Warning Label!

by Talya Firedancer

Author's note: Hahaha! My first non-yaoi Hiei-Kurama fic! Let's see if I can actually do it... <gritting teeth>

Hiei <eyeing talya>: Let's place bets.

Kurama: Nah, you'll probably win.

*The author groans and buries her head in her hands.* Swelp me, they won. Those little boogers just THROW themselves at one another. I can't help it. The ice cream did me in... So this fic has a mild shonen ai alert.

Youko Kurama was dreaming...about stealing something. He twitched, curling up in the sheets, a delighted smile crossing his face as he contemplated the wonderful Makai treasure chest he'd just opened. Deep red rubies... gleaming black onyx statuettes of exquisitely sculpted dragons... smooth marble ridges of...

"SHUUICHI! Shuu-chan, are you awake!"

Kurama started, blinking wildly, and sat up. Dream. He'd been dreaming. He frowned in disappointment. His stealing days were over, for now at least. But what a lovely treasure it had been...

Casually he glanced at the clock. Shouldn't be too-



He leapt out of bed, gripped with fear. Sure, it was just the everyday fear of being late to school, but it spurred him on nevertheless. He scrambled into his clothes, gave his hair a lick and a promise, grabbed his school bag, and sprinted out the door before Shiori could toss out a demand that he sit down and eat breakfast.

Outside, it was a lovely day. Surely the kind that Yuusuke and Kuwabara would spend ditching school, running around town, relaxing in the park, stealing ice-cream...hm, stealing...

If his ears could've twitched, they would have.

Firmly he put the thought of stealing behind him. That dream had reawakened the youko part of him, and now he was positively itching to just spend this day outside, maybe rolling around in the grass. But no. He was Minamino Shuuichi, the model student. He repressed a sigh and hurried to class.

The school day was long and boring. It dragged unbearably, each class period stretching out ad infinitum as Kurama struggled all at once to concentrate on whatever it was sensei was saying, ignore the lovestricken stares of the teenaged girls around him, and try *very* hard to not just stare out the window with a faraway expression on his face.

Today was a beautiful day for a mission, he found himself thinking wistfully. Anything to get out-of-doors.

Inari-sama wasn't that kind. He had to suffer through the entire suffocating day in the stuffy classrooms, while girls around him giggled from time to time and tried to pass him love notes. He could just picture Kuwabara and Yuusuke smirking as they ditched class, too.

It was on the way *home* that trouble struck.

Kurama had decided to take the long way home, part of the route he had devised to escape the swarms of girls that inevitably mobbed him every day after school. He especially liked this route, though, because it went by the park. The greenery and fresh earth never failed to brighten his spirits and this time of year something sweet-smelling was always in bloom.

He had just rounded the corner when there was a rustle in the tree he was approaching. He frowned, then...a flicker of youki...

A slight body tumbled from the tree.

Eyes wide with shock, Kurama sprang forward to catch it. He grabbed Hiei in his arms and eased him to the ground. The little youkai was badly hurt; bleeding from a dozen different wounds, and at least two or three dark purple patches indicated internal bleeding. He cracked open his dark red eyes.

"K'rama?" he slurred from bruised lips.

"I'm here," Kurama responded instantly, "Hiei, what happened!?" But his question fell on deaf ears. The fire demon had passed out cold, once he realized he had made it to the one person he trusted.

"Kuso," he whispered. They were too far from Genkai's; Hiei was too badly hurt. He was just going to have to take him home, and make sure Shiori didn't find out he was harboring a nasty-tempered, antisocial little fire demon who would undoubtedly be torching things in his frustrated invalid state...

He sighed and touched Hiei's cheek. "Why can't you be more careful?" he asked almost sadly, worried at Hiei's numerous injuries, fretting over how he'd gotten them, and almost glad the closed-off little fire demon wasn't awake to see the mix of anxious concern and something deeper in his eyes.

He picked Hiei up in his arms; the youkai was surprisingly heavy considering his size. His wiry frame was compact with muscle. And right now, a mass of blood and bruises - he grimaced, imagining the damage Hiei would do to his pristine white sheets. How would he explain *that* to 'Kaasan? Che, Hiei looked as if he'd gone up against two or three S-class youkai...

Knowing Hiei, he just might have.

How on EARTH would he manage to get Hiei into his room, past 'Kaasan?

* * *

"Tadaima!" Shiori heard her son call out, the door shutting a moment later.

"Welcome home, Shuuichi!" Shiori replied, turning to greet him.

