Younger or Older
The sun was shining brightly with a few fluffy looking white clouds floating lazily. The birds were singing merrily and the grasshoppers were cricking. The smell of fresh grass was almost unbearably refreshing. It was the absolutely perfect day to have a picnic.
And that was exactly what Urameshi Yusuke proposed to his teammates.
He was met with bewildered gazes. A pair of green orbs and another of grey meeting his eyes dead on and he could feel the fire demon's garnet stare on the top of his head.
"Way to be random, Yusuke," Kurama's smooth tenor voice was positively overflowing with deadpan.
"Oh, come on, Kurama!" Yusuke flailed his arms in his enthusiasm, refusing to back down. "It's a great day! And you guys are wasting it on meditating and napping!"
"Like you have anything to say, Urameshi!" Kuwabara snapped from where he was sitting akimbo beside the half human half fox demon. "At least we're doing something productive! You were just staring at clouds! Daydreaming no doubt!"
Yusuke let out a boisterous laugh, "Yeah? At least I was using my brain for something. What do you think sleeping beauty was doing up there?"
A ripe red apple smacked him right on top his head. No doubt courtesy of one very irritated fire koorime. But for him, not having the temperamental fire demon pressing a sword at his neck after a comment like that was a definite proof of how their friendship had softened Hiei. Somewhat. So, he was feeling pretty awesome. Despite the fact that his head was throbbing like crazy now.
"Thanks for the treat, Hiei!" He called up the tree he was leaning against. Smirking when he heard a scoff, he took the apple and bit into it.
"Anyway," he swallowed rather forcefully. "I think picnic would be an excellent idea! We'll invite the girls too! They are probably gossiping in there anyway. Might as well do something together. Besides," a rather sly smile spread across his face, "I'm pretty sure Yukina has never had a picnic before. She's gonna love to have one, don't you think?"
Immediately, Kuwabara's eyes brightened and he shot up to his feet.
"Why didn't you say that sooner! Yukina-san! Let's have a picnic together!" The boy's voice was rapidly lessening in volume as he ran towards Genkai's house, leaving the other three to stare after his retreating back.
There was an audible sigh and a movement up on the tree caught the two sitting on the ground's attention.
"You're going already, Hiei?"
"I don't have time nor patience to attend this stupid picnic of yours," Hiei's voice drifted down, the owner clearly scowling.
Yusuke let a devious smirk to spread across his face," You sure about that? Yukina will be disappointed when she finds out that you're not here."
He could just imagine the fire koorime froze in his step.
"I heard from Keiko that Yukina especially went out of her way to buy some ice cream yesterday," he continued in a thoughtful tone. "She would be heartbroken if you leave before having some."
There was a moment of silence before the small demon took off. Yusuke's grin widened when he realized that Hiei's aura was heading for the house instead of away.
"That guy," he turned to his now only companion left, grin still in place, "has to be the most doting older brother in the whole three worlds."
Kurama raised an eyebrow at him.
"That was rather manipulative of you, Yusuke. I never thought you have it in you."
The fox demon paused, his face looked thoughtful for a few seconds before a rather proud smile broke onto his usually calm visage. When he spoke next, his voice showed the grin that spread on his lips and his eyes twinkled with mischievousness.
"I never thought you have it in you."
"Well," the toushin grinned back just as deviously. "I knew hanging out with you would have some extra benefits."
It was about a couple of hours later that the nine teens – or at least physically they were– seated themselves on the picnic blanket. The girls didn't manage to convince Genkai to come out of the house, but somehow Botan managed to get Koenma to join them.
The godling was probably just sick of doing paperwork.
They have chosen a spot under one of the larger trees surrounding Genkai's place – one of Hiei's favorite to take a nap on – and spread out the food they've brought.
There were sandwiches, rolls of sushi, riceballs and even some takoyaki. All those who were useless in the kitchen, namely the boys, were recruited to get some shopping done: bottles of juices, cans of sodas, ice cubes and any forms of dessert they could get their hands on.
All in all, they had a rather amazing array of foods.
But with two former delinquents with bottomless pits as stomachs, it was just a matter of time before the foods quickly dwindling down.
"Really, Yusuke," Keiko scolded as she attempted to move some food away from the spirit detective only to fail miserably. "Leave some for the rest of us, will you?"
Shizuru took a sip of her beer before giving the younger girl a smirk, "There's no use, Keiko-chan. I stopped trying to tell Kazuma that a long time ago." She nudged her younger brother, who didn't even pause to acknowledge it, with her foot to emphasize her point.
On the other side of the blanket, Botan was talking animatedly about the newest recruits of ferry girls to Yukina. The others contended themselves with eating and somewhat listening to her chatter.
"She is really bratty, that Akako girl! I was this close," she held her thumb and forefinger a quarter of inch apart, "from tearing my hair apart! Or her hair! Oh yes, definitely her hair! I'll have so much fun pulling that long scarlet hair of hers! Her twin was waaaay more likable than her! Aoko-chan is a really sweet girl, so very different from her younger sister. She had this beautiful deep blue hair cut in a bob style. I don't get how the two of them could be related, much less so twins!"
