Oh, look! It's the much awaited chapter three! Imagine that!
Truthfully, I'm really sorry I didn't update earlier. It's been waiting on my computer for awhile, but by the time I got around to updating, school had started for me. And it's been hectic for the past two weeks. I know it's not an excuse, but hey, can't blame a girl for trying!
Anyways, here you go!
(again, no page breaking)
The werewolf king's grin went from predatory and cocky to that of mere excitement in less than a second. His eyes lost their supernatural glow and were overtaken by a more contented gleam. This sudden change in his demeanor confused Hiei enough that his face actually scrunched minutely. Yusuke turned to his followers seated at the table still smiling. "See boys, what'd I tell ya?" he gloated.
Jin and another male with blue hair cut into a Mohawk and tied back in a low ponytail grinned back just as enthusiastically. The unknown one said, "Righ' you were, Yusuke." One of the other males at the table who seemed vaguely familiar to Hiei only nodded slightly as did the last. The first had long white hair while the other was completely bald.
Yusuke stood, grinning goofily with his eyes closed and fists on his hips. He chuckled as if there wasn't one standing behind him with a sword poised to strike; and as if this person didn't mind being ignored or not understanding a situation, both of which were happening at that moment.
The hunter growled lowly. "I suggest," he began, "you explain." Here he paused, to glare hard enough that the leader had to feel in on his back. "Now."
The leader stopped laughing then as if remembering his current task. He turned back to face Hiei with his grin downplayed into a slight smirk, though he couldn't completely hide his emotions as his eyes still held mirth in them. "Hey, sorry, man. How 'bout we sit down and I tell you what this is really about?" he offered.
Examining the werewolf through narrowed eyes, Hiei decided he was no threat at the moment and sheathed his sword before following him to the table. He opted to sit at the opposite end from Yusuke so he could see everyone in the room as well as the only door. This also placed him the farthest away from the door should he need to make a quick escape, but nothing could be done about that. Folding his arms across his chest and sitting back in the plain chair, the hunter waited.
"Okay, before we get into these explanations and everything, let's get these intros out the way," the king began in speech more fit for a street punk than the leader of any group. "I'm Yusuke, werewolf king or Ulfric, if you're into titles."
"This is Hokushin," he pointed to the man close to him on his left who was bald with plain brown eyes, "my second-in-command."
His finger moved to the white-haired male seated on his right with deep sea blue eyes as he said, "That's Lance."
"This is Chuu," the guy with the long Mohawk tied with a red tie and dark brown eyes seated next to Lance and, incidentally, Hiei's left. "And you know Jin."
With each name spoken, Hiei's eyes followed, but when they got to Jin, they lingered for moments longer after Yusuke had spoken his name. The boy still refused to acknowledge him, despite that they were seated almost right next to each other. But even while avoiding him, Jin couldn't lose that cheerful nature as he was smiling at everyone and everything else. Then, the bounty hunter's eyes wandered back to Lance. For some reason, he felt as if he should remember him. He was still trying to figure it out when Yusuke began speaking again.
"So you wanna know why I had Jin go through all this to get you here, right?" the king asked with a smirk. The hunter merely stared at him, beginning to understand that the smirk was just another part of his personality and lacked the arrogance most carried when wearing one.
"I want you to join us," Yusuke replied happily, not daunted by his lack of response.
Had he been looking anywhere else, a classic double take would have been in order. As it were, his red eyes merely hardened into a glare mixed with confusion. Sure he had misheard him, Hiei asked for a repeat, "What?"
The Ulfric merely nodded before going further in his explanation, "With you with me, we can defeat the vampires easily. You could help us win and end the war."
Hiei held his gaze. "Why should I?" he asked, causing the king's smug attitude to drop into confusion.
"To help your fellow humans," he replied as if it were obvious. "They're being dragged…" He trailed off as Hiei shook his head.
"They aren't my problem," the hunter replied.
Yusuke stared at him with a hint of anger, "Whaddyou mean they aren't your problem? You're the one chosen to lead them."
"Chosen by whom?"
"Some old oracle or something, but that—" he waved his hand as if to disregard the question, "—isn't important. The point is you're the human meant to save all the others. You can't refuse."