Shuuichi was making a fast track past the kitchen, something bundled up in his arms. Shiori's eyes widened.

"Ne...Shuu-chan, matte! What is that!? Is that a *body?*"

Shuuchi turned to her, wide green eyes bright and sparkling with amusement. "Iie, 'Kaasan - it's a mummy! It's for a school project I'm working on."

"Eh?" Shiori replied, noticing a seeping red stain on one arm-shaped wrapping. It dripped to the floor. "Well, hurry up and get it out of my kitchen! You're dripping that corn syrup on the floor!"

"Sumimasen!" Shuuichi replied, backing out quickly. "I'll clean it up!"

Kurama exhaled a nearly soundless sigh of relief as he hurried to his room with the deadweight in his arms. Hiei was still blankly unconscious; he must've released the Kokuryuuha not too long before finding him near the park. It was a wonder he'd remained conscious long enough to seek out Kurama, actually.

He snagged a dark-colored towel out of the bathroom, juggling Hiei's heavy little body in his arms, before bringing him to the bedroom. The dark towel, combined with the wrappings he had wound around Hiei to simulate the mummy effect, should keep all the blood off his sheets. That made *part* of his job easier.

"Dammit, Hiei," he scowled at the prone Koorime. "Why can't you be more careful?"

Secretly, though, he was pleased that the recalcitrant little fire demon considered him a close enough friend to even *come* to him when he was hurt. Even though he knew Hiei might never feel the same way he did, it was nice to at least have him close.

He rummaged around, pulling out his useful bag of first-aid items and other healing assists. Quickly he pulled out a salve that he had found was particularly effective on him. Botan had given it to him recently, and he'd tried it out not too long ago.

Kurama took care of Hiei's visible wounds first, spreading the salve carefully over the wounds and bandaging them up. There were a *lot* of cuts, scrapes, slices, gashes...nothing that would require stitches, with his youkai physiology, but enough to be irritating until they healed. There were a few more deep gashes that worried him a little, so he used what power he could to aid their healing process. Then he began to fret over the internal damage.

Finally he gave up. There was nothing to be done but have Yukina or Botan heal that, and it could probably wait until Hiei woke up. Which didn't seem like it would be anytime soon.

Now, how to steal some *food* for the surly little youkai before he woke up, so that 'Kaasan wouldn't suspect...

* * *

Hiei was still deeply asleep when Kurama returned from helping his mother clean up from dinner. He shrugged, set aside the plate of food he'd managed to scrounge, and started in on his homework.

The problem of where to sleep baffled him.

With Hiei in his bed, not even threats of rampaging flesh-eating horses could drag him into that futon. The thought of waking up to a possibly homicidal, disoriented, wounded fire demon who was normally bad-tempered *anyway...* He shuddered. He would probably wake up as Youko Kurama, in the Makai, having miraculously left his Shuuichi body behind due to... ahem... unnatural causes.

Finally, he sighed and changed into his pajamas, and went hunting for a blanket to sleep on the floor with. Normally he would have been quite pleased to share the futon with Hiei - ecstatic would be a better description - but considering the state he would probably wake up in, it was just *not* the best of options.

"Good night, Shuu-chan," Shiori's voice startled him.

He whirled, clutching the blanket to his chest. "Ah-good night, 'Kaasan," he replied quickly, giving her a smile.

Shiori looked curious. "Shuuichi, are you cold?"

"H-hai," he responded weakly, unable to think up a better excuse.

Shiori frowned. "But it's so nice out...are you getting sick?" She reached out to put a hand to his forehead. He blinked but accepted the gesture.

"I feel fine," he replied. "Just a little chilly. I had the window open all day, I guess all the heat must've gotten sucked out of my room."

*Kurama, that is the most pathetic excuse for a lie you have EVER had the temerity to use...* he scolded himself. Another portion of him snarled back, *Oh, shut up.*

"Okay," Shiori said, giving him a doubtful glance. "Sleep well, Shuu-chan."

"You too," he replied, breathing a sigh of relief that he hadn't opened the door before Shiori had come by. A mummy was one thing...an actual body looking fresh out of the emergency room was another...

He folded the blanket in half, draped part of it over him, and tried to fall asleep. Tomorrow would be interesting... He wondered if perhaps he *should* pretend he was sick, to stay home and care for Hiei. But then where would he stash Hiei while his mother was fussing over *him?*

He kept fretting at the problem, until sleep claimed him.

* * *


Kurama twitched his nose irritably. Who...?

"Kuraaaaama-chan!" The voice was petulant now. Something tickled his nose again and he sneezed, flopped over, and stuffed the pillow over his head.

