Disclaimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho.
The Years Between Minisodes Compilation
Summary: A series of brief events that takes place during the 40 year time skip in White Lies. Expect tacit fluff, randomness—silly and familiar in nature—and a lot of foxy banter.
A/N: I've transferred these as is from my fanfiction blog. If you're interested in my writing beyond fanfiction, then please support me by ordering my books. The level of writing, I promise, is way beyond anything I put up here—as this fic along with its specials were both started and written years ago.
Ayama sat in her usual spot within her abode, drinking tea and slowly eating the fried fish and vegetables that sat before her. Hyoukoki sat beside her, eating as well. He had just finished cooking them a light lunch and they were currently enjoying the peace. A comfortable atmosphere lingered around them. Outside, they could somewhat hear Takoki's voice as he played with the twins. Loud, but not enough to bother them.
"You've always been such a wonderful cook," Ayama said, minding her manners as she took a bite.
Proper table etiquette was one of the first things that she had taught her sons. They all ate nicely. Hyoukoki and Takoki ate silently, while the twins took small, neat bites and ate quickly. Ayama, herself, ate with the expected grace of a kitsune.
"I needed to be," Hyoukoki said, recalling how he had to basically self-teach himself everything because Ayama couldn't seem to do anything but grill fish. When she tried to make anything else, it came out with a bitter taste that had his face turning an entirely different shade. "You're a terrible cook, okaa-san."
Ayama smiled, a sheepish expression on her face. "Is it that bad?"
"We would have died if I hadn't learned how to cook," he said, bluntly. "I wonder how you survived so long before I was born."
"Salted fish," Ayama shrugged, looking down at the boiled vegetables on her plate. "Oh, and restaurants."
"Cooking for yourself is more practical. You should learn how to cook other dishes."
"You sound like a mother," Ayama said, amusedly. "Though I suppose it's nice to be spoken to like that every now and again. You've grown so much, Hyoukoki."
Hyoukoki took a sip of tea in an attempt to hide his red stained face. "Shall I teach you how to cook, okaa-san?"
"No," Ayama shook her head and Hyoukoki raised an eyebrow at her response. "I'll rely on you for a while longer."
This time, Hyoukoki's entire face erupted in red. The deep crimson a clear contrast against his completely white appearance. Ayama grinned, but he was saved from anymore of his mother's relentless teasing as the door opened to reveal the rest of their missing family.
"Kaa-chan!" Emiya and Eriya called, excitedly running up to her with large grins decorating their faces. They glomped her as she ruffled their hair.
"Hey, stop it," Takoki reprimanded, pulling the twins away by the back of their collars. "Okaa-sama's eating."
"But…" Eriya pouted, puffing out his cheeks.
"Can we eat too then?" Emiya asked, raising his hand.
"You two can split this," Ayama tilted her head at her large serving.
"But…" Takoki's protest was cut off by Ayama's grin as the two started splitting up her food. Eriya pushing all the vegetables to Emiya's side of the plate.
"Is that really okay, Okaa-sama?" Takoki asked, worriedly. "You aren't hungry?"
She shrugged. "I don't have much of an appetite."
Hyoukoki spoke up before Takoki could say anything about her eating habits. His grey eyes lingering on his younger brother's crestfallen expression. "You don't have to be that sad over it, Tako."
"Of course I do," Takoki shot back. "Okaa-sama hasn't been feeling well for the past few days."
"It's just lack of sleep from her usual experiments," Hyoukoki lied, covering up the truth so Emiya and Eriya wouldn't needlessly worry. Takoki and Ayama played along with the simple lie, working their conversation around it.
"Which means that she needs all the energy she can get," Takoki argued. "She shouldn't be nonchalantly giving her food away."
"The fish wasn't that fresh anyway, we can just prepare a better meal for dinner."
"That's not the point."
"And aren't you talking a lot today? I miss your usual silence."
"I'll kill you."
"Now, now," Ayama chided, interrupting them before things escalated. "You two usually get along so well."
"Okaa-san," they said in unison, their voices interlapping.
Takoki was the one to speak. "What are you talking about? Hyou and I are total opposites. We never get along."
"I meant that you two get along well in front of me," Ayama clarified, watching how Emiya and Eriya began playing with some of the priceless trinkets Ayama just kept lying about. The only collection she actually cared for were the souls lining her walls.
Takoki shrugged, carelessly. "It seeps out sometimes."
"Reign it back in," Ayama told them. She didn't try to stop them from bantering. Siblings argued that was just a universal truth. "You scare the twins when you raise your voices like that."
"Yes, yes," Takoki acknowledged and Hyoukoki gave a silent nod.
"You two can learn from them," Ayama said, leaning back on her palms and sipping at her tea. "They get along so well."
"They're two halves of the same whole," Hyoukoki defended himself.
"Exactly," Takoki nodded. "It's only natural that they get along."
"Oh," Ayama grinned in amusement. "So you two can agree."
