Title: Regrowth <3
Warnings: A little angst.
Summary: What is there left for a demon that cannot speak and a kitsune who is not there?
Note: THIS IS NOT A SEQUAL. ...Okay yeah it is. It follows Clip Your Wings. Here they survived somehow. *gigantic hand wave* hcolleen had the miserable task of betaing.
I need a Hiei/Kurama icon...
On the hill there was a demon that couldn’t speak, and a kitsune who wasn’t there.
The kit went there sometimes, because the demon looked after the kitsune who refused to acknowledge anything and everything around him, and the kit wanted to help them both. Though the demon gave powerful glares and seemed terribly strong despite only having a single arm and a terrible limp the kit was resolute in its decision.
These two had been done wrong by, the kit could tell, though the voiceless demon gave no indication towards it. The horrible scars they bore and the way the demon sat up every night without fail and watched over the kitsune spoke for them.
It was like the demon was waiting for the life to come back in the kitsune’s dull eyes, as well as watching out for those who dared do them harm again.
At first, the kit only watched from a safe distance, then eventually it ventured closer and closer, migrating to the red-haired kitsune instinctively. The demon didn’t seem to mind his presence. The only real reaction it occasionally got out of him was the occasional glare when the kit got in his way, or the wry smile when he discovered the kit had snuck inside once again and snuggled up to the kitsune.
The demon began to give him food every so often when he was hungry and hadn’t managed to catch his own food for a few days on end. The kit stayed.
Half-closed jade eyes stared out the window that was open enough to let the breeze pass him by, teasing carmine hair as it did.
Outside Hiei was caring for the garden. A small fox pawed at the soil by his feet and jumped here and there as the quiet demon moved back and forth, slicing stems from the rose bush that was well within sight of the window.
Kurama watched him, the sun gliding over his fingers slowly until they fell into shade once more.
The door opened and let in a strong rush of air that mussed his hair while Hiei toed off his boots before stepping inside. A skitter of claws on the cabin’s wooden floor hailed the small fox’s entrance. As usual, it spent a moment milling around Hiei’s feet as he wandered into the kitchen and placed his the bundle in his arms on the bench there. As Hiei continued to ignore the small fox, it gave up and trotted over to Kurama. Jumping up onto his lap, it made itself comfortable in the lax circle formed by Kurama’s arms, resting its mussel on Kurama’s wrist. Chocolate eyes watched Hiei as he removed an old vase from one of the shelves and filled it with water, then placed the roses within.
Spring is ending soon, came the voice in Kurama’s mind.
The small fox twitched its large ears and shifted into a more comfortable position, snuggled up against the pale green yukata Kurama wore and the sleeve of his yukata.
Hiei placed the vase on the table by the window and stood by Kurama for a moment, staring out the window with his unresponsive mate, watching the sky change from yellow tinged to pink, purple and then slowly dissolve into the darkness of night. He turned to Kurama only once the sky was as dark as it could possibly get and ran a scarred finger down Kurama’s cheek and then into his hair.
Hiei stared for a moment, his eyes filled with a well-worn expression of bitterness. Would you like some light? Our candles aren’t all quite gone yet. I’ll need to make another trip soon.
There was no response, only the automatic actions of breathing and blinking.
Hiei’s hand dropped, hesitated, then rubbed at the small fox’s ears and down along its spine. It whined when the touch left it, and it jumped from Kurama’s lap to escort Hiei to the only other room in the cabin where the bath was. The crackle of the beginnings of a lit candle was easily audible, and the cabin was slowly filled with dim light.
Two cycles later it was Spring again and Hiei had made a chair for Kurama to sit outside in the fresh air while he worked in the garden, pulling vegetables from the earth and caring for the flowers. Every so often he’d return to Kurama and pick up the glass of water on the small table he’d placed by his side and lift it to Kurama’s lips.
He gave no resistance as Hiei tipped his head back and carefully poured some of the water into his mouth, the kitsune’s throat working automatically when needed. In the beginning, Hiei hadn’t been too good at this, and Kurama would more often than not splutter and give weak little coughs.