"I think I can," Kurama smoothly interjected as the ferry girl paused to take a breath. "After all, I've known other twins who are almost opposite of each other."
The fox demon glanced at Hiei, who was sitting quietly at his sister's side with a bowl of vanilla ice cream in his hand, and grinned cheekily when the fire demon threw an irritated glare at him.
"You'd think that Akako would at least listen to her older sister," Botan continued as if she was not interrupted before. "But noooo! The fact that Aoko-chan being born a few minutes earlier didn't mean that Aoko-chan has some sort of control over her, she said! What nerve! I don't know how Aoko-chan could stand her! If I have a younger sibling like that, I would've slapped her silly!"
Yukina tilted her head, "A few minutes earlier?"
"Thirteen minutes to be exact," she nodded. "I still think that it counts though. A few minutes or a few years, older is still older." The ferry girl crossed her arms in front of her chest and pout sulkily.
The ice maiden beside her let out a soft 'oh' and proceeded to look contemplative.
Kurama blinked and tuned out the rest of Botan's rant in favour of watching the obviously deep in thought Yukina. He turned to give his best friend a pointed look and raised an eyebrow.
'What's going on?'
Hiei caught his stare and bit rather viciously into his spoonful of ice cream.
'What makes you think that I know?'
Kurama rolled his eyes.
'Well, mind reading ability aside, you are her twin brother.'
Hiei scowled at him.
'That doesn't have anything to do with this!'
Their silent banter could go on far longer, was it not for the sound of someone giggling. This time, it was not only Kurama who was staring at the usually quiet ice maiden, but the rest of the group too.
"Yukina-san?" Kuwabara Kazuma called hesitantly, clearly confused at his crush's sudden giddiness. "Are you alright?"
The koorime looked up bright eyed, a pleased smile dancing on her lips, "Oh, Kazuma, I'm more than alright. It'd just that I've decided something."
"What have you decided, Yukina-chan?" Keiko leaned forward a little from where she sat.
Yukina's smile brightened even more, "I've decided that I don't have an older brother."
Utter silence was what greeted the statement. It last for over a minute, in which Yukina spent looking at her friends' shocked expression in confusion.
"Yukina-chan," Koenma croaked finally, "Are you sure? I mean, isn't this decision too sudden to make? And too important to be taken lightly?"
"I'm taking this matter very seriously, Koenma-sama," Yukina gave a small smile. "And I've made up my mind."
Kurama sneaked a glance at Hiei and felt his heart break a little at the hurt and acceptance swirling within the fire demon's ruby eyes. A glance at Yusuke made him know that he was not the only one who felt sympathetic towards the half koorime.
Kuwabara, who still didn't know the truth about the twins, moved forward and grabbed the little female's icy cold hands. Kurama felt his heart break a little more when, instead of scowling like he usually did whenever similar scenes happened, Hiei shifted away from the two with a broken look about him. It was as if he didn't believe he had anymore right to even be a little protective of his sister.
Meanwhile, Kuwabara had kneeled in front of the ice maiden and held her hands close to his chest, "Are you sure? I mean, I will support you whatever your choice is. But, are you sure?"
"I'm very sure of this," Yukina's smile was genuine and sweet as usual, but her words had unknowingly shattered one heart to pieces and several others aching with sympathy.
Kurama saw Botan gave Hiei a sorrowful look, no doubt feeling guilty and believing that her rant was the cause of Yukina's sudden change of heart. But the small fire demon was not looking at her. In fact, he was not even looking at anyone's face. Instead, he was looking at his lap, the ice cream bowl was now sitting quietly at his side and his hands fumbling with something around his neck.
His mother's tear gem, Kurama realized not a second before Hiei pulled one of two necklaces he wore over his head. The half koorime stared at it for a while, before clenching his fist around it.
"Here," Hiei thrusted his hand out, opening his fist and offering the glimmering jewel to its rightful owner. "You might want to have this back now."
The ice maiden gave a sharp intake of breath before reaching for the precious gem with shaky hand. At the last moment however, she grabbed his hand instead and a pair of ruby red orbs met their exact copy.
"Thank you for looking for my brother for me, Hiei-san."
Hiei gave a very convincing scoff.
"I did nothing worth mentioning. I told you that he's probably dead anyway."
"Still," Yukina moved her other hand so that both of hers covered Hiei's. "I really appreciate what you did for me. Though I will continue to look for him in any way that I can."
Hiei's eyes widened, staring at his sister in bewilderment. The others around him mirrored his expression with variant degrees.
"But, Yukina, you just said that you don't have an older brother," Yusuke pointed out. "So why do you still want to look for him?"
Yukina looked confused before an understanding seemed to reach her and she gave a tiny gasp, before a brilliant smile spread across her face.
