Not Quite Friends
by : Siew Lee


[Kurama's story]

It was a bright day. The aqua blue sky dotted with fluffy little clouds was so serene looking, almost as if it was laughing at me. My life was really a joke. What Inari-sama intended didn't quite turned out. I was sitting on a chair by the studydesk. The school algebra textbook was laid open on the table; but I was hardly paying any attention to it. I was busy daydreaming, of things that happened around me all along. Deep inside me, emotional turmoils were twisting and turning; boiling my sanity away.

What made me feel that way? I led a wonderful life; too good to be true, for a majority of people. I had looks, girls crowded around me whenever I was to step out of my house. I had a report card full of flying colors, which was hunger stricken by many people; but I wasn't quite like what I seemed to be.

I was a youko. A notorious, unscrupulous thief, cold blooded. I kill, with a slash of my merciless Rose Whip; I steal, with the greed overflowing me inside. I was a criminal in Makai, but destiny had changed its course.

My human mother, Shiori, had loved me. As a youko, I didn't know what was love; until this weak human female taught me. I could still remember clearly how she tend for me when I was practically defenseless. I would do anything to protect her, if possible I would want her to live by my side, never leaving me alone.

I never quite comprehended, what love was really like.

Youkos were playful.

I was lost in this world, never stopping to look back. My mind wasn't quite sane, as I didn't understand what I was supposed to do in this bleak creation of God. Deep down inside, I loved someone.

How I get to love him? I wasn't sure myself, it just came of all sudden. He was Hiei, a fire youkai from Makai. He was my best friend cum companion. I sighed in desperation. I met him in an alliance plotting to steal three great treasures from Reikai, but I never quite perceived the cause I got together with him. I needed the mirror to save my mother. I had to save her. My conscience had been urging me to go back to my old habits. Yes, I could just simply acted on my own; but I didn't.

A lock of red hair blew into my face. I reached out two fingers and began twirling it. My hair had grown even longer over these periods of time.

Hiei. That name and youkai meant a lot to me. He didn't just offered me a simple friendship, but he also offered me hope while facing enemies. Hiei was a complicated person. He never showed his innermost feelings towards anybody, he kept most of his secret within himself, never letting down his guard. Transparency was exactly the opposite of this youkai.

I just wished that he would sometimes show some emotions. Yes, he was rude, obstinate and bad tempered; but I found all these attractive. A wry smile lit up on my face. What did he thought of me? As a friend, or as a perfect lover?

I slumped down back on the studydesk, hoping he would enlighten me one day. One day...


[Hiei's story]

Makai was such a strange place; never leaving any place for the weak. Only the strongest survive... Cold, yet hot at times; life was really hard in this type of place. Blazing rays piercing the earth and freezing wind caressing the air, this was the place I called 'home'. It was night time now, never once forgiving in the darkness.

It may not seem as your typical type of a comfortable to place to survive, but I grew up in here. Ironic, wasn't it? I was borned into a community of koorime, but I was a male. Koorimes don't allow males within them... I was a fire demon, thus causing me to be thrown into a swollen river from the very minute I was borned.

I had to fend for myself, I had no choice.

I had never paid any attention to the drafty wind that permeated the inner chambers of Mukuro's palace. Somehow, today felt like a strange day; I was confused over problems that lay within me.

Help? I never intended to demand help from anybody. In a way or another, I wished that I was never borned. I sighed melancholily. Problems came in waves and yet I didn't have the power to stop them. Sub-consciously, I put my katana down on the floor and sat down cross-legged. Every now and then, chilly air still blew past my face; paying no respect towards a person that indulged itself into understanding predicaments of life. Slowly, I closed my eyes...

Yukina... She will never know the truth. I will never tell her that I was her long-lost brother. Maybe it might be better this way. I am Hiei, the Forbidden Child of Makai. Nearly everybody here wants my life; I can't be that selfish. I can't drag her into this game of deceit.

Rumours in Makai portrayed me as a ruthless and cruel demon. I thought I was; but I can't hide away from the truth. I knew that Yukina was sad always, but what I did was good for her. I must admit, I would do anything to keep Yukina safe; she was my only relative in this whole wide world. I'll kill, I'll slaughter; at least Yukina was fine. Yukina, I really hope you would understand. I shall love you forever as a brother. But was I really that hard hearted?

