Keywords:Romance, Angst, Lust, Revelation
Summary:When did this all happen? I really don't know. It started with a crush, then suddenly fell into love. But I never realized the feelings I had for him, would somehow become my downfall. (Botan's POV)
Disclaimer:I do not own Yu Yu Hakusho or any of the characters. They rightfully belong to their respective owners.
Author's Notes:This is my first Yu Yu Hakusho fic, so please be gentle with me. To put it straight, I'm not too much of a Yusuke/Keiko fan. It's not that I hate Keiko, I like her actually but I can only see them on a brother and sister relationship. Besides that, I like different kinds of couples together, as you can see from the story. Most of the time, the story will be put in Botan's POV, and italics just means dreaming or past events. Enough about my babbling, let's get to it. Hopefully, I will do my best to keep everyone in character and keep you, the readers, interested. This is my one challenge to make a story that keeps people into it. Well, enough said. Enjoy.
Happiness. It was something that had become a part of me. An experience that swept over me when I was surrounded by all my loved ones. At the moment though, I wasn't having that blissful feeling. It was the end of spring. When the days were longer, lazy, and peaceful. During the spring, the birds chirped louder, the grass was greener, and everyone became more easygoing. But this picture perfect scene I had imagined in my head was crumbling as each drop of rain began to soak my clothes. In the distance, I could hear the steady rumble of thunder, promising a storm. A cold shiver ran down my spine as the ruthless wind played with my hair and the hem of my skirt.
The small drizzle had now become a downpour and I still refused to move from my spot. It wasn't supposed happen this way, it was the only thing running through my mind. Everything...had been planned out so perfectly that I thought nothing could go wrong. Today, was the last day I would see this school, and him. I was dressed in the girl's uniform, the simple blue skirt and top. Just so no one would suspect, just so I could see him one more time.
Our adventures were over, and everyone had gone their separate ways. But as hard as I tired, I couldn't let any of our memories go. I didn't want to give up this feeling of being wanted. I didn't want give up feeling of being needed. I didn't want to put on my mask again. I closed my eyes, the familiar sting coming back as the clasp of thunder sounded around me. My uniform was drenched, my hair clung to the sides of my face, and I was cold to the bone.
I was supposed to tell him I loved him, that was the plan. I knew it wouldn't make a difference, all I wanted was just for him to know. But my determined confrontation had become an all out verbal war between us. All because of what might have happened, what could have happened. What I said...what he said...so horrible.
"Baka," I murmured harshly. "Baka." I continued on, saying the single word in a chant until I didn't know if I was talking about him or myself. I licked my moist lips, tasting the sweetness of rain and the salt of my tears. Maybe this whole thing was supposed to be a lesson for me, a reality check. Not all things ended with happy endings. Especially in my case. All because I was the Deity of Death. Or maybe it's more than that.
I stood, finally ready to go back to Reikai. I was just about to produce my oar when I heard the loud footfalls of someone coming to the roof. I wished and dreaded that it would be him. But I listened as they came closer, my body shaking uncontrollably. Then the door to the roof slammed open, and with all the courage I had, I gazed below.
His eyes affected me more than I would let on. They were always hard, merciless, and cruel. But at the same time, warm, caring, and beautiful. I hated the fact that he could make me dizzy when he touched me. I hated that he could see past all the barriers I put up. I hated that I loved him so much. When did this all happen? I really don't know. It started with a crush, then suddenly fell into love. But I never realized the feelings I had for him, would somehow become my downfall.
"Yusuke," I whispered brokenly, and it was the only thing I would allow before I let the cheerful smile curve my lips. He frowned then; he hadn't bought my charade for a second. But my smile only widened. I wouldn't let him see the pain anymore. I jumped down, more gracefully then I expected, to his eye level. I couldn't help but stare at him in awe. Even with his black hair plastered to his forehead, rivulets of water trickling down his face, and all the emotions from anger to regret reflecting in his orbs, I had never seen him so handsome.
"You belong with her, ne?" The question was innocent enough but Yusuke looked away from me, his eyes narrowing. I knew he loved her, it was obvious to everyone who knew them. The way he looked into her eyes, the way he touched her with the utmost affection. It was more than words could ever express. The envy I felt did nothing to help.
