||* p a r a d o x o f u s *||
Author Notes: I don't have much to say about this fic except it's another collection to the growing list of Kurama x Botan fics here. =) I tried to keep the characters within their respective personalities, and if I failed somewhere, sorry, and I know for a fact that Hiei is OOC so don't even bring that one up. ^^;; Again, this is AU. I find it unbearably hard to do fics based on the real thing. *big old sweatdrop* And I apologize in advance if this fic is somewhat confusing. I promise it'll make more sense by the next chapter. :D
As for Dulce, I know some of you are waiting for the next chapter to that fic. I have part of Chapter 5 written, but only until a certain point and then I got stuck. I'll try my very hardest to get that chapter out soon. I think it's been long over due anyway.
Anyhoo, reviews, suggestions, and flames are all welcome. Enjoy!!
"Minamino! Hey, back here!"
Hiei called to the red-haired youth through the opened sliding door leading into his extensive back yard. He was in the middle of flipping hamburger patties for his guests. As routinely planned out, it was his turn to hold the traditional summer get-together wherein everyone partied, ate a whole hell of a lot, and then got drunk.
"What took you so long anyway?" he inquired as Shuuichi joined his friend.
"It's fashionable to be late, Hiei," he replied matter-of-factly.
"Well, that's the first. Usually, you're one of the first to arrive so you can lend a helping hand." He snorted. "You help everyone else, but you won't come early for your best friend. Dipshit."
Shuuichi chuckled and patted his friend reassuringly on the back.
"I was busy. And as my best friend, you should understand."
Hiei arched a brow and looked behind Shuuichi, and not finding anyone there, he flipped another burger.
"She didn't come?"
"No. She said she wouldn't feel comfortable being around people that she didn't know very well. She said something about not wanting to be left out or other."
"…That's her loss. Whatever then." He poked at another patty and then eyed his best friend. "Don't tell me that you're gonna jump in my pool wearing your clothes."
"That's gotta be the reason why everyone picked you to hold this year's party. They're taking advantage of you, Hiei."
"Watch it. Your pool's bigger."
Another chuckle escaped his lips before he excused himself for a few minutes to go and change into his swimming trunks.
Upon reaching the upper floor of the house, he was met up with a bathing suit clad Keiko, her hair still dry. Apparently she had not gone in the pool yet nor had she been dunked, which is usually what happened to everyone dry.
"You're finally here. You better hurry up." She giggled and walked past the youth. "Hiei's cousin is looking for a new victim to throw into the pool."
"So why haven't you been thrown in?"
"Cuz I'm a girl," she stuck out her tongue at him playfully.
"Great. Hiei's cousin is sexist."
Keiko chuckled and was about to make her way down the stairs when Shuuichi asked her where her other half was.
"The pathetic fool! He's busily attempting to stay away from Hiei's cousin. He's been dunked 5 times already." She laughed almost maniacally and then scampered down the stairs.
Shaking his head, he entered the bathroom and proceeded to change into red swimming trunks.
"Yuusuke got dunked again! Another point for me!!"
Laughter ensued shortly after, and Shuuichi was back in the yard in time to hear it. When he got there, Hiei was no longer standing by the barbecue stand but Yukina.
"Shuuichi! When did you get here?"
"Just now actually."
"Well, everyone's already here. So you should be over with the others and enjoying yourself."
"That's what I intend to do." He smiled down at her and then looked around the yard. "Where's Hiei?"
"Brother?" She flipped her head in the direction that he was looking and then motioned with the spatula towards the right end of the pool. "He's over there. I could tell he was getting tired of flipping burgers so I told him I'd take care of it. And besides, you know as well as I do that brother can't cook very well."
He expressed his agreement with a laugh. "Yeah. Hiei was never patient around the kitchen." He squeezed the younger girl's shoulder lightly and proceeded over to the pool area.
Hiei had his back to him and was laughing as Yuusuke surfaced the pool and sputtered out water, simultaneously trying to inhale all the air that he had lost.
"Yuusuke got dunked?" Shuuichi smiled amused.
"Yeah, and this isn't the first or second time either," Hiei explained through his laughing.
"Did you see his face that time, Hiei?"
A young woman with blue locks hopped her way to the aforementioned youth, her lilac-hued eyes dancing with mischief and a smile to match it.
"We should have bought one of those water-proof cameras! Yuusuke's so funny!"
"Maybe he's just going easy on you, B. That guy can usually take on a gorilla."
She snorted and looked back into the pool where Yuusuke was keeping afloat.
"You're going easy on me? You're cheating!" she accused and then laughed. "Don't hold back next time, Urameshi!"