I picked up my katana from the cold marble floor. Quick as lightning, I unsheathed it and held it upright before my eyes. The polished surface reflected the dim lights in the vast chamber, making my sword scintillating even brightly than before. This very sword had tasted blood many times over. I killed with a slash, decapitating enemies. I attacked, so sanguine of success; but I failed, at last, to the hand of Yusuke Urameshi. I slipped the sword back into its ebony covering and put it down on the floor once more. Defeat was bitter to me. I had always thought I was the strongest, but I wasn't. I had to learn how to accept the reality...

I seldom opened up to myself that frank; in fact I had always erected an invulnerable wall around me. Cold and icy, I may look, but I had my own reasons. Maybe it was the environment I grew up in that affected me to be this way. The weak must die. One must not be controled by emotions, only the feeble beings do.

No! I don't have emotions! I didn't want to know what was love at all! Hiei, the Forbidden Child of Makai, must not be manipulated by Ningen feelings! But one question still intrigued me; am I a victim of emotional fallacy? Or was I a coward; afraid to admit anything? I rested my head against my folded legs, with hordes of doubts lingering in my mind. Will there be a precept to all these? Maybe...

Slowly, I diverted my thoughts to Kurama. He was the most important person in my life next to Yukina. Kurama was my best friend, always supporting me morally, as mentally too. In my soul, Kurama shall occupy a special place there; but was our relationship just to the extent of a simple friend? I really didn't know. Maybe he loved me, by the way how he helped me and supported me. Often, I had caught him eyeing me with that peculiar look of his. His eyes... they bore a strange light. Should I accept him? My head began to hurt a little now... Internal debates began and I didn't know what to do...

"Hiei?" called out a female voice suddenly. I immediately bolted upright. Darn! I had been caught off guard again! Mukuro was always that irritating.

"Hn," I replied, keeping my eyes away from the warlord. I never like to look at her, she made my stomach churn.

"Hiei... Can you do something for me?" asked Mukuro. I couldn't help noticing that her voice had suddenly went throatier. What was she up to? I wasn't sure and didn't want to know. Mukuro was a total bitch.

I just kept silent, but my blood was already boiling. She had always used me for her own good. I felt... cheated. I didn't know why I had the nerve to stay by her side, as her successor.

Mukuro began to walk slowly towards me. Almost daintily, she laid an arm around my shoulder; but I paid no heed. In a little corner of my mind, I was wondering away, what did she want this time? No... I won't do it this time... I don't care what she wanted and I'm going to retaliate!

"Hiei, dear..." crooned Mukuro sexily, luring me to gaze into her eyes.

"Stay away from me," I replied with a guttural grunt, warning her.

"Hiei, let's make it once more..." tried Mukuro instead, unheeding my voice.

"I said stay away from me!" I repeated, this time more sternly. I'm not going let her do this another time. I hate her! She exploited me ruthlessly, never once regretting what damage that might occur to me. I shall never forgive her for she had done...

"No... dear. You are not going anywhere," answered Mukuro evilly. Suddenly, an invisible wave hit me and pushed me back to a pillar. A metal chain flew towards me and tied my helpless body against the structure. I screamed aloud mentally. Mukuro reached my side and fingered my face, then with a slash of her hand, she tore off my cloak...

***

It was long over now and I lay there, broken. She forced herself on me! She had broken my spirit to fight and win. I felt so helpless, I couldn't even defend myself against a woman like her... How could I protect Yukina in this manner? Unconsciously, I felt anguish and sorrow tightened in my chest. My whole body was aching from agony, the wrenching feeling of grief tore my soul apart. I was tired, mentally and physically. The world around me was bleak and miserable. There was no god! I just had to hold back the scream. I must not let Mukuro succeed in conquering me.

Night felt so silent and lonely, in parallel for what I was experiencing now. In a gust of wind, I gathered my clothes and flew off. Maybe Kurama had some way to solve this dilemma of mine. Maybe I won't tell him, I always find solutions on my own. I shall never forget this night... The night which Mukuro broke me. Kurama... I'm coming.


[Kurama's room]

I leaned against the balcony of my room; it was night time now... So serene, yet so unfathomidable in depths; never once revealing the mystery within it. In my heart, I felt strange pangs of emotions. The twinkling stars were so tranquil and unperturbed, it had almost triggered something in me. A band in me snapped, but I didn't know what was it. That feeling was so unfamiliar, almost like I had been stabbed many times in my chest. What should I do?