Finally, I moved away from him and seated myself on my oar. I was just about to take to the skies when Yusuke suddenly grabbed my hands and pulled me off. I didn't have time to speak, let alone break free before he had me up against the damp wall. His arms blocked my way of escape and all I could see was his intense gaze. His face was only a few millimeters away from mine. The warm puffs of air that escaped from his lips sent warm shivers through my body. Then he spoke.
"I never said I loved her." His voice was clipped, with a short patience that was quickly wavering.
"You never needed to, Yusuke." I smiled softly. "I can see it every time you two are together, I know."
I was shaking again. Every word of comfort and reassurance I murmured to him was killing me. Like a knife that had been shoved into my chest and twisted until all I could do was scream. But the pain never stopped. What happened next brought me out of my self-misery. With uncharacteristic sincerity and clumsiness, Yusuke wrapped his arms around me and pulled my head to rest under his chin.
"I don't know," He began quietly. "I don't know what to do, Botan." He forced a laugh then, attempting to lighten the mood. I was caught off guard when I could barely feel his lips against my ear. "I can deal with you hating me, but...I just don't know what to do about you loving me." From then on, I was never able to figure out how Yusuke knew. But I guess what I felt for him was too obvious. His fingers began to run through my hair and a sigh escaped from my mouth. "Tell me, Botan. What am I supposed to do?"
With reluctance, I pulled away. But he made sure to keep me in his embrace. I tried to speak. "Yusuke, I-" But I never got to finish my sentence.
In the gentlest of ways, Urameshi Yusuke kissed me.
Everything ceased to matter, the rain, our wet clothes clinging to our bodies, even the sound of thunder echoing around us. Nothing mattered but this very moment. I lost myself as I willing drowned within the taste of him. It was heady and I was spinning head over heels as I fell deeper and deeper under the spell Yusuke had so flawlessly cast on me. It's was almost like addictive candy, the most expensive in the world. I only wished for more as his hands roamed my sides, his tongue plundered my mouth, and our bodies molded so deliciously together.
But Yusuke and I had never expected to be interrupted until it was too late. The door to the roof creaked open, and we both froze.
"Yusuke?" Keiko stood only a few feet away, her eyes wide with disbelief. And I watched, guilt creeping up on me, as the first tear sped down her face. And another, and another...
The screeching of a car pulled me out of my slumber. I clutched at the end of my oar for balance as I tried to calm my pounding heart. I wasn't going to lie; this was not the first time I had had that vivid daydream. Even though all of it took place months ago, it was still fresh in my thoughts. My wet clothes, Yusuke's eyes staring into my own, and the single yet passionate kiss we shared. It was still there, in the back of mind as one of my most treasured memories.
At first, I had tired to ignore it, but now, it came almost every night. Maybe I just missed him more than I actually thought I would. I sighed in frustration and finally caught my breath as I looked around me. Gratefully, I hadn't fallen asleep for too long. It was raining, but I was shielded from the pouring mist by a tree. The cold air chilled my frame and each time I inhaled, my chest would ache.
It didn't take me long to realize why I was in Ningenkai. It was Koenma-sama's assignment for me. I shifted my eyes to the narrow and slick highway to see a car revering from side to side. A sudden wave of nausea came over me; I knew what would happen. It almost seemed too predictable. I watched, my hands grasping at my oar with all my strength as the car finally made a sharp turn. I looked away when the sound of the vehicle hitting the metal ramp reached my ears before falling off the steep cliff. The loud splash confirmed my worst fears.
Sighing again, I finally looked down at the small lake where the car was now floating, but gradually sinking. The sound for miles was the pounding rain and my shaky breaths. Finally, a young woman broke through the water's murky surface. In her arms were a small child and an elderly woman. She caught her breath for a few moments before she began to kick.
I found it more than amazing that a woman of her small size could carry so much weight on her back. I could see the anxiety in her eyes, and the fear; and I wished with all my might that I could alter this moment. The woman reached the shore and placed both the child and the elderly woman on the ground.
"Okaasan, wake up!" It only took a few moments, but the old woman did, coughing water as she did so. The younger woman, obviously the daughter, smiled momentarily before she went to the girl next to her. Placing her hands together, she began to press down on the girl's chest. The words 'wake up' would spill from her lips every so often.
