Mukuro has new toys. Hiei and Kurama learn to live with it.
Parts of a body
Her eyes followed Hiei as he crossed the room again restlessly. Kurama finally found his book and stepped away from the shelves, letting out an irritated noise as he barely avoided planting his foot on one of the delicate metallic orbs rolling about on his floor. "Oh, you're still here?" he asked in elaborately feigned surprise, sounding as though he had already shown Hiei out and closed the window behind him an hour ago.
Hiei was not in the least deceived, since Kurama had already expressed his strong distaste for being watched, following the statement with the firm suggestion that Hiei remove himself along with Mukuro's roving eyeballs until such time as he found some way to make them cease to follow him. The dour fire demon did not deign to grace the remark with a response, and mulishly parked himself on Kurama's desk. The eyeballs rattled into position underneath, one pointing itself at the scuffed sole of his black boot, and the other fixating in a disturbing manner on the chair in the vicinity of where Kurama's crotch would be if he sat down. Kurama did not sit down.
Kurama felt that his ill humour was not a sudden or unwarranted thing, considering he had borne the intrusion of Mukuro's latest caprice with what even Hiei had to concede was remarkable restraint over several days, in the face of dogged persistence on the part of the indestructible eyes; several near discoveries by his human mother; and one regrettable incident in which his highly breakable human stepbrother had accidentally stepped on one and nearly fallen down the stairs. With Hiei's quick reflexes and the judicious application of a little Forgetfulness Pollen, they were able to smooth over the incident in a satisfactory manner.
While the whole affair was rather wearing on the nerves, Kurama considered himself a very understanding person. He was quite able to understand that Mukuro's interest in her mechanical magic was no more a trivial hobby than his own attachment to plant magic. He did know that Hiei would not object to his liege-lady testing out her new toys on him, since she had after all saved his life with one of these toys, and moreover she and Hiei seemed to have taken to each other as soulmates or whatever their strange little minds framed the concept as, perhaps due to their comparably traumatic childhoods and similarly anti-social manners. And he was quite aware that it would be petty to resent the speed with which Mukuro had found a place in Hiei's heart while it was still rare for him to get anything more than a grudging acknowledgement of appreciation, when in demon terms, ten years was not that much different from five or three. He'd even taken some comfort in the persistence with which Hiei haunted his room in spite of his clear displeasure over the surveillance.
But the last straw came when Kurama returned from a long day in the university three days ago to find Hiei downstairs in the kitchen with his mother, in the midst of what appeared to be an intense interrogation over bowls of strawberry ice-cream. Shiori smiled and offered Kurama tea as he entered, while Hiei eyed the untouched lump melting in his bowl with deep suspicion, stirring it as he made a non-committal noise in response to her last question. Then something rattled upstairs.
"My pager," declared Hiei into the silence that followed, in a shocking display of awareness of human technology.
All three of them looked up at the ceiling again when the rattle became louder. "Or it could be the new alarm clock I'm testing," Hiei offered, giving Kurama his second shock of the day. "Excuse me," he said at last before hurrying up to stop the eyes from bursting out of whatever he'd locked them in, causing Kurama to pinch himself surreptitiously, convinced it was all a bizarre hallucination brought on by lack of sleep after having engaged in too many night-long staring matches with the eyes.
"I'll go up and see that he, ah, switches it off properly," he told Shiori, who looked strangely resigned, and hastened after Hiei into his room. "What did she ask you?" he demanded as he nearly slammed the door behind him.
"She tried to feed me something that looked like your cooking," Hiei accused as he opened Kurama's closet. The eyes rolled out, looking as docile and harmless as large marbles.
Kurama refused to be distracted. "What did she ask you?"
Hiei glowered at his boots, clearly having been bested in the interview with his mother. "She wanted to know what I was doing in your room and how I got there. I told her. Waiting for you. Through the window. You leave it open for me."
"What else?" Kurama tried not to imagine all the ways his mother, weaned on Romeo and Juliet and all the romantic plays and romance novels a determined daughter of a librarian could lay hands on, could possibly interpret the situation less than innocently. He shoved past Hiei to check on his things, righting several toppled jars of plant seeds.
"Asked how old I was." Just as he expected. "Told her I was old enough." Damn it. "I said it was none of her business." And Hiei refused to look at him. He quite possibly knew how Shiori had taken his responses. Kurama could have cheerfully killed him, or tortured him slowly for a while at least.
Now Shiori kept stealing worried looks at him and sighing softly over pictures of babies in advertisements, and otherwise tried to sound cheerful and supportive of his relationship with Hiei. He would not have minded it so much, but he felt rather cheated at not having an actual relationship of the sort she imagined. And still Hiei would not budge from his room.
And then there were the ears Hiei kept tucking under the mattress, in his cloak and who knew where else. He'd suspected their existence soon after the cold draught from the opened window woke him to the sight of a metallic eye on his pillow staring soulfully into his own, and Hiei sulking silently on the window sill, refusing to speak. They were impossible; Hiei, the eyes, the ears, and ultimately Mukuro. They deserved each other. Why was Hiei inflicting whatever disagreement he was having with his lady on Kurama?
At last Kurama could bear it no longer and flung down his book. "What is it? Does Mukuro suspect that I want to take you away or depose her? Does she want more exotic flowers? Well?"
Hiei glared at the ear inching out from beneath /Cyrano de Bergerac/. "She wanted to make sure I told you," he enunciated crisply, and stopped short. "I will tell him after you leave," he said, and cut a glance in the direction of the window.
Surprisingly, the eyeballs and ears immediately began rolling and flipping out, followed, much to Kurama's disgust, by an audibly sniffling nose that had evidently fallen in his mould collection.
When the parts were finally out of sight, Kurama found that he could be tolerant again. "You were going to tell me...?"
Hiei looked momentarily as though he would go after Mukuro's spare parts assembly, then settled himself resolutely on the windowsill and exhaled. "I do not need you," he said, with a direct look.
Kurama smiled in return. "I know." He sat down at his desk, picked up his book and found his page.
It was a return to the status quo, only not quite.