Based on the anime series Yu Yu Hakusho created by master Yoshihiro Togashi of which I have no claim to. Merely an idea that surfaced inside the deep recesses of my mind. This story starts off at the last scene of the series and begins from there. I will do my best to stick to the true nature of the show but there will be differences although this won't necessary be an AU type of story. It will focus mainly on Kurama and Botan but all the usual players will be involved. As this is my first Yu Yu Hakusho fic, I humbly request you be gentle. Read and enjoy!
That was how long he had been watching them. Ever since he had first heard of their existence. The only ones who could thwart his cause, his goal, his destiny. He had watched them as they met every challenge hurled their way. Persevering in even the most dire of circumstances. A silent spectator to their ever rising power and advancement of their skills.
Individually they were dangerous. Each of them quite capable of killing any who sought to harm them. But together. Together they were a formidable power unrivaled by any living creature in any of the three realms.
That was the problem.
Before now the spirit detectives had always been together. Working under the employ of Lord Koenma. On call for any and all threats that were presented in the human world.
But now was different.
Urameshi had resolved the struggle for authority in the demon world. That half breed and his friends had succeeded in what he thought impossible, bringing a small sense of calm within the chaotic world of death and destruction, where violence was as casual as sex. But instead of staying in a world that could have been his for the taking, Urameshi had chosen to return to the human world. Back to his friends and loved ones.
Love and friendship were for the weak. Those unable to use their power were bound to fall by the way side until only the strongest and most crafty remained.
Hate, anger, lust, fear. These were the emotions that brought out true power and dominance.
His gray eyes narrowed as he watched the spirit detectives and their friends stand quietly upon a cliff top overlooking the sea, the sky blood stained by the setting sun that hovered low on the horizon.
Fools. Look at them. So complacent. They think this is the end. That their struggle is over. But it is not. Merely the beginning.
A gust of wind roared by, racing through the mass of branches that jutted out in every direction around his lean frame, permeating the air with the smell of salt and sea life. The steady breeze played with his arched bangs, the coal black strips swinging wildly in front of his pale, innocent looking face.
His appearance was the gift of his human mother. A perfect mask with which to walk among the ignorant masses. A disguise for the darkness and need for destruction that lurked within. A raging beast tamed only by his will and patience. Only when the time was right would he unleash the monster. Until he felt ready to kill them. One by one. For now he was content to wait, watch and learn. All the better to torture the prey before devouring them.
I can't believe this is the end.
For over three years they had been good friends. Fighting side by side through thick and thin. Having faced unrelenting odds and won. But the price had, at times, been too high. That was the one thing he hated about all this. The price. The risk to loved ones.
It was why, even after all they had shared, all the hardships they had endured together, he suppressed his feelings for her. Denying the fact that she had won a place in his heart. That he had always and would always love her.
Botan. Kurama though sadly as he chanced a glance to his right. His breath caught in his throat as he gazed upon her perfection, so close their arms almost touched. The sea breeze tugged playfully at her silken blue hair, caressing her slender frame until she shivered at the coldness that penetrated through her clothing.
He fought the urge to hold her in his arms as he had so many times before. All those times when she had come to him in distress and he had comforted her, easing her fears and calming her senses. He had always denied the intense, unspoken need he felt whenever she was around him, scolding himself for such lustful thoughts. He had been raised by his human mother to be a perfect gentleman. And he had always followed that teaching, treating Botan with nothing but the utmost respect and attention.
But he was still a man and could no more deny his physical attraction to her than shave his head bald. What he felt towards the blue haired, purple eyed beauty went beyond the physical. More than a simple school boy fantasy. She was the light to his darkness. The one that had freed him from his guilt and made him feel that he deserved to live as he was and to not be ashamed of what he was. The only one who talked to him openly and freely. She made him smile and made him laugh. Granted she was a little too bubbly at times but that was precious to him. She was precious to him.
I can't tell her. I can't let my feelings get in the way of her safety. Her loss would be too much to bear. It is better this way. Better she doesn't know.
The fox spirit flinched, startled by the vocal intrusion into his thoughts, his cheeks reddening slightly at the sudden physical contact of her hand against his arm.
"Yes Botan?" He whispered in gentle concern as he turned to face her.
Botan stared up into his emerald eyes. Eyes that held the shrewd intelligence and wisdom of a lifetime of experience coupled with the innocence of youth. His dark red bangs hung low upon his forehead, the tips stopping just before his eyebrows, giving him an irresistible boyish look that she found quite charming. And his face. She had never gotten over how handsome he was.
No that wasn't quite right.