"Oh, so THAT'S how you wanna play it!" the deep voice caroled, sounding ecstatically amused. "Kurama-chan! Wake up! I didn't come here to watch you sleep!"

NANI!? Who was that!? It *couldn't* be Hiei. But no one else in the house knew his right name.

He sat bolt upright, clutching the pillow. His red hair stuck out in wild tufts.

Hiei was perched practically in his lap, regarding him with wide, bright eyes. "Uhm..." Kurama squirmed, uncomfortably aware of Hiei's proximity. The fire demon took one look at Kurama's unruly morning hair and shrieked with laughter.

"Hiei! Shut up!" Kurama hissed, clamping a hand over Hiei's mouth. "My 'Kaasan could hear you!"

Hiei bit him. Hard.

"Ow!" he yelped, releasing the fire demon, who was looking immensely pleased with himself.

"Hiei!?" he demanded. He had never seen so much expression on the youkai's face in the entire time he'd known him.

"Ohayo, Kurama-chan!" Hiei chirped (as Kurama nearly choked - Hiei? Chirping!? -when had he gotten to Oz!?), throwing himself into Kurama's arms and giving him a huge hug.

"Hiei!? Are you feeling okay!?" Kurama exclaimed. Was he sick? Did he have the Makai flu? Quickly he pressed a hand to the Koorime's forehead, feeling the skin around the headband. Nope, perfectly cool.

Hiei pulled back, sitting in his lap, regarding him with a lively expression. Kurama couldn't stop staring. It was like seeing someone who *looked* superficially like Hiei...but definitely was NOT Hiei...

"Who are you and what have you done with Hiei!?" Kurama demanded.

"Kuraaaama-chan!" Hiei wailed, thrusting out his lower lip in a pout. "I AM Hiei! Want me to prove it? I can unleash my black dragon..." A little wisp of dark smoke started to curl upwards.

"No no, that's all right," Kurama said hastily, waving his hands madly. That gleam in Hiei's eye was... hyper...manic... The only thing he could think of was one of his wounds must've been infected. "Um..."

"I'm hungry!" Hiei announced, squirming on his lap and looking around. "I want food! Now!"

Kurama sweatdropped. He got up, pushing Hiei off his lap, who bounced to his feet wincing a little but otherwise limber, and dug up the plate of food he'd set aside last night.

Hiei blinked.

Then he tilted his head, looking up at Kurama. "Kuraaaama-chan! I'm hungry!"

Kurama gritted his teeth. "This is food," he told the little youkai, who folded his arms obstinately and...pouted. Kurama sweatdropped again.

"I want the sweet stuff!"


"You know!" Hiei pursed his mouth tightly, glaring at Kurama in a look that *almost* rivaled his normal self, except for the screwed-up little frown. "That sweet snow!"

"Ohh..." Kurama frowned, too, trying to remember if they had any ice cream in the fridge. They didn't.

"Hiei, I don't have time to deal with this right now..."

"I'm HUNGRY!" Hiei began to raise his voice, stamping his foot.

Kurama's eyes widened and he pounced on the smaller demon, clamping a hand over his mouth again. Hiei struggled to bite him, then started to growl. He broke away, eyes glassy and wide. He already looked like a child who'd had WAAY too much sugar.

"Shuu-chan? What's going on? Is that your radio?"

"Ah-hai, 'Kaasan!" Kurama called back, entertaining the fleeting notion of telling his mother the "mummy" was fighting back.

Hiei shook his head, then blinked, then started bouncing up and down with impatience. "Hungry-hungry-hungry!" he chanted, and Kurama groaned, burying his head in his hands.

"I have GOT to get you some help," he muttered.

* * *

Shiori smoothed a hand over her son's brow. "You *are* warm," she murmured, examining her son's flushed face. "I'm going to have you stay home from school today."

Shuuichi wiped at his flushed, damp skin. "But 'Kaasan," he protested faintly.

Shiori fixed him with a firm motherly Look. "Don't you 'but 'Kaasan' me, Shuu-chan. Back to bed. I'll call the school. You're such a good student I think you can miss a day, ne?"

Shuuichi submitted to his mother's declaration with a little sigh. "Hai, 'Kaasan," he replied, subdued.

"Now go to bed. I have to go to work now - I'll call the school first, and check with you later."

"Okay," Shuuichi exhaled reluctantly. Shiori gave him a hug then a gentle push towards his room.

