“I don’t see the need.”
“It’s what she wants, Hiei.” Kurama answers, giving the smaller demon a patient smile.
Hiei turns over the gilded card in his hands, reading it again. It came today with the rest of Kurama’s mail as if it was nothing, but the smaller demon latched onto it immediately; he must have sensed his sister’s youki. A simple notice, handwritten, about a ceremony two weeks from now.
“You’re going?” Hiei finally asks, setting the card on the table. Kurama blinks in mild surprise.
“You’re her brother, Hiei.” The fox reminds. “That ceremony is for families.”
“You’re my partner.”
Hiei stresses this so-matter-of-factly that Kurama feels a little flushed by it. He smiles, suppressing his urge to kiss the smaller demon for a moment.
“That’s true. If you’d like me to go, I’ll go.”
Hiei just nods. He’s staring at the invitation again, pondering it. He’s accepted for a while now that Yukina and Kuwabara have become quite serious, and that their frequent misunderstandings based on origin didn’t eclipse how fond the two have grown of each other.
Any brother would be protective of his sister entering into a permanent relationship, undoubtedly, but the circumstances are far more intense when it comes to this set of twins.
“Is it a long party?” Hiei asks, frowning. He must be quite overwhelmed at the thought of attending, because he’s already leaning towards Kurama in a silent ask for comfort. Kurama answers this easily, stroking the smaller demon’s arm gently.
“Not particularly. It’s an old custom. I suppose Yukina probably finds it charming, and Kuwabara that it’s something proper.” Kurama says thoughtfully. This seems to do little to help Hiei’s anxiety, so the fox continues. “As I said, it’s for families. It’ll be very small, and you know everyone already.”
“Hn.” Hiei mutters, though he leans against Kurama’s side a little bit. Kurama knows that the smaller demon will go through this for his sister’s sake; it’s simply a question of how painful the process will be.
“I’ll help you with everything.”
“I know.” Hiei answers. He sounds like he doesn’t want to talk about it any more, so Kurama puts his arm around the smaller demon’s shoulders. Grudgingly -- as usual -- Hiei lets his head rest against the fox’s shoulder.
“TV.” Hiei eventually murmurs. Kurama chuckles, picking up the remote.
Perhaps an hour passes without them saying anything, which is one of the things Kurama greatly enjoys about their relationship. Of course it was much more difficult when Hiei used to sit silently and glare at him -- suspicious of the reincarnated King of Thieves -- but this silence? It’s comfortable.
When the program ends, Hiei moves to sit up. The redhead misses his warmth immediately, but becomes distracted by Hiei’s sudden question.
“The ceremony thing, is that only for humans?”
“This version is theirs, I suppose.” Kurama answers, tilting his head. “Demons have different ways of doing things. I don’t think the word ‘wedding’ is even well-known in the Makai, is it?” Things have changed now that the barrier is lowered, from what Kurama’s heard.
“Why do you ask?”
“Confirming a suspicion. This is a human expectation.” Hiei explains, getting up from the couch.
“Some demons expect similar things. Mating, binding ceremonies. Even the Shinobi are supposed to find a Fated Tie.”
The smaller demon crosses his arms over his chest. “... Stop spending time with Touya.”
“You’re cute when you’re jealous.” Kurama answers, grinning.
Hiei glares at him, enough to make it clear he doesn’t find the fox’s answer entertaining at all. Hiei disappears into the kitchen in a blur, returning a few moments later with something to drink. He’s brought a bottle for Kurama, too, and presses it into the redhead’s hand with a frown.
“One more question.”
“You can ask as many as you like.”
“One is fine for now.” Hiei snorts, shaking his head. “Why did you think that you weren’t family?”
Kurama has the grace to look mildly ashamed about this. It was a misstep on his part, though Hiei seems more curious than angry about it.
“Traditionally.” Kurama says, careful. “That ceremony is only for family and their spouses.”
Hiei takes a moment to process what Kurama is implying. The smaller demon doesn’t normally care for the ‘usual’ way humans do things, and Kurama doubts Hiei’s realized their relationship doesn’t fit the expected pattern.
“Are you saying you want to have one of those stupid ceremonies?”