I continued to stare on as the woman tried to revive the child. It wasn't fair that I had to watch this and not have the power to interfere. It didn't' take long before the elderly woman started to cry, her sobs muffled. But they seemed so loud to me with each ragged breath she took. And slowly, her daughter joined her but would not stop pressing down on the girl's chest.
"Hanae!" She exclaimed abruptly. "Wake up! Please, listen to your Okaasan and wake up!" But we all knew it was in vain. Finally, in a shout of anger, the woman stopped and crawled towards her own mother for comfort. Together, they began to cry anew.
I reached into the sleeve of my pink kimono and pulled out a small, black book. I skimmed through it for a moment before I found the name I was looking for. With reluctance, I looked next to me to see the girl called Hanae sitting beside me. She had black hair, and eyes that were just as dark. But what I noticed the most was her beauty for a child so young. Most girls, who had just died, would have been frantic. But she was strangely calm, watching the two women mournfully cry for her. She glanced at her dead body. Her hair tousled and soaked and her skin as pale as white snow.
Eventually, Hanae looked at me with curiosity. "Am I dead?" She asked. I nodded solemnly. It would have been a good time for me to reassure the girl that she would be all right, but I couldn't bring myself to be bubbly and cheerful. It just seemed too much of a hassle, and I felt, it wouldn't help the situation either. Hanae spoke again. "It felt so weird, dying." She huddled herself into a ball as she began to float a few inches from the branch. "I remember the car shaking and then the water. I was drowning, going deeper into the lake. I felt all this water, filling my lungs. I tried to scream but I couldn't. It...hurt a lot. But then, it stopped and I felt like I...I..." Hanae never finished, but she smiled weakly. "What's your name?"
"Botan," I said, returning her smile. "I'm your guide to Reikai."
"Spirit world, your new home."
Hanae looked down at the two women, her eyes watering. The realization was now coming together. "Can 'kaasan and Obaasan come?"
Slowly, I pulled her into a soft embrace and stroked her hair. "I'm afraid not, but look at it this way. They'll eventually be with you. Just not now. You will meet them again, I promise you that Hanae." With one last glance to the women, I soared into the dreary skies with Hanae in my arms. Not once did she try to push herself away from me. She seemed to understand everything without trying to change it.
We flew through the gray clouds, and gradually, they became white as we began to enter Reikai. I hated and loved coming here. Sometimes the souls I brought back with me died in the saddest of ways. Yet they always met death with peace instead of resentfulness. It would take everything in me not to cry for them, cry with them. I am the Deity of Death, a ferry girl, and things like this were not supposed to affect me this much.
I glanced down at Hanae, her head was still buried in my kimono, but her tears had stopped awhile ago. To cheer us both up, I spoke. "May I ask you something?" She nodded; the same curiosity filled her depthless eyes. "What did you like the most?"
A single tear slid down her pale cheek, and I never found out if it was from joy or remorse. But I could sympathize. My question, to me, held so much meaning. For the short time I had known her, Hanae's smile had never been so breathtaking. She answered in a whisper, her voice laced with awe. "The sakura blossoms...in the spring."
As soon as I had taken care of my assignment, I headed towards my final destination for the day, The Palace of Reikai. It was the place where all ferry girls, inexperienced or not, lived. Eventually I reached the two enormous doors. They gradually opened and I stepped in, walking slowly and purposely. The hustle and bustle around me fell deaf to my ears. I just wanted to tell Koenma-sama my shift was a success and head to my room for some much needed sleep.
I found him sitting at his desk, eyes narrowed in annoyance as he stamped each paper with his approving signature. He stopped once he noticed my presence and I bowed respectively and muttered a greeting. Usually when I came to Koenma, I was more than ecstatic. For some reason though, I couldn't get a hold of myself. I was pensive, physically and mentally exhausted, and I wanted to be alone when ever I wasn't. Koenma-sama must have noticed it too.
"Botan, daijoubu desu ka?" A flicker of worry came to his young eyes before it vanished.