Kurama shuffled off, adding a little cough for good measure. Having a mischievously playful little fire demon around was useful - he'd bribed Hiei to raise his temperature, promising him the "sweet stuff" in return. He was lucky the overenthusiastic little booger hadn't set him on fire, in his eagerness to get to the ice cream.

He opened the door and a small dark figure hurtled at him. Kurama caught Hiei with a surprised 'oof,' shoving the door shut as he fell against it.

"Kurama-chan! I've been waiting. I waited good. See?" Hiei smiled up into his face, eyes bright.

Kurama felt a sudden pang tighten his ribcage, caught by surprise not so much at the ambush but at Hiei himself. He was...cute. Adorable, actually. Not for the first time Kurama wondered how old his Koorime friend really *was* -- and if what he was seeing now was what he could have been as a child.

"You were very good," he assured him, and Hiei wriggled happily against him. Kurama hid his expression against the surprisingly soft black bristles of Hiei's hair, silently cursing whomever had hurt Hiei so badly in the past that he had closed up so completely, hiding all of this sweetness and...well, just plain adorable-ness.

Then he yowled as he felt little sparks burning and nipping at his skin, and he dropped Hiei on the ground. "You little hellion!" he exclaimed, slapping hastily at the smoldering embers that had burned through his pajama top. Hiei was giggling madly, rolling around on the ground. The top was ruined.

"I'm hungry!" Hiei announced, then poked at his bandages, frowning absently.

"Don't touch those," Kurama scolded him absently, pulling off his scorched pajama top and finding some non-uniform clothes.

Hiei stuck his tongue out at him, then went back to picking at the bandages.

"This is going to be a *long* day," Kurama observed ruefully.

* * *

"Thank you for coming! Goodbye! *Goodbye!*" the harried female employee bowed, the only sincerity breaking through in her voice at the farewell. She was glad to be rid of them. Her pink uniform was a wreck, besmeared and daubed liberally with mint, vanilla, chocolate, orange colored smears - and something that looked suspiciously like a large cigarette burn but Kurama knew better.

"Hiei..." he sighed as the door closed behind them.

Hiei glanced up at him innocently, then gave him a wide mint chip grin. "Mmn?" he responded, mouth full.

Kurama was very glad he'd grabbed napkins. "Nothing," he conceded, repressing a snicker.

Hiei lifted up an arm, nuzzling at the bandages with sticky lips.

"Don't!" Kurama warned, swatting at his arm and Hiei growled, subsiding petulantly.

"Where are we going?" Hiei inquired, docile now that his face was plastered with daiquiri ice and mint chip.

"Genkai's temple," Kurama replied, grimly clutching one of Hiei's grubby little paws.

Hiei brightened, wiping at his smudged face with the back of his hand, smearing it worse. "To see Yukina?"

Kurama couldn't help it. He groaned and whipped out a crumpled wad of napkins, dabbing at Hiei's face. "Yes, to see Yukina."

"Yay!" Hiei cheered, waving his ice cream around and hitting Kurama in the face with a loud *splat.* Hiei fell silent for a moment as if stunned by the enormity of his action.

Then Kurama opened his eyes, blinking around the spatters of pale green creamy substance that spanned the bridge of his nose and coated the skin around his eyes.

Hiei started to chuckle.

"You little-"

Then he froze, as Hiei reached up, grabbing a sidelock of hair and yanking his face down until their noses were almost touching.

Kurama blinked again, startled to feel Hiei's warm breath against his cheek, then his heart made an odd sort of spasm as Hiei's tongue emerged and swiped slowly across the smear of ice cream tracking over his cheek. He paused, then pulled Kurama's head closer, licking his other cheek.

"Hiei!?" Kurama gasped, pulling away.

Hiei scowled and grabbed his hair even more firmly, tugging him down so quickly their noses bumped. Kurama let out a startled huff of surprise before their lips met, too, smacking together as Hiei kissed him emphatically. Hiei's lips were sweet and sticky, a mingling of daiquiri ice and the chocolatey mint chip flavor.

Finally Hiei released him, regarding him with unblinking red eyes for a moment before he grimaced and tugged at the bandages on his arm with his teeth.

Kurama was stunned. "You little demon," he said softly, pushing Hiei's arm away from his face. "Why'd you do that?"

Not that he wasn't very, very pleased.

Hiei's face remained averted. He took a huge bite of ice cream. "Mkmm mm mmmv oo."

Kurama shrugged and used the napkins on himself, carefully cleaning away the thick smears Hiei hadn't reached.

"C'mon, let's go."