He was more than handsome, possessing features beyond the measure of men. A symbol of perfection in an otherwise imperfect world. He was beautiful. Beautiful in both body and soul. It had been Kurama who had saved her on countless occasions. Kurama who had healed the wounds she received at the hands of Yakumo. Kurama who had offered to watch over her at Genkai's. Kurama who had consoled her when the nightmares wouldn't stop. He had healed her heart and mind. Erased her doubts and eased her fears. She loved Kurama for that. Loved him.
So why can't I tell him the truth? Why must I deny this attraction I feel.
Because Koenma would not approve. Her inner voice scolded her.
That is not true. She argued with herself.
Isn't it? Why don't you tell Koenma where you disappeared to all the time after Yakumo's attack on the human world. Tell him you spend most of your time at Kurama's house whenever you're in the human world and see how he reacts to it.
Nothing ever happened. Botan hissed mentally in irritation. We did nothing wrong. Kurama never acted improperly towards me. We are just good friends.
"Botan? Botan what's wrong?" Kurama asked, the urgent concern in his voice breaking through her haze of introspection, the touch of his hands upon her shoulders shaking her back into reality.
"Ur... It's nothing Kurama. I'm fine." She lied.
Kurama looked at her, suspicion in his eyes as he lowered his arms back to his sides. "I don't believe you." He whispered softly. "Tell me Botan. What is troubling you so?"
Dammit! He knows me too well.
Botan focused her troubled eyes on Kurama's white sweater, noting in disappointment that he had stuffed his hands into the pockets of his dark blue jeans. "I was just thinking about how I'm going to miss all of you. We've been through so much together and it hurts to think this might be the end."
"Hey Botan!" Yusuke yelled from somewhere beyond the pair's left. The cheerfulness in his voice making the two smile. "Don't talk like that. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of each other soon." He said, his face turning devilish as he focused his attention on the woman beside him. "And some of us will be seeing more of each other than others isn't that right baby!" The black haired teen added with a snicker as he wrapped his arm around Keiko's waist, earning him a growl of annoyance and a slap upside the head from the spunky brown haired woman he loved.
The former head spirit detective recoiled his arm, rubbing his head in pain. "Dammit Keiko that hurts!"
"Ah ha ha!" Kuwabara snickered from behind his friend. "She gets you every time Urameshi!"
Yusuke whirled around to his best friend, his face a mask of irritation. "Shut up doofus! I don't remember asking for your opinion!"
Kuwabara shook his head. "You still don't know how to treat a lady Urameshi." He said in mild disdain. "I, Kazuma Kuwabara, am unrivaled when it comes to the game of love!"
"Oh give me a damn break!" Yusuke snorted, rolling his eyes. "I swear you are such an idiot sometimes Kuwabara!"
Kuwabara's face twisted in anger as he lowered his face into the smaller man's. "Take that back Urameshi! I am not an idiot!"
Yusuke narrowed his eyes, his features challenging. "You could have fooled me."
The two men growled at each other, struggling mightily as they felt themselves being dragged backwards, Shizuru tugging her brother away while Keiko growled in disgust as she pulled Yusuke towards her.
"Knock it off little bro. He could tear you apart!" Kazuma's older sibling chided him.
"I don't care! He insulted my honor!" Kuwabara snarled, trying to move back towards Urameshi.
"Moron." Hiei murmured from beside him.
"You shut up shrimp! This doesn't concern you." Kuwabara shouted with an angry swipe of his hand, earning him a stronger pull that drove him onto the ground.
"Sit down and shut up!" Shizuru commanded.
Kazuma bolted upright, his body rigid, his features fearful. "Yes ma'am." He spoke quickly, his voice laced with pain as he held onto his sore ear.
"Dammit Yusuke can't you behave yourself just this once!" Keiko scolded her boyfriend, angry and embarrassed at his behavior.
"He started it!" Yusuke retorted, wincing as Keiko tugged harder at his ear.
"Well I'm finishing it! Apologize!" Keiko ordered, releasing his now red ear.
Yusuke crossed his arms. "Him first!" He demanded, closing his eyes and tilting his head up.
"Like hell I will Urameshi!" The tall, orange haired man replied. "I'd rather jump off this cliff than apologize for your pig headedness!"
The two continued to argue back and forth for several more seconds, much to the amusement of those around them.
"Those two are certainly very entertaining, all be it juvenile." Kurama said with a smile as he turned back. "You were saying?" He offered giving the ferry girl his full attention.
"When do you start college?" She asked quietly, refusing to meet his intense gaze.
Kurama tilted his head to the side as he studied her. "In about a month from now." He said, his voice calm, even as his heart continued to pound within his chest. "Why?"
