Chapter 2 – Lies
"Yeah, babe. Hiei's barbecue thing sort of lasted a lot longer than expected. I'll just see you tomorrow, okay?" Shuuichi paused as he simultaneously tried to concentrate on his driving and to listen to his fiancée's voice on the other end of the line. "Okay. I love you too. Bye."
Pushing the end button on his cell phone, he tossed the tiny communications device on the passenger seat and tried to blink away the drowsy spell that hit him for the third time since he had left the Jaganshi residence not more than five minutes ago.
Even though the night was clear and the moon was shining brightly, he was finding it very difficult to see ahead of him. The road and the surrounding in front of him sometimes became two or three images converging halfway.
Maybe he should have listened to Botan. He was beginning to have second thoughts about his decision to leave.
But why had he insisted on leaving? Sleeping over Hiei's house had never been a problem before. In fact, he did it quite often.
So what had made it any different this time?
His own question was subtly answered as an image of a certain blue-haired teenager began to take shape in his mind, and a small smile tugged at his lips as he remembered their previous encounter.
- "Oh, hi! You must be Shuuichi!" -
- "Cousin, yes. Mischievous? Hardly." -
- "You truly are everything my cousins say you are, Shuuichi." -
Yes, that girl was definitely something else, all right. The would-have-been "charm-ee" had charmed the champion of charmers. He had been taken by surprise at the realization that he truly was charmed. Not too many girls were gifted with such a talent – not even his fiancée. But now, as his thoughts dwelled on that subject, his bafflement only escalated as he felt a warm feeling tug at him that not even his fiancée had managed to make occur within him.
Shuuichi shook his head vigorously and decided to ignore that last thought. He was engaged, for Christ's sake. At that moment, another wave of dizziness washed over him, and no longer able to fight it, he lost control of the car and the world around him suddenly turned black.
The last thing he saw was the smiling face of Botan Jaganshi.
Hiei looked at Botan through his rear-view mirror and couldn't help the devilish smirk that danced across his usually cool features. Her eyes had suddenly gone blank and she wore a very dumb expression on her face a moment after they had stepped into Shuuichi's hospital room. And, something worth taking note of, she had not uttered a single word since they had left the hospital. For as long as he had known his cousin, Hiei knew that talking and bubbling out the most absurd things even at the wrong moments was Botan's strong point so he had found it cynically humorous to find her in such a state.
Yukina, who sat beside him, saw the change in expression and immediately shot her brother an accusing look. She knew what he was thinking for she had been there as well when it happened. "It isn't funny, Hiei," she hissed. "Poor Botan. I just can't imagine," she paused to turn her head to the backseat and eyed her seemingly still zoned-out cousin, who had her fingers interlaced with those of Shuuichi's. Yukina let out a resigned sigh. "This is all your fault, Hiei. If you hadn't brought out the booze, none of this would have happened."
Hiei simply shrugged and grinned. "Hey, at least he didn't die. Shuuichi's a real man – toughed it out. Don't underestimate him."
"Besides you really shouldn't worry about that, Yukina." Hiei took his eyes off the road for a second to look at his younger sister meaningfully. "The hard part is keeping it from her."
Yukina blinked. He was right. She would definitely pose as a problem. She'd murder all of them if she found out what had happened. The green-haired girl said nothing and instead placed her attention to the whirring scenery as they drove by.
Botan was lazily sprawled on the floor, her eyes gazing intently upon the ceiling simultaneously marveling at how high it was while also wondering how she had been persuaded into this game of trickery. She had gotten a really bad feeling the moment Hiei's eyes had twinkled when Shuuichi made his mistake at the hospital. When that happened, it usually meant that the machines in his mind had already started turning and mapping out every single detail of his strategy.
Botan was immediately designated to be the one to stay with Shuuichi and watch over him. Luckily for her, Shuuichi was living in his own house – property that his stepfather had bought for him since he was the heir to his company. So the parents would not be a problem, and if she happened to need the twins by a stroke of emergency, Hiei and Yukina would simply be a phone call away. Maya, on the other hand, well that was a different story, but Hiei had assured her that Yuusuke was taking care of it.
So why all the trouble to push Maya away when that girl could easily take care of Shuuichi? Easy…
"So this is where you've been all this time." Shuuichi entered his living room with a gentle smile on his face as he approached Botan. "We've been calling out for you for the last couple of minutes, Maya."
It's no wonder I haven't heard you guys calling me. Botan thought sourly. My name isn't Maya. Botan blinked when she suddenly found the redhead standing over her with nothing but his swimming trunks on and a towel loosely draped around his neck. She could feel her cheeks heat up and tried to look away, but that was probably a very not-so-Maya thing to do so trying to put on a fond smile for her fiancé, Botan responded by telling him that she'd be out in a moment.
"Whenever you're ready then."
Botan waited until she knew he was out of the living room before letting out a deep sigh. She didn't know how long his memory mix-up would last, but she wanted it to end as soon as possible. It was not going to be an easy thing to pretend to be the future Mrs. Minamino. Botan looked amusingly about ready to cry because, hell, she had not even gotten past second base with her previous boyfriends and now, all of a sudden, she was engaged.