* * *

Yukina was gardening in front of the temple when Kurama hauled his problem child up the steps. As they approached Kurama had to bodily haul the wriggling double armful of Koorime up the steps.

"It's just Yukina!" Kurama protested, holding tightly as Hiei thrashed and spat.

"No! Don' wanna go!" Hiei howled, clamping his teeth down hard.

Kurama gritted his teeth and clung grimly.

He figured this sudden reversal was a reflection of Hiei's deeply mixed feelings about his sister - how he wanted to be with her, yet feared telling her so much he was just unable to express his feelings.

Then he felt something sizzling.

"You little brat!" Kurama exclaimed, patience fraying. He dropped Hiei as they topped the last step, spotting a wide-eyed Yukina staring in their direction.

"Yukina!" Hiei caroled, blurring as he approached the ice maiden at top speed and leapt into her arms.

"H-hiei-san?" she faltered, shocked.

Kurama scowled at this sudden mood switch again, and examined the burn mark on his arm.

Yukina looked up as Kurama approached. Hiei had his arms locked around Yukina's neck and he was purring.

"Kurama-san, what happened?" Yukina asked him in bewilderment, her upturned face confused. Her deep red eyes matched Hiei's.

Kurama heaved a sigh and pulled out the tube of salve, smearing some over the burn mark. He'd brought some, along with more bandages, knowing Hiei would probably tear the bandages off in a fit of irritation or sheer brattiness.

"I wish I knew!" Kurama threw his hands up in despair.

Quickly he explained to Yukina how he'd found Hiei yesterday, and how he'd woken up that morning to hyperactive Hiei.

"Oh my," was all Yukina could manage, as Hiei wriggled away, curiously inspecting the flowers the pretty ice maiden had been tending.

"I just can't account for his behavior," Kurama said helplessly. "He's been acting like a little kid, playing practical jokes, bouncing around like a little nut, acting like he's got attention deficit disorder, and. . ." Kurama trailed off, remembering Hiei licking his cheek. He flushed.

Yukina frowned sweetly as Hiei started jiggling from one foot to the other, then Kurama started forward as the little Koorime scratched viciously at the bandages on his arms again, making a small noise as he tugged off the bandages.

"Stop that," he protested, but Hiei flickered away from him, moving to appear on the other side of Yukina.

He stuck his tongue out defiantly. "Bpeeta, Kurama-chan!" Hiei announced, his childish words absurdly contrasting with his deep voice. Then he lowered the outstretched tongue to his wounds.

"Yameno-" Kurama started forward again, determined to grab him and catch him and maybe spank him for good measure. He paused, oddly intrigued by the thought.

"No, wait," Yukina caught at his arm, a frown puckering her brow as she watched Hiei lick at the wounds criss-crossing his arms, pausing occasionally to eye Kurama defiantly.

Kurama scowled.

Hiei swiped at the bloody marks thoroughly; they were mostly scabbed over but still oozing a little. Kurama made a noise and moved forward again.

"Stop," Yukina told him, still watching Hiei. "He's trying to clean it, Kurama. Were the wounds poisoned?"

"Iie..." he frowned. "I don't think so. But I put some salve on them, just to be sure."

"What?" Yukina turned to him, her expression suddenly anxious. "What kind of salve!?"

"Huh?" Kurama replied cleverly, then pulled out the little tube and handed it to her. "What would the salve have to do with it?"

Yukina's eyes widened as she read the tiny label on the side of the tube, then suddenly, unexpectedly, she smacked him. "Kurama no baka!" Yukina scolded him, waving the tube of salve in his face almost menacingly. "You, of all people, should know better than to apply a healing salve without reading the label!"

"What!? Why? What did I do!?" Kurama demanded, holding up his hands defensively.

Yukina snorted, the sound almost as cynical as her brother's, and handed him the tube. He quickly read the label. *Good for humans and youko and certain types of youkai...*


"Keep reading," Yukina replied, compressing her lips to a thin little line.

Hiei was tugging insistently at Yukina's hand now, and she turned to him, a smile involuntarily crossing her lips as Hiei looked at her with bright, happy eyes. Kurama smiled, too, then turned his attention back to the tube of salve. There, in very fine, small print:

***WARNING!! Absolutely DO NOT use on Koorimes. Causes severe allergic reaction that manifests as a total remission of conscious control of behavior and emotional expression.***

Kurama smacked his forehead. "D'oh!"

* * *

Hiei was skipping alongside him on the sidewalk, singing something under his breath. Kurama didn't know what it was but Hiei had a very good singing voice, and he could occasionally make out the words "love," and "wild wind."

