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If Kurama wasn't standing here, hadn't been the one to give Hiei the coins, he wouldn't believe it. When the little demon had stopped them a moment ago and asked for a few yen pieces, Kurama didn't think anything of it. Now, he stands a few paces away from Hiei and the vending machine, not flinching when the aluminum can smacks into the dispensing area. Hiei catches him staring after he cleans the top of the can with a few flicks of his fingers.


“I… didn't know you knew how to use a vending machine. It's just odd to watch, I suppose.”

Hiei sends his eyes rolling, takes a swig of the energy drink, and confesses, “Yuusuke showed me how. He said something cheesy, something like… ‘Did you come from a vending machine? Because you look like a snack.’”

Kurama has the grace to snort. But he doesn't necessarily like the flirtatious intent behind the pickup line. Or the fact that Hiei clearly didn't understand it.

“It sounded stupid with that big, dumb grin on his face, and I didn't know what a vending machine was, so,” Hiei shrugs, “Yuusuke showed me how they work.”

That's not all Hiei has learned since splitting his time between the worlds. Between Kurama and others. The next time Hiei is around, Kurama has errands to attend. His suggestion that Hiei accompany him always stands, but Hiei has always declined. So when the jaganshi hops off the bed and follows Kurama down to the genkan and front door, the gesture touches him. And when Hiei pauses their stroll and points to a restaurant, Kurama doesn't think anything of it. Normally, Kurama will just order for him. So when they sit and Hiei snatches a menu like Kurama does, that's about the time Kurama pays closer attention.

“Hiei… This menu doesn't have many pictures…”

“I can see that,” Hiei fires back from behind said menu.

Last he'd checked, Hiei can't read. Which is part of the reason why Kurama orders for him. That's not even mentioning Hiei’s dislike of talking to humans and just going through the motions. It's easier that way. Teasing Hiei would be the wrong thing to do here. If the little demon has yet to defer to Kurama, then he must have a grasp on the situation. Questions bubble up and just as quickly pop in Kurama’s mind. Too much digging and Hiei will see his prying for what it is.

Mouth opening and closing a few times, Kurama settles on gentle curiosity and asks, “Do you know what you want?”

“Unadon.” Hiei slaps the menu down, spins it around, and points to that exact thing on the menu. No picture present to give away that's what it says. “No little green things.”



Kurama nods and tidies up the menus, confusion wrinkling the middle of his brow.

“Ne… Hiei, can I ask you something?”

Hiei looks up from playing with his glass of water.


“How did you know that was ‘unadon’ written there?”

“Yuusuke started selling it at the ramen stand. He wasn't sure how good it was, though, so he asked me to eat it at different places to compare. He taught me how to find it on other menus.”

Another bite at his possessive pride. First the vending machine thing and now this. Maybe those two things are coincidences. It's whay Kurama tells himself while giving their order to a cute waiter. Hiei is never one for conversation, so Kurama is used to the silence. Usually the silence is comfortable. Kurama cannot shake the sense that more of Yuusuke will interpose their time together. He doesn't have to wait long.

The next time Hiei takes a break from Mukuro, he comes back to the house to find Kurama cleaning up. No one has put him to the task. It’s just about time for him to go through old clothes, old books, old everything and just clean house. He's down on his knees in his closet when he tugs out his old Super Famicom, packed neatly away in its original box. He smiles at the dusty box, chuffed that he's found it, and turns that smile on Hiei.

“I haven't played this thing… probably since you and Yuusuke stayed in Makai years ago. It was taking up space on the little table where the TV used to be.”

He'd gifted that to Shuichi-kun. Just not the console. When Kurama digs farther into the closet, he finds an unmarked, cardboard box. Small enough to fit on the floor, but large enough to hold the cartridges he remembers owning. He'd never been as into video games as his peers. And he can't help but recall their tangle with Sensui and Amanuma while flicking through the cartridges in the box. That may have added to why he packed this away and parted with the TV so easily. He wonders if it even still works…

Copy of Super Mario World in hand and console under his arm, Kurama stands from the closet. Hiei clears the curious expression on his face nearly in time for Kurama to not notice. He angles a smile as Hiei steps out of the way. If the fire demon wants to follow and watch, he won't object. Hiei isn't interested in silly, human things like this. But his curiosity isn't often denied, especially what it's something harmless like this. The soft pat pat of Hiei’s feet behind him—oh, he removed his boots, how kind—coax a hidden smile on Kurama's face. Hiei doesn't quite join him in front of the TV downstairs, choosing instead to linger in the doorway. It's only once the old fox is comfortable in front of the TV, controller in hand and static still spitting off the surface of the screen, does Hiei sit beside him.

The title screen for the game is pleasant and bright, music so familiar, when Kurama asks, “Do you want to with me? It’s two-player.”

Hiei gives a shrug and holds his hand out without comment. Player-one controller nestled in his palms, Hiei starts before Kurama gets a word in about how to play. The fox gets to sit there with wide, blinking eyes as Hiei plays through the first course. He never hesitates through jumps, never falters while killing enemies. He flows through the obstacles of the board with such rhythm that once Mario struts through the ticker tape and flashes a victory sign, the game sits for a moment in the overworld, waiting for Kurama to pick a course. He turns those same eyes on Hiei and just stares at him.