"Oh, I see the misunderstanding now," the ice maiden giggled, seemingly amused by the lost look the others had on their faces. "I wasn't giving up on finding my brother when I said I didn't have an older brother."
The collective relieved sighs that were breathed out seemed to set the koorime off again and it was a few moment after until she was calm enough to continue her explanation.
"You know how koorime are able to give birth asexually, right?" When the others nodded, she smiled lightly, "Well, it wasn't very often that they gave birth to twins. It was very rare for twins to be born. The only one I know were my brother and I."
"Yukina-san!" Kuwabara suddenly exclaimed, surprising the whole group. "You have a twin? Your brother is your twin brother?!"
The ice maiden blinked, "I never said that?"
"Well," Kurama tilted his head. "You never specifically mentioned it, but the majority of us already know. It seems that Kuwabara was just not paying enough attention to details."
Kuwabara spluttered in indignation and some – namely Yusuke and Botan – snickered at his expense.
"Yes, we are twins," Yukina smiled widely. "And the koorime has special rules for twins."
"Special rules?" Koenma leaned forward, properly intrigued. "I never heard of such things. And I was sure there are no records about a specific rules about twins koorime being born."
"I was not surprised," the ice maiden said solemnly. "As I said, koorime very rarely gives birth to twins. In the koorime's culture, the twin that was born earlier was the younger one."
Her statement was met with an exclamation of shock all around. Hiei had frozen where he sat, his right hand still held by his sister, eyes wide with surprise.
Yukina only smiled wider, "It was percieved that the older twin lets the younger twin to be born first. By this rules, I was the younger twin, since I was born first. But to the outside world, it was my brother who was younger, since he was born later."
"So," Yusuke said with a grin on his face. "What you mean with not having an older brother is...?"
Yukina's happy mood seemed to be contagious, "I've decided since I'm abandoning the Koorime Island, I should abandon their stupid rules too. I don't have an older brother, I have a younger brother instead!"
Even Kurama had to grin at that. The redhead turned to his best friend, who seemed to be in too much shock to do anything but stare wide eyed at his sister. His older sister, Kurama snickered. Oh he was going to have so much fun teasing Hiei with this. Yukina had no idea what she had doomed her younger brother into.
"Hhe," Yusuke's grin turned mischievous and he moved to sit beside the still frozen Hiei, slinging an arm around the fire koorime's shoulders. "Well that means that you'll still help Yukina search for her younger brother, won't you Hiei?"
"Of course," Kurama smirked. "Right, Hiei? After all, we couldn't just leave Yukina-chan's younger brother out there by himself."
Hiei's turned his face sharply, ruby eyes glaring scathingly at the redhead while discreetly elbowing Yusuke away with his left arm.
"Oh, will you really?" Yukina tightened her grasp on the fire demon's hand, eyes filled with hope.
Hiei could only managed to nodded mutely, still somewhat in shock about what his twin – his older twin sister – had revealed.
"I would help as well," Kuwabara once again seized Yukina's hands, and Hiei growled lowly in his throat when he was forcefully pushed away. A sight that brought relief to his friends however unintentionally it might be.
"Now that all's well again," Botan grinned cheerfully, rummagging the mysterious bundle that she had brought earlier, before pulling out a portable karaoke set. "Let the party begins! Kuwa-chan, you start! Sing your love to Yukina-chan!"
Her part request and part command was met with much enthusiasm from the others who began cheering, save for one certain fire koorime, who was now back to scowling in distaste. Kuwabara made a grab for the karaoke set and started singing the most cheesiest love song he could find to a blushing Yukina.
"Well, that is sure a relief, right Hiei?" Kurama asked teasingly among the chaos.
"Shut up, baka kitsune," Hiei growled, hands reaching for the vanilla ice cream carton in the cooler, his mother's hiruiseki stone once again safe against his chest.
"It really gives an entirely different feeling," Kurama ignored the sulking fire demon. "Older brother sounds like someone strong and wise. Younger brother gives off the feeling of someone adorable instead."
Yusuke cackled beside them, "Hiei? Adorable? Someone kill me please!"
Hiei snarled and reached for his sword, "Gladly, detective."
Kurama watched in undisguised amusement as two of his closest friends battle it out again, their forms bluring with the speed that they were going.
"Now what did Yusuke said that set Hiei off?" Botan whispered to him, glancing behind her to make sure Yukina was preoccupied.
"Something about Hiei and adorable," Kurama grinned.
Botan looked positively gleeful, "Hiei will never live this down, will he?"
"We'll just have to make sure of that, won't we? After all," his expression turned rather devilish, "that's what friends are for."
k59: The belief that the twin that was born later was the older one really did exist, I remember reading that from somewhere.. Though I can't seem to find the writing about it.. It was the ancient Egyptian, if I remember correctly, but I could be wrong.. Someone knows about it? This written purely for the humor though.. Any critics are welcomed :)