Youkos had always relied on institutions to act, but this time was different. The feeling was so alien, beyond my acumen about this type of circumstances. I was really in the dark now... No where to go, no place to nurse my soul.

An owl was hooting sorrowfully nearby. What was that? Was it a bad omen or was it just me? I hate to admit it, but my urge to talk, even see Hiei had grown tremendously over the past hours. My heart will never be completed without him; he was already a part of me, a part of my soul, a part of my existence... but what will my friends and dearest mother think if they were to know such burning passion for him resided in my very spirit?

No! Suddenly, I knew that Hiei needed me now! I could sense that Hiei was in distress; anguish and agony filled him. Darkness reigned over his wrenched body and soul. I can't that be selfish; I can't, and I won't heed how others will perceive me. A friend in need was a friend indeed.

I had to find Hiei. I had to help him.

***

Hiei was like a shadow, never letting others see him. Hiei. That name was perfect for him, flying shadow; even the sharpest eyesight could only catch a swift black form... Where should I start searching for him? I didn't know, Hiei was so detached from civilization; never caring to socialize with other people.

Absent-mindedly, I kicked a few pebbles that lay in my way. This road was unusually silent, like a dead town; totally reflecting my innermost turmoils. I sighed miserably, what should I do? I knew Hiei was in troubled waters, yet I couldn't do anything to help him. That helpless experience was so horrifying; it was like someone or something had chained me to an invisible structure, unable to provide solace to someone so wrenched, so torn, so tortured.

My heart was still confused; unable to think optimistically and straightly. Suddenly, an idea came to me. Where would Hiei usually be when he was feeling sad and grievous? I began racking my memories... Hiei and his favourite place.

I knew he like to hide in trees or other dark places... I remembered distinctly that even water reminded him of his beloved sister, Yukina. Water... Was there a place where water was in abundance? Where?

Yes! The lake! I began feeling little electrical pulses racing up my spine; yes, he had to be there! I just simply recognized that sensation, Hiei just had to be somewhere there. Without giving it a second thought, I began running towards the city park; adrenalin pumped into my legs and I ran at the fastest speed possible. Faster... faster... Just hang on, Hiei!

***

"Hiei! Hiei!" I yelled in the duskiness of the night. I had finally reached the park. It was so silent, so still, the calm waters of the lake lay tranquilly, replicating the image of the full moon. Little waves washed ashore, almost contradicting to the idle surroundings. It was almost too pacific, as my heart was wishing fervently for some clue... Anything.

I strained my eyes to look in the dark. I perked up my ears to listening to any single sound... I couldn't see where he was, but I could feel his presence. Slowly and carefully, I scanned the quiet park. Just then, I saw a hunched figure sitting under a tree facing the lake. It wasn't very clear, but somehow, I knew that was Hiei. My heart flustered wildly and I nearly whooped in joy!

Cautiously, I edged nearer towards that hunched figure. Still, leaves rustled under my footsteps. I sat down beside that figure and watching him closely.

"Hiei?" I called out softly, hoping that he would look at me. The hunched figure remained buried in his palms. I had never seen Hiei so upset before, what had actually happened to him?

"Hiei?" I called again, slightly louder this time. I extended a comforting arm around the little youkai; I could sense the grief and sorrow that twisted and turned within my friend. It was... heartbrokening.

"Go away!" snarled Hiei, his voice cracking. I bit my lip, and kept silent. Hiei needed help; I understood his personality well, he will never ask for aid and guidance. I ached for the anguish that assaulted him.

"Hiei... listen to me," I began, seriously hoping that Hiei might at least accept my philosophy. He really needed advice right now and I won't leave him by just simply hearing him snap.

"I know how you are feeling right now, do you want to tell me your problems?" I asked carefully. Hiei was most vulnerable now, and I can't afford to hurt him further.

"No! Just go away!" growled Hiei, with an obvious strain in his voice. If he had spoken louder, I would had swore that he was crying inside.

"Com'on Hiei. If you tell me your problem, we could solve this together," I advised, deliberately avoiding the word 'help' as I knew that Hiei wouldn't want any help from anybody, including me, myself.

"Let me guess... Is it because of Yukina?" I guessed.

Hiei just kept quiet.

"...Kuwabara?"

"Just shut up!" snarled Hiei fiercely. I didn't care, I just had to find out the problem, as to pull up grass by its roots.

"No... don't tell me it's Mukuro..." I breathed out softly. That had to be the cause! "Tell me! What had she done to you?" I yelled.