"And how does your family feel about you leaving them.?"
Why is she so concerned about my family all of the sudden? "My mother knew this day would come. That someday I would have to leave to fulfill a promise I had made as a child. That I would exceed the expectations of her ancestors. I made a promise to attend college and make her proud of me. I always keep a promise."
"Always?" Botan asked, tilting her head up to look at him a glimmer of hope shining in her eyes.
Kurama nodded. "Always." He replied, wondering where she was going with this conversation.
"Promise me something?"
Kurama raised an eyebrow but said nothing, waiting for her to finish.
"Promise that whatever happens, you'll stay alive. That you won't get into any trouble."
Kurama flashed her a teasing smile as he took his right hand out of his pocket and held it up beside him. "I promise to be a good boy and stay out of trouble." He pledged in mock seriousness.
Botan giggled at his goofiness.
Kurama's smile fell as he lowered his hand. "And now it's your turn."
Botan looked at him in askance. "And what pray tell, do you want me to promise you?"
"Promise me this isn't the last we will see each other. Promise you'll come visit me at the college soon." He asked softly, a flash of pain betraying the even tone of his voice.
Botan however did not see his reaction having looked away suddenly towards the presence she felt, her gaze fallen upon a teenage Koenma who appeared out of nowhere, studying the two through narrowed eyes.
"We'll see." She murmured distractedly as she watched her boss approach.
"Well, I think it's time to get a move on." Koenma said as he came to a stop before the ferry girl. "The hour is growing late and we have a lot of paper work to catch up on." He added as he looked from Botan to Kurama who frowned at the sudden intrusion.
"Yes of course Koenma sir." She said with a nod, looking back up at Kurama, a brave smile tugging at her tender lips.
Kurama's features softened in surprise as he heard her whisper in a voice so soft, only the fox spirit could understand.
"I.. I promise to see you as soon as I can.."
Kurama's heart leaped into his throat, an odd feeling of elation swelling within him. Did I just hear her right? His eyes widened in surprise as Botan reached out and wrapped her arms around him, holding his lean, toned body close to hers. And out of reflex he mimicked the motion, embracing her as he rested his chin upon her head, the crowd of people around them momentarily forgotten, as he closed his eyes, taking in the feel of her body against his one last time.
This open display of affection earned a series of "Ahhs," from the girls and snickers from the boys. All but Koenma who looked very agitated and perturbed at Botan's behavior.
"Hey Kurama, aren't you getting a little too friendly with Botan? That could be the death of you, you know." Yusuke teased his friend. "Ow!" He cried as Keiko slapped him on the shoulder. "Will you stop that!"
"Shut up Yusuke!" Keiko yelled.
Kuwabara looked at the fox spirit and the ferry girl in confusion. "Hey what's going on with you two? Are you a couple now? Why didn't you tell us?"
Kurama slowly released Botan from his grasp, shaking his head. "No Kuwabara. We are just good friends. Nothing more."
The pain that spread across Botan's face did not go unnoticed.
"Are you sure about that?" Kuwabara mumbled, his heart going out to the blue haired deity. Ah man Kurama. You have no idea do you? He thought with a shake of his head as he stood up slowly, stretching his muscular frame to loosen the stiffness he felt. "Well sis. I think we need to head home. I'm starving!"
Shizuru shook her head as she lit another cigarette. "Is that all you ever think about? Your stomach?"
"No. I also think about my lovely Yukina!" He cried, turning to his right, staring at the petite ice demon with ga ga eyes. "Isn't that right my love!" He sang, crouching down before the amused apparition.
"Of course Kazuma."
Kuwabara's smile widened. "Could you say my first name again." He requested, his eyes suddenly brimming with tears of pain as Shizeru grabbed hold of his ear and dragged him off to her car. "Come on lover boy were heading home!"
Hiei watched the pair leave, his brow furrowed and his red eyes dancing with malice at Kuwabara's display.
"Good bye Yukina my love! I'll come to Genkai's soon for a visit!" He cried.
Shameless. The fire demon thought with a shake of his head, casting his eyes back upon his sister. His features softening at the look of joy upon his sibling's face. Oh well. If that idiot makes her happy who am I to interfere. He is strong enough to look after her while I am in Makai. That's all I needed to know. "I'm leaving." He murmured to no one in particular, his body disappearing in a blur of black.
Yusuke shook his head. "Even after all this time he's still lacking in the people skills department." He said with a smirk as he returned his attention to the rest of the group. "Well guys it's been fun but I think we should split as well. I've got a lot of homework to catch up on and I'm afraid Keiko here will kill me if I don't graduate with her this year." He added, wrapping his arm around the young woman's waist and this time she didn't object.