Yukina had bandaged up her brother's arms and whatever else the salve had touched, doing her best to heal the wounds, but gave Kurama a cross-eyed glare, informing him icily that he would just have to tough it out for the salve's effects to wear off.

"Kurama-chan!" Hiei announced, planting himself squarely in the middle of the sidewalk.

"Yes?" Kurama replied warily. He'd learned during the course of the day to suspect any outright requests.

Hiei blinked up at him. "I'm hungry."

"No you're not," he frowned down at the Koorime. "We just ate with Yukina at Genkai's temple." Real food, he added sourly to himself, perhaps impressed upon Hiei by Yukina's good example.

"Yes I am," Hiei contradicted him, raising his eyebrows, then lowering them in a rush as he scowled every bit as darkly as his normal self.

"You can't be!"

"I AM!" Hiei stamped a foot to emphasize his sincerity.

Kurama heaved a sigh. "All right, what do you want?"

"Ramen," Hiei scowled.

"You'd better make this quick," he informed the fire demon as they headed for a nearby ramen restaurant. "'Kaasan will be expecting me home in bed by the time she gets back from work."

"Hn," Hiei sniffed, sounding almost like his normal self.

Kurama was hoping desperately that of all people, they wouldn't encounter Yuusuke and Kuwabara. He knew that this area was their typical hangout when they were ditching school. Which was quite frequently.


They had barely set foot into the restaurant when a familiar voice hailed them. Kurama restrained a groan, recognizing the voice of Kuwabara Kazuma. Weakly he waved. Kuwabara and Yuusuke were in a booth against the far wall.

Beside him, Hiei's slender dark-garbed body stiffened.

"Uh-oh..." So far all of Hiei's behavior seemed to stem from his deep-seated desires, unrestrained by normal conscious control as the warning label had...well, warned.

Kurama paused, snatching at a stray thought. Wouldn't that mean he had some sort of desire for...

"Omae wa korosu!"

Kurama threw himself desperately after the violent little Koorime who was launching himself across the restaurant; his arms closed around Hiei's calves and he fell flat on his face, clinging grimly and refusing to relinquish his hold. Hiei went down, too, howling.

"Lemme go! I'm gonna kick his ass! He's the Fool who always calls me shrimp and he messes around with Yukina and mmph mrrgh-"

Kurama finally achieved a firm hold on Hiei, clamping a hand on his mouth and throwing an arm around his chest and arms. Hiei squirmed, red eyes flaring at the sight of Kuwabara.

"Sorry guys!" Kurama apologized, backing out of the restaurant hastily with a double armful of Hiei.

He hurried down half a block before Yuusuke caught up with him.

"Kurama, what the hell is going on?" Yuusuke demanded.

Kurama stopped, turned to face him with a wide-eyed innocent stare, and managed a straight-faced, "What?"

Silently Yuusuke pointed to the struggling Hiei in his arms.

Kurama sweatdropped. "Oh, this?" he hedged.

Yuusuke nodded, brown eyes gleaming.

"Um, it's Hiei. Hiei, are you done yet?" he demanded, still not taking his hand off the Koorime's mouth. Sullenly the youkai nodded.

"And I can put you down and you won't try to run and kill Kuwabara?"

There was a longer pause, then Hiei nodded again, reluctantly. Slowly, Kurama set him down. Yuusuke had his hand over his own mouth, sides heaving as he tried to contain his laughter.

"What's going on?" he managed to ask.

Hiei had started his restless jiggling again, eyeing Yuusuke rather indifferently.

"Well," he began uneasily, "there's something wrong with Hiei."

"Kurama-chan!" Hiei wailed, pouting. Yuusuke goggled, using his hands to manually reconnect his jaw. Then he gave up and let it drop as Hiei glomped onto Kurama.

Kurama sweatdropped again, giving Yuusuke an uneasy smile. Then he patted Hiei tentatively as the fire demon snuggled against him, clinging like a burr.

"How can you say that!" Hiei continued, his voice fast pushing on whining. "Nothing wrong with ME."

Kurama sighed and gave up, holding Hiei against him, secretly cherishing the feel of Hiei's body cuddled up against him even as Yuusuke blinked, face-vaulting, the sweatdrop threatening to eclipse his head.

"Well...Hiei was hurt, and I helped him out yesterday...only it turns out Koorimes have an unusual allergic reaction to the salve that I used..."

Yuusuke nodded, eyes brimming with mirth. "What does it do, make him act his age-er, height?"