I smiled, trying to act as clueless as possible. "Hai, Koenma-sama! I'm fine. Why do you ask?" But my attempt was a failure as he frowned at me. My smile faded instantly and I looked away from him. My vision was becoming too blurry and I looked at the ceiling to keep the tears from coming. I heard the pitter-patter of his footfalls as he approached me.
"What's wrong with you? Don't think I'm not the only one who's noticed it. You're not acting like yourself, Botan. You've been like this for weeks. Did something happen during your trip to Ningenkai?"
My hands balled into fists, I couldn't take it anymore. I shook my head. "Nothing out of the ordinary, Koenma-sama. Everything was fine, if you'll excuse me; I'm going to go head for my room."
I turned and literally sprinted out of his office. I barely made it to my room before I broke down. I am a Deity, I would mumble from time to time, this isn't supposed to bother me. It isn't supposed to hurt this much. I gripped tightly at my bed sheets as a loud sob escaped from my lips. So caught up in myself, I never noticed the brown eyes that watched me in hidden sympathy.
"It's Hanae, isn't?" Koenma asked so gently. In his hands was a folder of what I assumed to be her file. "The way she died...it's what's making you so upset." He always did have a knack for knowing what was wrong with me. I glanced up, my vision was still hazy but I could make out his tall frame. No longer the little 'toddler' but a young adult.
I looked away from him, biting down on my lip. "She was only eight, Koenma-sama." I murmured. "The way she looked at me, I can't stop thinking about it. She didn't deserve it...and I knew I couldn't help her..." The Reikai prince slowly sat on my bed, but gave me enough room. He waited patiently until my crying ceased. I sucked in a quick breath before wiping the tears away from my face.
"There was something I needed you to do for me." He said with a slight frown still curving his lips. "But you need a break, I see that now. I can always get Ayame or-"
"Iie," I shook my head vigorously. "I can handle it, Koenma-sama. Just tell me what I need to do."
He was hesitant for a moment but he finally nodded. "I've been noticing some high levels of spirit energy coming from Ningenkai. I thought at first it could be some kind of mistake, but I'm seeing it more and more often. I haven't had any time to put in more investigation and so I wanted you to take care of it. Can you, Botan?" I nodded and he continued on. "Here's all the information I have," Out of thin air; another folder appeared in Koenma's hands. He gave it to me. "it's the basic things. But please, just find out more about it. Don't do anything risky."
"Of course, Koenma-sama." I held the folder close to me and bowed my head. I was surprised though when he placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled. "I hope you feel better soon." He nodded before standing and starting for his office. But he stopped and glanced at me. "By the way, Botan. It's around Yusuke's area, so tell him to help you with this."
I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry. "What about the others? Kurama, Hiei, and Kuwa-"
Koenma shook his head, turned and started walking again. "I don't need that much assistance with the problem. You and Yusuke should be enough."
I waited until I could no longer hear his footsteps before I fell back onto the sheets of my bed. My knees were weak, my heart was racing, and I knew was blushing. But I couldn't help but smile. I was going to see him again.
As far back as I can remember; my mother's apartment, I never liked to call it my own, was always swarmed with torn magazines and empty cans. The refrigerator was filled with sliced lemons and half-empty glasses of sake that were never finished. Bottles of dark liquor were stored in the cabinets and her packets of cigarettes hastily hidden under the cushions of the couch. She kept her bedroom door locked with deadbolts, where no one, especially me, could get inside. Her room held so many secrets that even I didn't know about. But the ironic thing was, the living room had somehow become her own territory. The air was heavily scented with cigarette smoke, and every time she talked to me, I smelt nothing but beer from her incessant drinking.
It was past midnight when I came home and found her on the sofa, unconscious and muttering nonsense from time to time. I wanted to leave, I needed to leave. But it was the same woman who made me feel this way, who kept me from doing so. I couldn't stand living with her, but I would never imagine life without her. I started for my room, but barely got two steps in before Okaasan's eyes opened and focused on me.
"Yusuke," She slurred out, her gaze went to the clock before meeting mine again. "where have you been?"
"Out." I responded, she never needed to know. I like to keep where I come and go my business anyway. She struggled to get up and finally seated herself in an upright position. I watched as she reached into the couch and pull out a pack of cigarettes. She looked at them carefully before she looked at me again.