"Oh Yusuke, you goof!" She said with a small laugh as he twirled her towards the forested area some distance away.
"We best be going as well." Genkai stated softly turning her small body away from the remaining group. "These old bones of mine are crying out for rest."
"Good luck Kurama! Come by and see us sometime Botan!" Yukina said cheerfully, bowing quickly before sprinting to catch up with the female psychic.
The red haired fox spirit acknowledged their departure with a nod but his troubled eyes never left Botan's as she slowly backed away, raising her hand to her waist. A wooden oar materialized instantly, hovering in mid air.
"Good bye Kurama." Botan whispered sadly as she slid onto the oar, her body in a side sit position, her long slender legs dangling freely over the edge, balancing the oar as Koenma hopped on, turning his back to them.
Don't go. His mind screamed. Stay here with me. "Good bye Botan." He said with a smile, covering his pain with a mask of reserved calmness as he stood rigidly still. Raising his right hand he gave he a slow wave, watching her and Koenma disappear in the darkening sky.
With a weighted sigh, Kurama turned slowly around, his shoulders slumped as he marched towards the woods, making a bee line for his transportation. He cleared the forested area with little difficulty, coming into a grassy meadow, scanning the area for his motorcycle. He found his bike parked a short distance to his right, the sleekly designed, silver metallic body giving off a faint sparkle with what little light remained.
The fox spirit leaped gracefully onto the paved road, his black boots clunking with each step he made. Kurama came to a stop on the left side of his bike, reaching out to lift the leather seat up, revealing a small compartment that stored his riding jacket, shaking it out and laying it over the handle bars. He grabbed the back of his sweater and ripped it over his head, the force causing his hair to go in every which direction. With a grunt of disgust, he stuffed the sweater into the storage compartment and slammed the seat back down.
I'm such a fool. And after that look Koenma gave me I'm sure I'll never see her again.
"Brooding over a woman is not a healthy thing Kurama."
The fox spirit stiffened at the voice, his features hardening. "Reading my thoughts again Hiei." Kurama said coolly, turning slowly around to face his old friend. "I thought you had gone back to Makai to train with Muruko."
Hiei smirked, standing beside the road not more than three feet away, his trademark black uniform swinging in time with the sudden gust of wind that sang through. "As dismal as your mental defenses are Kurama, I don't need to use telepathy to see you're in pain over her." He replied answering his first question but avoiding the other entirely.
Kurama turned away, straightening his light blue button down shirt and smoothing out his unruly hair. "Since when do you know anything about women Hiei." He asked lightly, reaching out to take his jacket off the handlebars. In a quick and graceful move he slid the brown bomber on before hopping onto his bike.
"I know more than you think Kurama," Hiei replied, his red eyes studying his friend with mild interest. "I know that you care more for that bubble headed ferry girl than you do for yourself."
Kurama's head snapped up, he features twisted in anger at the description Hiei gave of Botan. "She's not a bubble head." He growled threateningly, his eyes narrowing into slits.
"Hn," Hiei replied, crossing his arms, unperturbed by the fox's reaction. "What I think doesn't really matter. What I question is why didn't you tell her you love her?"
Kurama looked down at his bike, his features full of regret. "Because I have nothing to offer her."
Hiei frowned, shaking his head. "Your time among these humans has made you quite a bad liar kitsune. You'll have to do better than that to convince me."
"Because she's safer not knowing." The red head replied truthfully, returning his attention to the fire demon.
"What makes you think your attraction and feelings for her have gone unnoticed? I am not the only one with telepathic powers. If someone was seeking to hurt you they could easily do so just by studying your history these past few years. You have a family, you have friends. They are already at risk. What more harm could be done by adding a little happiness in your life kitsune?"
"Because," Kurama began, trying hard to counter the fire demon's arguement. "I can't stand to see her hurt. If something were to happen to Botan I might react in a manner unacceptable for the life I now lead."
Hiei shook his head. "Not good enough," He replied softly. "Try again."
Kurama's eyes narrowed as he studied the small man. "Why this sudden interest into my love life Hiei? Why do you care?"
Hiei shrugged. "Perhaps it's the fact I can't believe someone as intelligent as you could do something so stupid as to deny yourself from what you want."
Kurama closed his eyes. "What I want I can't have. Her feelings for me are one of friendship and nothing more."
"Keep saying that and you may convince yourself. But your wrong Kurama." Hiei replied, turning from his friend.