Hiei glanced up for his palms at Mukuro's name. Two tear streaks made their way through his cheeks, slowly rolling down. I tightened by grip around Hiei's shoulder and my other fist trembled...

"Tell me..." I asked in a low tone, anger already building up within me.

"She... she raped me," admitted Hiei softly in the dark. I restrained the surprised gasp... I couldn't believe Mukuro had actually did this to my best friend! How could she do this? Hiei was only a child!

"I'm sorry, Hiei," I apologized, I really didn't know it was that serious. No wonder Hiei seemed so broken emotionally. I had never seen Hiei shed tears before; Hiei was strong in spirit. I thought that this time really drove him over the edge...

Sub-consciously, my mind had already made a decision; I'll tell Hiei what I actually felt for him. It was like a dam, waiting to burst, yet I painfully constrained it deep inside me. Kurama oh Kurama, you must never be that selfish again.

"We are going to break free from Mukuro forever. Promise me, never go back to her," I made a serious declaration. "Hiei, you must promise me..."

Hiei turned to look at me, his eyes watery and expression so melancholy. I wasn't sure, but his eyes showed grief. Suddenly, he lunged forward and hugged me.

"Kurama... you don't know what I had been through!" cried out Hiei, his voice overwhelming with torment. It nearly broke my heart just to hear him said that, this time was real. Hiei couldn't stand to put up his guard any longer...

"Don't worry anymore, just cry to your heart's content..." I coaxed Hiei to calm down. Hiei hugged me even tighter and buried his face into my shoulder. Even through the jacket, I could feel warm tears soaking to my skin. Tears of regret, sorrow and hatred. Hiei, the fire demon, my beloved.

At last, Hiei tore himself from my body. He looked quite collected now, so I supposed that I should tell him the truth now; my concealed passion for him. I just had to tell him, I can't let Mukuro reign over his spirit any longer; I knew Hiei loved me deep inside.

"Hiei, I love you." I took a deep breath and voiced it out. Hiei was there, with no obvious reaction. What was the matter with him?

"Hiei, look here. I really don't know how to explain this, but I had always liked you, even loved you deep inside me. I'm not saying this out of sympathy for you, but what I am saying now comes straight from my heart. No, I don't care what Mukuro did to you and you shall always be my dearest. Hiei, do you understand?" I demanded with new found strength.

"But... Mukuro..." said Hiei, his voice trembling slightly.

"I said shut up about Mukuro." I knew Hiei was the most susceptible now. "Hiei, I had always liked you from a distance, but never once I had the courage to confront this matter face to face. Mukuro offered me a chance, it was a blessing in disguise!"

I reached out a hand to wipe away Hiei's tears on his face. Slowly, I moved forward to kiss him gently on his cheek, then down to his lips. Hiei responded a little a first, but getting more and more intense as minutes ticked by... I knew Hiei loved me.

Nobody said anything for a long time after; it was just the little splashes of waves by the shore of the lake.


[Hiei's thoughts]

It was so silent now, and so dark in the park. I could hardly see anything right now. The grass scratched my bare skin as I lay in my lover's arms. The moon was shining so beautifully in the sky, yet I never had the chance to enjoy its serene loveliness. It was a regret, but I had promised Kurama never to look back in the past. Let what was done past me; purify me.

I had learned a lot tonight. I had finally discovered the true meaning of love. Love was not just offering yourself to someone, but it involved commitment. Mukuro can't stop me. In fact, I ought to thank her! Without her, my feelings for Kurama, Kurama's feeling for me, may had just been buried in the everlasting cycle of time.

I never knew that I might stand up again after what Mukuro did, but Kurama helped me. I hate to admit it, but he really stood by my side during the times when I needed guidance and moral support the most. Tonight, I realized that I had always loved him, it was just only that it was overshadowed by my own doubts and unsureness. Once again, that special feeling for him rose up to my very sight and I won't repent what had happened between us.

Kurama, you had taught me a lot. Now, I knew that what friends are for; but we were not quite friends now. Our relationship had deepened to another whole new degree, we were already lovers. I shall love you forever and ever; an everlasting flame that shall burn eternally in my soul. Kitsune, I owe you this...

Slowly, I rested my head back on Kurama's shoulder. A true friend...
 
 

Copyright reserved 1998 Siew Lee

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Not Quite Friends (END)
Copyright © 1998 Siew Lee
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