Chapter 4 – Yuusuke: The Cousin
Arriving at the front steps of Sarayashiki High School, a cross between a sigh and a moan rolled out of Botan's lips as she removed her helmet from her head.
"You know, sugar-muffin," the young woman started as she climbed off of the motorbike, "I really do hate the fact that you choose to ride this bike over driving a sports car or the like. The helmet always disagrees with my hair."
Shuuichi's emerald eyes narrowed from beneath the dark visor of his helmet. "And what would you like me to do about it, princess?"
A very subtle triumphant smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she stared into the darkness of his visor. Though she could not see his eyes, she knew that she had managed to irritate him because although she hadn't directly told him what it was she wanted him to do, she knew that the answer was swimming about tauntingly in his head. With the exception of Mr. Imamura, Shuuichi Minamino was never patient with people who dared to so much as just imply that they could tell him what and what not to do, including the daughter of his boss. Botan took a step toward him, and leaned forward so her bright lilac irises would be level with Shuuichi's beneath the visor. Licking her lips, she whispered, "I don't know, Shuuichi. What do you think I want you to do about it?"
When the lad on the motorbike still said nothing, Botan straightened up and allowed a giggle to flow out of her lips. "I'll see you later, sugar-muffin." She was just about to turn around and head up the steps towards the school building when she suddenly felt a firm grip encircle her wrist. Botan flipped around just as quickly, an unbecoming frown nestled upon her forehead.
"I'll be picking you up at four o' clock this afternoon." His firm hold on her wrist began to loosen. "I don't give a shit if you have class committee duties to attend to. I don't want you to be late," he half-growled as he let her go.
The frown that was once settled upon her features had long ago disappeared, and in its stead was something that of mischief. "Would you like me to just skip school altogether, sugar-muffin?" she purred.
"No." Shuuichi was no longer looking at her and instead had his gaze fixed ahead of him, his body leaned forward ready to leave. "If I remember correctly, you always did like it rough. Besides, your father disapproves of truancy." With that the youth revved up his bike, and sped off without waiting for an answer.
"I missed you too, Shuuichi," Botan managed to whisper. Whirling around, she made her way through the crowd of other students currently absorbed in reuniting with the friends they had missed over their three-month vacation.
Botan came across familiar faces, all of which greeted her with smiles lined with fear, casual and very brief hellos, or scowls. Her identity as a gangster's daughter had been well concealed in the beginning, but as rumors do have a tendency to spread, it was only a mere few weeks before fear and hatred circulated. Of course, the school board and the district directors were paid handsomely to keep from exposing them, and a deal had been made to allow Botan attendance at the school as long as no trouble would brew.
Seldom would she see genuine expressions of happiness at her return. These she usually got from the sons and daughters of parents who were connected in one way or another to her father. And one of these youths was none other than her cousin, Yuusuke Urameshi.
Confident, profane, and one of Sarayashiki's most notorious troublemakers, Yuusuke Urameshi excused himself from his group of friends as soon as he saw a familiar silken mass of sky-blue. Hands deeply rooted in his pants pockets, he walked up to his cousin with a silly grin on his face and invited himself to peck her on the cheek.
"Prince Charming back in your life this year?" Yuusuke always referred to Shuuichi as her Prince Charming because of his status as her bodyguard.
"Are we in the same class again, Yuusuke?" Botan asked, ignoring his query for the answer was too obvious to be said.
"Yeah. 3-5 A." Yuusuke looked down at his cousin whose eyes were scanning the hallway for nothing in particular when he began to fidget. Botan did not fail to notice this and so acknowledged her cousin in the hopes of entertaining him.
"I don't feel like talking about it here," he replied, motioning with his head towards the door that lead to the roof of the school. "It's kind of personal," he paused to look away, and to Botan's surprise, a blush colored his cheeks, a very rare occurrence, "…and it's a little embarrassing."
Botan nodded and followed her cousin to the rooftop, a place they usually went to when they needed to talk about things that were a matter of genuine concern. Rarely were they ever there so Botan knew this had to be either urgent or confidential.
Upon reaching the top, Yuusuke walked over to the ledge and reached into his pocket for a pack of cigarettes and lit one. There was no need to offer one to his cousin because although the young lady was raised around men that smoked cigarettes as if it were the end of the world, it was something that she did not have a preference for.
Botan waited beside him, gazing down at the hundreds of students on the floor level exchanging gossip and the like. She didn't dare to prod Yuusuke to tell her quickly about his situation. Her father had taught her that you get the best results when you have patience.
A puff of smoke emerged fluidly from between Yuusuke's lips as he simultaneously tapped the cigarette to allow the ashen branch of the stick to fall off. His dark eyes tore from where it was fixed out in the horizon to look into her bright pair of lavender ones.
"You know how I've always told you that I've felt that this delinquent shit wasn't who I was?"
"It isn't," Botan agreed flatly. "You're tough and you can definitely stand your own ground against at least ten of my dad's men, but you're far too compassionate to be considered true gangster material."