Hiei growled faintly against his chest but Kurama merely tightened his arms. "Ah...actually, it just kind of...um, dissolves his conscious control."

Yuusuke eyed them for a long moment, then cracked up. "Hah hah...hoo. . .always knew Hiei liked you, Kurama..."

"Shut up," Kurama muttered, flushing darkly.

"Is he going to be like this forever?" Yuusuke managed around wheezing chuckles, as Hiei began to start up his hunger chant again, rumbling against Kurama's chest.

"No, thank Inari," Kurama replied gratefully. "Yukina said it should wear off by tomorrow. Hopefully."

"Ah, good. Hope you survive until then!" Yuusuke said flippantly, giving him a jaunty wave before moving off. "I'm glad he went to you and not me!"

"So am I," Kurama murmured once Yuusuke was out of earshot, green eyes darkening a little as he regarded Hiei, who, having exhausted his amazing store of hyperactive energy, had fallen asleep in his arms.

Would Hiei remember his behavior when he snapped out of it? If he did. . . would he be embarrassed and flit away, avoiding him the way he did everything else he might possibly ever care about?

Holding Hiei tightly, knowing the youkai would normally never let him get this close, Kurama carried him all the way home.

* * *

"Tadaima!" Shiori called, kicking off her shoes and calling into the quiet house. Then she remembered, her husband was away on a business trip and Shuuichi was sick in bed. She hoped she hadn't woken him.

"Shuu-chan?" she called out softly, moving through the apartment. Maybe she should cook up some chicken soup for him. She had heard, somewhere, that westerners considered chicken soup to be good for colds.

She peered into Shuuichi's room. He was curled up on his side, clutching what looked to be a pillow, sleeping peacefully. His lax face looked so sweet. Smiling, Shiori withdrew, closing the door behind her.

The "pillow" squirmed.

"Can I come out now?" Hiei inquired, peeking out from under the covers with one bright red eye.

"Yep," Kurama replied, repressing a snigger. Hiei crawled out from his cramped position and flopped on his stomach next to Kurama, sighing with contentment.

Kurama regarded him with a mixture of amusement and longing. Then he put a tentative arm around the fire demon, who cuddled closer. Kurama sighed as he relaxed, and eventually fell asleep for real.

* * *

"Shuu-chan? Ne, Shuuichi, are you awake?"

Kurama blinked and sat up amidst the rumpled sheets of his futon. He could've sworn he remembered falling asleep with... He rubbed at his eyes. Nope, no little fire demon here.

"Feeling better?" Shiori peered into the room.

"Ah-hai, 'Kaasan," Kurama replied, offering his mother a smile. She came in and felt at his forehead.

"You might as well go to school today. It must have been a twenty-four hour bug," Shiori decided, patting his cheek before she left the room.

"Yeah, but it wasn't mine," Kurama murmured to the rumpled sheets. For a moment he wondered if it hadn't all been some absurd dream, and he really *had* been sick. But there was an indentation in the pillow next to his, indicating Hiei had at least stayed long enough to sleep awhile.

The fact that Hiei wasn't still in his room and bouncing up and down on his lap calling him 'Kurama-chan' was a pretty good clue that the Koorime had recovered. He wondered briefly if Hiei had been horrified when he woke up next to Kurama in bed. And if Hiei remembered anything at all.

"Damn you, Hiei," he cursed the fire demon softly, wrapping his arms around the knees he drew up tightly to his chest. For a sharp instant he regretted feeling *anything* for the Koorime, if it could make him feel this bad. Then he dismissed his self-pity with a shake of the head, and got up to get ready for school.

Outside it was a normal, if exceedingly beautiful day. Instead of dreaming about stealing he'd dreamt of...well. He rubbed at his head, cheeks flaming a little as he recalled little snatches of what he *had* dreamt about.

He wondered where Hiei was.

Firmly he put those thoughts away from him. Useless to pine for what he probably couldn't have, especially with a day of missed schoolwork to catch up to. He had a reputation to maintain, after all. He was Minamino Shuuichi, the model student. He repressed a wistful sigh and hurried to class.

School was even more wretched than usual, after a day's break spent with Hiei. The class hours dragged on interminably as he struggled to pay attention to the droning sensei's voice, fielded the hopelessly lovelorn notes and drooling and fixated stares of the girls in his class, and most of all tried not to daydream about a pair of deep, rose-red eyes.

Today was a beautiful day for a mission, he found himself thinking, for the second time in two days. Anything to see Hiei.