"You had better watch it next time, B. He takes challenges seriously, and I can almost guarantee you the next time you're within two feet of that guy, you'll get yourself wet."
"Oh, who's side are…"
She stopped short when she caught sight of the taller boy.
"Oh hi." Her eyes darted to Hiei for a moment and then her lips widened into a childish yet irresistible smile as she waved at him. "You must be Shuuichi."
"And you are?" He couldn't help returning her smile – it was contagious.
"Botan. Jaganshi Botan."
"Oh, so you're the mischievous cousin I've heard about."
She nodded goofily.
"Don't let her sweet little play throw you off guard, Minamino. She's the devil's brat." He snickered. "I mean, take Urameshi for example." He looked over Botan's shoulder at Yuusuke and then began howling with laughter again, the others following his example.
"Hey, don't think you're off the hook cuz it's your house, Jaganshi!"
Botan started giggling even more and then kneeled over the pool and splashed Yuusuke with water.
"Not if I dunk you first," she cried.
"See, what'd I tell you? She won't quit, the little brat." Hiei shook his head and instantly got it from Botan in the form of a punch on the shoulder.
"And I have to live with you for the rest of my high school career!" She rolled her eyes. "It's a good thing Yukina's around."
"You're boarding with Hiei?" Shuuichi, in the greatness of his people skills, ventured into inquiring more about the girl.
"Yeah, I'll be living with him for one year before I move back to Osaka for college. My dad got transferred out here, so we had to move. I would be living with him, but Sarayashiki High's a lot closer to Hiei's house than it is to our apartment."
Botan licked her lips as her eyes caught sight of the dog tag around Shuuichi's neck.
"Hey, you have one too!" She stepped closer and openly invited herself to take hold of the chain around Shuuichi's neck.
To say the least, the redhead was shocked. Boy was Hiei's cousin forward, not that he minded. Shuuichi mentally slapped himself. He was taken and…
He could feel Botan's warm breath against his bare chest as a small giggle escaped her lips. "You know, my old boyfriend used to have a dog tag too." Her closeness prompted her to look up at him in such an angle that it only managed to accent her eyes. "I dunno. I think it's cute when guys wear it."
"So what are you trying…" Shuuichi's forthcoming query was cut short when he felt his balance fail him and he fell into the pool. When he surfaced, everyone was laughing, including Yuusuke who was in the pool with him.
He looked around for the culprit only to find her crouched at the edge of the pool with an innocent smile playing across her features. Was she cunning! That little she-fox!
Shuuichi stared at her for another second and then joined in the laughter. Hiei walked closer to the pool and stood by his crouched cousin.
"I told you she was a little brat," Hiei managed in between his fit of laughter. "I can't believe that you, of all people, didn't catch that. She was playing you the entire time."
"I guess she caught me off guard," Shuuichi stated calmly, his eyes looking at the very satisfied Botan. Then he whipped his head towards his friend. "And you guys just stood there because?"
"It was funny." Hiei shrugged. "Honestly, would you tell me if I was being set up so I'd get pushed in?" The final words hadn't even left his lips when he felt two hands behind his back and down, down he went into the pool.
"No, I wouldn't," Shuuichi grinned as Hiei's head popped out of the water. "Yeah, your cousin is a brat."
"You've got three on your ass, B," Hiei scowled. "And trust me, one of us won't be that nice."
"Gee, and I wonder who that would be, dear cousin of mine." After giving Hiei a raspberry, she averted her gaze towards bottle-green eyes and smiled. "Having fun in there?"
Shuuichi waded himself to the edge of the pool and crossed his arms just in short reach of Botan. To this gesture, she crouched down with the intention of trying to engage in a friendly conversation with whom both her cousins said was quite an interesting person, despite the fact that Hiei always managed to incorporate him with the word shit.
"Botan Jaganshi, I admit that I think you are definitely something else," he offered.
"Should I take that as a compliment or an insult?" She felt her cheeks rise in temperature a little. "You know, you really are everything my cousin has made you out to be. Quite the charmer, aren't you?"
Her eyes searched the pool for her cousin, and she found him with a silly smirk. Raising one brow in question, she hadn't the time to ponder it when she felt two strong arms wrap around her slender frame and drag her into the pool. A surprised yelp escaped her lips before she hit water, and it would have been many minutes later when she would realize that she was still clinging to her assailant though she had already surfaced.
When the loud, boisterous laughter of the guests and Shuuichi's low chuckling began to make some sense to her, she immediately felt all of the blood rush to her face. It was in that instant when sense came back to her did she realize the intimate position that she was in. She leaned towards the conservative side, and this surely didn't support it. Botan disengaged her arms from around his body and shoved herself away from his hold. More laughter ensued when Botan's embarrassed apologies came out in a mixed jumble.
