreams during that first weakened time together.  While he didn't know who she
was, he knew I cared enough to cry her name aloud.  I never cried anyone's name aloud.  Of course, he wouldn't have known that.  But he knew I had
someone I wanted to shelter, someone to save and protect.  And still he'd been surprised that I would understand his wish to keep that human alive.  It must
have been my hatred of humans.

I do hate the race, the weak disgusting race as a whole and the multitude in this particular city with whom I am now trapped.  But human or not, that woman
was Kurama's one, she was his purpose.  How could I not understand that when I too live only for one?  I die for Yukina, so he would die for the human
woman.  So simple, yet he remained doubtful to the end.  He still speaks of her in a sly tone, as if he expects me to correct him.  

I don't care if she's human, she is his purpose.  I may hate her race, and also her for being a part of that race, but I would never mock Kurama for choosing
her as his one.  Yukina is an ice maiden, yet that has not stopped me from wanting to save her, to have her live.  Race does not matter when it comes to such
things.  I believe it is nature.  Even I cannot fight something inborn in me.  And so Kurama's merge into a human existence had instilled the same urge.  I
understood that.  I still understand that.

But he'd been surprised and suspicious.  I wonder if that caused him to be so quick to betray me in favor of the human boy.  At the time, it was the proof I had
been looking for during those months since our first meeting.  That theft was the final test.  Could he be trusted to work with me?  And the answer seemed
clear.  No.  Where I had tried to repay my debt to him by getting him access to the mirror that would save his human woman's life, he had repaid his debt to
Yusuke by ensuring my downfall.  Discarded so quickly, and for someone he'd known less than a week.  It had proven my early doubts and destroyed that
trust I'd unwillingly harbored.  That should have been enough.  It would have been, had he not come to me later.

He liked me.  Liked.  Not what he could get from me, not what I could give to him, he'd claimed he liked me.  I still don't understand that, where that could have
come from.  I certainly didn't return the feeling.  His words had come after a long awaited betrayal, whispered in my ear as I hung defenseless against
everything around me.  At that moment, I couldn't have hated him more.  He had assured my end.  He was to blame for what I knew I would face the moment
the Reikai decided which prison to throw me into.  And he had the nerve to say he liked me.  If I'd had the energy I would have killed him.  I didn't believe him
until I found the terms he had arranged, and even then, I didn't understand.

He had seen to it I was imprisoned, and then, he had seen to it I would be given parole at the cost of his own freedom.  In return for sparing me, the Reikai had
Kurama's bond that I would be watched. Any crime I committed would be thrown onto him as my watcher, the one who'd promised to be held accountable for
me.  And why did he say he'd agreed to the terms?  Because he liked me.

I was confused.

Two people have made that claim to me, but Kurama had no cause.  He had nothing to gain from liking me, no reason to want to keep me alive.  Or so I had
thought.  That touch told me now why he'd made the claim.  But at the time all I could think of was the other person who'd said those words to me.  The
surgeon.  He had liked me.  And he'd taught me to hate that emotion.  Better to be hated than liked, if being liked meant being denied death.  His 'like' for me
had kept me alive and miserable for months as he turned me away again and again.  He would not give me what I wanted because he 'liked' me too much to
kill me.

And I was angry.

The words meant nothing to me until he spoke them, the concept was foreign to my ears.  It wasn't until he realized I would die whether I had the surgery or not
that he gave in.  And it was then that I understood the word.  Liking me meant he would rather have me miserable than dead.  It meant he would rather serve
himself than me because he thought keeping one he 'liked' alive was better treatment.  Words.  He'd been a mess of words that contradicted each other.  And
in the end it made no difference.  Whether he liked me or not, he wasn't above using me just as I used him.  And so I learned what it meant to be 'liked'.  

It meant he wouldn't kill me.  It meant that even after he used me he continued to 'like' me regardless of how I felt about him.  It meant he didn't care if I liked
him or not so long as so long as he had me near.  He liked me when I was miserable being turned away, when I was unresponsive as he used me, when I was
terrified during the surgery, and when I was hateful as I left him.  Like didn't depend on me at all.  And so I have no idea what it means to 'like' a person, only
that being liked is an incomprehensible thing.  I don't know where it comes from, and I don't like what it leads to.  And Kurama liked me.

From that moment I lost some of my hate toward him, mostly because he had undone his harm by freeing me with his bargain with the Reikai, but also because
of his claim.  He liked me.  So what did he plan to do with me *because* of that like?  I spent that mission waiting to find out.  And he taunted me just as Shigure
had.  And Yusuke joined him in it.