Of course, the god of foxes enjoyed toying with Kurama. He had to endure a day that lengthened with each class period, suffering silently from the closed, stuffy atmosphere of the classrooms and the simpering smiles offered to him by the female half of his class. As usual, Kuwabara and Yuusuke were probably snickering somewhere in an air-conditioned hangout, cutting school again.

It was on the way home that it happened.

Kurama evaded the hordes of girls with his usual skill, ducking out the back route and sighing happily as he wandered past the park. After a long day like this one, the greenery and fresh scent of turned earth and flowers was refreshing, soothing to his senses.

He had just rounded a corner when there was a rustle in the tree he was approaching. He frowned, then...a flicker of youki...

*Not again,* Kurama moaned mentally, hoping that Hiei hadn't gotten his butt kicked AGAIN, for the second time in two days.

A slight dark shape appeared next to him as he walked past the tree, almost like a shadow as it walked beside him.

Kurama kept his head down and his hands stuffed in his pockets.

"Hn," Hiei made his presence known.

"Hello, Hiei," Kurama acknowledged him, tipping his head slightly. On a whim, he broke from the sidewalk to enter the park, seeing if perhaps Hiei would follow him as he wandered through to one of his favorite hideouts.

Hiei did.

Kurama suppressed a little shiver of happiness. He pushed his way through a little thicket, emerging in the very heart of the secluded spot. Hiei followed him, standing to face him and folding his arms with a trademark scowl.

"You took care of me when I was acting...stupid," Hiei conceded with a glare. "Thank you." The last part was muttered so quietly, Kurama barely heard it.

"I didn't think you were stupid," Kurama responded softly, then sweatdropped as he remembered the little pyromaniac burning his clothes, his skin. . . "Well, not *all* the time," he amended.

"Hn," Hiei said. His face shut down, and it looked as though he was thinking about something.

"So you remember...everything?" Kurama gulped, recalling Hiei's warmth snuggled up against him. He'd been shocked nearly out of his mind when, before he'd fallen asleep, Hiei had begun to purr very gently.

"You look embarrassed," Hiei observed, voice as emotionless as his face.

"I'm not," Kurama protested. "I just wondered..."

"Wondered what, fox?"

Kurama's face flamed. "You never did answer me when I asked why you kissed me," he muttered, avoiding the question.

Hiei was abruptly in front of him, without Kurama even seeing him close the gap. He tilted his head up, face solemn. "I did."

"You...?" Kurama trailed off, remembering the muffled noises Hiei had made around his ice cream. A thoughtful look crossed his face. "You did... oohh..."

Hiei watched his face light up incredulously.

"Did you mean it?" Kurama whispered.

Hiei snorted and folded his arms, looking as if he would turn away.

Impulsively Kurama put his arms around the stoic Koorime. Hiei stiffened a little, but didn't pull away. After a moment he actually leaned back against him slightly, like a cat arching into a caress.

"Hiei...mmph mmv oo, too," Kurama chuckled. Hiei's mouth twitched, but the expression was quickly hid by Kurama's lips descending on his own.

The kiss this time was even sweeter than the taste of the ice cream that had covered Hiei's lips. Kurama kissed him almost anxiously, as if he thought Hiei would vanish at any instant. And knowing him, he might.

Eventually Hiei pushed him away. "But if you ever tell Yuusuke or Kuwabara, I'll-"

Kurama smiled. "It's okay. You don't have to threaten me," he murmured, brushing light fingertips over Hiei's cheek. "For some reason I don't think they'd understand."

"I don't think *I* understand," Hiei muttered.

"Understand what?" Kurama blinked.

"You," Hiei jabbed a finger at him. "Why you care about me."

Kurama eyed him consideringly. He knew his next words would weigh rather heavily with Hiei, so he had to be careful. "For everything you are," he finally responded, softly. "And everything I see inside of you...the little things that go past Yuusuke and Kuwabara, that somehow you always let slip when you're around me."

He blinked as once again Hiei moved too quickly for him to see, and strong arms were wrapped around him. "I thought...when I woke up this morning, alone, that you'd come to your senses and..." Kurama trailed off, his throat closing up with the ache of remembered sadness.

Hiei snorted again. "Hn. Stupid fox," he informed him, but his tone was gentler than Kurama had ever heard before. "I had a score to settle."

Kurama blinked again. "That's right...who DID manage to get to you that badly, Hiei?"

Hiei snorted. Just as Kurama was about to press the issue, the fire demon reached up very firmly and grabbed the convenient red sidelocks of Kurama's hair, pulling his face down for another kiss.

__The End!__