Blushes erupted on their faces as they both shot each other a glare before turning away, pouting.
"I never said we couldn't agree," Takoki mumbled, scratching his cheek. "We just don't see eye to eye at times."
"I know," Ayama smiled. They had drastically different personalities, it wasn't any wonder that they clashed a lot. But they always tried their best to get along in front of her and not let their differences affect their business talks. "You two are such good boys."
"You always say that," Hyoukoki muttered, hiding his red tinted face. He was blushing far too much today. How unlike him. He was too weak to her teasing, but she supposed that that's what made him cute. If someone like Hyoukoki could be called cute, that is.
"Even more so than Emi and Eri?" Takoki asked her excitedly. His eyes gleaming. Ayama looked over at the twins, who were still frolicking about. Unlike their older brothers, they were far more prone to leaving her side. But that kind of playful attitude was good too.
"My," Ayama let out a breathy sigh. Pretending to be at a loss for words. "How should I answer that?"
Ayama let out a bark of laughter when they let out toothy grins, making them look very much like a happy Emiya and Eriya. They were far more alike than she gave them credit for.
"Youko, my man," Kuronue called with glee. A large smile on his face. His loud footsteps echoed throughout the halls of their otherwise silent hideout. Kuronue was strangely excited as he made his way towards him, crossing the stretch of hall that separated them in under a minute.
Youko turned slightly and raised an eyebrow at him. He smelled faintly of booze. "I thought you were in town with some of the men."
"Nah," Kuronue waved his words aside. "I mean, I was. But I'm back early."
Kuronue gave him a fool's grin which had Youko's eyebrows going up even more as they attempted to reach his hairline. Kuronue was still grinning away though, obviously in a very chipper mood for reasons beyond him. He could speak clearly, which meant that he was only slightly buzzed. Thank Raizen for small things like that. Youko didn't want to deal with a full on drunken bat. Still, a slightly buzzed Kuronue was still quite the handful.
"And why, pray tell are you back so early?" Youko asked, crossing his arms and shooting him a narrowed eyed stare.
"Aren't you going to ask about my mood?" Kuronue asked, sidestepping his question. But Youko wasn't so easily deterred.
"No," came his blunt response. "You probably just had a few lays."
"Aw, don't be jealous," Kuronue clasped his shoulder. "I only had four women."
Youko rolled his eyes. "Your libido knows not the meaning of restraint."
"Oh, and yours does?" Kuronue said. "You're just jelly cause you're stuck here for another day watering your plants."
"Why, yes, I am just green with envy. Green," Youko said, sardonically. "I do hope you were at least safe with choosing your whores. If I recall correctly, one of the men got some sort of infection."
"Hey, no worries there," Kuronue held his hands up. "I went all proper this time and actually picked up women at a bar."
"They could still be disease ridden," Youko shrugged.
Kuronue took a moment to think it over. "True."
"So," Youko started, moving the conversation along. "What did you want?"
"Oh," he gently smacked his right fist on his open palm. "Ayama was there, I saw her."
Youko raised an eyebrow. "In the bar?"
"No, no, no," Kuronue frantically shook his head. "In one of the whorehouses."
"What?" Youko asked, staring at Kuronue like he had gone completely batshit insane.
"That was a long pause," Kuronue grinned, an alcohol induced haze over his eyes.
Youko sighed and tried to get the bat to focus. "What do you mean she was at the brothel?"
"Oh, she was posing as a whore," Kuronue said, nonchalantly. Youko's eyes widened at this point. That was quite the feat. Not many things could get his eyes to actually widen—raise his eyebrows, sure. But widen his eyes? That was a whole new level of surprise.
"Posing as a whore…?" Youko said, clearly confused by the situation. "Of all the times to be drunk, bat. Why now?"
Kuronue grinned. "Wait, wait, wait. Posing isn't the right word. She was kinda just waiting in a back room. Some of the men saw her."
"You're vagueness rivals the vixen's," Youko said, scathingly.
Kuronue didn't seem to hear. If he did, then he outright ignored his remark. "Oh, and get this. After a few minutes they said they heard the guy groan!"
A dozen scenarios ran through Youko's mind. Seems the vixen did have a frisky side. "Groan?"
"Yea, then the men called me."
"Why would they call you?"
Kuronue ignored him again. "Then when I got there, there was blood everywhere!"
"What?" Youko repeated. His eyes widening once more. Just what kinds of things was she into? Vixens had always been known to be more adventurous, but he didn't think that she'd go that far.
"Apparently the guy was spreading bad rumors of a deathly ugly witch living in the Forest of Tears," Kuronue shrugged. "She offed him."
"I see," Youko said in understanding. He wanted to let out a more exasperated sound, but that would be far too unlike him. Youko reached over and harshly hit Kuronue over the head instead. The bat immediately doubled over in pain, holding onto his pounding head and muttering a repeated string of 'owowowow.' He was easily ignored.
"Why didn't you open with that?" Youko went on, agitated.
