The next day.
"That sounds great, Yusuke; when do you want me to come over?" Kurama was saying into the phone.
The kitsune had just stepped out of the shower and started getting himself dressed for the day, when the phone rang pulling him away from his early morning chores.
"Don't bother, just meet me at Kuwabara's." Yusuke replied but after a second thought he added. "Is Hiei coming?"
Kurama was going to say 'yes', but something had changed his mind. "Hiei can't make it," he lied while pulling his socks on over his feet, "and Yusuke... I need to talk with you once I get there, but don't tell Kuwabara."
"Don't tell Kuwabara?" Yusuke repeated as if he needed to hear it again for it to make sense. "This sounds serious."
"No, not at all," he tried back pedaling his urgency of it. "I just need a word or two with you, that's all, really."
The spirit detective sensed something more behind it, but he didn't push the issue since all would be revealed once the conversation started. "Alright, but you'd better come quickly. I'm already out the door."
When he hung up Kurama did the same and went back to what he was doing, which was getting dressed for the day. 'Hiei will have a wonderful Christmas, I'll make sure of that.'
Yusuke sat on the couch and slid his feet into his winter boots, then set about lacing them up half way.
Atsuko watched as though on pins-and-needles. "Now I want you to be careful, Yusuke," his mother was saying as she exited her peeping place in the kitchen entry way.
Atsuko Urameshi was taking a little morning break at the kitchen table with coffee and a cigarette, and after vaguely scolding her son about winter road dangers, she raised the white back to her lips to reunite it with her tastebuds.
"Yeah, yeah..." Yusuke replied. "So what's to be careful from? It's not like I'm driving, Shizuru is- and she's a great driver." He had to look away to prevent her from seeing the smile of that lie on his lips.
"I just want you to be careful that's all, the roads are icy and slip-..."
"Smoke your cigarette and stop worrying so much," he cut her off, then muttered to himself. "I thought those things reduced stress." He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "Sheesh, guy dies then comes back from the dead, and suddenly every step he takes is gonna pull him in six feet. Mom, I'm not gonna die again for a long long time."
He waved over his shoulder while going out the door. 'That kiss'll keep her happy 'til I'm back.' He thought with a smile. 'Mother's are so easy to console when you do the unexpected.'
He rushed along the streets, humming a song he'd heard on the radio the other day though he's not even sure if the words were right, but he doesn't care. As the spirit detective trotted through the streets he watched all the children playing, crying, complaining, and getting themselves into trouble for throwing snow at passing cars' windshields.
'The good old days of youth.' He mentally laughed.
"Yusuke!" he hears Kurama calling from somewhere.
"Took you long enough," the spirit detective said, and slowing down he waits for the red head. "I was beginning to think you weren't gonna catch up to me, so what is it that you wanted to talk about?" he asked when Kurama had caught his breath.
"It's Hiei," he paused looking for the right wording. He practiced this conversation in his head on his way out the door and along the streets, but when presenting it, he felt kind of dumb to the words.
"What? Is he in trouble or something?"
"Not that. It's that this whole winter and Christmas thing on Earth are really confusing to him, and it's making him aggravated."
Cocking an eyebrow, Yusuke smirked crossing his arms. "So what are you saying, you want us to drop the whole holiday so Hiei won't feel left out?"
Kurama shook his head. "Quite the opposite, I want us to make a bigger deal out of it, and try to include Hiei in as much of it as we can."
"Now you've lost me; he'll never go for all that holiday junk." Yusuke remarked; and returned to his treck to Kuwabara's house. "And personally, I can't see Hiei decorating a tree-...then again," A huge grin spread across his face. "I can just see him trying to put that star on top without any help!" he burst into laughter.
Kurama was growing restless with his friend's joking nature, but he went on asking for help. "My family is going away to celebrate Christmas, and with luck, I talked them into letting me stay at home. We'll have the whole place to ourselves so we can do Christmas the way we like."
Hopping up on a cement brick wall, Yusuke thought over what Kurama was saying and smiled impishly. "I got'cha, make-out Christmas party- not a bad idea." He hopped down off of the wall and took off running the rest of the way to Kuwabara's house.
"Yusuke that's not what I meant!" Kurama called to his back then sighed his exasperation. "This isn't turning out as I had initially planned."
The kitsune didn't have time to think about the rest of the party, right now he had to worry about the right kind of gift to get the fire demon, but what would he like? Stuffing his hands into his pockets Kurama continued on to Kuwabara's house.