Snorting derisively, the hunter stood as the king now was. "There are two problems with your logic." He met Yusuke's perplexed chocolate gaze and continued, "One, I can easily refuse this if I want. And two, I'm not human."
The wolf seemed to fall further into confusion, causing Hiei's slight respect for him to falter. But being that werewolves always helped each other in their pack, the concept that this hunter refused to do the same was very odd, especially considering Yusuke was protective of his own even before, as a human. "What do you mean?"
A smirk even the hunter himself knew seemed evil curved upon his childlike face. "Don't tell me you didn't know my father."
For a long moment, no one moved. The eyes of each werewolf were trained on their leader. Finally, said leader heaved a sigh and sat. He spoke softly, almost reverently, with his eyes glued to the table in front of him, "Yeah, I knew him."
The genuine anguish in the werewolf's voice actually caused Hiei's grin to falter. Some of his attitude slipped away at the sound of one defeated, or in great pain. The grip he held on the table loosened as guilt came upon him, though guilt for what, he wasn't sure. That it hurt him to see the boy in obvious pain was something he'd question later, after this meeting was complete.
Eventually, the Ulfric looked up with his customary smirk, though this one didn't quite reach his eyes as the others had. "Okay Hiei, I'll leave you alone for now. You can leave. But know that I won't give up. I never do." He met the hybrid's eyes, "I never do."
The hunter frowned at the comment and practically being ordered out of the club, but didn't argue since it was just a different means to the same end. Although, exiting on his own terms would have suited his pride much better.
Walking out of the Lunatic Café, Hiei noticed the sun peek over the clouds in the east. Remaining still for a moment, he simply took in the sight. Unknown to many, the hunter did appreciate beauty; there just weren't many things — natural or otherwise — that he found worth proper notice.
As he began the run to his living quarters, the question dominating his thoughts was 'why'. Why did seeing the wolf upset cause his own demeanor to change? The occurrence was odd enough to warrant immediate, if not effective, examination. But, of course, no reason would come to mind.
At least one good came from the meeting, the hybrid thought. Now, I know the part in this war they wish me to play. They expect me to end their war.
He unlocked the door to his apartment, internally shaking his head, either in amazement or because of the sheer idiocy of the request. Like he'd said, this war was not his problem, ending it was not his concern.
Bypassing the living room he entered was simple for Hiei, even without sunlight or lamplight. Although he usually could not see, he could sense where the black couch and plush chair were. The off-white carpet he could feel under his boots, and the two red pillows on either corner of the couch were almost visible in the darkness. He knew a short, simple glass table rested in the area where the couch and chair met, and that there was no television in the room to worry about hitting.
It was always simple memory on his part, the same experienced by every other human when maneuvering in their homes want of illumination. But this early morning, as he stared at the items in the room with a small amount of astonishment, it seemed he was actually able to see many of them. It was as if, instead of just having the knowledge of their placement, he could actually see the glass table, the couch, though the blackness created by thick curtains across the windows should have bled into the darkness of the room. He blinked slowly, expecting his vision to return to normal, but it didn't. Then, he had a moment of clarification where his previously dormant genes of vampire and werewolf came into question. Perhaps, this was one effect of his…powers becoming active. Deciding that must be it, the hunter cast that particular concern aside, for now.
To the left of where he had entered was another door. This one led to the only bedroom and the master bathroom. It was this path Hiei took to reclaim the rest lost from the previous night. Walking into his bedroom, the hybrid declined turning on the light yet again, and instead fell into his bed as he was: sweaty, dirty clothes, and all.
Falling into the darkness known to those who favored it as sleep, the hunter rested for a short while. Short, for it was barely two hours later when a loud noise woke him again. Blinking his eyes, Hiei looked around the room, scrunching his eyes when they met sunlight shining around the thick curtains over his window. As his sleep-fogged mind cleared, the hunter realized that the irksome sound was a telephone.
"What?" was his oh-so-welcoming greeting after the phone had rung for the fifth time.
"Shrimp, where's that bounty you promised?" the voice on the phone requested in a way that made it seem more of a shout than a calmly asked question.
The hunter blinked once more and glanced at the digital clock on the dresser next to the phone cradle. It read 7:48 AM. His head moved slowly from the clock to the cordless telephone he held, glaring at the electronic device with an expression akin to disgust.