An almost dead sort of grin twisted itself upon Yuusuke's lips. "Is that what my uncle has been saying about me?"
Botan leaned against the edge of the building and stared at the fine and intricate design of orchid and vine on her fingernails as she thought about the question. It was definitely something her father could say, but it wasn't from him that she had heard it from. "Actually, my dad never says anything like that about you, Yuusuke. In fact, he always has something appraising to say about you. He always did see you as something like the son he never had."
"Then did you come up with that conclusion yourself?"
"No." Botan turned her head to meet eyes with her cousin who was gazing at her with dark eyes filled with curiosity. "Actually, Shuuichi observed that. I merely agreed after he pointed it out."
Yuusuke let out a purely uninhibited laughter at her answer. "Figures why I didn't like that guy in the very beginning. He's too sharp."
Botan glanced at him through the corners of her eyes, trying to understand what it was that he was thinking. She had once assumed that the reason why Yuusuke had disliked Shuuichi was because he knew that Botan's father was most likely going to make Shuuichi his heir. Later, she realized that it had nothing to do with that. It was something on more personal terms. Still, she wished to defend Shuuichi and clarify the way her father felt about him. "Shuuichi, himself, isn't the reason why my father isn't handing down his legacy to you," Botan explained. "I told you. You're like a son to him. He thinks about you almost the same way you think about yourself. You really are too good of a person to get too caught up in all that he's ever done. What you've experienced so far is nothing compared to what my father has gone through. You wouldn't want to inherit all that deceit and bloodshed. It isn't in you."
Yuusuke's eyes narrowed at her statement. He agreed that Mr. Imamura did treat him like the son he never had. At the age of seven, Yuusuke's father had left him and his mother, who had fallen ill, in order to find a better occupation to pay for his wife's medical needs. He never returned. Yuusuke's uncle had not discovered his sister's situation until a year later and offered to provide financial assistance to her and his nephew. Leaving behind Shibuya where he grew up, he and his mother moved to an apartment in Nagoya where his uncle lived. Feeling indebted to him, Yuusuke had vowed that his loyalty lay with him, and thus a sort of tight-knit bond had formed from there.
Yuusuke was only nine years old when he experienced true physical pain at the hands of a thug who found out he was Mr. Imamura's nephew. He had suffered a few broken ribs during that encounter, and it was then that he was introduced to Shuuichi Minamino for the first time. After being informed of his nephew's incident, he had persuaded the then thirteen-year-old redhead to teach him everything he learned growing up in the ghetto.
What Yuusuke did not understand, however, was how his uncle could say that he wished his nephew would not have to undergo all that he had but did not seem to show much concern on the same topic for his direct descendant. This did not sit too well with him for he had grown to love his cousin as much as if she were immediately related to him. "What about his own daughter? Doesn't he care that she's too good for that kind of life as well?"
"That's not really any of your business, cousin." When silence was the only answer she received, she offered him a wry smile and explained that he didn't have to worry so much about her. "I've been stained all my life, Yuusuke. You weren't there during the Imamura-Uesugi War twelve years ago. I was there, and I saw a lot of the shots being rallied and the torture that was inflicted upon my father's people. I never saw my dad doing cruel things in return, but I'm not that naïve to believe that it wasn't being done at all. None of this was what my dad wanted. Actually, he wanted to shield my mother and me from all of that, but there was no escaping all part of it. Everyone connected in some way to my dad or the Uesugi boss was bound to see a part of that war one way or another. It's just how things turned out. So now the only thing he can offer to my jaded youth is protection. Maybe the reason why he's so intent on not making you the next Yakuza boss is because he thinks he failed me."
The young man beside her said nothing, allowing a couple of stray bangs to obstruct his view of the trees in front of him. He could not remember when he was told, but he did hear about the Imamura-Uesugi War and what a destructive nightmare it had been. He did not, however, know that Botan was there to witness parts of it, and she had only been four at the time. Looking at her, he could not fathom how she could be so happy and full of life when she'd witnessed so many lives being taken away, and even more, by the very people she lived with.
"Anyway," Botan started, scuffing the ground with the heel of her shoe, "what was it exactly that you wanted to tell me?"
Yuusuke blinked and finished his cigarette before dropping it and grinding the tip against the concrete with his sneakers. "I'm gonna join the Youth Help Organization," he breathed.
Botan lifted one fine brow at his completely unexpected confession. The Youth Help Organization was a group formed by the school for students who wanted to find a way to deal with and fix the problems they were undergoing through their teenage careers.
"Who put you up to this, Yuusuke?"
Yuusuke laughed at her suspicion, and he didn't blame her. Though he had admitted to her more than once that he felt like such a fake Yakuza, he would never join a Youth Help group. It would be an embarrassment to his uncle. If he wanted to clean up, he would take it to his uncle personally and take things from there.