Hiei shrugs again.

“I got tired of Yuusuke beating me and bragging about all the ‘secrets’ I was missing.” He says as much with a dramatic eye roll. “I still don't understand why you play this. It passes the time but…”

Hiei lets the comment linger. The urge to play and revisit a piece of his childhood dwindles under Kurama’s jealousy. He'd hesitated until this moment to name the murky, hot feeling in his gut with each successive mention of Yuusuke. They're friends. All of them. But the fact that Yuusuke has somehow swept an arm around Hiei, showed him human things, and actually got the jaganshi to just… accept them just… eats him up. Hiei snorts next to him when he loses the first Yoshi, smirks when Kurama manages to jump straight down between two ledges and die. The map of the overworld blares back at them after that, now waiting on Hiei. Instead of picking the controller back up, Hiei nudges shoulders with him.

“You said you haven't played in a while. I saw Yuusuke yesterday and played games with him, so.”

Shoulders rising and then falling with a sigh, Kurama admits, “It’s not that. I suppose I'm…” His lips press tight enough together to force the color out of them. He forces himself to meet Hiei’s raised eyebrow and curious eyes to finally say, “I suppose I'm jealous, is all. For the past month or so you've displayed so many new, unexpected behaviors around me. And to hear they're all because of Yuusuke, well…”

“Wow,” Hiei says with a growing smirk. “Jealous? Seriously?”

Kurama cannot help the flush of shame that pinks his face.

“I admit that it's petty of me. You of all people know how possessive I can be.”

“That's not a positive thing,” Hiei says almost under his breath. Almost.

Kurama flushes hotter and insists, “I'm not saying it is. I'm just being honest about how I feel.”

Hiei sends his eyes rolling again. Neither pay the TV any attention as Hiei sets their controllers aside. They're well out of the way of someone kicking or stepping on them when Hiei grabs Kurama by the shoulders and straddles his lap. The edge of the kotatsu is firm in Kurama’s back when he leans away. Hiei has cornered him, not that Kurama truly minds. He can't quite convince himself to feel ashamed of his possessive streak. No, the shame comes from Hiei’s amusement at his possessive steak. Kurama tries to turn his head away from that smirk, but Hiei isn't having it.

Hands in Kurama’s hair, Hiei grumbles something that sounds suspiciously like, “You’re ridiculous,” before drawing him into a kiss. Hiei just holds his head still as their mouths move together. Hiei wiggles in his lap and gets comfortable around the time warm hands take his hips. Kurama doesn't do anything with that control, is content to feel Hiei’s warmth soak through his clothes. Hiei huffs against him and then pulls them apart. He leaves his hands in Kurama’s hair while shaking his head at the fox.

“Can't believe you're jealous of Yuusuke,” he mutters. “So what, you think he taught me everything?”

“You know I don't.” Kurama leaves his eyes gently closed, unwilling to meeting Hiei’s mirth directly. “I just like having you all to myself. I realize that’s not possible.”

Hiei squirms on him in a deliberate sort of way, meant to tease him. It gains him a sliver of a green eye cracking open to peer at him. Hiei shakes his head again and urges Kurama’s head forward again. He stops just before their lips meet, breaths mixing as each holds still.

“Do you know what you taught me?”

Hiei twirls the locks of red hair wrapped around his left hand. The bandaged fingers of the right rub the silky strands between them, tugging hard enough to coax a soft grunt out of Kurama. Hiei withholds the kiss Kurama knows is coming until Kurama grunts again, lips twitching. Hiei’s next breath slips out of him with a pleased hum, and that hum tickles the fox’s lips. He's still not entirely sure what Hiei thinks he's taught him. To tease? To flirt? He just wants a kiss, that's all. A smirk is laced throughout Hiei’s devilish mouth when he finally gives in, and Kurama squeezes his hips to feel him groan again.

They separate once more with the same, tiny space between them for Kurama to ask, “What?”

“Do you have to ask?”

Kurama nudges Hiei back to him and cranes his head forward at the same time to just steal a kiss. Hiei nips him for his trouble.

“I wouldn't mind hearing it from you.”

Hiei snorts and rolls his eyes again. The space he creates between them puts their kisses at an end. But he makes no move to rise from his perch. He’s content to wiggle in Kurama’s lap and grin at the little flinch Kurama gives him.

“Yuusuke taught me useless human things. Little tricks I can use to cause trouble and get your attention, not that he realized that at the time.” He grins as realization dawns on Kurama. That little minx! “Not destructive or annoying things that will just make you lecture me like you do. Just enough to ruffle your feathers a little.”

Hiei cocks his head just so and rocks his hips in that delicious, purposeful way. Kurama tightens his grip around Hiei until bones grind together and a pink blush spreads over the bridge of Hiei’s little nose. Hiei shivers in his hands and leans forward on his knees until they’re chest-to-chest, only clothes separating them.

His warmth blows over Kurama when he turns his mouth towards an ear and purrs, “But you taught me this. And it’s all I need to know to make you lose it .”

Kurama is immediately thankful, shiver racing up his spine and hair practically fluffing up, that no one is home. That makes his growl and Hiei’s bark of laughter as they go tumbling to the floor all that more enjoyable. No one will interrupt them as he shows Hiei just what him “losing it” entails.