"So what prize do I get for managing to dunk the champion?" Shuuichi asked absently.
Botan's crimson cheeks only managed to red even more, if that was even possible. Mumbling that she had better stop playing around, she pushed herself out of the pool and walked towards the house.
"I gotta hand it to you, Minamino." Hiei started, pulling himself out of the pool as well.
"You've done the impossible."
"No guy has ever managed to leave my cousin speechless."
Shuuichi didn't know what to say at first, but then replied just as quickly. "It's the Minamino charm." He instantly felt water against his face. It was Yuusuke.
"Give me a break," he teased. "You know, you're too good even for yourself."
Shuuichi found it very amusing that whenever he would chance upon Botan and flash her a friendly smile, she would only look at him as if he had grown another head and then look the other way. The day was traversing quite nicely otherwise, and the food that had only been half-prepared by Yukina tasted great, considering that it was half-cooked by Hiei. And more or less, everyone had gone in the pool.
Botan had excused herself from the volleyball game that ensued in the pool, complaining that her head hurt and that she was off to raid the fridge for ice cream. She hadn't been long sitting in front of the television with her bowl of ice cream when Shuuichi stepped inside, still a little bit wet.
He had come inside initially to go to the bathroom, but when he spotted the girl sitting alone watching an episode of Pop Beat Live, he invited himself to sit down next to her.
"You're into these boy bands?" he asked casually looking at the five boys.
"Well, one of them is kinda cute you know. And their music is fun to listen to."
"I thought you weren't talking to me," he began, his lips slightly turning up.
Botan pursed her lips and didn't say anything after that. This prompted slight worry on Shuuichi's part. He'd feel guilty for making her mad at him, but before he could ask her if she was, she pointed her spoon at him.
"So why didn't you bring your girlfriend along?"
Shuuichi was quite taken aback at the sudden and very unexpected question.
Botan placed another scoop of ice cream into her mouth before going on to explain that she knew a lot about him and Yuusuke and Keiko and the others. Hiei and Yukina hadn't stopped talking about them the night prior, the same night that she arrived, when they were discussing about today's barbecue.
"That's why I felt a little awkward when you…" she paused and sucked on her spoon trying to think of the words, "…well, when I had my arms around you."
Now Shuuichi understood. Hiei's cousin, despite the random acts of childishness, could be very mature. She had felt disturbed when he had his arms around her knowing full well that he was taken, and it was then that he realized that even after he had pulled her in, he hadn't taken his arms off of her. It was only until she pushed herself away.
He shook his head and tried to clear his thoughts.
"Hmm?" Her eyes were intent on the screen. "Don't you think that Ninomiya's cute?"
She giggled when she saw Shuuichi's brow twitch.
"Sorry. You were saying?"
He looked at the television and looked at the one called Ninomiya and frowned.
"He's not my type, Botan. Not cute enough."
Botan laughed harder and punched him lightly across
"No, really. What were you gonna say?"
"Um, well," he glanced at her to find that she was looking at him, "I wanna apologize to you too."
"Well, you shouldn't feel at fault for what happened earlier. I was the one that pulled you in earlier, and, well…" he paused and shifted his gaze towards the sliding glass door and at their friends who were still playing, "…I didn't let go either. Maybe it was impulse or something."
She nodded and looked down at her near-empty pint. "Maybe. But," she looked back up at him and shot him the same smile that he had seen earlier, "since the feeling's mutual and all, I guess we can call it even."
"You won't be ignoring me like the bubonic plague anymore, I gather?" His voice was lined with evident repartee.
The next thing he knew, he saw white. Botan had thrown her towel in his face as her response.
"You truly are everything my cousins say you are, Shuuichi."
"Oh?" He cocked his head and watched her figure move back into the kitchen to put away her empty pint and spoon. "What things have the twins got to say about me?"
"A lot, but…" she waved her finger at him, "…my lips are sealed."
Without waiting for the boy to say anything more, she scampered up the stairs announcing that she was gonna wash up so if he intended to use the bathroom, he had better use the one downstairs. And at that moment, Kuwabara hastily came running in and made for the unoccupied bathroom.
Shuuichi blinked and shook his head. "Damn…"
The sun had set well over an hour ago, and the entire circle of friends had retired from their water escapades and retreated into the lively corner of the Jaganshi residence – the living room. After watching Kuwabara go at it with Botan playing Street Fighter Alpha for the last hour or so, and losing every time, Botan had given up subtly mentioning that it was hopeless when someone still couldn't win despite the fact that the game was set up so that he could win, and then the boys decided to play a friendly game of Damn You.