The boy I can ignore.  He is human, though he seems to be different from his race, he *is* human.  And as strangely as he may act toward me, however he
may confuse me with his looks and smiles, he has never made that claim.  Kurama had.  And I was waiting to find out why.  All through the mission, the battles,
and the strange bond between the two human tantei, I waited to find out why the youko liked me, and why he had told me about it.  Because even in that short
amount of time together, I could feel that old trust awakening again.  And I don't want to trust someone who 'liked' me.

We carried the humans home after that mission, just a few hours ago.  And I had meant to leave the moment I was rid of that burden.  I didn't want to be near
them any longer, not after watching the large oaf nearly kill himself like he had.

I was confused.

Kurama had explained it to me, but I refuse to agree.  The boy would have been brought back if he were to die.  The Reikai invested too much in him to just let
him pass away after his victory.  There was no reason for the oaf to waste his own life force as he had.  And why Kurama, as a demon, would think the display
a good thing, I have no idea.  It made me wonder again at how much the human world had affected him.  I hesitated because of this confusion, the doubt.  Just
when I'd been sure he really was the youko I thought him to be despite his guise, he'd made such a human statement.

And I was angry.

That he dared to look at me as if I should agree with him.  Did he think I would ever do such a thing?  Did he think I would do it for him?  Is that why he'd looked
at me like that?  Never.  I didn't even want to trust him. How could he think I might do such a human thing for him?  Or was he saying that he would do it for
me?  That thought was more disturbing than any other.  I hesitated because I wanted to know why his eyes had shone when he watched the boys share their
energy and risk death that way.  But I didn't.  The question froze in my throat when I found myself alone with him.  And emotions rose to add to my discomfort.  
So I ran.

I was confused.

Leaving him there without a word, I returned to the place where I have stayed the most.  This human world is full of such places, but one in particular was
where I chose to stay most often.  I stood on the top level, and let the wind wipe away those conflicting thoughts and feelings.  I didn't know what to do with
them, so they had no place inside of me.  I do not accept feelings I have no use for.  And those emotions did nothing but confuse me more.  If I allowed them to
remain they would have distracted me and only multiplied themselves a dozen times over.  I let the wind take them.  It would have worked if he hadn't followed
me.

And I was angry.

That he would come there, to my place.  He knew I had left because I didn't want to be near him, and yet he'd come, those dark eyes unflinching beneath my
glare.  And he refused to leave without an explanation.  I chose to ignore him, not knowing he would accept that so easily.  Having him sit beside me was even
worse than the stand off.  But I refused to budge.  It was my place, and I had no reason to leave because of his invasion.  He was wrong to intrude where he
was not wanted.  I had never done such a thing in his human home.  Then he touched me.

I was confused.

Not afraid at first, just wondering why he would do that.  The only time he had ever touched me was when I was injured, and then I had come to him, inviting the
contact as part of my tests of that trust.  But he'd broken that, and I was not injured.  So why?  The answer came when I looked into his eyes and saw that
spark, that drive that remains with me now.

And I was angry.

That he could hold me so easily when I knew his physical strength was less.  The aggression shocked me into stillness.  I couldn't push away, couldn't so much
as voice a protest against him.  And the pain infuriated me more than the sudden fear that helped to lock my body.  I didn't trust him, hadn't trusted him since
he betrayed me in favor of Yusuke, so why?  Why did it hurt to have him touch me like that?  To know that he 'liked' me like that?  And that light in his eyes
angered me the most.  I was angry at myself for never having seen it there before, for having forgotten his nature after all the time I reminded myself that he
was a demon despite his guise.  But even stronger than my anger at being so weak, was the inexplicable fear.

I was confused.

I could have pushed away, could have killed him in an instant. I had no reason to be paralyzed with that old fear, no reason to find my mind reflexively locking
down to block out what was happening.  I owed him nothing.  At least with Shigure it had been a bargain, my reaction was useful because whether or not I was
strong enough to stop him, I had agreed to it.  But this was Kurama.  I owed him nothing.  I had no reason to allow that touch, those hands that crushed me to
him and moved over my back.  Why couldn't I resist?  What was wrong with me?  And why did he have to do it?  Why did he have to like me?

And I was angry.

That I ran without a word, not even the slightest blow to repay him for his actions.  I was not weaker than him, I had no reason to run from him when I could
have killed him easily.  So why did I run?  How could I have been so weak as to run?  I don't understand.  Why he likes me, why I react to him this way, or why
the thought of killing him, even with my fury at his touch, hurts me.  The only thing I know is that I don't like him.  And now, there is no question in my mind.  I
don't trust him.

"Hiei...?"

I have nothing to say to him.  Without looking down, I disappear and run again.  I am confused, and I am angry.  But I have nothing to say to him.

~Owari~



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