"How do you know that?" The fox spirit asked quickly. "Did you go sneaking into her mind, too?"
But Hiei didn't answer, his gaze focused on the woods behind them. Eyes narrowed, he reached up and ripped the bandanna off his forehead, his jagan eye glowing an eerie shade of green.
Kurama's heightened senses picked up an unusual sound, like air being sucked into a vacuum. It was brief, fleeting. Still he had sensed it. Jumping off his bike, the fox spirit straightened his frame, watching the trees intently as if expecting some sort of monstrous creature to come rampaging out to crush them. When nothing happened he turned to Hiei. "What do you see?"
The fire demon shook his head slowly, retying the white strip of cloth back onto his forehead. "For an instant I thought I caught the rough shape of a human. But as soon as I seen it , it vanished. But even though my jagan eye cannot see what is out there, someone or something is among those trees watching us as we speak. I can feel it." He whispered, excitement gleaming in his eyes. The thrill of the hunt pulsing through his veins.
"Shall we go find out?" Kurama asked with a smirk. Just like old times. He thought happily.
Hiei nodded and disappeared, his movement a black blur to the fox spirit who set off after him, a mere step behind the speedy fire demon.
The small man appeared instantly upon the branch of a particularly large tree, studying the bark with vested interest, hugging the branch as his eyes scoured the scrapes upon the wooden extension.
"What did you find?" Kurama asked softly, craning his neck back to watch his friend at work.
Hiei took a few seconds more before replying, "Someone has been standing here. Quite recently I'm afraid." He answered, running his fingers across a small green gash on top of the branch. "Within the last hour or so." He added.
Kurama dropped his head suddenly, his body tensing. His emerald eyes glanced sharply to his left and then his right, tilting his head to the side as he focused his attuned hearing, wrinkling his nose slightly as he took a whiff of air.
Hiei watched the fox spirit begin to creep towards a patch of bushes about twenty feet away, his body crouched, ready to defend himself if need be.
With a small swipe of his hand, the bushes parted violently, obeying his silent command. A cloud of black rose up, speeding straight towards Kurama who ducked instinctively, a frown twisting his handsome features at the indignant cawing that met his ears.
Hiei let out a sigh. "Those were just crows you crazy kitsune." He said with a shake of his head, jumping down to the ground to stand beside the taller man. "That nose of yours leaves much to be desired."
The frown did not leave Kurama's features. "I could have sworn.." He murmured, his voice trailing off as he continued to stare at the bushes.
"Come on." Hiei ordered, turning away from the scene. "Whoever was here is gone."
Kurama gave one last look at the shrubbery before pivoting around to follow.
Both of them were unaware that a pair of gray eyes were watching just beyond the bushes, eyes that promised not make the same mistake twice. A small burst of air shook the surrounding vegetation. And when all had settled, the eyes were gone.
"So what do you think it was?" Kurama asked as he mounted his bike, turning to face his smaller friend.
Hiei shrugged. "Probably some stupid teenage humans searching for a place to make out."
Kurama arched an eyebrow. "And what do you know about human mating rituals?" He questioned in a teasing voice.
"My jagan eye sees more that you'll ever know." Hiei answered in disgust.
At this Kurama laughed.
"It's not funny kitsune." Hiei growled, his eyes flashing dangerously at the larger man.
"I always knew you had a voyeuristic side to your personality." Kurama spoke through his chuckle, earning him a death glare from the fire demon.
"Don't make me have to kill you Kurama." Hiei warned.
Kurama stopped laughing but a smile remained on his lips. "Sorry."
Hiei crossed his arms. "I'm going back to Makai. Mukuro is expecting me."
"Did she like the plant I gave to you for her birthday?" Kurama asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
"Very much so." The fire demon replied. "Having her father trapped inside that plant made her day."
Kurama smiled. "I'm happy for her. I'm happy for you." He said sincerely, his smile falling as he thought of Botan once more.
"What did I tell you about that brooding Kurama."
The fox spirit shook his head but said nothing.
Hiei rolled his eyes. "You are too damned depressed Kurama." He scolded, backing away. "Don't be afraid to tell the ferry girl how you feel. You may be surprised at what she says." He added before disappearing into the dark of night.
Easy for you to say Hiei. Kurama thought bitterly. The woman you love doesn't work for Koenma. The fox spirit flicked a small switch to the right of the motorcycle's speedometer, the area in front of his bike erupting in a blast of artificial white light. He planted his feet on the ground, lifting his left foot to kick start his bike, revving it a few times before settling back on the seat and roaring off down the paved road. His thoughts as bleak and desolate as the darkness that swirled around him.