I wonder what he sees when he looks at me.
I remember the first time I met him. I remember thinking, who is this demon with the face and form of a human? I remember the first time I saw his eyes. They seemed too old for his child’s face, bottomless emerald pools that gazed into my soul and saw all the secrets that even I didn’t know were there. Little did I know then the role that he would play in my life.
I watched him now, smiling and talking easily with Yuusuke and the rest. He sits cross-legged on the grass, his left hand curled delicately around the green blades, his long hair lifted gently by the wind. How easily he blends in with the ningen around him. How effortlessly human he is.
A memory came to me of a darkened room, moving shadows, and strange noises. In my memory I opened my eyes to a gray plaster sky, lying on cool sheets. I was in a strange place and I did not know how I got to be there. I sat up abruptly. The world spun for a while, then stopped to show me a few stalks of red roses in a glass bowl.
A child’s voice from the darkness, “Your youki is very strong. You were out for only four hours.”
My head whipped around, and I saw him sitting on the floor across the room from me. I looked down at my chest. My wound was gone. “Your injury was very severe, so I healed it,” he spoke again, reading my expression. “You were talking in your sleep,” he went on, undaunted by my stony silence. “You kept saying a name. Is Yukina a friend of yours?”
“You weren’t born with the Jagan, were you? From your youki level, it must have been implanted fairly recently. You must have a very good reason for implanting a Jagan in the middle of your forehead.” And seemingly without a pause, “What’s the connection between the girl Yukina and the eight-handed demon?”
I stared at him, thinking to myself, “Doesn’t he ever shut up?” Aloud, I said, “You talk too much.” And added, “If you weren’t the one who healed me, I’d have been tempted to kill you.” I found my clothes folded into a neat square on the desk next to the roses and dressed quickly. I stalked to the window, and looked down to where he still sat, staring at nothing. “A word of advice for you,” I said coldly, “Since you saved my life. Your humanity will be the death of you someday.”
Something flickered in those green eyes, but all he said was, “Going off for another round? Shouldn’t you wait a bit?”
“Hn. The bastard will be all the stronger after a meal. I need to take care of him now. Cowards like you should stay home and sleep,” I added insultingly.
That was the first time I got to watch how the nastiest of insults just flow through him like water. It is quite amazing.
He lifted his eyes and fixed me with their green light. “What’s your name?”
I did not want to answer him. I wanted to put my foot on the windowsill and disappear into the night. I still had a score to settle with that eight-handed bastard. Yukina… I had to know if it was Yukina. I did not want to waste anymore time, certainly not by talking to a half-youkai human boy. I wanted to ignore him and his question and leave there and then.
“Hiei,” I said.
To this day I do not know why I gave him my name.
When did I start loving him? When did the thought of life without him become unbearable? I try to think, but I can’t remember. And not being able to remember, it seems as if it has always been so.
This feeling inside me, it is alien, and I try to analyze it, break it into components and put them under a magnifying glass to see if they make sense. They don’t.
Why do I love him? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s those eyes of his. His eyes are beautiful. Through beautiful eyes, he looks at the world and sees things I can’t see. He appreciates the things that everybody else takes for granted – the tiny flowers that grow between the cracks in the pavement, wind-blown sakura petals falling slowly to earth, the sound of human laughter and human voices.
He sees goodness in everyone. He believes that even the worst of demons deserves a second chance, perhaps because he himself has been given one. Here is someone who has admitted to me that he feels sorry for Karasu. Knowing the kitsune as I do, even I cannot believe it.
I hear the sound of his laughter, which is rare. He smiles a lot, but
he seldom laughs. Sometimes I want to ask him, why do you always look so
sad? I look up and meet his eyes across the distance. He gives me a wave,
which I of course do not return. He smiles at me, then something Keiko
says catches his attention and he turns to her
I let out the breath I have been holding. Beautiful eyes. Through those beautiful eyes he sees beauty in everything. He looks at me and he doesn’t see a monster. I wish I could see the world through his eyes. I wish I could live in that world.
I look down to see him standing beneath my tree and looking up at me, a faint smile on his face. “It’s time to go,” he says.
But maybe it is enough just to be beheld by those eyes.
I look past him at the park. Yuusuke, Keiko, the fool Kuwabara and the rest have dispersed. I widen my eyes as I feel arms going around me. I turn my head to glare at him but the irritating fox just grins at me. “Not in public!” I try to make my eyes say. The message doesn’t seem to have been conveyed successfully, so I settle for my most disdainful snort as I fold my arms across my chest.
Unfazed, he reaches out a hand toward my face and tweaks my nose. I stand there, speechless and trying not to sputter as he – damn him! – laughs at me.
A low, menacing growl starts from my throat. He gets up and walks blithely away. Did I say insults have no effect on him? Neither do threats of pain and death.
I stand there for a moment, entertaining visions of strangling his scrawny neck until his tongue drops out, then I run to catch up with him. I fall into step beside him, sneaking a few glances at his face. He looks straight ahead, humming a little tune under his breath. After a moment’s hesitation, I reach out and grab his hand.
After a couple more seconds, I chance another glance. He is still not looking at me, but there is a small smile playing on his lips. I feel my hackles rise. Why, that smug, self-satisfied, manipulative, irritating…
“Kurama no baka. Stupid fox.” I tighten my hand on his.