"What do you mean? I was telling the story, but you kept interrup—"
Kuronue didn't get to finish his sentence as he swayed and threw up the contents of his stomach.
Deep in the Forest of Tears, Ayama stood, staring out into the trees. It was early evening, the setting sun painting the clouds a deep orange. Though that didn't really matter since no one could actually see it, at least not through the mist lingering all around. Her tail swished behind her and her ears twitched at every sound within the Forest. Her eyes were closed as she concentrated solely on sensing a certain someone's demon energy.
Her hand reached out and caught a person's wrist, the hand of someone who was just about to run fingers through her hair.
"Caught you," Ayama said, opening her eyes to peer at the deep gold ones that stared right back at her. "You need to do better than that if you want to beat my mist."
"But I'm at least getting the hang of it," Youko said, pulling his hand away and crossing his arms. His eyes narrowed as he checked the surrounding area. He was getting used to this eerie Forest. Even the mist was starting to become familiar to him.
He and Ayama were currently training. Well, playing was more the word.
Playing, as in messing around in the Forest of Tears. Ayama would go off first and he had the task of finding and surprising her. Something he was failing epically at because while finding her was no problem, he couldn't sneak up on her because of the way she could sense everything within her fog.
"At least you've gotten better at finding me without having to rely on your demonic sensing," Ayama offered with a smirk.
"Don't flatter me," Youko grimaced. "I'm not a child in need of positive reinforcement."
Ayama grinned. "I wonder about that."
Youko's ear twitched, before a mischievous smirk spread across his lips. She didn't trust the look on his face right now. Youko held up a finger. "Once more, vixen."
She raised an eyebrow, but conceded with a small nod. "Give me five minutes then."
Youko nodded, resolute.
Ayama turned her back on him and continued her slow gait into the Forest. She purposely took a path that would lead back to her abode. After about two minutes of walking, she sat on a large nearby rock and stifled a yawn. Unlike her sons, she didn't have to concentrate to know what sat inside her hideout. It came naturally to her. Like a bothersome presence in the back of her mind that would never leave her alone.
Takoki was off on a mission, but she could feel Hyoukoki's presence as he watched over the twins in the house. She could even feel Kuronue. The bat stayed in one position within the confines of her hideout, perhaps he was asleep? She closed her eyes and let her mind wander to more trivial things. Youko was slowly covering ground, making his way to her.
During the first time they had played, she had stuck around to watch him. He would crouch down to look at tracks and sniff the air every few seconds. He was obviously very used to scouting, though that was perhaps natural for a bandit. Youko didn't seem the type to rely on his ability to sense others alone. He used everything within his arsenal. That included his heightened senses.
He was silent, but even with his light steps she could feel when he was close. He was about ten steps away now. A length he could cross in half a second. Ayama didn't bother acknowledging his presence, instead she kept her eyes closed as she waited for him to try to surprise her.
Youko was quick. In a flash, he was pinning her to the large rock. Hovering above her aggressively. Ayama slowly opened her eyes, keeping her composure.
"You lose again, Youko," Ayama said, coolly.
Youko ran a claw down her cheek in a slow, tantalizing manner.
"I win," he whispered, huskily.
In the next second, Ayama gasped as she was hauled into the air by vines that had quickly and silently wrapped themselves around her middle. The more she struggled against them, the more they tightened. Finally, with a grimace she looked down at him.
"Put me down, Youko."
He smirked. "I don't know. That would be a shame. You look so comfortable up there."
"Youko," she bit out. Her voice was a warning. One that he ignored.
"Yes?" He asked casually.
"For Enma's sake, Youko I'm going to—"
She glared and took a vial out from her robes. Youko's eyes widened when he saw it. Ayama threw the soul at the ground at his feet. Both the glass case and the vial of blood shattering noisily. A blur of mist shot out from the ground and Youko was quick to move away. By the time the mist had somewhat cleared, Ayama was standing before him with an unattractive grimace. His vines were on the floor, claw marks on their stems.
Had she transformed?
"Don't tell me," Youko muttered, looking down at the shattered glass on the soft grass. "You threw that soul because you didn't want me to see your fox form?"
Ayama narrowed her eyes at him. "And what of it?"
Youko let out a bark of laughter. "Why in the world wouldn't you want me to see that form? It's not as if it's hideous. I should know, seeing as how I have the same one."
"On the contrary," Ayama said haughtily. "I didn't want you to be enchanted by my beauty. I don't need another fox after me."
"Because the sight of you tearing up vines is such a beautiful sight," Youko shot back. He understood why she did it now. Her doing something as uncouth as scratching plants was unbecoming of a vixen. She really did take quite a lot of pride in her standards of beauty. He'd never even seen her sweat before because apparently it looked unbecoming. "You're such a troublesome vixen."
"Is there any other kind?" She grinned.
"No," he flicked his tail, catching hers and swinging them back and forth for a moment. "I suppose not."