A solid red car sped along the streets of Tokyo. Shizuru let go of the steering wheel so that she could light up a cigarette; the car swerved a little, but Kuwabara leaned over into the front seat and held onto it until his sister took it back.
The scratchy voiced teen sighed then regained himself to say. "Would you watch it, we're not exactly trying to die here!"
Letting out a puff of smoke Shizuru looked through the rearview mirror. "And it's people like you that make the road unsafe for people like me, because you're driving too slowly." She swerved out of the way of an oncoming car. "Watch it, asshole!" she called out the window.
'Oh yeeah, my mom had nothing to worry about.' Thought Yusuke fearfully, slipping his seat belt on. He made a mental note to say 'Hello' to Botan when she comes to reap him again.
Shizuru glanced beside her to the passenger side at Kurama who looked a little distracted at the moment. 'Hm?' "Hope you don't mind my smoking in here, Kurama?"
Looking up suddenly, he smiled the comment off. "Oh, no, the cigarette is fine. It's the smell of your brother's feet that I can't bare."
Shizuru laughed along with Kurama, and commented. "He got you there, little brother."
"What?" Kuwabara shot back. "I'll have you know my feet smell pretty ok! And I'm sick of everybody making me the butt of their jokes." He slumped down into his seat crossing his arms.
"Aw calm down, Kuwabara, it's not a big deal." Yusuke said patting him on the thigh, making his red headed lover blush and relax a little.
'No. My real problem is what to get Hiei.' Kurama thought.
Shizuru looked at him, cocking an eyebrow. 'Oh I see now, he's thinking about Hiei.' Turning her attention back to the road she continues riding her thought train. 'Well it's a good thing I'm here, those two could never help him.'
When the car parked outside the shopping mall, Shizuru announced the arrival and they all vacated the car.
"Finally, my butt was beginning to fall asleep." Stated Yusuke falling into step with Kuwabara. "I'm gonna replace everything I own when I get in there." The spirit detective commented wholeheartedly.
"Yeah right, Urameshi, everyone knows you're broke." Kuwabara stated very matter-of-factly.
"Ha! All I'd have to do is bat my eyes and you'd give me a hundred on the spot." Retorted the penniless. "I mean, I know you're bi', but you can treat me like a girl just this once."
Following behind them Kurama was grabbed on the shoulder from behind. "Hey you, how's about I help you pick out a gift for your friend Hiei? I mean, that is why you've been so quiet, right?" Shizuru questioned.
"Correct as always. Do you know what I should get him?" the thankful half demon asked.
"Hmm, big selection. We'll be here all day."
"I just hope Hiei doesn't try to contact me in the mean time...." Kurama walked beside her towards the mall, planning to remain at her side.
At Kurama's house.
Hiei appeared at the kitsune's bedroom window, and pushed it open climbing inside. "Kurama?" he called out but doesn't receive an answer. Using his Jagan eye he skimmed the place seeing that it's empty. "Good."
Creeping in a little less soundlessly he walked over to Kurama's bed where a book titled 'The Joy of Christmas' sat. The fire demon scoffed at the title and knocks it to the floor to create space for him to sit on that particular spot of the otherwise empty bed.
"How is it that everyone can be so perfectly childish because of a few stupid days?" he was grumbling to himself.
Sliding a small box from his pocket, he removed a piece of cloth that's covering a book he'd swiped from the local library during the night.
'Now, how did the instructions say to do this again?' he wondered. Placing the box at the edge of the fabric he began to wrap it.
Opening the book, Hiei looked over the pictures then proceeds to roll the box up in the fabric. He smiled at his work, then began folding in the edges. Looking the book over that was in front of him, he took note in the bow around the gift.
"Where exactly am I going to get on of those things?" he wondered out loud, then a thought occurred to him and he reached up yanking his head band free. Holding the box in one hand he slipped the headband over it with the other hand tied it off.
"There." A fang toothed smirk spread across his face over the handy-work, then placed the gift under Kurama's mattress. 'I don't get the point of all of this, but if it'll make you happy.'
"Shuichi," A woman's voice called upstairs, "is that you?"
Hiei hadn't noticed anyone coming into the house, being distracted with his project and all. He looked around for a place to hide then slipped under the bed.
"Shuichi?" she opened the door and gasped. "Huh, I thought I heard someone up here, oh well." Closing the door behind her, Kurama's mother heads back down the hall.
Hiei sighed and came from under the bed. 'Nothing is worth all this.' He took the box from under the mattress and glared down at it. '...' He walked to the window and disappeared.