"You're not smoking these, are you?" Okaasan asked. She had made me swear never to, but I couldn't say that I had shamelessly broken her promise a few days ago. I guess it had been too much of a temptation. Not even waiting for my answer, she took a match and lit the tobacco. I tried to breathe in as much of it as possible.
From time to time, my gaze would shift around the cramped room, memorizing everything over again. We never did have any photographs of family. But as far as I was concerned, I had no family except for Okaasan. She had talked about distant relatives yet she never labeled or identified them. In some enthusiastic moments, she must have thought their nameless lives and unrecognizable faces would make me feel better. It never did.
But I knew of one picture, one that had us together. Just a few weeks after I was born. I remember the look on Okaasan's face. The way her eyes glistened with warmth and how her face literally glowed in radiance. I was exciting, she explained once before. Passive at times but always amazed by everything. Still and fondly, Okaasan likes to call me her 'love child'. I would always narrow my eyes, look away from her, and mutter back that I was her mistake, her undoing. The person that made her life fall apart.
She had finished her first cigarette and had moved on to the second. She stood, walking clumsily towards the refrigerator to find another can of liquor. While she wasn't looking I grabbed the nearest pack from under the cushions. I could never tell her, she didn't need to know. Okaasan strolled back over to the living room and seated herself; her glazed eyes came back to me.
"Yusuke, go to bed. You have school in the morning, ne?"
"Hai." I answered and I said my goodnight before heading to my room. I locked the door behind me and headed towards my open window. I stepped into the darkness not even giving another glance backwards. It would be morning before I decided to come back.
I looked at myself from each shop window I passed, completely transfixed by my new appearance. Koenma-sama had suggested that I go in a disguise, just so I could blend in with the crowd. It was surprising, I concluded. With a few ningen things, a person could change into whomever they wanted. I was dressed in a simple white, floral-print shirt with a matching skirt. And a purse to top it all off. My eyes were no longer the gentle lavender I remembered, but instead a hazel that reminded me of Yusuke's eyes. My hair was still the same trademark color; except that it now fell just below my knees. It wasn't the biggest change, but enough to make me a little more discrete.
There were those times I yearned to be someone else. That someone being Keiko. She seemed to have everything a guy could desire. Beauty, intelligence, compassion, and much more. But the most valuable thing of all was, she had captured Yusuke's affection. To me, that was biggest prize of all. For one day, I would have died a million deaths to be her. To have Yusuke look at me like I was the most important thing to him. To have his love, emotionally and physically. Just once, have him tell me that he loved me.
I glanced away from my altered reflection and kept to my task. I did have an assignment to complete. I opted to investigate by myself before going for help. And besides, I was still too afraid to confront Yusuke. Hopefully, I wouldn't regret my decision. It was never a wise idea for me to be wondering the streets this late at night.
I led myself through the crowded and humid streets. As I wandered into the deepest parts of the city; I came across young adults and teenagers looking for a good time. I continued walking, the pounding music from nightclubs sounding in my ears. I was getting closer and closer to my destination. Suddenly, I leaned against a near by wall as a wave of dizziness came over me. I knew I had been walking for hours and now my legs ached and my hair was damp from perspiration. To say the least, I was tired. I stayed there for a few minutes and let the exhaustion fade away before I pushed my body away from the building. I never had the chance to take my first step before someone grabbed me and pulled inside a dark alley.
I tried to scream, but a calloused hand struck my cheek, keeping me from doing so. My eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness and I came face to face with five, hideous looking men. Not including the one holding me. The person that had slapped me looked me over through half-lidded eyes. He smiled, flashing his stained, yellow teeth.
"Aren't you beautiful," He commented. His hand reached out to touch me but I moved my face away, giving him my coldest glare. His smile only widened as he looked at the other men. He brushed his fingers along my blouse. "Don't you dare try to scream," He glanced back and I followed his gaze. The tallest of the men, and the ugliest by far, was holding a bat. He stroked it meaningfully. "or we'll probably kill you."
I was afraid, but I wouldn't let my fear show. I couldn't be weak, I refused to be. I kept my eyes on the man talking to me, but my hand was fumbling inside my purse. A small smile curved my lips as I found the things I was looking for. The man stopped talking once he saw my expression. He smirked.
"And what are smiling about?" He sneered.