Hiei popped his head up from behind the counter and grinned.
"I believe that we have choices this time, boys," he stated ecstatically, holding up several bottles of alcohol.
Kuwabara and Shuuichi had already cleared the table in the kitchen and gave the thumbs up at Hiei's comment while Yuusuke began dealing the cards.
An hour had elapsed and the boys' boisterous laughter could still be heard from the living room where the three girls were in the middle of watching Sweet Home Alabama despite the fact that the living room was a closed-in area. Botan frowned and excused herself to the restroom, poking her head out of the wooden sliding door of the living room and then plodding her way to her destination.
She didn't make it halfway when she heard the slurred tone of Hiei's voice call out to her. Her brows furrowing deeper, she took a slight detour and visited the table. They were all giggling and laughing idiotically at nothing particularly funny.
"Quite tipsy there, don't you think?"
"Who?" Hiei replied. "Us? Tipsy? Just a little." He hiccupped and laughed again. "We're just playing Damn You, and having a dandy time."
"Just a little?" she added sarcastically. She tried to straighten her cousin up a little, but he only hung limply on to her and then mumbled something about being damned too many damn times.
"Well then," Shuuichi took one last swig at his drink and then stood up, "I think this would be my cue to leave. The host seems to have had his lights knocked out already."
"Wha…what?" Botan began to protest. "But you've been drinking. You shouldn't…"
"I've only had a few glasses, and I'm not easily influenced by the effect of alcohol."
"What a load of shit," Kuwabara's voice came out in an intoxicated drawl, "he has to get back to his fiancée. Maya's probably waiting, isn't she?"
"Fiancée?" Botan echoed.
"Don't worry about it, Botan. But at any rate, thank Hiei for me. I'll stop by tomorrow and help clean up the…" he paused to take in the vicinity within his line of vision, "…mess that we made."
"It was nice meeting you, B. See you guys tomorrow." He pulled on his jacket and then allowed himself out the front door.
Botan shifted her gaze to Yuusuke and Kuwabara. Yuusuke had been chugging for 3 seconds already and he still had another 6 seconds to go. Kuwabara had just damned him. Looking down at Hiei, maybe he had been damned just too much for one night.
"You wanna play, Botan?" Kuwabara hiccupped. "We're kinda short…"
A thud. Apparently Yuusuke had passed out too. Kuwabara shrugged and placed the cards down on the table.
"It is getting kinda late, isn't it? Are Yukina and Keiko still up?"
"Watching Sweet Home Alabama in the living room," she replied absently.
"I hope you guys don't mind if we all just crash in there."
He nodded and picked up Yuusuke and sloppily walked towards the living room. Botan was debating whether she should haul her cousin to the living room first or just drop him and head to the bathroom.
Yukina trudged sleepily to the front door. She wondered who could be at the door so early in the morning. It was 4:00 in the morning, only 2 hours after they had all fallen asleep.
She stood in the frame of the doorway very much stunned to see a police officer standing on the other side. Yukina hoped that they hadn't been loud the night before causing the neighbors to report them as a disturbance to the neighborhood peace. Her parents would not be very happy to hear about that when they got home.
"Good morning, officer. What brings you here so early in the morning?" She blushed at his intent gaze.
"Are your parents at home, Miss?"
"No, they're both out on a business trip for the entire week. Err, officer, if you don't mind me asking, what brings…"
"Yukina! Tell whoever it is to come back in a few hours! It's 4:00 in the morning for crissakes!" Botan rubbed at her eyes, but at the sight of the officer, her eyes widened and she quickly managed an apology.
"Girls, please." He took off his hat and looked back down at Yukina. "Young lady, would you happen to know a Shuuichi Minamino?"
Final Notes: Ahh…I'm sorry for ending it here. I'm such a horrible person. Forgive me. o(_ _)o It's just that I'm saving the big old surprise for the next chapter. Sorry~!! And yeah, sorry for the chapter being so damn long. I didn't mean to make it out that way. So if the next chapter seems sorta short, just remember that it's because this chapter was sorta long. ^^;;
And by the way, the card game called Damn You is really called Fu** You, but I had to change it cuz yeah, French is bad. ^^;; It's a card game where people who have the same suit or number as the card that is dealt gets to say Damn You to whoever they want, and whoever got damned, has to drink for the number of seconds displayed on the card (multiply that by how many people damns you in one sitting…well yeah, you get the idea).
Lastly, standard disclaimers apply. The YYH gang belong to Yoshihiro Togashi, Shonen Jump, and Studio Pierrot. And Ninomiya…well…he belongs to himself…not his producers, but I can't stake any claim to him.