Bringing the telephone back to his ear, he gritted, "Can't this wait until later, Kuwabara?" The male was the only one who ever dared to insult him every time they communicated, and 'shrimp' was definitely not a favored nickname, indicating who it was.
"No, it can't," Kuwabara replied loudly. "You promised to bring in a bounty last night. And now, it's eight o'clock and you're still sleeping! Where's my bounty?"
Hiei barely suppressed a growl at the other's continual increase in volume in order to say, "I can hear you, fool."
"Then where is it?"
Swallowing a retort in favor of ending the conversation and returning to sleep, the hybrid explained where the body was and why he hadn't brought it in. He, of course, excluded Genkai's explanations to him and everything thereafter. Instead, covering it up by saying his mentor had a job for him to do.
"Good," Kuwabara said after writing down everything Hiei told him. "I'll give you an hour. Meet us there by nine."
"You have to be there to get the bounty," he explained, voice sounding not unlike whining to the sleepy bounty hunter.
"Don't need it."
"Look, shrimp, you've gotta be there to ID the body, whether you want the money or not. So, be there!" The click of the phone signaled the male's hanging up.
The hybrid growled and threw the telephone into the nearest wall, damning himself for buying the contraption, the phone for not breaking when he threw it and himself again for actually listening to the oaf. Splashing water on his face in the bathroom, he also damned Genkai for forcing him to "socially interact" when the old hermit didn't herself.
His only solace was that he could cause Kuwabara more hell if he was there in person instead of connected over the miles by telephone.
He showered quickly, hissing when the warm water hit his back where he slept with his katana still in the back sheath. Reminding himself to never be tired enough to forget that again, he redressed in a dark blue tank, black pants, and the same leather boots from the night before. Grabbing one of his less powerful guns, he exited the apartment. A stronger gun was not usually needed during daylight hours, and a lightweight one was more easily hidden by his clothing.
Jogging instead of sprinting, probably just to tick off Kuwabara, the hunter arrived to the area he had described by nine thirty. He walked past all of the cops on duty without issue. Everyone on the force knew about his odd friendship of sorts with their chief. Though, the yells of obvious argument that escaped the office whenever the man visited the station were enough to make many of them wonder if the two really were friends.
Hiei walked up to the chief of police and said, "Shut up," before the taller man could even open his mouth. He looked up at the man everyone called by his surname, his complete name being Kazuma Kuwabara. An odd curl of orange hair was set atop his head above small, almost black, beady eyes and broad shoulders. He had a muscular build that easily revealed his physical strength, unlike the hunter's own lithe frame. Said male didn't quite reach the officer's shoulders.
"Why do you need me?" Hiei grumbled to his companion.
Kuwabara scowled down at him. "Just ID the body," he ordered. The hunter of the bounty revealed the name of the now-deceased John Doe. The chief gave the information to one of his men to check and compare against the body.
"Is that it?" the shorter man demanded.
"Look, you know the procedure. They've got to check this guy's identity, compare it to the one you just gave me, and then bring you down to give you the money."
"I already told you, I don't need it. If this is the only reason you called me down here, I'll—"
"It's protocol!" the chief shouted at him.
"I. Don't. Care." Hiei spoke evenly, threatening the police officer with his burning eyes. To his credit, the taller man didn't back down, but instead gave his own, albeit less perfected, glare.
"You should, Shrimp. I didn't have to call you."
The hunter's gaze seemed to simultaneously intensify and deaden before he spoke, "You are an idiot."
Kuwabara reddened. "You know what? Next time I'll give your money to some lazy hunter who happens to wander in," he said, knowing Hiei's intense hatred of anyone who never did any work to better themselves.
"Fine," the male sighed and turned to leave. He'd barely turned the corner, sure in his return to sleep, when he ran into the possible last person he expected to see.
He suddenly became very aware that he had only his weaker firearm.
"Hiei," Jin smiled to the ground before raising his eyes. "Cahn we talk?"
Okay, I promise to try to update the next chapter sooner. I'll do even better if you guys review, though! Reviews keep me going, for sure!
Also, I wrote a Yusuke/Kurama ficlet called Call Me When You're Sober. You should go check it out!