At first Hiei had thought it had been a sign of Kurama waking, but that hope had died within a month of the same treatment and his skills in caring for him became better.
He returned to the vegetable patch, carrying with him the pitcher of water by Kurama’s side to water the entirety of the garden.
When he looked back next, Kurama’s eyes were closed and his breathing was slower. Hiei took a few minutes to relocate Kurama, placing him in the futon in the cabin before he returned to the garden.
The fox was there again, leaning over the glass rim of the pitcher to lap at the water within. It was larger now, no longer a small kit, instead a large and elegant thing with intelligent eyes and a more docile personality.
Hiei stood by the door to the cabin, placing his hand in his pocket while he watched it snoop around the garden, its ears twitching two and fro as it listened to the various birds in the forest around them. Eventually it seemed to be satisfied and disappeared once more into the thicker parts of the forest. Hiei knew that, by morning, it would appear by Kurama’s side again, by its own, suddenly and without explanation, occasionally with a younger kit tailing it.
Hiei was suddenly started out of a dream that he was glad to be rid of. He spent a moment staring up at the rafters of the cabin roof before he turned his head to the side, automatically checking on Kurama.
Always when he settled Kurama for the night, he dressed him in a light kimono and placed his hands on his waist. His carmine hair would fan about his shoulders and his lips would be slightly parted, jade eyes lifeless as always. When he woke, his mate would always be in the same position, the only difference being whether his eyes were open or closed.
This time Kurama’s head was turned towards him. A lock of hair had slipped from his cheek to cover his mouth and join the river of the rest of his hair against the pillow.
For a second, Hiei forgot how to breathe.
Two months later, while Hiei was carefully feeding soup with a spoon, Kurama began to blink excessively and he could have sworn his thumb twitched.
Hiei’s breath caught in his throat and he dropped the wooden bowl and spoon, took Kurama’s face in his hands gently and tilted his head up slightly. Kurama? he called, his tone desperate. You are safe here. I am guarding you. Karasu is dead. They’re all dead.
There was no reply.
The fox was back again, bringing with it two kits this time. Hiei left the door open for them as he sat on the arm of Kurama’s chair by the window, brushing his growing hair with a fine toothed comb and pretending not to notice their slow approach. The kits hung back by the door while the fox padded its way over to Kurama and sat by his feet on the opposite side of Hiei.
It licked at Kurama’s fingers, which curled to scrape long nails along the wooden arm of the chair.
It was three more years before Kurama began to follow Hiei’s movements with his eyes, or flex his fingers seemingly at will. Though still uncomprehending, his eyes weren’t nearly as dull as they had been before. Hiei no longer had to gently pry his mouth open when he gave him water or food, and Kurama began to part his lips if he was hungry or thirsty, would blink rapidly when Hiei spoke to him through telepathy.
Soon after that, he began to try to speak
And then his head would move along with his eyes as they followed the foxes as they played outside or Hiei as he worked or was nearby cleaning his katana.
He began to talk.
You’re safe Kurama. I’m safe. Hiei is safe. Go back to sleep.
Hiei tried his best to ignore the strange unfocused and blurred picture of Kurama as he ran his hand up and down Kurama’s arm, who shook and sobbed eyes wide-open and vacant. Crimson hair that shone in the moon became a mere pool of red, and pale skin blended with the sheets of the futon.
I killed them all. For you; I killed every last one.
Six years later, ten after the death of Karasu, Kurama was sitting by the window once more, an old fox by his feet, brushing his hair. The door to the cabin opened and he looked over his shoulder curiously.
A disgruntled Hiei stomped inside and pulled off his boots, which he dropped by the door. His coat was next, hung on the dowel sticking out of the back of the door. The rain has drenched all of the possible firewood.
Kurama gave a quiet chuckle and returned to brushing his hair. “The forest has been singing for the last hour.”
Ask it to serenade us toward some dry wood.
Kurama’s laughter could be heard by the group of small kits playing by the vegetable patch behind the cabin.