"Nothing really," I responded. "only this!"
Within seconds, I had pulled out my pocketknife and a bottle of pepper spray. With all my might, I stabbed the person who held me captive. He grabbed his arm, yelling and swearing as blood gushed from his wound. But I had no time to waste. I ran deeper into the alley, hoping my legs would carry me as fast as I could go. I heard their heavy footfalls becoming louder and louder by the second. I abruptly stopped; I had reached a dead end. Slowly, I turned around, grasping the bottle in my hands. I watched as each one found me and started approaching. I was shaking. Breathe, I said to myself, breathe. There's no use being scared. But I couldn't help it.
The man I had stabbed came to me first, and in a speed I didn't realize he could possess, knocked the only protection I had away from me. I looked on as the bottle rolled and hit a few rusty trashcans. I stepped back, pushing myself against the wall. He grabbed my arm and struck me so hard that I felt the air rushing away from my lungs.
"Bitch," He muttered nastily. "just for stabbing me, I'll make sure you don't enjoy this."
I shrieked as he pulled me down to the dirt pavement. He towered over me, keeping me in place with his weight. I was more than panicked now as he tore the buttons from my blouse and ripped my skirt. Curling my hands into fists, I began to beat at his chest. He howled in laughter, each of the men joining him. He reached down and pulled at the zipper of his pants.
This can't be happening, this can't be happening. It was the only thought running through my mind. I just wanted this to stop. I wrapped my legs together, but the man easily pulled them apart and spread them until I was screaming in pain. With his one hand, he grabbed both of my wrists and kept them in place. I let my eyes drift to the gray sky, the first drops of rain hitting my cheeks. Why, I wondered, drowning in my thoughts. Why do I always think of him when it rains?
I can deal with you hating me, but...I just don't know what to do about you loving me.Yusuke's voice rung in my ears as my eyes closed. I could feel the hot tears streaming down my face. Tell me Botan, what am I supposed to do?
"I wish you were here, Yusuke." I whispered. "Please tell me what I'm supposed to do."
I looked away from the sky as the drizzle became heavier. The man above me had finally unzipped his pants. I tensed in anticipation at the oncoming pain. Then...
"Get your hands off her!"
The man stopped and looked around and I did the same. My eyes landed on a shadowed figure. I squinted, trying to see his face but I couldn't. His voice sounded so familiar...but it couldn't be.
"Did you hear me or are you just deaf?" The figure came closer, a nearby light post casting over him. But he stopped walking just before I could see his face. My heart suddenly skipped a beat. "I said, get the hell off her!"
The other men were now approaching the stranger, in their hands weapons of all sorts. I turned away; expecting the person who was trying to save me to be killed right on the spot. It wasn't long before I heard a strangled yell, the sickening sound of bones cracking, and fists connecting with flesh before I looked again. Each man had fallen, and the stranger remained unharmed. My eyes widened in hope.
The man on top of me stumbled backwards and began running for his life. But he never got too far. In one extraordinary leap, the stranger came down on the man with a solid kick to his neck. He gasped, coughing up blood before he fell with a hard thud. I couldn't tell if he was still alive or not. Someone I didn't even know had rescued me. I was just about to thank him, but he turned around and stared at me.
I could see his face clearly now. Found myself memorizing the different but so familiar features again. Everything from happiness to sorrow passed through me before I finally whispered his name.
Author's Notes:Okay, that's it for chapter one. That was quite long, and not bad if I do say so myself. So please, readers, review! Tell me what you think? Good? Bad? Too serious? OOC? Or just right? I've always loved Yusuke and Botan together and even though some others say that Yusuke is meant to be with Keiko, is it really that impossible for him not to fall in love with Botan? I think not! Besides, anything's possible in fanfiction. Honestly, I believe the real reason why I've started writing this fic was because I wanted to take Yusuke and Botan's relationship to a more serious level. Even though it was never really displayed in the anime, I'm sure there could have been a little attraction between Yusuke and Botan if Yusuke had not already been in love with Keiko. But in addition, I want to make how they fall in love with each other, believable and just plain enjoyable for all readers.
Okay, I'm done talking for now. Please, don't forget to review and hopefully, I will have the next update in soon. 'Til next time, see ya!