"Jaganshi," Kuwabara started skeptically, "what are you gonna tell Shuuichi when he gets his memory back and he finds Botan walking around his house?"
Hiei shrugged as he bit into his sandwich. "I don't know. I haven't thought that far yet."
Yukina threw daggers at her brother with her eyes. "You do know that Shuuichi's condition is very minor and his memory will return in no more than a week, or haven't you been listening to the doctor?"
Taking his sister's question in offense, Hiei growled and threw her a I'm-not-stupid look. "If I didn't know that, I wouldn't have asked Shuuichi to have everyone come over today. I know he's physically okay. I knew even before the doctor told us. Come on, Yukina. I'm his best friend. Give me a little more credit."
Yukina sighed. Once her brother got going on anything, it was nearly impossible to get him to turn back so she simply expressed her concern for Botan. "I just don't want her to end up on the wrong end of all this. She is playing a major role in this little game, you know." The young woman's thoughts immediately turned to Maya Kitajima, Shuuichi's real fiancée and shuddered. "And I really don't want Botan mutilated by…"
"Yuusuke's taking care of it," Hiei interrupted. "So calm down. Just have faith in Urameshi's connections, okay? Besides, I'm not really looking forward to being the best man for Minamino's wedding to that brat so soon."
Both Yukina and Kuwabara's jaws dropped open at the spiky-haired youth's admission. Hiei had never said one negative thing about Maya before nor had he ever expressed any unpleasant words for their wedding. Since Hiei was Shuuichi's best friend, it was assumed that the girl would have had to undergone some kind of approval by him if she was going to marry Shuuichi. Since he said nothing, it was taken that Maya was a great match for Shuuichi. And so this sudden revelation proved that something was amiss, and it would take some time to get Hiei to elaborate.
"Yes, everything's been paid for, babe. Call it a pre-anniversary present or something."
Keiko tried to stifle her laughter as her boyfriend tried to convey a character similar in speech and sound to that of Shuuichi Minamino as he talked to Maya Kitajima on the other line. He had already spoken to the Toguro brothers, who were the owners of a very exclusive spa, and was able to strike up a deal with them to allow Maya to stay for a good week and a half with them, free of charge. In return, Yuusuke promised to have his father fund the expansion of their company in other areas of Japan.
"No, nothing's wrong," Keiko heard Yuusuke say into the receiver. "I just have a cold that's all."
It was no wonder Hiei had appointed him the task of speaking to Maya. Not only did he have connections because of his father's trade, but Yuusuke was quick on his feet and could spit out a lie as hot as fire without ever getting jittery.
"No," Yuusuke almost screamed before catching himself. "I mean, no," he said a little more calmly. "I'm having some parts of the house re-modeled so I'm think I'm just gonna stay over at Hiei's place while you're up there."
Keiko made a face. Well, other than that, he never got jittery. She waited for him to hit the off button and put the phone back in its cradle while trying to ignore the fact that her boyfriend was saying "I love you" to another woman. Even though she knew it wasn't actually Yuusuke saying it for he was putting on a show as Shuuichi, it still made her jealous to hear his voice say it to someone other than her. So to turn off the jealousy, she tried to tell herself that she had to put up with this for Shuuichi and Botan's sake.
She had known Shuuichi for as long as she had dated Yuusuke Urameshi and had come to like the redhead's wittiness and equal ability to stay calm under pressure as her boyfriend. Maya, on the other hand, Keiko had never gotten to know too well. Maya was always invited to their get-togethers, but she always had an excuse not to show-up, and when she did, she seemed to stick to Shuuichi and Hiei for the duration of her stay. If there was one thing she was sure of though, it was that Maya was very sensitive to her engagement with Shuuichi. She was rather clingy, bordering on possessive, over her fiancé so it was to be understood that if she ever found out about Shuuichi's mix-up, there would be hell to pay. Or at least… Hiei would have hell to pay. After all, it was his party and his booze.
And for not knowing the Jaganshi's cousin for more than a day, she had come to like the bubbly, blue-haired young lady. So it was safe to say that Keiko didn't fancy the idea of Maya chewing Botan's head off if she ever found out that she was sleeping under the same roof as her fiancé.
"Hey, Keiko," Yuusuke called from the front door where he was taking down his jacket from the coat rack, his voice back to normal. "You coming or what? I don't wanna miss the food, y'know."
"Right. Sorry." She scrambled to her feet and towards the front door where she placed her shoes on and followed her boyfriend to his car.
Author Notes: Finished experiencing the very yucky and very short second chapter to "Paradox of Us"? Ehe... --; I don't know… too lazy to make it longer and too lazy to edit it to make it longer. :P Bite me. I'll edit it in the future, but for now, I'll leave it as is. I feel like this fic's been neglected for way too long. It was about time for me to shower attention upon it. Whatever… shoot… I can't think of anything to say here.
Okay, lest I start rambling, I'll just shut up.
Shuuichi (Kurama) x Botan fan?
http:pyreflies . nu / tomorrow (Yep… I've moved the site to a domain. Nyah! Same shat applies – just piece them together cuz it's all separated.)
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