“No. I’m telling you why I thought the way I did.” Kurama says, sipping his drink to give himself something else to concentrate on for just a moment. Hiei does the same.
“I don’t like people.”
“I know, Hiei. I’m not asking for these things.” The fox says, exasperated.
“So you don’t want any of it?”
“I didn’t say--”
Hiei leans in and kisses him. It’s quite unexpected, and far more enjoyable than this somewhat frustrating conversation. Kurama’s been exceptionally patient with Hiei, and their current relationship makes him very happy. The last thing he wants is to make the smaller demon feel as if it isn’t enough somehow.
“I’m asking you seriously.” Hiei says against the redhead’s lips. Kurama considers the question, then smiles.
“I don’t care about ceremonies or parties. I know how we feel about each other.” The fox says, liking how his words make Hiei flush just a little. “If anything, it would be nice to have some symbol of it.”
Hiei considers this. Kurama can tell by the way the smaller demon’s head tilts just a little to the left that he isn’t vehemently opposed to the idea, just unsure of it. Hiei settles on the couch next to Kurama again, leaning some of his weight against the fox once more.
They leave it at that. Kurama doesn’t ruminate about the conversation that much over the next two weeks, as he’s far too busy with work and helping Hiei get ready for the yuino ceremony. The latter task involves, for the most part, reminding Hiei that he probably shouldn’t call Kuwabara stupid for a few hours and wrangling the smaller demon into a formal kimono that he hates but looks terribly handsome in.
The ceremony itself is fairly painless, from Kurama’s point of view. He’s still quite touched that Hiei wants him there -- thinks he belongs there -- and nobody objects to it. Hiei manages to behave himself as the representative of Yukina’s family, aside from some very choice glares at Kuwabara now and then. The only one to make a scene is in fact Shizuru, who tells embarrassing stories about Kuwabara that even Kurama can’t help but laugh at.
The most rewarding part for Kurama is the end of the evening, where Yukina gives her brother a rare hug and Hiei -- even more rare -- allows it to linger. The sight puts a smile on the fox’s face that stays there all the way from Genkai’s temple back to his apartment.
“You survived.” Kurama comments once they’re in the bedroom. Hiei is, predictably, already pulling at the formal kimono in an effort to remove it. The master of the Dragon of the Darkness Flame is apparently no match for several layers of clothing.
“It was too long.” The smaller demon complains, as if he’s just sat through some kind of torture session.
“Yes, well. The happy couple dictates such a thing.”
“We don’t dictate that kind of thing.”
Green eyes widen slowly in surprise. “... Did you just imply that we’re a happy couple?”
“Aren’t we?” Hiei shrugs.
Kurama smiles widely. That’s quite direct, even for Hiei. Perhaps his smile is too much, because the smaller demon pulls him down for a kiss that feels like a purposeful distraction. It leads to another, and another, and soon Kurama has little issue helping Hiei -- or himself -- out of the formal clothing.
Early in the morning, Kurama feels Hiei move out of his hold and get out of bed. The dreaded sound of rustling clothing follows, signaling that the smaller demon is preparing to go back to the Makai.
“Now?” Kurama asks, barely awake but frowning. Hiei’s youki presses against his, warm.
“Go back to sleep, Kurama.”
The fox sighs, closing his eyes. A few moments later he senses Hiei approaching the bed, and the smaller demon brushes his fingers along Kurama’s arm before disappearing from the apartment.
The bed still holds some of Hiei’s warmth, and Kurama is no stranger to falling back asleep after the smaller demon decides he needs to leave. He pulls Hiei’s pillow closer to his body -- seeking out his lover’s scent -- and is surprised when he hears something slide over the fabric and fall onto the bed. Hiei must have left something behind on the pillow.
The fox opens his eyes, soon finding the object. It’s a ring, undoubtedly, but not like ones Kurama is used to seeing. It seems to be made of multiple metals layered together, creating a silvery pattern that reminds him of wood grain and other living things. The edges are smooth but unevenly scalloped; he realizes when tracing them with his finger that the ring is handmade.
What more can he ask for, knowing that Hiei made this to answer his wish?
The fox will have to string it on a chain to wear most days, especially at work. For now, though, he slips the ring on his finger. It fits perfectly, which doesn’t surprise Kurama at all.