"That's the embarrassing part, actually." He reached up to gingerly rub at the back of his neck as he grinned sheepishly. "There was this girl I met over summer break. Um, she apparently went to our school because she knew who I was, but I didn't know she existed until she came up to me when I was in Shibuya, and she literally took the cigarette I was smoking out of my hands." He paused to chuckle at the memory. "I didn't think she knew my reputation as a well… troublemaker, I guess, but I was wrong."
He looked at his cousin who was listening intently, her brows once again creased over into a frown. He mentally chuckled for he guessed that she was wondering what right that girl had to do that and why he almost seemed like he didn't care. Under normal circumstances, he would already be telling her how he had mouthed the girl off. "Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up liking this girl. I met her again a couple of times at Shibuya, and that's when I found out she attended this school. And well, she encouraged me to go join this organization."
"You aren't really…?"
"No way," Yuusuke smirked. "I'm gonna go and risk being bored to death just to make that girl happy. It's not like I'll end up really changing into a different person if I join. I'll have your dad's men shoot me first." Yuusuke stopped to laugh at the prospect of him becoming a saint. If it were ever to happen, he would always have a demonic side to him. Always. Though he couldn't compare himself to his cousin, he knew that he, too, was just as stained. He had not seen all that she had, but he had done things that she had not, and those acts he had executed made him just as stained. "In any case, I didn't want you to suddenly connect my joining the Youth Help Organization to my previous statements about my feeling a little different as a Yakuza, okay? And, Botan, if it won't kill you, could you please refrain from telling your dad about this? At least not just yet. I don't want him to die of a heart attack at finding out that his nephew is stooping this low for a girl."
Botan said nothing, only gracing him with a small smile as she pushed herself from the ledge and walked back down the stairs to join the rest of her schoolmates.
Author Notes: I'm more than overjoyed and relieved that I finally finished this chapter. It's been a while since I updated, and I was becoming really scared that I'd forgotten the way in which I'd written the last three chapters (i.e. implications and double/hidden meanings).
I think this chapter is the longest out of the four chapters up now. I believe the Shuuichi-Botan interaction in the beginning plays a small factor in that. And oh my God! I'll admit that I may have gone a little overboard with it. I sincerely apologize for the excess amount of sexual innuendo in the first part of this chapter. I'm about to just change the rating of this story to R instead of PG-13 because at the rate things are going, it's gonna turn to R or maybe um… yeah. Oh my. Their conversation in the very beginning wasn't meant to turn out that way, nor was I trying to relate it to screwing, but as soon as Botan got all seductive-y towards Shuuichi, that's when he snaps. Remember that Shuuichi was not around to be with Botan during her break from school. It was implied in chapter 2. This whole fic is filled with implications and stuff so yeah… boo!
And then I guess I jumped a little ahead of myself when I got around to explaining Yuusuke and his background because I spent the longest time going back and forth trying to understand it myself. It was giving me a headache, literally. Argh! So if I got confused, I wouldn't blame you if your head starts spinning trying to understand it. If you do have a difficult time with it, please forgive me.
Is there anything else I'd like to clarify for all of you? I could try and summarize Yuusuke's whole background and ordeal minus the details, but I'm confused as it is. I wouldn't know where to begin. I need to give my brain a rest. (I'm even having a hard time writing out this final note.) Oh, yes. In the beginning where Botan suddenly refers to Shuuichi as "Shuuichi" instead of "sugar-muffin" – that will be explained later when she meets back up with Shuuichi. And one last thing I'd like to clear up is Yuusuke's character. He's not a sissy, okay? He's still tough, bad-ass, shit-talking, Yuusuke, but compared to the other Yakuza, he hasn't see his entire share of the blood-bath and what they're really capable of, and I'm just trying to say that Botan's father, if he can help it, doesn't want him to experience that at all. Yuusuke had a conscience in Yuu Yuu Hakusho but he kicked butt. He's the same here. Shuuichi, on the other hand, kicks both ass, but he's de-sensitized and pretty much doesn't have a conscience. He might have a little, but for the most part, he can kick its ass and make it disappear. I'll make it emerge later though. Haha… x As the author, I have power.
Also, it seems as though I'm putting the Yakuza in a good light. I don't want you to get the impression that I idolize them or that they're nice people, okay? Some of them could be, but I doubt it. I've seen movies where they're just really BAD people, and the boss is some fat guy that screws young girls. Ewwww! Mr. Imamura is not like that, okay? Anyway I haven't done an excess amount of research on them. I've only gotten tidbits here and there, but that's about it. For the purpose of this fic, I need to portray them as the protagonists here. If you've read the "The Godfather", it's similar in that Michael Corleone and his family were portrayed as the good guys even though, you know, they murdered people and stuff.
For the Shuuichi (Kurama) x Botan fans, here's a clique and fansite you can visit (pleas support us… even though it hasn't been updated in a while… I will… eventually):
http : pyreflies . nu / tomorrow
Disclaimers: I don't own Yuu Yuu Hakusho and it's characters. They belong to Yoshihiro Togashi, Studio Pierrot, Fuji TV, Shonen Jump, etc. Do not sue. You are cool.